Sunday, November 29, 2009

"I wish I had a river I could skate away on..."

"It's coming on Christmas. They're cutting down trees..." - Joni Mitchell

I left the house today and noticed that the lean-to forests of Christmas trees outside many a Duane Reade and CVS drug stores have sprouted up around this great city once again. Christmas is coming. Wow.

The biggest proof is the fact that I went ice skating today! There are various places to go in New York: Rockefellar Center, of course, but also Wollman Rink in Central Park and Bryant Park...where I went this afternoon. Bryant Park is probably the best because you don't have to pay for admission, just skates. I donned a gorgeous pair in bright blue and hobbled to the rink. I hadn't skated since the time my friends and I went at Alexandra Palace in London during my semester abroad. I did try to learn to skate backwards but it was entirely too crowded and I feared taking a little kid out as I wobbled along the ice. Still Frank Sinatra sang in the background and I took in the cityscape around me.... Pretty cool.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

My roommate and I trudged through the crowds tonight to view the Macy's Parade Balloon Inflation. Completely nuts but so much fun! It is #1 in my 10 things I'm thankful for tonight...


I hate Spongebob but this picture makes it look like he's trying to eat the crowd.

Just one image of the amount of people lined up. Yes, we were kind of insane for going...

2. dance classes and rediscovering myself in the studio.

3. my education - The only thing that, now that I have it, cannot be taken away from me.

4. my brother - Even though we don't talk much when I'm not "home" (he isn't much of a phone person - typical guy) he is kind and thoughtful person and the best guy I know.

5. hope for the future - Who knows where I'll be in my career and personal life 5 or 10 years from now but I know what I want and I'm hopeful that I'll get there.

6. my job - I got a great job with a great company right out of the gate. While every job has its downfalls, I work with a fun group of people, many of whom have supported me within my position and who have also become like family.

7. babysitting opportunities - They have afforded me the new clothes, nights out, Happy Hour drinks, yummy dinners, plane tickets, and random things I might not otherwise afford. I get to hang with cute kiddos, get paid to watch HBO On Demand and spend time in some great apartments. But most of all, they have given me something familiar in what was, at first, an unfamiliar city.

8. the ability to travel - past, present, and future. I believe studying abroad in London when I was in college made moving to NY indirectly possible. It also gave me the travel bug and the desire to experience something outside the status quo. Though I've only made it to Washington, D.C. this year, I have big, big dreams for the future and I cross my fingers and toes that they come true!

9. comfortable jeans

10. my comfortable bed!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I've noticed that some in my blog roll are doing "thankful" posts. One person had the idea of doing 10 things today, tomorrow, and Thanksgiving Day. I think it is a wonderful idea to think of 30 things I am thankful for and perhaps it will give life a bit more perspective (and who doesn't need to be reminded of how lucky they are from time to time?) so here I go for Tues...

I am thankful for...

1. the food I just put in my stomach. It is so basic and I take it for granted three times a day, every day but there are those in the world who don't go to bed with stomachs full. So when I feel gross or "fat" I just remember that I could be starving like so many are.

2. my DVR. I've waxed poetic about it before. I went from no cable TV to the ability to record and rewind a pleathora of channels. 'Nuff said.

3. autumn in New York. Oh, how I love this city.

4. things that make me laugh, like The Office.

5. a family I am close to. I was talking about them tonight and felt a swell of gratitude over how much they have supported me over the course of my life.

6. great friends who will text you back with an answer when you ask how long one should wait before they assume they have been stood up.

7. The fact that I wasn't stood up tonight. And had a nice time.

8. toothbrushes, toothpaste and other personal hygiene items. They just make life more pleasant.

9. BOOKS! Can't believe I got to #9 before mentioning this one. They have truly made my life what it is and made me who I am.

10. the bravery and confidence I have gained with the realization of a dream and the reality of that realization. I do the best I can with what I have and on a great day I am so thankful for all the experiences I've had; good, bad, and ugly.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"How many ounces are in a cup?" and other pre-Thanksgiving adventures

I just got back from grocery shopping for Thanksgiving with my roommate.

I went without a list.

I'm lucky I didn't hyperventilate right there in the store. It is especially fun looking like an idiot while trying to decide how much shredded cheese to buy. I'm normally OK sans list if I'm not cooking. But I'm cooking and maybe it is minimal but right now I feel so stressed over money, things we bought, things we might have missed, etc.

I also feel the compulsive need to check my bank balance.

T-minus three days and counting. Here's to hoping I'll make it.

And to think that today someone actually asked me how I remain so calm all the time. Oh, if they only knew what goes on in my head...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

my weekend was, November 20-22

I started doing "My Weekend Was" posts to extract the simple small moments from the regular occurrence that is "the weekend". I guess the purpose is to point out that even in the hours that are boring, taken for granted and sometimes disappointing, there is always something positive to be found. Or it is just a fun and quick way to sum up the best parts of the best part of the week. Feel free to do them as well. I find they are fun to look back on when hindsight is always 20/20.

My weekend was...

finding cathartic moments while painting murals at a public school.

spending hours on the phone catching up with my best friend, who has been MIA at military training for weeks.

dodging Christmas carols on the radio (seriously!) at the laundromat by enjoying the crisp sunny weather outside and chatting on the phone with my dad.

another lesson in what I don't want in a guy. (ie. commenting on whether I am drinking or not drinking doesn't win points with me. I don't care if I'm in a bar. If I want water, I will drink water.)

a new turkey meatball recipe, a bundt cake, new faces and a potluck dinner.

spending a Friday night laying on the couch with a three-year-old telling stories to one another. My favorite: "There was a duck who opened his mouth and there was a submarine and the submarine poked his eye out." Hers not mine.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

lessons for this reformed dating dummy: links for single ladies

A little peace of mind. Not to wear my heart on my sleeve or anything... OK! Moving on.

So very true! I'm trying to remember but I don't think I've ever experienced this. It really makes sense, though. Thoughts?

Bringing new flavor to "Soup for One." - I just ordered this book! I've loved Judith Jones since I saw Julie & Julia (she originally published The Art of French Cooking) and learned that she fished The Diaryof Anne Frank out of a pile and, as an editorial assistant, convinced her editor to publish it in the U.S. Wow!

And for a little humor... (I'm becoming worried about how often I have this song in my head. Every night before I go to bed, it never fails... Hmm...)


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

answers revealed

1. My question what can someone usually find you going on a weekend in the city?
Drinks? Dinner? Park?
Well, I tend to spend a lot of time on the Upper West Side. Sometimes I go to Good Enough to Eat for brunch (my fave restaurant), sometimes I go for walks in Central Park. Sometimes I head up to the Bronx or Harlem to volunteer. I love going out for drinks and dinner but have been doing it less lately. In terms of nightlife, I tend to just go with the flow though am most likely to be found in pubs or fratty-type bars than I am in clubs or in the Meatpacking District. I'm a paranoid person so that's as detailed as I'm going to get.
2. What do you miss most about Cali? People don't count!
I miss the hole-in-the-wall burrito place I've been frequenting since high school. The guy there knows me and knows what I like (bean, cheese and rice burrito - I'm a simple girl) however I do not for the life of me know his name. I have been going there for years and I now feel it is too late to ask. I always go there when I go "home".

I also miss driving down 101 with the windows down and the music up - in December. Well, year round but it is particularly awesome during the winter. I miss the convenience of a car (usually when I'm doing laundry here or grocery shopping) but for the most part I'm glad I don't have to deal with the hassle of owning one right now.

3. What brand of flip flops do you love the most?
OK, I'm going to show my cheap side and mention here that I do not wear $50 flip flops. To me there is just no point. So I do not have a brand. I just get what is cute and fairly inexpensive. For the longest time in college I loved a pair I got from American Eagle (was big into AE for a while). I wore the living daylights out of them. Now I have a cheap-o pair but since I really don't wear them as much I feel it is more necessary to spend money on boots than flip flops. I hate the plastic kind (they have to be cloth between the toes) so it really just depends on what I find.

4. What are your "deal breakers"?
I mentioned deal breakers in this post so I figured I'd lump this in. I'll give you a preview of the serious and the silly...

He must be driven - I am a very driven person. I would not get along with someone who had no goals, was lazy about life, etc. Whatever he's into I'd rather he be passionate about it. Bonus points if he is a transplant and was driven to move to NYC for work or something related to that. But I've talked about that already.

He must be compassionate - I want someone who cares about others and does what he can to help people. His family and friends are important to him. He would give someone the shirt off his back. Maybe he volunteers, or if he doesn't, he is modest and humble and generally sees the world, and the people in it, in a way that is very similar to the way I do.

He must look good in a baseball cap - I have a serious thing for them. 'Nuff said.

He must be fairly masculine - Read here to find out why. I'm pretty sensitive to mannerisms though. It isn't that he has to be a beer guzzling, sports watching, machismo type guy (I'd rather he not be, in fact) but feminine mannerisms really bug me.

Thanks to everyone who commented and inquired. Feel free to shoot any more questions my way.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

judgey judgerson

I like to think I'm not a judgmental person. I give people the benefit of the doubt, try to be nice to everyone, and am empathetic (to a fault, most of the time). But today I caught myself doing something I hate: judging someone else's food choices.

It isn't really a secret that I hate going grocery shopping. Here in New York, with super small aisles, insane costs, and limited choices, I dread it. I also don't like it when people comment on what I'm purchasing at the check-out stand. Granted, New Yorkers tend not to give a rat's but this was more prevalent in California where the employee had a son who went to the same high school as I did and so on and so forth. I just can't help being paranoid (yes, this is a weird paranoia) that people are juding what I eat. I encounter this quite frequently when eating with colleagues and friends who are very health conscious. Lately I'm making a more conscious effort I'm trying to get my daily dose of fruits and veggies in lately but sometimes I just want to eat mac and cheese for lunch and nothing else. Don't judge me for it.

Today I was in our little kitchenette (there's one on every floor) about to heat up some homemade butternut squash soup. (Don't get too excited, I didn't make it. I went to see a friend's new condo on Sunday night and she cooked for me and sent me home with a Tupperware container full.) As I was waiting for the microwave to be free I noticed that a co-worker was defrosting what looked like a very sad frozen dinner. God help me my first thought was "That's not food." Then I felt ashamed. I've been known to eat some Marie Callendars or DiGoirno in my life but this one definitely was the inexpensive kind. I'm going to hell for being such a hypocrite.

So I think I've divulged enough, now it is your turn. What do you judge people for? C'mon, everyone does it. Spill.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

orphaned suitcase

I was in Atlanta for work this weekend. For a little over 48 hrs. A whirlwind trip. But I'm back in New York now and thankful for my weekend - which has just begun. Slept so hard last night it was almost painful to wake up.

This morning I left my apartment to go get a bagel from the cafe up the street. In the hallway of my apartment building I saw a black suitcase. I checked the tags and noticed it had been sent via the same airline I flew and had come to LaGuardia airport from Atlanta. No ID tags. My building is small with not many apartments in it. I knew the odds of this being a coincidence were slim. The airline probably misdelivered the suitcase to my address. I figured I'd call them just in case when I got home.

I returned home just a few minutes ago after being gone for about an hour and the suitcase was gone. Did I imagine it? It has been a long and exhausting weekend and a mirage isn't out of the question. So strange...

How has everyone else's weekend been?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shop Talk - Beaches and Mountains (2008 Faves #6-5)

6. On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
*read in September 2008 during a work trip to El Paso, TX*

No one better captures a moment than Ian McEwan. I loved Atonement and loved this one. It is the story of a young newlywed British couple and the first night of their marriage. True to the time period in which the book is set they are inexperienced, reserved, and do not communicate well. What occurs is a simple yet vivid account of what goes wrong and why. This is a love story in its most real form and while some might argue that meloncholy does not a love story make, the book contains a heartbreaking gorgeousness all its own. Like I said, no one but Mr. McEwan could do it...

5. The Invisible Mountain by Carolina de Robertis
*read in December 2008*

The Invisible Mountain is as lush in character, plot and language as the South American landscape in which it is set. De Robertis’s novel traces the stories of three generations of women: Pajarita, the baby who went missing only to be discovered in a tree; her daughter, Eva, a rebellious poet who finds love in the most unlikely of places; and Eva’s daughter, Salom√©, who risks her life hiding weapons for guerilla rebels under bed. Gorgeously lyrical and rich, it was reminiscient of two of my favorite authors: Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

what can I say?

I'm feeling random tonight.

I love this quote today...
Cute’s good. But cute only lasts for so long, and then it’s, Who are you as a person? That’s the advice I would give to women: Don’t look at the bankbook or the title. Look at the heart. Look at the soul. Look at how the guy treats his mother and what he says about women. How he acts with children he doesn’t know. And, more important, how does he treat you? When you’re dating a man, you should always feel good. You should never feel less than. You should never doubt yourself. You shouldn’t be in a relationship with somebody who doesn’t make you completely happy and make you feel whole. And if you’re in that relationship and you’re dating, then my advice is, don’t get married.

- Michelle Obama

I agree with The Bobby Pin, her girls are in good hands. What a wonderful role model.

I'm loving this song tonight...

I'm wondering...

Anyone have any tips on investments? I recently decided I should do something with the Roth IRA I opened a while ago (oops!) so I took the plunge today and invested in some stocks. I quickly discovered I need to do my homework. There's a reason I don't work in finance... I feel a bit weird asking for books (or links maybe?) that simplify the process without dumbing down - I do work for a publishing house after all - but let me know if you have some good ideas!

What are all the single girls (and former single girls') methods when it comes to letting a guy down easily. It seems like I often find myself in a situation where I need to say "It's not you, it's me." Usually, I give the guy the benefit of the doubt and since I am so nice I always feel like a horrible person when I avoid him. Yet after a couple of dates, how much explanation is necessary? I've told half truths to be kind, said "this isn't going to work for me" used the "I'm just really busy..." excuse (which makes me feel like a RAT because it is such a cop out and I've been the victim of the same excuse) but I think no matter what I say it will always be weird. Just curious... What do you all do?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

weekend revelation

I had a revelation last night as I cooked pasta in someone else's beautiful kitchen while their 8 month old slept and I sacrificed yet another Sat night in the name of a few more 20's in my pocket. I was washing the strainer and as I lifted the red and white striped towel to dry it a voice in my head said,

Be kind to yourself.

And I thought, I would never be as mean to someone as I so often am to myself.

So as this weekend draws to a close; a weekend that didn't go as planned, that left me feeling inadequate, I will carry this new mantra forward.

And I encourage all the Type-A's, perfectionists, own-worst-critics...hell, women in general to do the same.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy 100th post to me!

I just realized that my last post was my 100th.

I can't believe I've had 100 posts worth of things to say to virtual strangers but in honor of this auspicious occasion, I think I'll try my hand at a Q&A. If you have a question, ask me. I will answer.

Last night ended up being a huge bust which, for someone who does not take disappointment well, was well... disappointing. I was so ready to go out and have fun with friends and when people bailed and my night then became movies on cable TV, I was bummed. I hope everyone had a more interesting night than I did.

I was thinking about the date that I broke. I really did feel bad. Everyone's response to that is always "that's because you're so nice." Too nice, perhaps. But NY is teaching me how to be a little more mean. I'm a bit tired of dating. A lot of the dates I've been on this year have been blind and personally I think blind dating is a bit like being paired up in college with roommates you don't know: it has the potential to be awesome but rarely is. I don't know, my co-worker married a guy she met on a blind date. I'm constantly hearing success stories from online dating, but I guess it isn't my medium. The more I think about it the weirder my "deal breakers" are getting. Right now my thing is that I want a transplant, preferably one who is also from California. Of course I just want a nice guy. But I so often relate to fellow transplants. They just "get" me.

What are (or were) your deal breakers? Questions, anyone?

I'd rather go blind than on another blind date

Friday, November 6, 2009

How do I love thee Friday? Let me count the ways!

T.G.I.F. folks!

Saying that reminds me of when I was little and I would settle in to watch the Friday night line up on ABC: Full House, Perfect Strangers, Family Matters and then later on Step By Step, Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, etc. I realize I am dating myself here so I will stop.

Speaking of Full House my new thing is to read books I wouldn't otherwise purchase in the aisles and halls of book stores. It gets me out and among people and nary a week goes by where I don't want to go and ooh and ahh over things at B&N anyway. So I decided to hunker down with former FH kidlet Jodie Sweetin's memoir this week. And might I say that it is pretty sad. I idolized her as a little girl and while it was refreshing to realize that yes, stars are "just like us" (not to quote U.S. Weekly or anything. Nope, I didn't just do that!), I'm surprised that she lived through the amount of drugs and alcohol she put in her body. I sincerely hope she really is doing well now.

I realize that was all very random but that is the mood that I am in today. I cancelled a date I had tonight. I just wasn't excited about it. I'm just not that into him. I feel like a rat but it is better for us both in the end. I'd rather go out with my girl friends which I fully intend to do. After I lounge around first, watch Greys and The Office on hulu.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

capitol memories and wish lists for Santa

I spent this past weekend with my roommate in Washington, D.C.

Last night I discovered Picasa's collage making capability. This is the result of both.

Images are from the Capitol building, US National Holocaust Museum, Vietnam Memorial, Smithsonian American History Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and Library of Congress.

Since it is "Thankful Thursday" I'd just like to say that I'm going to be materialistic today and express my thanks that Christmas is just around the corner because I am asking Santa for a crockpot and dance classes! I attended my second tap class last night and realized how thankful I am to be dancing again. I really missed it so much. There was a group of little dancerettes from Hershey, PA in my class and though a part of me wished I could go back and do that part all over again (perhaps I should add that to my Wishful Wed post!) I know no one could pay me enough to live puberty and teendom twice. I also saw someone from So You Think You Can Dance there. I love this city.

The other night I made a shepherd's pie for dinner and I realized that I do like cooking and want to do it more. It is just hard to find the time. So, I'm going to get myself a little crockpot and start using that. This Christmas, Santa, it is all about self-improvement!

Wishful Wednesday - Shoulda, woulda, coulda...

Jumping back on the Wishful Wednesday bandwagon...

"I wish I could re-live..."

Oh goodness. How much time do I have for this one? I guess when it comes to questions like this one always thinks about regret. But as much as I regret certain times of my life, I would never go back and do them again. So I've chosen two very influential times in my life for this question.

First is my semester abroad. I went to London for three months. I was 20 and had previously been living at home going to college so this was my first time "away". And I went far. I was homesick a bit but also met some great people and had a wonderful time. It was my first city experience and I wholeheartedly believe that it prepared me for life in this big, bad city. I'm from the 'burbs. It was a big deal. I fell in love with that city though and though at the time three months was enough, looking back I wish I could do it again and stay longer. I'd see more of Europe (I did see Amsterdam, Belgium, Paris, Prague, and Venice though), worry less, and love it all over again. I have not ruled out living abroad again and I secretly have it in my head that I will find someone whose job prospects take us there and I will live a lovely ex-pat life for a few years.

Secondly, if I could, I would re-live college - the second part that is. (I transferred during my junior year to a school in Northern CA.) This isn't because I had so much fun or because I want to go back but because I would use the knowledge I've gained since I've graduated and make it a bit easier on myself. Most people love college. I did not. It was hard for me. I was impossibly hard on myself, stressed out all the time, studied too much, never really found my place, and a bunch of other things that really affected me. But I was determined not to be a quitter, to stick it out, to get a degree from that school. As I said before I don't really want to go back. I would not want to relive it at all but if I did, I would do some things a bit differently. But I know that my experiences there made coming here possible as well. Had things been easy for me I would probably be living in California, working at a job I don't like, and would never have realized that New York is home. It was tough. I learned I was made of tough stuff and can get through anything. For that, I don't regret a thing.

So what about you? What would you relive?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Shop Talk - Meloncholy but marvelous! (2008 Faves #8-7)

8. Unaccustomed Earth by Jumpha Lahiri
*read as part of my book group in May 2008*

This collection of short stories is beautiful, and virtually flawless. Taking the reader from Seattle to Cambridge, Thailand to India, Lahiri explores the complexities of relationships: family, friends, lovers, spouses, etc. in what are simple yet touching narratives. While the whole collection has a tone of melancholy, her ability to pinpoint human interaction and emotion is spot on. I couldn't put it down.

7. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
*purchased in the DFW airport for a flight from Dallas to JFK in September 2008*

I've read a lot of Holocaust fiction but I have never read anything that sucked me in as completely as this book. It tells the story from the other side - a German Studies professor whose mother moved them to the US after World War II (but who never spoke of her life in Germany during the war) comes face to face with the past she never knew. The only clue she has is a photo of herself, her mother, and a Nazi officer. Both a heartbreaking love story and a great historical novel, this one reads a bit mainstream and mother/daughter fiction-y at times but is nonetheless very good.

shameless plug for a pretty dress!

My fellow Californian, Natalie, is offering a wonderful giveaway today via her blog, The Bobby Pin.

A dress!

Modest in style, the selection from Mikarose is especially perfect for work. I see several I'd love to wear myself. Be sure to check them out!