Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I can see how my intentions could be misconstrued...

It's cold out, very cold, so today I dressed for warmth: my sole pair of wool knee socks, black pants, tan Mary Jane heels, and my comfiest, warmest-sweater-that-doesn't-scratch. The sweater and socks just happen to be ... scarlet.

I've gotten a lot of comments today about looking "festive."

"Wearing red at this time of year," one coworker told me, serene in her own black and cobalt, "people are going to assume you did it on purpose."

Oh, well, whatever. What's wrong with looking festive? I FEEL festive! My social engagements are concluded; I only have two presents left to buy; I get to work at home tomorrow and once and for all tackle the big job task that's been hanging over my head (work at home! that's practically like getting a corner office.); there are movies to see, books to read, and French Vogues to peruse once the clock strikes five on Friday.

Happy holidays! Just in case all the free time goes to my head and I don't blog before the New Year ;)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Send me your links.

When I said I was looking for room painting ideas, I wasn't kidding! I have to choose colors by next Friday and I've never thought about room-painting before!

I do not like bright. I need something classy and delicate.

Update: right now I'm sort of leaning towards buttery yellows, nothing too gold or marigold. Just something glowy, soft, and warm. I think you have to have a lot of light coming in if you're going to do a blue or a green--I'd consider a soft purply blue or a muted pale sage but I'm concerned such cool colors will look bilious and sickly. I think I'd like to stick to warm colors, but as much as I like deep red and pumpkin orange rooms, I know those will make the space look smaller.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


I have a lot of things to say:

(a) I so wish I lived in England. On Christmas Day they're showing a TV film of one of my favorite (favourite) books of all time, Ballet Shoes! And it stars Emma Watson, who is one of the few teen actresses I really like. In addition to seemingly have her head screwed on straight, she's got great style.

(b) Speaking of great style, I found this blog and I'm hooked. There's something about going thrifting that is so much more exciting than any other kind of shopping. What kind of diamond might you find in the roughs of the Goodwill racks? It's like treasure-hunting.

(c) But I shouldn't be reading blogs at all because I started tallying and got to 2000 pages, before I stopped counting in terror, of various manuscripts that I have to read, including about 450 TONIGHT. Maybe it's a GOOD thing I forgot to TiVo Wednesday's ANTM. So DON'T TELL ME WHO GOT KICKED OFF.

(d) I'm getting more excited about the apartment--they offered to hire movers, they're letting us pick the paint colors and pick the best kitchen appliances of the existing apartments to have moved into the new one; and we found out that it's been renting for about $600 more per month than what we'll be paying for the first year! That convinces me that, uh, duh, yeah, the one we're getting is better. We still have to work out the details of what we'll have to pay for year two, but I'm hoping it gets resolved as amicably as the rest of the conversation has been so far.

In between all the reading I have to do, there are paint chips to be sought out and Christmas presents to be obtained, and brainstorming for either is sure not going to be happening during the work day now that Crunch Time 2008 is upon me. But in two weeks and one day I am FREEEEEEEEEEE for eleven days! Eleven days which will be mostly taken up by traveling but NOT TO AND FROM WORK.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Extra extra

Thank you all for the funny jokes! They helped to cheer me up. The job thing that happened is still not ideal, but it's vaguely better than it was. Just keep plugging away, I suppose!

So, here is that other thing about my landladies I was going to tell you. Before Thanksgiving (when we'd been living there for about a month and a half), we found out that they had up and sold the building. To a couple expecting their second child. Who wanted to take over our apartment so they could renovate the bottom two floors together to be their home.

They asked us to consider moving to the third floor apartment (which is really the second floor apartment. As in, we enter our apartment under the outside front steps, whereas for this other apartment, you go up the front steps and up one flight of stairs) for the same rent. And, of course, under the terms of our lease we were free to say no, that we wanted to stay in our apartment. (But then we would just have to move out in September when it expires. Which, for those of you who were with me during this PAST apartment search, let me tell you, the rental market's getting worse, not better.)

Last night we finally got to see the apartment, and I think we're going to do it. Don't get me wrong--I really like my apartment. In fact, now that I know I'm leaving it, I feel somewhat mournful. Our pretty bathroom! Our lavish, huge bedroom! But if you take all things into account the apartment upstairs is a better deal.

The bathroom's not as nice
It's a little shabby throughout--the floors are a little battered
No garden access

The bathroom has a tub. Jets in the shower are luxurious, but there's nothing like a good old bath once in a while.
The floors are battered wood, which is better than grungy linoleum by a lot
How often are we in the garden in the winter? Which in the Northeast, is like eight months out of the year? (Just kidding. But damn, it's cold today.) In exchange for the garden, this apartment is bigger. More square feet, more rooms. Depending on how we set it up, we could have a bedroom, living room, dining room, walk-in closet/office, office, kitchen. Vs. the bedroom, living room, kitchen we have now.
Much higher ceilings and so probably more light (we were there at night)
They're going to paint it for us (do you have any color suggestions?)
I didn't get to examine the kitchen too closely, but at least it didn't have the awful plastic faux marble finish that we have now
We won't have people clomping around above us
We're waiting to hear if they'll allow us to extend our lease (as Chris put it, moving twice in one year is bad enough. Moving three times might kill us. Which, for me, is four times, 'cause I moved out of my place and into Chris's in August. But since Chris did all the heavy lifting it's pretty much four times for him as well.)

So, we'll see. If it happens, the move will take place after the New Year. I'll keep you posted.

I've been very happy in our little hobbit hole, which is the first place I've lived in and felt proprietal towards, but I think this might be a nice thing in the end.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

And then we came to the end.

You should all leave a funny joke in the comments, because today is one of those days where my ob-jay is issing-pay me off to the extent that I'm seriously considering developing a terrible stomach virus and going home to consume all the red wine and chocolate-covered cherries in the house while watching Audrey Hepburn movies and contemplating what to do with the rest of my life.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Yesterday, being the first day of December, the first thing Chris and I did after we ate breakfast was go out and get our Christmas tree. I guess it's about five feet tall or so. I named it Sammy. We got some white lights and a tree stand at the hardware store and set it up in the living room across from the couch.

That evening, after we cooked dinner, Shelby came over to help us decorate it. I pulled out from under the bed the box of Christmas ornaments I've amassed over the past couple years--"amassed"--which is to say, six or so. (The most cherished of which is the snowman Erika and David sent last year :) .) We put a Christmas CD on, and Chris went down to the basement to bring up the box of ornaments that my mom had brought up for me and Shelby in October.

He came back up empty-handed and looking shocked. "The entire basement is cleaned out," he said. "There's nothing down there at all."

He went up to see the landladies, and Shelby and I sat nervously on the couch. I hadn't looked inside the box when my mom brought it initally, but though I knew it to contain some plain glass balls and some other vintage ornaments she'd gotten at an antique store for us, I was really worried that it also had the ornaments that had been on our trees growing up--all the ones we made as children. Not just mine but Shelby's, too. And I was worried about Chris's stuff--some winter clothes, a box of books, his old laptop with his college writing on it.

When Chris came back down, he told us that the landladies, although they'd given us permission to store stuff in the basement, didn't know that we actually HAD stored stuff (and didn't bother to ask) and had hired a guy to clean the basement out and throw everything away.

I was pretty upset, to put it mildly.

After a little while Shelby and Chris rallied, and we made hot toddies and put them in a thermos and went to the Rite Aid to buy Christmas snacks and supplies for making some new ornaments. We decorated the tree with candy canes and a box of colored balls on sale for $3.99. We watched Fawlty Towers on DVD and made sugar cookies, and Shelby slept over on the sofa, so the evening was saved.

Then this morning after Shelby went to church and Chris went to work, I was watering the tree, and there was a knock on the door. It was one of the landladies. She apologized profusely, and begged me to let her give me a check.

Well, what kind of price tag am I supposed to put on all those memories?

I was really nice to her. I said it was nobody's fault, and to please forget about it, and that I was so sorry she was up all night feeling distraught over what she'd done. I declined the check offer five times. I offered to shovel the front sidewalk (it's snowing). She said that's okay, she was on her way to do it now, and left.

Now I'm typing this because I feel bad all over the map.

I feel bad that I was so nice when I'm still really, really angry at them. I don't care if it was an accident. Why can't people be COMPETENT for once? All it takes is a phone call: Did you store stuff in the basement? Why is it so hard to DO YOUR JOB? I'm angry at myself for being a pushover, and for acting like it was no big deal when I'm in actuality still sad about it.

I feel bad that I AM so upset, over material belongings. I have my family, I have my loved ones; I'm so lucky. Yesterday was the happiest day, this incident aside. Why can't I shake this off? Am I so shallow that I still want to punch the wall when I think about it? (Yes.) I feel mad that she had to come down and bring it all up again, because I had been feeling better about it after such a nice evening.

I feel bad that my mom and my sister trusted me with these precious materials and I couldn't take care of them. I feel bad that so many boxes of Chris's are gone. If all my college writing disappeared I don't know what I'd do. I feel TERRIBLE about that.

I feel bad that all those times Chris complained about the landladies I tried to see the other side and to stand up for them. HE WAS RIGHT.

I feel bad that I didn't make them give me a check for all the stuff that's gone forever. And I feel bad that they feel bad. And I feel bad for feeling bad that they feel bad, because I'm still mad so I hope they DO feel bad! And I feel bad for being so mean as to be glad that they feel bad. (This is like a Dr. Seuss book.)

However, I do feel better after spilling this out, so thank you for listening, Dr. Audience. Now I can hopefully get on with the holiday season, with peace and love and joy, and not with feeling bad, because that's a waste of perfectly good eggnog.

Update: When we got home tonight (after seeing Enchanted--more on that later) there was a check for $200 taped to our door. But we're going to take it back to them tomorrow when we have to see them about something else (more on THAT later). Neither of us feels right about it. Still, the gesture was nice.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Chris is so sweet. Because I sat (aghast) through Shoot 'Em Up, he's agreed to go with me to see ... Enchanted.

I'd like to say I want to see it because it's been getting such great reviews, but ... the truth is ... I've secretly wanted to see it since the previews. The reviews only gave me the courage to bring it up.

Chris says he doesn't mind going to see it at all, because he thinks Amy Adams is such a good actress, especially in Junebug.

I think Patrick Dempsey is such a good actor, too. Yessiree. Especially in that one episode of Grey's Anatomy where you can almost see his butt. Oscar-worthy stuff, right there!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Even the Beatles are annoying when someone has "Ticket to Ride" on interminable repeat in a crowded subway.

Had a nice Thanksgiving seeing family and eating a LOT. Not just turkey and stuffing--lasagna on Friday, Irish stew on Saturday, Middle Eastern on Sunday. Luckily this weekend corresponded with my newfound addiction to hot green tea, which I'm currently sipping and feeling refreshed and detoxy.

I'm excited for this holiday season. I've come to terms with the fact that I'm not a good gift shopper. I think this has been hard for me to realize in years past because I know perfectly well I could be a GREAT gift shopper.

If I had unlimited daytime hours and unlimited funding.

So I've done a couple large batches of Internet ordering and while unimaginative I think most items are at least not totally out of the ballpark and I also hope to be done by, like, this Saturday so I can concentrate on tree-decorating and cookie baking (wait, no cookie sheets yet. Um, eggnog-drinking) (yes, I know this directly contradicts paragraph 1) and office holiday parties and a weekend trip to Boston for Derek & Tara's "Festivus" party and ice skating in the park and all those city things one does so one feels like one got the most out of this go-go-go city when one is looking back from one's country porch to which one has finally been able to peacefully retire.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday Monday.

Ha ha! Just kidding! No, I was really grouchy on Friday but I think everyone who reads this is familiar with my dumb mood swings, so forgive the melodrama and let's get back to regular programming.

Liz, Chris, Austin, and the bun in the oven came to visit this weekend. We saw the Rockettes, whose Busby Berkeley-esque routines were mesmerically soothing, and ate a LOT and just generally enjoyed hanging out, even when sleeping. (Everyone took a communal two hour nap on Saturday, waking up from which was like being wrenched from the womb.) Austin says "Waura" now which is pretty much the cutest thing ever. I think I used the word "cute" way too many times this weekend but it's hard when you're confronted with that much adorableness.

Last night I went to visit my former roommate, who is on her seventeenth day straight (not counting four and a half days last month) in the hospital for internal problems. If everyone could pray or send good thoughts with the goal of getting her released before Thanksgiving, that would be great. She's on the verge of losing it, and I'm really worried about her mental state.

This is going to be a short week at work--I'm excited! My boss (who, I just found out, edited and is the dedicatee of one of my favorite Reading Rainbow books EVER) is letting me leave early on Wednesday, hurrah! Because we waited too long to get transportation tickets to Virginia, everything is either sold out or $600, so my mom is sweetly driving up Tuesday night to fetch us all home on Wednesday. It's going to be a whirlwind trip, with lots of people crammed into a short time, but I'm starting to get used to that. It'll just have to do until I pull off my master plan of a gigantic commune.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I'm really down and angry today and I hate this blog. It might be awhile.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Let's talk about clothes, bay-bee.

I think the Fug girls are hilarious and witty and generally right on target, but today I found myself disagreeing wholeheartedly with one call and halfheartedly with another. I love, love, love Kate Bosworth's outfit here; and I don't know, I'm sort of enamored with this anonymous person's ballgown. It looks like Anthropologie run amok. (I used to think the word "amok" was separate from the, it turns out, imaginary word "amuck," but no, I just had my pronunciation wrong.)

Speaking of Anthropologie, today I am wearing the one and only piece of clothing I own from Anthropologie, bought on the clearance-clearance rack because that store is just too expensive, but I love my outfit today so I'm going to tell you about it: navy silk Anthro skirt with its pale blue embroidery and its navy velvet and navy and pale blue tulle hem; a navy knit top with a waist sash; black ribbed tights; and my black Oxford bootie what I like to call "governess shoes." I feel very Victorian and Alice Temperley and have been feeling dinkily chipper about my outfit all day. I considered adding seed pearls but the white seemed out of place with the darkness of the outfit so instead I'm wearing a black plastic headband with a sort of wrought iron pattern that I think my grandma gave me.

Listen, I would never want to be a fashion editor (um, except for the free clothes) because I can't imagine having my life be that devoid of meaning--on my lunch break I was looking through a Lucky someone gave me and I couldn't help but snort at the seriousness with which these women take in what is essentially exclaiming over overpriced handbags.* But there is no shame in liking clothes. A cute outfit can really lift your spirits, and as abashed as I sometimes feel admitting to my fondness for style, at the end of the day I don't think there's any harm in it.

So to celebrate the return of Project Runway, which I have actually never watched but which everyone seems to be talking about today, here are my recent style musings, compiled on the subway this morning:

Patent leather. I always associated patent leather with tap shoes growing up, but I do kind of like this trend. I've seen a lot of beautiful patent leather handbags, in black, cherry red, and a jewel green, but if you're on a budget I think that's a foolish investment to make. It's going to be out of fashion next year and it's such a NOTICEABLE fashion statement. Also, if it's not done classily it can look really trashy. (Um, as opposed to what, I don't know.) Instead I have two pairs of patent leather shoes--black heels and red flats, one from Payless and one from Ann Taylor's clearance rack (I swear, the only thing saving me from financial devastation is my inherited inability to buy anything not 75% off)--and I plan to trim up my ratty black winter coat with a patent leather belt, but other than that I prefer to sit back and admire this trend in others.

Chasing nail polish trends. My motto is, why not? Navy nail polish is supposed to be the next thing and although I couldn't find any in the drugstore I bought a bottle of a dark royal blue for 99 cents, and now every time I take my socks off I feel quite pleased with myself. BUT I don't think you should be slavish about it; if there's a color you like that's "so last season" who cares? Wear what you think looks good! And just remember, a dark muted red is always classic.

Colored tights. I love this. I have electric red, cobalt blue, grey blue, and grey patterned (and a lot of black). I saw a girl this morning with bright purple and it looked fabulous. Tights are like $6. Oh, but speaking of tights, obviously you can only really wear them with

Skirts and dresses. Let me back up. I have a hard time finding jeans (all pants really) to fit me. There's the length issue, and the fact that my waist size does not really correspond to my hip and thigh size. So I always felt unhappily dissatisfied in each and every pair of pants I'd wear, whether on the weekends or at work, and then I realized that

IF YOU WEAR A SKIRT OR A DRESS no one can SEE what your thighs look like or that the waistband of your pants is doing that ugly bulgy thing underneath the belt you have to wear to keep them up.


If you watch The Devil Wears Prada, you'll see that the fashionistas wear skirts in almost every scene. There's a reason for this. It's not just that skirts are cute--it's that they are more flattering. I'm not trying to send women back to the dark ages, but now that I wear skirts to work four days out of five I've really taken a lot more pleasure in getting dressed in the morning.

Obviously if you're running around a lot or if you're playing ball in the park or if you're traveling, pants are more comfortable (and I'd like to restate my fondness for the wide-legged trend), but I'm encouraging you to consider the humble skirt.


Finally, I'd like to discuss in one sentence or less the ongoing lawsuits to protect designers' copyrights on their pieces. And that one sentence is: f*&# off, designers. You charge $400 for a knit T-SHIRT. You charge $2,000 for a PURSE. Maybe what Forever 21 and H&M are doing is regrettable from a creative property standpoint, but I think it's admirable in a bringing-fashion-to-the-masses standpoint. (Well, except for the sweatshop thing, which I do NOT approve of.) I just get really annoyed hearing these incredibly wealthy people whine that their designs are getting ripped off when they rose to fame for copying Poiret in the first place. Shut up.

That was more than one sentence, but whatever.

* It is not hypocritical for me to say that before talking at length about clothes, because I ... am not taking it seriously. ...
** What I mean is, I'm talking about this as a HOBBY. It's not my JOB. Which is VERY IMPORTANT. Books about puppies and kittens are VERY IMPORTANT in this world.

Friday, November 9, 2007

New Yawk City.

It's Friday! And TGIF, as usual. I took a long, hot shower after work to beat out the week. Then Shelby came over, and we three walked up the street to sample a reasonably-priced neighborhood French restaurant, planning to return afterwards to our apartment to a Flight of the Conchords fest on DVD.

We had an amazing dinner. I had tender, succulent chicken flavored with rosemary atop savory mushroom risotto in a red wine and truffle oil sauce; Shelby had a juicy turkey burger on a perfectly toasted bun; Chris had one of the best mesclun salads I've ever tasted and a deliciously chewy, lean hangar steak with carmelized onions and some crispy frites.

As we were finishing up our meal, second only in recent months to the Lincoln Cafe in quality, I glanced over at the table next to us and

saw one of the biggest cockroaches in MY LIFE climbing up the tabletop toward one woman's plate.

I couldn't even scream, or cry out, or point. I was paralyzed with shock. Then the woman saw it and shrieked; the table jostled and wine glasses toppled; everyone around gasped and stood up, flailing.

Chris said sternly, "Everyone stay calm" and swooped in with a napkin for the kill. "My hero!" the woman actually said (hmph. He's MINE actually). The table on the other side of the afflicted one applauded.

I don't have a point to this story, except that as delicious as dinner was I don't think I can eat at that restaurant again, or at least I'm going to want to sit in the middle of the floor and not in a booth. The bug was the size of a poodle, I swear to God.

I'm still squirming!!!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Chris was gone for a week and during that time I mostly stayed in my living room and read books and watched videos and reruns of Pirates of the Caribbean on USA so that's why I don't have any news to report. Oh, I'm trying to take up running again. I ran two miles on Monday, which for me is like a half marathon. So that's my news.

In conclusion, there is a certain blog that is linked on Sarah's blog that I used to read pretty regularly even though I've never met this person but I stopped because I got tired of her unceasing negativity, especially where the NY Yankees are concerned holy crap it's baseball there's just no call to spew that kind of venom woman you're going to give yourself a hernia; but anyway her most recent gripe is that when she visits NYC she can't smoke in the bars,

and to that I say it is one of my FAVORITE things about this city; I LOVE that you can go out here and not come home reeking of cigarettes; and lung cancer is a lot more inconvenient than having to step outside to smoke, the end!

I really have to stop yielding to the temptation to click on that link.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sutton Foster has starred in 40% of all Broadway shows I've ever seen.

I'm pretty ashamed of myself for not managing to post "Saturday" and "Sunday" before the bride RETURNED FROM HER HONEYMOON, so I'll just say that

on Saturday we all met up for an early lunch at Panchero's before having to say goodbye; we then rode to Iowa where Chris and I rented our own car at which point it was too late to go to the Field of Dreams like he wanted so instead we visited Cornell which was ridiculously idyllic in the autumn weather before having a mind-blowingly amazing dinner at the Lincoln Cafe, and the next day we drove to Davenport and Chris got to see the World's Largest Truck Stop on our way to Erika's apartment where we played with David in the living room and in the park and met his Oma for a wonderful lunch (thank you again!) and then raced madly to the airport and made it onto our flight to Cincinnati on which I slept the entire time and drooled all over my sweater.

The next week at work I was really grouchy because I missed everyone and I couldn't understand why we all live so far away. Also, I was super tired.

Then this past weekend I attended another writer's conference, and I wanted to blog about it but you're all going to have to vote: sometimes I really want to talk about work and career-related things because honestly, I spend most of my life at my job and it's a big chunk of material that you're not hearing about, but if I do that I'm going to have to password protect this blog, which I don't even know if that's possible on blogspot, so you can tell me what you prefer.

Happy Halloween! Last night Chris and I went to see Young Frankenstein on Broadway as his late birthday present. I was sadly disappointed. The reason Spamalot was such a smashing success is because they ADDED jokes in addition to giddily reenacting the movie's; but with Young Frankenstein it was a straightforward regurgitation with not quite the life of the original and with the addition of really crappy songs. The best number was the monster tap-dancing to "Puttin' on the Ritz," which (a) is yes already in the movie and (b) is not a Mel Brooks song, is an Irving Berlin song, and was the only one anyone left humming. But even that was boringly choreographed! You know, I saw Susan Stroman's "Contact" and it was the best dance show I've ever, ever seen, so I know she's capable of better.

Basically seeing the Broadway show (which is still in previews, so maybe they'll fix it up before it opens) made me want to watch the movie again and made me really want to go see "42nd Street" or another tap show. Maybe even "Riverdance," for God's sake!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I woke up Friday morning with a splitting headache, my own fault for the unwise combination and volume of celebratory beverages imbibed the night before. (Why am I talking like this? I can't seem to stop myself.) Liz stopped to pick Sarah, Erika, and me up and we drove across the Nebraska into Iowa to decorate the reception hall in fall foliage. There wasn't much for us to do for the last hour while we waited for the cake to arrive, so the three of us sat in the lobby and discussed childbirth for a long time. I've missed my girlfriends, haha :)

Then Sarah and I accompanied Liz to the hair salon to be coiffed. Sarah asked for '20s waves, but got '50s curls, which I think were even cuter; and I asked for a straight bouffant.

Liz got a beautiful half-updo, looking very fairy tale-ish.

We ran a couple errands, stopped for much-needed food, and then headed to the church to get dressed. Erika rejoined us there and was by far the most helpful person in attendance, fixing necklaces, locating unity candles, pinning stray hairs back, AND MUCH MUCH MORE. Thanks, Lion!

Then Liz and Mike got married! It went off without a hitch. Unless you count Father Grouchy McGillicuddy.

The bridal party rode in the limousine around Omaha by way of another convenience store and several bottles of champagne. By the time we arrived at the reception I was feeling guilty for keeping Chris and our friends waiting, but oh! turns out they missed our grandly announced entrance due to a convenience store stop of their own. They set up court at a ringside table, doling out shots. Video to come.

The night ended a bit messily (and that's all I shall say about THAT) but I know we all had an amazing time and I think I am not wrong in saying that the bride did too :)


I stole pictures from Sarah and Tara's Facebook profiles, so, forgive me. For both the thefts and my inability to resize the photos or to manipulate blogger, which is making me regret canceling my Typepad account, incidentally.

We flew into Omaha on Thursday, rented a car, got a little lost driving around the city, and arrived at our hotel in time to change for the rehearsal dinner.

Next came the rehearsal, whereupon the oh-so-pleasant priest rushed us through our paces and then turned the lights out and locked the doors before people even had a chance to locate their pocketbooks. He was a real peach, let me tell you. His homily had to do with hell, divorce, and mortal sin. Truly uplifting. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

By then Dorok was supposed to have arrived and begun drinking in the hotel room with Erika, but thanks to inclement weather in O'Hare he was still stuck in Boston. Grrr.

Rather than going out on the rainy town, Birkel, Sarah, Erika and I stocked up at the gas station on beer and cheap wine and got happily toasty as we rejoiced in our first time all being together in two years. And Chris was a game participant, despite the high-pitched squeals being emitted by the four of us that threatened to drive him into manly retreat.

At some point, we all said good night and went to bed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Movie review.

Still no photos, and I really want to let them guide the narrative. Soon, I promise!

Last night my sister came over. Chris made homemade pizza, and we all went to see The Darjeeling Ltd. at the theatre up the street.

I'm a fan of Wes Anderson movies, and though I'll always enjoy occupying Wes Andersonland for an hour or two (for instance: I loved The Life Aquatic, even though most people didn't), I was a bit disappointed in this one.

The filming and the scenery were beautiful, and Adrien Brody and Owen Wilson were wonderful (Adrien Brody more so, as Owen Wilson's film persona is pretty similar from film to film, but it worked here), but I thought it was a mistake to cast Jason Schwartzman in a role that he wrote, or alternatively to allow Jason Schwartzman to write his own role. He felt too pleased with himself, somehow...too self-consciously quirky. He gave himself all the kissing scenes, but not very much depth. "Jason Schwartzman" was always present, whereas I felt with Brody and even Wilson that they were truly vanished inside of their characters.

There's a dark event near what I thought was the end but turned out to be the latter half / third or so (one of my biggest pet peeves is faulty pacing, in books and film). I actually found myself getting angry at Anderson. I didn't necessarily feel that he was NOT trying to pay proper respect to this occurrence (I don't want to give it away), more like he wasn't trying hard enough. Having your three lead actors stroll in slow-mo against the background of some hip music during a child's funeral (oh, well, now you know) just seems wildly inappropriate. Would he have gotten away with that if it hadn't been an Indian child? If we had ever learned the child's name? I don't know.

He somewhat redeemed himself by dropping the preciousness upon showing the father's grief, so the bad taste was mostly swished away. But I wish he had done that in a few more places. Like I said, I love Wes Andersonland, but I feel like he'll never be a truly thoughtful filmmaker until he lets go of all the Marc Jacobs luggage, if you follow me.

They played the accompanying short film, Hotel Chevalier, in front of the movie, and I thought it was better than the movie but probably just because it was more condensed. But again, I have to say I felt like Natalie Portman's nude scene was there because it was a feather in Wes Anderson's beret to have Natalie Portman naked, and that she (uncharacteristically, it seems! I mean, she played a stripper in Closer without taking her clothes off, and that was MIKE NICHOLS) agreed to it because it's Wes Anderson and he's just so It don't you know dahling. Meh.

But it did make me yearn to visit Paris.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I really want to post about my weekend in the Midwest, but I'm feeling too full of missing everyone to have words readily available. Once the photos are rescued from Chris's expiring laptop, though, I'll deliver a blow-by-blow. :)

Meanwhile, I learned that you can't leave kitchen trash in the hallway for four days and expect your hallway to smell very good upon your return.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

One foot out the door.

Oof, okay, I've printed out Mapquest directions for pretty much every combination of traveling I am anticipating, although I'm sure I'm missing some; but it did make me sad to realize I couldn't remember how to get from the Cedar Rapids airport to Mount Vernon and so I had to print those out as well.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Happy halloween!

Some of you may remember a few years ago when my sister carved the Mona Lisa into a pumpkin.

This year she tackled another masterpiece.

I think SHE's a masterpiece; don't you?

My mom left earlier today; she and Lynn brought us a whole set of dishes they weren't using and some more pictures for the bedroom, and they bought us some plants at the farmer's market. We planted three chrysanthemums in the back yard and put four little house plants on the windowsill. They also brought bags of leftover tomatoes from their garden, which are currently simmering on the stove to be frozen for future use. I'm a happy camper :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Brief relapse.

Somehow today my browser found its way to Etsy. I don't know how it happened it was all very peculiar. And then once I was there I couldn't not buy these.

I'm going to mount them on gold matting and put them up in the kitchen in the odd leftover space above the table and next to the pipe. They'll tie together several themes: the blue and the gold and the birds will go with the roughly drawn bird painting Chris and I got at a roadside stand in Belize, currently hanging alone in that space; and the blue and the red will tie together the separate blue and red pieces I have around the kitchen. (My belongings may be jumbly but I try to get them to complement each other as much as I can.)

This artist's work is so beautiful that I couldn't even pick just one of her prints, which are so reasonably priced. Better to just adore all of them than to have to make that kind of choice.

The link above is to her blog; here is her website.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The name game.

I've been picking out baby names (no, I'm not going to have a baby right now, don't worry everyone) since I was about ten years old. Some constants have stayed on the (lengthy) list since that time; others have fallen off and been replaced in an ongoing fashion, year by year by year.

I think many girls secretly compile such lists so I don't feel quite as embarrassed admitting to it as I probably should.

(Many girls probably don't, however, go through each and every one of their parents' leftover baby name books and highlight those they like while simultaneously amending the entries if they are found to be incomplete.) (I haven't done that since I was twelve, so there's another thing for you all to not worry about.) (Not that anybody is worrying besides me, for whom it seems to be my natural state.)

Of course, your list changes when an actual last name attaches itself to those fantasies, and so recently one name in particular for a girl has risen up out of the pack to take its place as fore-runner. It's classic but rarely found; of an origin appropriate to the family; and lovely, of course.

So naturally, an author/artist whom I shall not identify but with whom I work and after whose work I would not like to name a future child has elected to change the appellation of her upcoming mermaid from something perfectly serviceable and acceptable to ... The Name.

It's not so much that I care if a--let's face it--forgettable picture book will feature a character of that same, unusual name.

It's that everyone will think I discovered it THERE!

As opposed to the fifteen years of research that have gone into this now-defunct decision.

But anyway, I'm halting all this preemptive gnashing of teeth by reminding myself that I'm not the one who has to pick a name in the coming months...

My boyfriend's sister is!!

Congratulations to Liz, her Chris, and Austin :) The world's cutest little family is growing by one.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Hi-Ya! or, Ikea: Inexpensive, Kute, but Extremely, Atrociously cheap.

After waiting for Time Warner (the cable company with an evil monopoly on all of NYC. I really don't understand how it's legal for 8 million people to have only one choice. Isn't that anti-capitalist or something?) for five and a half hours to show up (they never did) on Saturday, we sped out to Ikea, hoping to get a couple hours shopping and some meatballs in before they closed at 9.

Yesterday Chris assembled everything and then together we tackled the wardrobe at the end of the day.

I could talk about how apparently Ikea's cost-savings strategy hinges upon not printing words, colors, shading, numbers, letters, or any other, oh, say, HINTS, in their black and white instruction "guide," preferring instead to let their customers learn by trial and error and really feel they earned that $150 wardrobe.

But whatever. We got the thing together. Realizing towards the end that it was SUPPOSED to be face down--after we had arduously dis- and re-assembled it so it'd be face up.

More dangerously, though, as we lifted it up to flip it over, the underside of my forearm snapped the baseboard in two. The UNDERSIDE of my FOREARM. You know, the part with the pulse? The part with no muscles? Not a whole lot of force coming out of that puppy. But enough, apparently, to break the piece in two.

Quality materials, I tell you.

Not being far enough along in our settling-in to possess band-aids, Chris wrapped my arm up in a paper towel and packing tape and we finished the job.


And then I found twenty dollars.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Holding pattern.

I have a question.

Why is it that when the cable company (or the electric company, or the gas company) says they'll come at any time between 12 and 4, or 2 and 6, or whatever, they show up at if not after 4 or 6 or whatever the latest time option is? Whose houses do they go to first? Because it's certainly not ours.

Who do you have to bribe to be the first stop?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

But back to me.

I really like my outfit today: chartreuse-ish yellow with white, light grey, and navy grey patches shirt (Old Navy, clearance), grey jeans (Gap sale two years ago), silver shoes ($14.99 at Payless for Cole's wedding), silver drape necklace (vintage, gift from my mom).

Mid-twenties (ugh, I feel old) crisis.

I have a weakness for mindless websites: gawker, jezebel, fashionista, popsugar, people.com, the list goes on... they provide a brainless escape in the middle of the work day, that's the only explanation I can think of. I also have a weakness for design websites like designsponge and fabsugar and fashionologie and style bubble that give you ideas for how you'd like to decorate and dress. And I love ebay and etsy where you can find FABULOUS items for unbelievable bargains (like my new coat: plum wool tweed for $11).

But I'm cutting myself off. Yes, you heard me: I'll no longer know what the status of Britney's custody battle is or whether patent leather is in for fall or how really much I want to order one of these.

It's going to be hard, and I'm not perfect. But at the very least I am deleting them from my browser favorites.

For a while now ... maybe since I moved here ... I've felt a little lost, as though I've gotten really far away from who I used to be but not in a concrete way; not as though I've grown into someone better. Too often if a silence falls in the conversation and someone asks me what I'm thinking, the answer is "nothing"--and it's true. When did I stop thinking about things besides what I'm going to wear tomorrow? (There's nothing wrong with thinking about that...only when it's not occasionally replaced by something weightier.) Is it because in college you had designated hours of the day to be applying your brain and so when you didn't turn it on for the rest of the day you didn't feel the absence? Whereas now no matter how much you like your job it's not like "What color should the endpapers be?" is the same as "What is the significance of Hume's theory of knowledge?"

Part of it, too, is that I am pretty busy when I'm not at work and I have so much reading to do FOR work that I haven't been reading good, adult books with any regularity. I'm setting a goal for myself of one novel a month, and I'm finding that books make for easier reading on the subway than manuscripts, anyway. (It's the binding.) (Duh.)

And I'd like to explore other things--learn yoga, take a cooking class, visit a museum a month, go to church. I'd like to feel INTERESTING again.

Now, I'm not turning into a snob. I'm still going to watch Top Model and Gossip Girl. I still have to read People for my job. I still like mass market mysteries and the Baby-sitters Club! But I also need to try to become a better-rounded person--and hopefully, in the process, a better friend to you all. :)

Domestic demigoddess.

We're settling in slowly but surely. Last night I went on a rampage: I unpacked everything that possibly could be unpacked (aka, everything but the books; the two boxes of paperwork that I need to buckle down, sort through, and organize; and Chris's film editing equipment), hung everything that could be hung (am still waiting on a few frames) and re-sorted the kitchen cabinets so that the food is above the sink and the dishes are in the hutch.

Does anyone know of a good place to get cute contact paper / even wrapping paper? I'd like to paper the backs of my cabinets in a blue and red pattern (maybe floral) but I've visited Kate's Paperie and Lee's Art Shop and Bed Bath & Beyond and haven't found what I'm looking for. I want something cute, but not too ornate or busy.

My mom is coming to visit the weekend after next and is bringing me a set of dishes that she doesn't need. They're white, with a blue border and little red strawberries on the side. Chris already had a set of Target dishes--white with a dark blue border--and Chris's mom gave him/us a bee-yoo-tiful aqua metallic microwave. So I think I'd like to get a retro red clock to hang in the kitchen, and some kind of little retro table and two chairs to put under the window.

Speaking of clocks, I know that I am going to wince when my credit card bill comes (where is my security deposit check???), but I couldn't resist getting the clock above on eBay yesterday. I mean, could you??? It was under $10, and the seller had 100% approval and claimed that it still works. I'm going to put it in the entry way on top of Chris's desk, under the silly gilt mirror that I found on the street my first year in New York and next to the Camelia art deco card we got in New Orleans and Chris's brown wooden vase, which I'll fill once in a while with flowers.

Speaking of decorating. (Sorry, I'm rambling today.) (And this is going to ramble on into another post about websites...I bet Erika is the only one here following my train of thought, because she and I are similarly RANDOM!) I love to look at design websites and magazines and drool over pieces of art on etsy.com and imagine how I would decorate if I had an unlimited budget. And a couple of my friends keep asking when they can come see the apartment and I keep putting them off, because I didn't want them to see it with no couch and with boxes piled in the living room and with the closet doors unhung. I didn't want them to see it in an un-featurable-in-a-magazine state, in other words.

But then last night I realized: I LIKE decorating with odds and ends that Chris and I have gathered through our lifetimes. I LIKE that most of the paintings and photos and prints in our apartment were either created or given to us by family and friends. Some of those include my mom's fruit still-lifes, my sister's engraving, his sister's photography, and my college roommate's photography, as well as posters or prints we've collected because they have meaning to us, like the old-fashioned print of a Maine potato field (Chris's family is from Maine) and the two pieces we got at an antique shop in New Orleans (my favorite trip together) and the vintage film posters that express Chris's love of movies and my love of noir and mysteries, and the African-made or -inspired pieces that reflect on my sister's life-changing trip to Ghana and the search Chris and I are undergoing in a quest for greater meaning (see next post).

So I'm going to tell my friends, sure, come on over. Because those picture-perfect design magazine homes? Those aren't me. I'd rather have everything in my rooms have a story behind it than it be something I got at Williams Sonoma (yeah right: that place is tres $$$).

(But I am still looking for the right living room rug, I must confess.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Wow, I don't think I'm ever going to plan a wedding (no offense, Liz). For six months I've listened to the girl in the office next to me have at least twenty fights apiece with her fiance and her mother where at the end she hangs up on them. (This is an otherwise extremely mild-mannered girl we're talking about.) Here's a transcription of today's:

"All I need to know is if he's coming or not. I don't CARE if he doesn't come but he has to tell us today. ... Well, he must not understand American customs, but I need to know today if he's going to come. ... What do you mean he might leave early? Look, as long as he's sitting down at the table with a plate of food in front of him, that's what I need to know. I have to get the final head count to the caterer tomorrow. ... Then that means he's NOT coming if he's telling you he might come, and that's totally rude. ... And his wife, too? Then we're totally screwed! That is so rude of him! ... FINE, then YOU can call the caterer!" Slam.

Not grown-ups.

Later this month I'm attending a writer's conference at which the keynote speaker will be Ann M. Martin. Yes THAT Ann M. Martin, the immortal scribe of those influential volumes, the Baby-sitters Club!

I just loved those books. I can still remember tons of minor details about them, like the way they had to pick a meeting place based on land-line availability (Claudia had her own phone line!) and the way Stacey was terrified to disclose the fact that she was diabetic for fear of looking like a freak and the way Dawn's family was really into health food and all of the original girls' full names:

Kristy (Kristin Amanda Thomas)
Claudia (Claudia Lynn Kishi)
Mary Anne (Mary Anne Spier)
Stacey (Anastasia Elizabeth McGill)
Dawn (Dawn Read Schafer)

and then Jessi Ramsey and Mallory Pike joined as junior babysitters but I don't remember their middle names, unfortunately.

BSC #9, The Ghost at Dawn's House, was the first chapter book I ever read, and I still think it's super spooky. Oh, and the Super Specials! Remember the one where they went on the cruise? And the one where Stacey and her mom got snowed in in their car? And the one in which the baby-sitters took on Manhattan and one of the kids threw up in Central Park?

So, yeah. I am pretty excited to see Ann M. Martin in the flesh. Especially considering that even at that young age (7) I was savvy enough in the ways of publishing to assume they were ghost-written. The Ghost at Dawn's House, indeed!


I really like this whole having time to eat breakfast with my boyfriend in the morning before work. Today we even made coffee. And we even got up ten minutes later than we did yesterday! Ahhh.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A series of fortunate events.


We woke up bright and early on Saturday, bounded out of bed, and skipped the few blocks to the U-Haul lot to pick up our reserved truck.

That is, "reserved."

After waiting in line for nearly half an hour, we were confronted by a surly clerk who took weary delight in informing us that our reservation was for Oct. 6.

No way, we insisted. Way, was, essentially, her response.

Despondent, we dragged back toward Chris's apartment where, it appeared, we would be forced to remain that day as Penske and the other U-Haul locations were fully booked.

Then Chris brilliantly thought to call U-Haul national where the helpful operator confirmed that yes, our reservation WAS for Sept. 29, yes, they had just called and told the U-Haul lot they were required to honor our reservation, and yes, we should head back there right now.

Chris strode back (I ran to keep up) and when we got there he blew past the now-30 person line while I hid outside because as badly as I wanted to lend moral support I'm not good at watching arguments except, apparently, when I'm in one, heh.

He came out victorious 15 minutes, one abashed clerk, and one conquered supervisor later, we drove back to his place in a truck from Roswell with an alien on the side, and by 2 that afternoon we were done and sitting in a brunch place a block away from our new digs with our co-movers (my sister and his buddy).

I LOVE OUR NEIGHBORHOOD AND I LOVE OUR APARTMENT. It's a little crooked here and there, and yes, we do hope to replace the kitchen cabinets and, maybe someday, the floors; but it is so cute and cozy and it is OURS. Our bedroom is HUGE and right now it smells of my "well-being" candle as I type this post sitting at the large table that occupies barely one corner. We've got framed black and white photos hanging on the walls...our bed sits against the exposed brick...and there's so much floor space that four people could do yoga. Maybe more. I'm so happy. Yesterday my sister was having so much fun helping me unpack that she came back after her mid-afternoon meeting, and when we three went out to grab a burger I almost started crying, I felt so full of happiness.

I'm the luckiest girl!

Friday, September 28, 2007


Two things: I'm moving tomorrow--HOORAY--and last night I accidentally left my cell phone in the new apartment, where it has probably run out of batteries, so if I'm missing people's calls, DON'T GET MAD AT ME.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Don't even get me started on the "smoking" photo shoot.

Even though I'm supposed to be saving all my money for, oh, paying my credit card bill after I BOUGHT A COUCH on Saturday, on Sunday I stopped in Old Navy and got a pair of high-waisted wide-legged jeans, on sale for $20.

I think they're officially my favorite piece of clothing right now. I might like them better if they were blue denim and not black (the only color left in my size), but on the other hand if I liked them any better I might have to curl up and cuddle with them on the new couch and then Chris would be very sad.

They are perfect for making your waist look smaller and your legs look longer. They might also make your butt look big, but hey, I can't see myself from the back so I have no idea, and ignorance is bliss. And anyway maybe the black helps to minimize that problem.

I wish they were sold in a size Long or Tall or had maybe one extra inch of length because as of now they are perfect for flats but not for heels, which is really how you're SUPPOSED to wear them. But other than that I love them, so much that I've worn them to work twice in one week.

Speaking of Old Navy, who's been watching America's Next Top Model? Heather is officially my favorite, mostly because I think she's the smartest and the most level-headed ("I don't trust the other girls, Mom") but also because my heart MELTED when they showed her at panel trying so hard to stand up straight after the judges reprimanded her. She looks like Snow White come to life, no? I also feel like rooting for Heather in some small way makes up for all those times in college that I thought Chess & Games girls were weird, but probably not, I'm probably still going to feel really, really guilty about that for the rest of my life. Anyway, I was so thrilled when Tyra called Heather first, even though I'm still guessing Sarah the "plus-size" (seriously, it just makes me snort. She's, like, an 8) is going to win.

And THANK THE LORD Mila got kicked off. First of all I couldn't believe she even made the top 13 at all, but I knew she was toast as soon as she gave the first soundbite.

Oh, but anyway, back to Old Navy: I can't believe the girls' lesson in personal style was to run around an OLD NAVY and put together a stylish outfit in ten minutes. I mean, half of them then showed up in khaki shorts and tank tops. Really, ANTM? Old Navy? Really?

Of course, this was before they started selling high-waisted wide-legged jeans.

Friday, September 21, 2007


My ancient phone's camera doesn't work so I couldn't take a picture, although I did try, but last night on the subway I saw a girl--a totally normal, nice-looking non-slutty girl with nice highlights, nice eye-glasses, a nice figure--in the nuttiest outfit.

She had on a navy blue pin-striped suit--but it was a shorts suit. As in, the jacket had cap sleeves (which can be cute) and the pants ... WERE SHORTS. I think they were supposed to be Bermuda shorts--aka, they should have come to her knees--but she was wearing them in a size that, while the next size up probably would have been too big for her, was small enough that the legs ended mid-thigh and when she turned around you could see that the pants were squeezing into her butt crack. (Ew, I hate that. That's why my pants are usually too big in the butt, to avoid that very problem.)

But that's not all!

Under the shorts she was wearing brown lace tights--but the lace was so spacey / far apart (do you know what I mean? It was a wide lace) that it looked like she had brown spiderwebs on her legs.

And on her feet she was wearing cherry red patent leather pointy toe wedge shoes.

Now, I'm all about funky fashion and crazy outfits and dressing to please yourself, but this just made me stare because it wasn't fashion forward--she was embracing six trends at once and doing all of them wrong.

(1) It's fall weather here, folks. The time for shorts is over.
(2) You walk a dangerous line wearing lace with pin-stripes. Also, this season it's all about navy and black--not navy and brown.
(3) Speaking of lace, get a bigger pair of tights so that you see more of the tights than the skin. Not to mention, if you are going to wear tights with shorts at all (a look even Keira Knightley has trouble pulling off) they should be opaque.
(4) Cap sleeve jackets are cute, but you have to balance out their effect by not wearing another childish piece of clothing on the bottom.
(5) And if you are going to wear shorts with your suit, they need to come down to your knee! It's just not professional! Especially over hooker tights and shoes!
(6) Speaking of shoes. Red = cute. Pointy toe = cute. Patent leather = cute, and in for fall. Wedge = this summer's trend shoe. Pointy toe AND patent leather? WEIRD. Pointy toe AND wedge? WEIRD. Wedge AND patent leather? WEIRD. Red on top of all that? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

Usually when I observe other people's outfits it's in an appreciative way; for instance, this morning I saw a girl wearing a grey and yellow vest over a white and yellow tee and a white skirt, and champagne sandals, and she looked totally casual and effortless and great. But last night when I was sitting on the F train all I could think was, "I can't wait to post about this!"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fall forward.

I'm tired of this week. I can't wait (that doesn't quite seem to express it. I CAN'T WAIT) to move, but there's another week of sidling around my boyfriend's chilly roommates. (Granted, I'm enormously grateful I was able to live there for a month after my own lease expired, but I DID pay them.) Work's been kicking my ass, and I've had things to do after work every night. And I owe phone calls to half a dozen people, including my grandmother. I guess I sound whiny, but I just feel worn out. (Okay, okay...Erika and Liz S. are saying, "At least you don't have a two-year-old to chase after!")

Luckily, tonight Chris and I are going to measure our new pad, which will give me daydream ammunition, and hopefully this weekend will provide lots of hermit time, muffins from Blue Sky, and one last autumn flop in Prospect Park. Also, we might get to have brunch with Cole and Jeremy.

You know you're a grown-up when you start looking forward to Sunday brunch with the same glee you used to assign to a Friday night on the town.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Alice in the looking glass.

I thought for some reason that the Erin Fetherston collection was next for Target, so when I read that Alice Temperley had hit stores Sunday, I was surprised. The lack of fanfare on the Internet must be due to all the fashion bloggers being in London for the shows. So last night I stopped in at the Atlantic Avenue Target on my way home from work.

Now, something you should know is that there are only two Targets in NYC, and the other one is in the Bronx, so the Brooklyn one is always, always sold out instantly of the designer labels or, really, anything remotely cute. I had to ask my mom to pick up the Proenza bustier dress for me at the Gainesville Target. But last night the pickings were far from slim. A large selection of Temperley items remained (which is why I have to disagree with this claim that fashionistas haven't been so excited for a Target collection since Proenza Schouler).

Sad to report, they weren't very exciting. The navy/black dress is a trendy color combination but cut sloppily short and made of a cheap crepe. The black & white sweater, so striking online, looks in person like a Dress Barn relic (its design doesn't wrap around the back side--my pet peeve). The sheer dotted blouses are horribly unflattering, and I didn't even bother trying on the knee breeches.

However, the military jackets in grey and black (I wish there was one in navy) and the snowy fleece ruffled jacket had beautiful detailing, and I love that the brass buttons said "Alice Temperley--London" and not "Alice Temperley for Target." I thought about buying one or the other, but given the Patrick Robinson-level of items left in the store, I think I'll wait for the clearance rack.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sigh of relief.

Got two sets of keys, got two copies of the lease. It's all set! I can't post right now; I have to go look at home decorating magazines.

Friday, September 14, 2007

"Yahoo" about expresses it!

The long national nightmare is over--we have signed a lease!

It all happened very quickly. We were scheduled to see two places last night and I was expecting we would probably resign ourselves to taking the second one, even though it was slightly more expensive and located directly below Chris's coworkers. I wasn't even thinking about the earlier appointment, because Chris had set it up and I didn't know anything about it.

It only took me half an hour to get there from work (vs. the 45-55 minutes to Park Slope, the neighborhood Chris lives in now and in which we had been fruitlessly hunting all this time). I got out of the subway and thought to myself, this neighborhood is so cool...too bad I will never get to live here!

The apartment is just off so-called "Restaurant Row" on the border of Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill. There are dozens of bars, restaurants, and cute little shops all along the same street. We're walking distance to Carroll Gardens and Brooklyn Heights--two other awesome neighborhoods. And we're only three stops into Brooklyn on the subway, which will shave a good 15 minutes off my commute!

It's a garden apartment, which is a nice way of saying "basement apartment." However, I'll call the low-ish ceilings "cozy" because the cuteness makes up for a roominess that we wouldn't have been able to afford. There are cabin-style lights installed in the small-ish living room, and the bedroom's gigantic size and exposed brick wall make up for the lack of dining room, in my opinion.

The apartment has been recently redone in a beautiful blend of warm creamy walls and textured rose tile...and the bathroom is GORGEOUS. I made up my mind about the place when I saw the bathroom. We told the landlady that we loved it and she took us upstairs and had us sign the lease! I'm picking up the keys tonight, knock on wood. (You know me--I never rest until every possible barrier has been removed.)

We'll share access to the backyard with the other tenants, and the landlady and I are already planning to plant tomatoes in the spring! Or whenever you are supposed to plant tomatoes!

So anyway, when you all come to see it I hope you won't think it's too small--really, it's perfect for two people and after this horrifying seven-week search, I feel incredibly lucky. Yay :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Blue crush crash.

GASP, Kate Bosworth and Thandie Newton wore the same (Preen) dress one day apart at the Toronto Film Festival! Quelle horreur. Now the entire Internet is gossiping over who looked better in it.

I'm voting for Thandie, which is nothing against Kate--well, actually, it is. I like Kate Bosworth, and I'm vastly relieved that she doesn't look like she's about to die of malnutrition anymore, although she's still EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY THIN, and on a side note can everyone lay off Britney for being "a beached whale" at the VMAs? I'm sure she was awful since everyone says so, and she definitely shouldn't have been wearing underwear on television, but for a mother of two kids under three she is Not Fat.

Anyway, the reason I'm voting for Thandie is because Kate looks just like this one girl who, get this. She emails her friends saying she's moving out of her apartment and her landlords are just sooo wonderful that she wants to find nice replacement tenants for them. The email is forwarded via work colleagues to my friend Lindsay, who forwards it to me. I write to the girl; she's perfectly friendly, if not precisely gregarious. I set up a time to go see the appointment; she cancels at the last minute; I set up another time; we show up at the allotted time; she and her boyfriend are just starting to cook dinner (turkey burgers, in case you were wondering) because she forgot we were coming. After SHE rescheduled!

I bend over backwards offering to come back at another time but she says, no, no, come on in. So we go into the apartment and she's totally uptight in that one way that certain publishing girls are--very smart and fairly pretty but just unpretty enough to be secretly insecure and that insecurity in combination with her intelligence and extremely expensive education means that she has a massive, massive stick up her ass whereby she can't decide if she wants to be friendly to another publishing girl or if she wants to be an ice queen because she's got something to prove.

So we look at the apartment and we LOVE it and we tell her please, please, can we meet the landlords, can we call the landlords, will you let us know because we're not going to take another apartment until we hear about this one, and she says, well, the landlords are in northern Maine for the next ten days but I'll be in touch when they come back.

So we cut down on the search--we go to see places, but we discard a few we might otherwise have been more enthusiastic over because we liked this girl's apartment so much and we know that if we can JUST MEET the landlords that they will love us because Chris's whole family is from northern Maine and if they are too then he's probably RELATED to them.

And I email this girl maybe two more times, tentatively (because I don't want to nag) asking if she could fill us in on the status because "like I said, we're holding out for your apartment," and she politely writes back that she has to talk to the landlords and


Until one day the other week Chris is walking down the street and he sees her and she sees him and she recognizes him and she LOOKS AWAY.

If I ever run into that bitch you will wish you had a front-row ticket. Because if you take on the responsibility of sending that email--of corresponding with people who are friends of friends; of letting them into your house and telling them you'll be in touch--to leave them hanging when they've flat-out said "Our housing decision rests upon you; please tell us if it shouldn't"--that is just RUDE. And I hope that karma comes to bite her and her turkey burger and her slouchy-shouldered almost-Kate Bosworth looks IN THE (FLAT) ASS.

So, who wore it better? Kate or Thandie?

(Photo via Fabsugar.)

I was going to say "Boston," but...

Someday, perhaps, I'll be able to write hilariously of what it's been like to search for an apartment. Chris and I have been actively hunting since late July. We have two incomes, two sets of references, two friendly personalities, and no pets. We are willing to pay an amount of money that to me seems enormous for a one-bedroom and that I thought would get us, if not a doorman or an elevator, at least a CLEAN apartment, perhaps a LARGE apartment; maybe even one with a DISHWASHER or LAUNDRY (but not both together, even I had no hopes for that).

I didn't think we wouldn't be able to find anything AT ALL.

So someday, I may be able to post humorously about defeating 35 other applicants only to wind up as the landlord's second choice ("This was such a hard decision, believe me, but I just felt that the other couple has more in common with the other tenants in the building, but you guys are GREAT, really, you won't have any problem finding something"); and again: "So sorry, we just preferred a single person, but you were our favorite couple"; about arriving two minutes early to an open house and finding sixteen other couples already filling out applications; of trekking an hour on the subway for a second interview so that the yogi landlord could get a sense of our karma (I guess he didn't like what he found); of landladies who let their dog do the interviewing; of apartments with cute little gardens and rotting sideboards; of apartments with gleaming hardwood and no space to turn around; of apartments previously occupied by the most passionate of cat-lovers; someday, maybe, but that day is not today.

It could be worse.

I could live in PHILLY!

Two more viewings tonight, this time in a less douchebag-infested neighborhood. Keep your fingers crossed!

P.S. If I haven't been answering my phone, this is why. I'll be much more cheerful to talk to when the end is in sight.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

"I saw eternity the other night"

Madeleine L'Engle died yesterday. She was 88, and had spent the last three years in a nursing home. You can read the NYTimes obituary here.

I think I've read every book she ever wrote. There are so many that I love...A Wrinkle in Time, of course, although its sequel A Wind in the Door is a bit creepy, so I read the second sequel, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, several times more often.

I also loved her books about the Austin family. I identified with Vicky Austin so strongly...she was the shy, smart, awkward older daughter in that family. I loved A Ring of Endless Light both for its deep themes and for the selection of Henry Vaughan poetry L'Engle scattered throughout. I loved The Young Unicorns for its spooky mystery and for the glimpse of life on the Upper West Side in a time before New York City morphed into the ultra-expensive playground for the rich that it is today.

I loved her books for their portrayals of families that were both highly eccentric and highly loving. I loved the O'Keefes and their worldwide travels. I loved that those children had unusual schooling experiences (like me!) but took it in their stride. These weren't books about "What am I going to wear to the party omg!" These were books about, How do I make the transition into adulthood when I'm not yet sure who I am. I loved that she wrote equally passionately and knowledgeably about arts and science (her characters included concert pianists, ballet dancers, marine biologists, Antarctic explorers, painters, physicists, and writers.)

I loved her adult books too, although less strongly. I don't consider The Small Rain or Camilla with their themes of infidelity and loss to be YA, though their main character are teenagers. Both The Other Side of the Sun and A Severed Wasp contained situations so sad they left me feeling unpleasantly chilled. (But I could still tell you, years later, the names of all the characters within.) Meanwhile, her autobiographical pieces, such as A Circle of Quiet and The Irrational Season, are personal to the point of oversharing, but leave you feeling you've just had a long talk with the wisest, kindest godmother you've ever known.

Madeleine L'Engle was the one author I always wanted to meet, and I'm very sorry that she's gone.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The emperor's new clothes.

It's Fashion Week here in New York--not that I am going to any of the shows, of course, but you can hardly escape catching glimpses here and there, such as the Abaete creation at left.

I think this is the ugliest thing I have ever seen. I think this dress looks like it was designed by Wal-Mart. This dress wouldn't be worth trying on even if it was on the Buy 1 Get 1 Half Off rack at NY&Co. This dress looks like it came from Express circa 1999. This dress would be a pass at the vintage store even if you were GOING for an '80s look. I wouldn't wear this dress if Coco Chanel had stitched it herself.

On a side note, I tried on some of the Abaete for Payless shoes and they were EVEN UGLIER than this dress! No, seriously. Check them out.
(Photo via Fabsugar.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Fishy business.

The other day I cooked for, like, the third time in my life. And it came out pretty well, so I thought I'd share the delicious and simple recipe, one I found on allrecipes.com.

Lemon Rosemary Salmon

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut a lemon into thin slices. If it's not a very big lemon, or you're (like me) not a very good slicer, you might need two lemons (as I found out).
Place one layer of lemon slices in the baking pan.
Place two sprigs of fresh rosemary atop the lemon.
Place two salmon fillets atop the lemon/rosemary.
Sprinkle salt to taste on the salmon.
Place another layer of lemon slices and rosemary on the salted salmon.
Drizzle olive oil over the salmon and, if you like, squeeze the rest of the lemon (if you have any left, which I pretty much didn't) over the whole thing.
Bake for 20 minutes.

On a side note (maybe I should have called this blog "On a side note." On another side note, I'll send a prize to whoever first correctly identifies where the hastily-thought-up title of this blog came from!), I didn't do the recipe-email-forward thing. I'm sorry, guys. If you forward me a forward, I will probably wimp out. BUT I am getting a lot better about checking my voicemail. Baby steps!

Thank you, Kate.

Although Kate Moss was the wench responsible for the advent of skinny jeans...she is making up for it now.

On a side note, I was in Virginia visiting my mom this weekend, and she was making fun of the leggings trend all the stores had been pushing--saying it never got picked up by consumers. I was like, Really? Because in New York leggings are so widespread that they're almost embarrassing to wear now. Did leggings and/or skinny jeans ever catch on where you guys live?
P.S. I still love leggings. Skinny jeans, not so much.
(Photo courtesy of Topshop via stylefile.)