Friday, April 25, 2008

Girl talk.

"I'm stopping by Target on my way home," I told Chris on the phone as I left the gym last night, "because I want to get a cute workout outfit. I think it will encourage me to work out more."

It turns out that Target's workout clothes are for crap. The only pair of stretchy pants I even semi-liked were $29.99. If I'm going to pay $29.99 for something made of Spandex, it better have a Puma logo.

I did walk away with an utterly useless dress, $17.48 on clearance from Jovovich-Hawk. This was a GO International collection I'd breathlessly anticipated and then been madly disappointed in. The frilly dresses make you look like a cast member of OKLAHOMA! who ran away and joined a strip club. But this creamy lace dress looked cute on in the dressing room, and actually made me feel like my one gym session of March and April had done something. And it has pockets, how useful!

Who am I kidding, this is the girl who has a hard time making herself go to the gym because her ratty, unflattering athletic pants, Gap clearance circa 2002, make her feel so beyond any help the gym could give her that she burrows into the couch in depression yet has so many dresses she could wear a different one to work every day without having to do laundry for two and a half weeks ... I forget where I was going with this sentence except to say the other wardrobe staple I don't own is a pair of jeans that fit me. Because is there a woman alive who enjoys shopping for jeans?!

Do YOU have shopping roadblocks and weaknesses?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tiptoe through the ... living room.

The other weekend Chris and I had a huge spring cleaning to rid our apartment of the construction dust that had reaccumulated. To take a break from scrubbing after several hours we went to the Brooklyn Lowe's, where we bought, among other things, a grill for our fire escape, herbs and soil to plant on our fire escape, and a tall peace lily that absolutely pulled the dining room together and made the place look downright homey. The next day we strolled over to the Brooklyn Flea Market, only two weekends new and already a caricature fit for Stuff White People Like. We didn't buy any of the overpriced antiques but I did get some new ideas for decorations. We had spent the three weekends prior either traveling or entertaining people and so I drifted off to sleep Sunday night happily rested and admiring the graceful contours of my (temporarily, no doubt) dust-free room.

Tuesdays are movie night, and Shelby came over. We grilled rib-eyes on the mini grill with asparagus, eggplant, and salad. After dinner Shelby and Chris adjoined to the living room to pick the DVD (and for Chris to check his fantasy sports scores), while I washed the dishes--only fair, considering when I said "we grilled" I meant Chris did.

When I came into the living room Chris was staring at his computer in shock. "We have to move out by the end of May," he said blankly.

This didn't even sound like English to me, but over the course of the next day it became clear. I won't get into the details. Suffice it to say that the construction of which we have been so accommodating has resulted in undermining the foundations of the building, and rather than making it safe for tenant occupation, the landlords have asked us to leave. We are being compensated, but since the only reason we agreed to move upstairs in the first place was in exchange for a two-year lease it feels a bit like cold comfort. This will mark my fourth move in eight months! Thanks to the funds, though, we can afford to pay a broker, and the search process for the past week has been considerably less painful than it was last summer and fall.

We may have found a place tonight; the price and neighborhood are certainly more than right--ideal, even--and the apartment itself is newly renovated, bright, clean, and utterly charming. It's also smaller; plenty big enough for a couple--but is it big enough for the STUFF of a couple who for the past several months thought they had three extra rooms to play with? So we're going to see a few others in the next couple of days, but the sparkling apartment (and the building's laundry room) are still holding sway over me.

For the first several days since we found out and even now and then I get really sad at the thought of leaving this apartment. I loved it--I thought we'd live here until we left New York City. It's two blocks from the subway and walking distance to every desirable thing Brooklyn has to offer. But the circumstances have begun to poison it for me--as have the newly-noticed slant in the staircase and cracks in the walls. I don't know where we'll wind up next, but as long as it's for at least twelve months, I feel sure it will be a step up.

On Saturday we took a break from hitting "refresh" on craigslist and headed east to visit Chris's mom for her birthday. Before we left we put the peace lily on the floor by the dining room window; it looked a tiny bit peaky and we thought it needed some sun.

When we got back early Sunday morning, it was dead, its stalks sprawled on the floor like the limbs of a noir murder victim. Somehow, its corpse summed everything up.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mmm, lemon raspberry...

It's yet another grey, cold day. So far the monotony of winter has been interrupted only by a blissfully sunny and warm Saturday, which we spent in the country. Chris, Shelby, and I took the train out to the East End for Liz's baby shower. Guess what--Chris and I are going to be the godparents to this beautiful baby girl, due in a month and two days! I am so honored and thrilled. Her name is still a secret to everyone but her parents and her big brother, who tried his best (unprompted) to spill his guts to us on the car ride back. Fortunately for those of us who love a surprise, his two-and-a-half year old's enunciation left us more puzzled than before! So don't worry, Mom and Dad. Your secret is still safe.

After the shower, which was relaxing and fun and filled with good food, we took Austin to the bay, where we threw rocks into the water for over an hour as the sun set. There's nothing like the satisfying ker-plunk of a smooth stone plopping into rippling water to cleanse your mind of the workweek's stresses. Shelby collected a few of the more beautiful stones for her miniature zen garden.

Last night Chris and I celebrated our second anniversary with Mexican food and margaritas, after which I fell sound asleep at the nice late hour of 9:30. I'm starting to think if the sun continues to elude New York I'll be going to bed at 6:00 within the month. To brighten up my Monday, I'm sporting my favorite color combination: grey sweater, lemon tee, raspberry shoes. I might look like a Dannon yogurt or the inside of a wedding cake, but at least when I look DOWN I can see something sunshiney!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

America's next top book cover.

Today I'm taking the train down to Chelsea and walking far west over to 11th Avenue to attend a model casting for the jacket of an upcoming novel I've edited. It's the first time I've ever been to one of these, because we don't hold them for every book.

Everyone keeps saying "How exciting!" and I AM excited but I'm also sort of nervous. I think I'm just worried that the designers will pick one girl and I'll think she's wrong and then I'll have to speak up. There's nothing in the world that makes me queasier than the prospecting of an impending conflict. Of course, nine times out of ten these conflicts are solely in my head.

It's probably a result of the overarching nervousness I feel about this jacket in general. A book cover is so incredibly important--to say it can make or break a book is such an understatement. So far I'm thrilled with the photographer they've hired and the concept they've come up with, so there's no call for me to worry about the model selection, the dress selection, the pose, the palette, the title type...but, of course, it's me, so I do anyway.

I'm a little superstitious. Most everything about this book has been charmed so far, so I ought to relax. But I've always felt that if I stopped worrying about something that THAT's when the hammer falls.

If I can worry about this book up until it's on the NYTimes bestseller list, I'll have done my job well.

Update: The casting was actually really fun, although sort of anticlimactic. Turns out there is a real shortage of redheaded models, who knew! But it was fun seeing inside the fashion world, and talking to the photographer and the stylist, and seeing the girls (the photographer was also casting for a perfume commercial at the same time). Models are really pretty, but not as tall as I was expecting. Most of them wore platform shoes, too. Maybe I can get platform shoes after all? Hmm.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Because insect diagrams are more manly than birds or botany (?)

Work's been quite busy--too busy for me to take time to blog during the day and busy enough that when I get home I'm so pooped that the last thing I want to do is turn on my computer. But I'd always rather be busy than bored, and some of the projects are either already exciting or are well on their way.

Weekends have been full too. My mom and her husband drove up for Easter weekend, and my brother flew in on his spring break. Between the sofa bed and the air mattress we had accommodations for everyone, although aside from a trip to the Brooklyn Museum and a big Sunday dinner we mostly relaxed around the apartment.

At the Brooklyn Museum I picked up a poster of one of Van Gogh's pen and ink drawings for his cypress paintings. I already have a canvas reproduction of my favorite cypress painting but I don't display it anymore; Van Gogh seems such a staple of dorm room decoration that I had to put it away. But this poster, on sale for $2.95, seemed like a nice compromise. The ink colors are browns, and its big size--23ish by 30ish--will fill up the remaining empty wall in our dining room nicely, as soon as I can find a frame for its unusual size.

Financial restraints and a general discontent with most of my wardrobe have led to a moratorium on fashion pursuits, a hole being filled by baby items for my coming-in-six-weeks niece and by a desire to finish decorating the place. In fact, on the bus home from visiting Chris's sister family (including Little Miss Likes-to-Kick) this past weekend, I finally came up with a scheme to tie the bedroom together. I had a whole paragraph describing my grand plans but I think instead I'll just ask if you come across any leftover Cavallini butterfly wall calendars to pick them up for me and I'll send you money? I'm going for an A.S. Byatt / Angels and Insect-y theme, but everywhere online seems sold out of 2008 calendars, and I don't feel like waiting till December for the 2009 edition. Oh, also empty Victorian-type picture frames, preferably round or oval. But only if they're cheap.

If you need me between now and my next post, I'll probably be at the flea market.