Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
10. The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
*Read in May 2008*
Part historical fiction (you'll find I love it) and part present-day "ripped from the headlines" murder mystery, this book is steeped in American religious history. Ann Eliza Young was the "19th Wife" of polygamous Mormon Church leader Brigham Young when she broke with the church and began speaking out against the plural ways of its leaders. Jordan Scott is a young former member of the FLDS who returns to his secluded hometown of Provo, Utah after his mother is accused of murdering his father. Not only did the Oprah watching, tabloid reading, sensational story hound in me love this book, I was glued to all the "research" Ebershoff did. Then I discovered the Wikipedia entries, news articles, etc. were all penned by Ebershoff himself and added another layer to this complex and addicting story. I also had a chance to meet the author who regaled his audience with stories of the lengths he went to researching this book. Impressive, beginning to end!
9. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
*Read in June 2008 as part of my book club*
This guy puts my nerdiness to shame! Oscar is overweight, he loves Star Wars, he's obsessed with girls and he's Dominican. Poor guy. He dreams of being the next Tolkein but he just can't get it together. And he really just wants to find love. Who can't relate? His family is dramatic and the generation-old "fuku" curse isn't helping matters either. Junot Diaz is a wonderful story teller. The book is infused with Dominican history as well in nice little end notes that at first are lovely and entertaining but when they are longer than the book's actual text, they get annoying. Here's a hint: you can skip them for the most part.
Anyone read anything good lately?
Monday, October 26, 2009
In that, well, I don't. Cook that is. At all. And for the couple of meals a week I drag my butt in the kitchen it usually goes something like this: boil water, dump in pasta, drain, open jar of sauce, combine and voila! Fancy, right? No wonder I haven't gotten my cookbook deal yet.
I used to cook. Once upon a time I was ambitious. I tried new things. I cooked at least 5 meals a week and sometimes not just for myself! I baked cookies, stacked leftover dishes in the refrigerator, and buzzed around a kitchen like I belonged there. Well, semi-belonged there. I'm not a pro but I used to try. Now my kitchen is large enough for me to stand in (just stand), I have three roommates, and I'm spoiled. I just don't care. I can get an awesome burrito around the corner, my office has a cafeteria, and the bodega around the corner is open 24 hrs a day.
I might be able to get myself psyched for a little culinary delight if I also wasn't sick of everything in my very limited repertoire. Not only have I been eating the same things for years, it is just me so leftovers are plenty. When I go to the grocery store to get the things I need, I have to remember I'm going to be eating whatever it is I prepare for about a week after. I also have certain self-imposed restrictions. I don't do have complicated cooking instructions, thousands of ingredients or, for that matter, expensive ingredients.
So all you chefs out there (esp. single girls like me who cook for one) feel free to pass along ideas and recipes. I can't eat any more salads with chicken or spaghetti with meat sauce. I need variety. I need flavor. And I need motivation to stop spending my paycheck on burritos and deli sandwiches.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
That quote basically describes today though it ended up being very fun despite the horrible weather. It rained off and on but the majority of the day was spent in a public school cafeteria making arts and crafts with a few dozen kids from low-income households. We made "avatar" masks and the kids had to talk about what special abilities their avatars had. One kid made a Michael Jackson mask, complete with black long yarn for hair and a black hat. The resemblance was pretty good. Another kid made a "Freddy Krugar elephant". That one was my favorite. We also taught the kids about the way masks are used in cultures around the world. After seeing a photo of an Indian mask, one little girl at my table emulated what she saw and made her butterfly mask half black and half blue. So cool to see they get something out of it. They were all really good kids, too and the program was great.
Friday, October 23, 2009
These are all things I am thankful for and looking forward to in the future...
- My upcoming trip to D.C.! - If anyone has a message they'd like me to pass along to President Obama, I'll be taking a meeting with him so feel free to let me know.
- A promotion at work - I know times are tough and it isn't like I expect this to come any time soon but I am a good worker with an excellent work ethic and once that train rolls in, I will be so grateful for it!
- Holidays with my family - I'm so happy I am able to plan and facilitate homecomings so often (3 times per year at the moment). Though I'm missing out on Thanksgiving with the fams, Christmas will be extended, extensive, and exhausting (in a good way!)
- My NYC Orphans Thanksgiving - While it is a month away, I am already excited for the "orphans" Thanksgiving my roommate and I are planning. It will be full of expats and fellow transplants and is bound to be interesting and fun.
- And last but not least, what kind of single girl would I be if I didn't put in some sappy something about finding Prince Charming? - I'm burned out on the dating front and fear I may be in jeopardy of becoming a dreaded "serial dater" but I'm so thankful for the contentment I feel at this moment and for the idea of what is to come in the future. I often have to take it hour by hour so it is important to pause on this. The future will be great.
Alright, that's enough sap-in-list-form for the week. My weekend will be full of friends, busyness, kids, and relaxation. So, let's do this!
Also, since I actually encouraged someone to go out and buy one of my fave new books (Swimming by Nicola Keegan) with my Shop Talk post, I am thinking I'm going to try to do regular book related posts. I'm kind of a reference desk of knowledge so if anyone has any specific requests, please do let me know!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
When I first moved here I lived in a sublet with a very generous girl who bequeathed me two pairs of gently worn designer boots (that I have worn the living daylights out of) and whose former roommate was a beauty editor at Vogue who left tons of stuff behind. I combed through the piles of clothes, found a couple of things that would fit my normal sized body, and walked away from that month-long situation with many samples of lotion and fancy European "sun cream" in my possession. Since money was tight, I told myself I wasn't going to go nuts buying weather appropriate clothes. But let's face it, I'm from Southern CA where it is 72 and sunny year round. My version of warm outerwear was donning a sweatshirt over a short sleeved tee. In December, no less! But like a good thrifty girl I wore hand-me-downs and those samples for the past two Fall and Winter seasons. Yet pulling that stuff from the back of the closet just depressed me. According to the confirmation email I received last night, I have two pair of boots on their way to me via USPS. Those were my big purchases. But there is a hole in the sleeve of my comfy Gap tee and that sample shirt is just sad so I might have to get my wallet to give a bit and buy some new sweaters and long-sleeved tees. Nothing too fancy here. I'm going for quantity at this point.
Anyone have any suggestions? My "style" is comfortable and versitile. I'm very casual but have recently adopted a more "girly look" (and by girly I mean wearing tops with ruffles and dresses). I need things I can pair with jeans or pants to go from work to weekend. Feel free to link me if you feel so inclined.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
This week's question is:
"I wish I was going on vacation tomorrow to..."
I've blogged before about how this is my #1 spot and how I've been considering vacationing alone at some point. I met a guy on Friday who just got back from a solo European trip. My roommate's co-worker recently went to Montreal by herself. Maybe I'll do it. It is out there now.
Where would you go if you had your wish?
Participate next week at The Seattle Smith's.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
and the number 3, for the hour at which I went to bed both Fri and Sat nights.
Do you ever have a day where you just can't put your finger on how you feel or why you feel that way? I've been having a lot of those lately...
Yesterday afternoon I went to a friend's apartment and watched as she baked and cooked us dinner. All the while chatting about pretty much every feeling under the sun.
Remember that episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte responds to the shock that she plans to quit her museum job to become a stay-at-home wife by proclaiming, "I choose my choice!" K and I talked about the idea of choosing to own certain situations in your life and thus making them positive rather than negative. Case and point, my singlehood. She pointed out, quite smartly I might add, that I am picky. I knew this already but having someone affirm it in such a way has me thinking about how I have chosen my choice to stay single rather than end up with someone I'm not crazy about. In the end it is a decision (whether conscious or not) I have made rather than something that is happening to me. The control freak in me likes this and I'm trying as I might to run with it. I dare say this is helping me...
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tonight I am thankful for:
Thursday night TV - Flashforward (my new fave), Grey's Anatomy, and Private Practice.
the fact that I have the day off tomorrow!
the sense of empowerment I felt when I quit something I didn't like and decided to re-embrace something I love. (Thanks for the support!)
the good friends I've found at work. They definitely help keep me afloat sometimes.
the fact that even when I'm having a "glass half empty night" I know that I'm going to find someone... I know that. I do.
having a warm bed on this cold night.
the love I have for this city, my home.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
When I was 12 my best friend was on a basketball team coached by her father. She asked me to be on the team and, of course, I was thrilled at the idea of doing something with her. Little did I realize that I did not have the coordination or depth perception to get the ball to the hoop. I ran down the court like a ballerina. I made one Hail Mary basket that entire season. Each day before practice or a game I would be a bundle of nerves, worrying about embarrassing myself or getting run over by one of the only two other teams in our division - a cohort of color-coordinated teenagers who stood a foot taller than most of my team and had been playing together for years. They creamed us. I played through the season but, needless to say, did not return. I knew my place was at the barre. I'd toughed it out because I didn't want to disappoint my parents. And, I think there were the makings of a stubborn perfectionist in my teeny twelve year old body. Oh, if I only knew then...
As a basketball player I made a good dancer, which was much closer to a calling than my stint on the court. Easily mortified, I was the kid who wouldn't dance in front of her technically superior classmates. Instead I said I had to go to the bathroom and counted up to three minutes. So it came as a shock to a few when I told them I joined a social sports league this Fall. I thought it would be more social (you know - laughing, joking, and built-in Happy Hours) than it was sport but I forgot one tiny detail... the intrinsically competitive nature of men. Having not played since my playground days I was understandably nervous when, at the first game, the cute boys on the other side of the court at PS Something or Other hurled those dodgeballs at great speed. I may be quite the dodger but I throw. like. a. girl. I survived though and was happy to buy myself a $3 beer and retreat to a corner booth. Until the time rolled around for the next game... This afternoon I finally admitted it to myself. This isn't for me. I didn't want to go. So I didn't. I quit social sports.
Now I am a grown up who lives her own grown up life so since I spent my own grown up money on this I figured if I wasn't having fun, I have better things to do with my time. I felt like a ballerina basketball player once again. Today I threw in the proverbial towel and went to Happy Hour with K instead. Hey, that's what I was in it for anyway... Despite my propensity to feel like a failure, I'm sort of proud of my resignation. The perfectionist in me cringes a bit but I've decided I'm going to do something more "me". I'm going to take dance classes instead. Rather than worrying about meeting people, impressing others, and trying not to show my discomfort I will try to decide between taking Broadway Jazz or Tap first. Despite 15+ years of experience, I will start over as a beginner, and it feels pretty good right now.
**Thank you to everyone for your encouragement regarding Bachelor #1. I am not counting him out yet, I'm just keeping my hopes in check because I have a tendency to be disappointed very easily - especially where guys are concerned.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Last week I had 3, count 'em THREE, dates. Mind you, this is not at all typical for me. In fact, it is not typical for me to have three dates in one month, let alone one week. It was just how the dice rolled.
Bachelor #1 and I got dinner on Monday. I met him a couple of months ago. I liked him then and liked him more after the date was over but he is busy, has a lot going on, and though I do think he is interested I haven't heard from him. He actually doesn't live in Manhattan so I am not super optimistic that this one is going to work out but it was nice to feel that chemistry with someone. I would definitely like to see him again but who knows... It is always the ones you like who never call, right ladies?
Bachelor #2 didn't make me a fan of his from the start. After being a bit of a pain in terms of planning, we met up and ended up going for coffee. This turned out to be the shortest date I've ever been on. It lasted less than 45 mins. I referred to it as "mutual disinterest". We parted amicably I think and I was amused by the fact that he really did not seem that into me and our romance was so very shortlived. I happily relayed the story to my BFF on the way to the subway and spent happily jealous of Pam Beesly instead.
Bachelor #3 was quite nice and impressive in the beginning but the chemistry that I dsecribed with #1 really wasn't there. As I've said, that pretty much makes or breaks a date for me. I was disappointed but decided to put it aside and focus on getting to know a new person while enjoying a great new restaurant. At least that helped me through. I opted to go home rather than go for drinks after and though I feel badly about it because he does seem like a nice guy, I don't think I will be seeing him again. Back to the drawing board...
It seems I'm 0 for 3 this time around but none of my meetings went like this!:
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I'm kind of the Pam Beesly of my department. I have curly hair about the same color, dress pretty moderately, and though I don't answer my phone saying "Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam." I often feel like my department's version of a secretary - that is, I am the most junior member. So where is my Jim I ask you? I want someone who will cut his tie with a pair of scissors because I'm knocked up, hormonal and crying over a torn veil (ok, maybe not the first part but as Michael Scott says, it isn't the 1890's people!) Add to that having to babysit a co-worker with an injured scrotum. I would cry too, Pam. I would cry too.
Loved it all. And even though I know he's not real, I go to bed hoping that like Santa Claus, winning lotto tickets, and calorie-free burritos, Jim Halperts really do exist.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
And I am b.o.r.e.d.
I got home around 7 tonight with nothing in particular to do other than cook and eat dinner. After I settled in bed to watch Sunshine Cleaning. Good movie by the way - see it. Now I'm watching Modern Family (also good - see it) but through it all I'm dying for a little friendly company. Someone to argue over stupid things with, talk about my day with, annoy incessantly with my chatter. Normally, my trusty, lovely roommate fills this void. But she is home visiting fam and my other roommates tend not to be so good at the talking to me part, so here I am trying to come up with some new boredom busters. Makes me want to go back to my rut list.
I'm up on my Gosselin gossip (Seriously, Jon and Kate, consider your 8 children before you air your dirty laundry!), I've browsed the blogs, read my weekly copy of TimeOut magazine, overanalyzed my single status, contemplated calling my folks, had two ongoing conversations with friends via text, blah blah blah.
What do you do when you're bored?
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
1. I like gentlemen.
I may be a modern woman but there is nothing classier on a date than a guy who says "After you.", opens a door for me, and yes, pays for dinner. The willingness to fork over cash for my food isn't a requirement for a great date, but it certainly doesn't hurt. Having "gone Dutch" my fair share of times, I admit to feeling disappointed when someone has not offered to foot the bill and I also admit to having let a guy I have no intention of seeing again pay for my drinks. Usually, I feel bad about this unless he is a total jerk, in which case it makes me feel a bit vindicated. As awkward as the inevitable end-of-date-reaching-for-the-check will he?/won't he? is, it is not a requirement, nor a means for elimination. But it certainly scores the boys points.
2. There really is no discounting chemistry.
In my opinion, there is little rhyme or reason for why I click with some guys and don't with others. Some might be interesting, attractive, personable, friendly, funny and great on paper but if he carries himself a certain way or holds his fork another way, it is a turn off. Before I paint myself as an incredibly picky person, I will say that while I am selective, just because I can't stand the sound of a guy's laugh, doesn't mean I'm not open minded. Sometimes I tell myself that maybe the chemistry will develop, that the laugh or the way he holds the fork will be come endearing. This is how I dated a guy I didn't really like for a month last year. But when it's right, it's right. Sitting across from someone and feeling the ease with which the conversation flows really helps with the hopeless feelings a string of dud dates will bring. And this all just reaffirms what I've already discovered to be true: chemistry is so important to me.
3. Dating blogs are filled with good tips.
I should have read this before last night. Next time I won't pick a sports bar.
4. There will always be awkward silence.
Eventhough we had a lot to talk about last night, there were definitely moments of awkward silence. While family, TV, movies, and other safe and standard topics are all well and good sometimes you just don't know what to say next. Sometimes it is weird. I'm learning to go with it.
5. It really, really helps if you find him utterly adorable.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thanks to those of you who commented on my last post. I am feeling a bit better and am regaining focus and perspective. Having a day off, and thus the ability to sleep in, also helps.
Today my friend K and I hoofed it to the IKEA in Red Hook (Brooklyn). I'd been planning on going shopping for sweaters, boots, and a new wool coat, but I decided to embrace the idea of company and girl talk and accompany K on her quest for a bookcase. It is amazing that I resisted buying anything as I love IKEA and haven't been in forever but I just kept reminding myself... Sweaters. Boots. These things don't buy themselves.
I volunteered to help her carry the big, heavy cardboard box back into Manhattan in exchange for her cooking me dinner sometime next week. Sounds like a fair trade for my day's workout. So we took the water taxi in and then hailed a cab on Wall Street. It seems the men in Manhattan have never seen two able-bodied women carrying a large box as we got three, count 'em THREE, comments along the way. As we got off the water taxi we were asked if we were carrying Jimmy Hoffa in there. We smiled and kept walking. Then when we were waiting at the curb to hail a cab another guy said, "Heeeey, nice box!" Is it really that ridiculous that we would be doing this alone? Do we really need boyfriends? We may be the weaker sex but a 50 lb. box isn't exactly impossible... Then there was the cabbie who, as we were lifting the box to put it in his trunk said, "Ooooh you poor girls! You poor ladieeeeeeees. So heavyyyy." Yes, we were doing it alone AND K will put it together by herself using tools! Imagine that!
We were flabbergasted by all the attention we were getting but still it is a bit funny and we got a chuckle out of it. Men? What men?
Thursday, October 1, 2009
The event itself was great. Awesome location, great prizes and DJ but there was a reason I didn't want to go and it was only solidified once I got there.
Two years ago today I boarded a plane alone. I had two suitcases, a backpack, a duffel bag, and an address of a 20-something girl living in the West Village in my hand. I lost the address and had to call her from La Guardia airport. I was feeling brave but won't lie, I was pretty terrified. I had no idea if this girl was going to be an axe murderer. I'd only spoken to her once on the phone - as we hammered out the agreement. I would sublet a room in her New York City apartment. I'd been working on getting to New York for months and here it was. I was going. By myself. I've said it ad nauseum but this was a big deal for me. I'm not plucky and I'm not fearless but I am determined as hell.
I got to the city and gave the cabbie the exact address - a blatant signal to my newbie status. Later, I'd come to know cross streets well. I got out of the cab to meet the girl who had pretty single-handedly changed my future and found her to be warm and friendly. Together we lugged my crap up six flights of stairs (hello, Manhattan!) I called my mother from my new (empty) bedroom and then we went to a pub down the street for dinner. She wouldn't let me pay for my $4 grilled cheese. She said I had plenty of time to pay New York's restaurant prices. This was the first in many small acts of kindness, unless you count the whole - you know - letting this stranger, a proverbial blue jean baby, come live with her.
Two years ago today I began what has become a relationship built on mutual respect. I respect the city, the unwritten rules, the pitfalls and the wonderment and in turn, I believe I have been respected. But last night, as I stood in the busy, pulsing atmosphere thinking "Shit, I should have made someone come with me." and feeling utterly stupid at being there solo, I felt what I have been feeling all week - alone.
Never before have I felt as free or as brave over the past two years. It has done wonders for my soul and courage. But I am tired of being alone, walking alone, experiencing alone. I know there is a reason I am, I know I have had lessons to learn. I've met some amazing (and some weird!) people along the way. And life continues... I just hope that by the time two more years have passed, I won't be flying solo, with two suitcases in tow, anymore.