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,, 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 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.