Friday, December 4, 2009

Costa Rica - Montezuma and the Beach

I still have my sunburn from Costa Rica, but everything else about it is fading fast. I love traveling, so much, and was planning on doing a day-by-day recap here but I don’t know if I can recapture all those moments in my head. Even looking at the pictures (which I will post soon), there’s a certain level of bliss that just can’t be called back by my memory.

And little things, too. On my second-to-last day in Costa Rica, I suddenly realized my perpetually clogged sinuses had cleared. I hadn’t wore up with nasty sinus-snot mouth, nor was I blowing my nose throughout the day. All this despite the developing world-standard exhaust I was inhaling everyday, plus the occasional cigarette (since they’re supposed to relieve nausea and Eric was smoking some).

My favorite part of the trip was Montezuma, which is on the tip of the Nicoya Penninsula, on the inland side, so it doesn’t have the big waves and accompanying surfer crowd. When we arrived, we were tired after a 6am Tico bus, a two-hour 11:00 Ferry, and another hour and a half Tico bus (read: local, cheap bus. This was the only day we took the Tico bus but I would do it again if I had more time, since it just takes slightly longer and a knowledge of where you’re going), all after a night with virtually no sleep thanks to my choice to stay at $30/night Pension St. Elena (you get what you pay for). I was busy using my phone card to try to figure out a place to stay when Eric walked into a real estate office and found this great woman there. We ended up renting a house—really a rustic cabin—on the beach for just $80/night. It was amazing. There was no road behind the house, as we initially thought. People came and went literally by driving on the beach in 4X4s. Awesome. We hadn’t rented a car, but we were able to walk to town in about ten minutes, perfect for dinner and trips to the Montezuma Supermercado.

After getting all of our things settled that afternoon, we headed straight for the beach to cool off. The water was like bathwater. You just walked right in. There was absolutely no adjustment time at all. Perfect. The waves were pretty intense, and required some dedicated diving beneath them to get to a comfortable floating place far enough from shore. It just reminded me how much I love beaches, and how every time I am near one I want to live there.

We showered off, had some drinks, mango juice and rum courtesy of Eric’s mixology, and Imperial, the beer of Costa Rica (the other one is Pilsner).

The town itself is kind of like Berkely, California. A little hippie, a little upscale. There was the expensive smoothie place Organico that we ended up never going to, though we did buy some vegan granola from them to have for breakfast. The nice restaurant, Cocolores, which actually ended up being pretty well-priced for the "most expensive" place in town. The night we went there I had this mahi mahi (THREE huge filets...I couldn't finish them) with banana in curry sauce. The banana was SO good. I love sweet preparations for meats, and this was so original. Mmm. They also had a quesadilla-type place, and then our favorite, Cafe Buen Provecho. We ate there our first and last night there. We were totally bummed out on casados, which is Costa Rica's national dish. We tried to eat local, but let's be honest: Costa Rican food is not that exciting. A casado consists of some type of meat, generally grilled and greasy but somehow dry, rice, red bean (which were always cooked perfectly every time. I LOVE beans), plantains (good) or mashed potatoes (bad), and salad. The good ones were topped with local cheese, which is salty and has the consistency of feta with a more neutral, cottage cheese-y flavor. Anyway, after eating all this local food, we were thrilled to have the most amazing bread salad ever at this place, some delicious sangria, and filet mignon with this awesome cilantro/parsley dipping sauce. So, so good. The last night there, we made friends with the owner (who used to live in San Fran) and her boyfriend (a Tico). We also liked the waitress, who was from Ohio. They were so nice, and we talked about food and how it really fit our palette. It turned out they had only been open for a couple of weeks. The general friendliness with random people happened throughout our trip. It really happens naturally, but I also have to thank Eric for being more out there and willing to exchange emails, facebook, etc. with people. Our camera battery died when we were ziplining and we got this Belgian and French guy to take (HD!) videos of us ziplining. Now we just need to see them :).

That night we went back to the place, looking forward to our "quiet, private" place, especially after a night of hearing motorcycles all night. Instead, there was blasting salsa music coming from the resort which was around a rocky corner, a few hundred yards away. I was having none of it. I decided we should investigate rather than try to go to sleep and listen to hours of music. We had seen a wedding earlier on the beach, so we thought it might be the reception. We were right. We asked the waiter when they thought it would be over, they said 10 something, but thankfully Eric went ahead and talked to the head guy, who told us 11:30 and gave us free drinks. We hung around for awhile, awkwardly on the fringes of the (small) wedding. Closer to the beach, they were building a huge tepee fire, which was really beautiful to look at. You could see upstairs, and some other people at the resort were taking a break from their dinner and dancing. We went back, so tired the music didn't bother me as I drifted to sleep.

It started to rain in the middle of the night. Eric was complaining of bugs biting him. We had a "charming" mosquito net to drape over our bed. I was fine...or so I thought. I woke up the next morning, and on my way to the bathroom I could tell something was wrong. I had four or five bug bites around my eye, on my cheek and my forehead, and one of my eyes was swollen, deforming my face. This has happened to me exactly twice before, once at summer camp and once in NYC, and this ranked between the two of them. In all my pictures, if you look closely you can tell, especially when I'm smiling. One side will have no undereye crease at all because it's so swollen. Thankfully it didn't swell up from my nose side--that's what happened at summer camp and I looked like a chipmunk. The arm that was poking from the covers was also COVERED in bug bites. At least 30 on my upper arm. I had another 10 or so bug bites over the rest of my arm. Eric, on the other hand, was fine. All of his bites had "healed" overnight. Lucky bastard. Needless to say, I covered my body in carcinogenic DEET for the next three nights.

With the rainy weather, we didn't get around to beach walking until late in the day, when we found Playa Grande. Because there are periodic rock formations jutting out to the sea (Eric said they were volcanic), there are trails through those sections. After walking for quite some time, since I wanted to climb all through one section of the rocks, we found this amazing beach, probably at least a mile long of just sand. And no people. It was so beautiful. The waves had these incredibly long breaks. We swam for just 10-20 minutes, because it was getting to dusk, and vowed to return the next day.

The next day I rented a boogie board and we headed to Playa Grande. It was really hard to get out there with the board. It would take five minutes of HARD work to get past all the waves. Then some rogue ones would come up and give you more work to do! When I finally did catch a wave, I had one of the longest rides in my life. It was amazing, though I have to say I'd rather have shorter rides with an easier time getting to the reset position. The waves were also really strong, and it was hard to find one big enough to take you all the way to the shore that wouldn't just injure you instead...

Ok, I don't think anyone is going to read anymore than that. All for now!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Say 'I do' to straps

I don't wear anything strapless. Even spaghetti straps and halters pose problems for me. I have very wide shoulders from years of swimming, and these styles only highlight the width of my shoulders. They also don't provide the best supports to your breasts, they can make your arms look fat, since there's no flattering sleeves to elongate or shape them. Plus, you're more prone to back fat. It can be awful.

Because of this, I've always looked at strapless wedding gowns with a mix of envy and disdain. I hate the style because I know I could never wear it, and I also hate how ubiquitous it's become, almost generic. It leads to people who would have been better suited to another cut wearing strapless gowns and not looking as good as they deserve to. And I feel bad for them.

So this week Ivanka Trump tied the knot, and I LOVED her gown. It was strapless, but then had lace to give it a collar and sleeves. It kind of fit into the current trend of faux necklines. She wore the gown because she is marrying an Orthodox Jew and converting, but I like the idea of wearing a more conservative style for a wedding. One of my aunts was married with a white cowboy hat veil. It's not a timeless style.

Coincidentally, New York Magazine made wedding gowns their latest Shop-A-Matic. A lot of the more expensive gowns have sleeves and coverages on top, often in extremely creative ways with interesting sleeve shape and draping. I sincerely hope this trend will trickle down, because I am not spending several thousand dollars on a wedding gown. In fact, I kind of hope I can find a reasonably priced wedding tailor in Brooklyn who will copy my dream gown (Alex has a friend who did this)

I like this one:

And this one (my favorite):

Even this full-sleeved one could work, though I don't like it as much as I did yesterday:

I don't like the body of this one, but the draped sleeves are gorgeous, feminine, and goddess-like:

Disclosure: I am not planning on getting married soon. I don't fantasize (that much) about weddings. Don't get worried!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Maybe I should work in public health?

I've been thinking a bit about where I want to go in life, and what other careers I'd like to pursue. I love my job, but there isn't opportunity for promotion within the company. On top of that, there aren't many jobs elsewhere. Journalism is a dying field. I do like the idea of working in freelance writing, especially since that is a flexible career that would well with having kids.

I've often thought that I would transition into marketing of some sort. I love food, so I've also thought about working with in-store marketing, etc. Wouldn't it be cool to work for Whole Foods or Trader Joe's? I think they do a great job and I'd love to be a part of their community awareness campaigns, or even managing supply chains or something like that. I've also thought of working in the "CPG" (consumer packaged goods) market, even going so far as to learn the acronym. For the record, it's working in things like cereal, canned and frozen foods, neosporin, all the stuff you buy in stores. However, for some reason working in a store, where people make those choices, sounds better to me than actively convincing people to buy YOUR product.

I've always been interested in health. I loved my epidemiology class in college, which required fairly sharp math skills and the ability to read some rather tricky articles in medical journals. But I hated all my science classes in high school, so I never considered myself qualified for a job in a health field. I recently found out one of my friends, who also graduated with a degree in anthropology, is pursuing a degree in public health. She wrote her thesis on media representations of gardasil, I believe, and is working at the NIH in a receptionist role, so she's clearly on the track to doing that (unlike me). But I like the idea of doing marketing, but for public health. So much of writing is the joy of sharing ideas with people and trying to be persuasive and predicting what people are interested in. I would love to do something like that. Like advertising, but for good. I've done research this week on the field, but I'm still not totally sure about what types of qualifications you need to go to school, what degree in public health I could pursue, or even if there is a job out there that would utilize my interests. I've never been a politics person, and I'm terribly impatient, so I imagine that would eliminate a lot of potential positions for me. Would I want to work in advocacy? Would I want to try to do some kind of anthropological research of certain health populations? My mom works in educational research (she has her master's), and doing her kind of job, but in health, sounds very doable to me. And in terms of job stability--well, people will always need health care. If anything, couldn't government involvement increase the amount of funding available?

I really don't want to go back to school right now, and even more I really like my relationship and the idea of making choices that would move me away from my friends and boyfriend is not appealing to me. I also think that if I'm really, truly interested in this field, I need to work in it before I go back to school. Maybe even abroad? I've heard of, and know, many paralegals who decided against going to law school after their experience, and I think I should do the same thing. After all, it turned out that media planning wasn't really the best career choice for me.

So that's my plan out of left field. Thoughts?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ice cream birthday clubs are the best thing ever

Join them!

I love promotions and free things, so a few years ago I started signing up for ice cream birthday clubs. My birthday is on Monday, and already I have three free scoops lined up. It's so easy - they send you an email, you print out the coupon, and ususally you can use it the week before and after your birthday.

I used my Cold Stone one yesterday, and I now have Haagen-Dazs and Baskin Robbins left. When you're older, it seems like there's less hullabaloo surrounding your birthday, which is fine. So it's nice to leave work during an afternoon and have some spoonfuls of delicious creamy goodness. On a related note, unless there's pumpkin ice cream I think I might need to go with sorbet or something. I had the "like it" coffee with brownie yesterday, and it gave me serious indigestion. I don't think I'm lactose intolerant, but ice cream and milkshakes often give me stomachaches. I think Cold Stone just injects extra fat into their ice cream. I doubt it even makes it taste much better. In NYC, they have to post calorie counts next to the ice cream. A "love it" signature creation (which they used to give you on your birthday) can range up to ONE THOUSAND CALORIES. That's disgusting. Cold Stone, unlike other ice cream places, uses a miniscule cup then has it spill all the way over. It's like they want you to trick yourself into thinking it's not that much ice cream. Their hedonism is unparalleled. A few years ago I was with a co-worker and we got Cold Stone to go after eating some sushi (I was full). We had these hyper scooper girls who were trying to make us get bigger sizes, and then "misunderstood" us and gave us the bigger sizes. The medium in a to-go cup filled up an entired PINT. They had to half-fill my colleague's in a TWO-QUART container. Not normal.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yoga-riffic (a -riffic trend)

I am finally getting back into the swing of things with yoga. There was the broken bone in the hand, which put me out of commission for two months this summer, and even after that it was painful at first, so I had to take it easy and do things like use double mats and put a towel under my hand when I put a lot of weight on it.

I checked my calendar, and I went six times in September (um, none the first week, then twice a week), and then seven times so far this month (and I'm hoping to squeeze in another session this week). And October even included a pulled neck (caused, I believe, by not enough yoga, then unable to be cured by it) and a cold that made me miss a class.

Yesterday the class, which I would say is maybe intermediate, was on the easy side, and I think it's partially because I have finally started to improve. We kept on doing half chaturangas, where you go on your knees first, and I was like, "Bring it on! I want FULL chaturangas." I also think the Friday class I've been going to, which is more advanced, has helped me improve.

I highly recommend yoga for anyone with back problems. After switching jobs, walking to work, and taking up regular yoga, my back problems got so much better, and then got SO MUCH WORSE when I didn't work out regularly because of my hand injury. Part of that, too, was bullshit, since I totally could run and kind of put it off.

Next up is keeping up with regular running. The last time I went was two weeks ago, when I was feeling oh-so-slightly sick and had just gotten a flu shot. I decided to run anyway along Hudson River Park, in the craziest wind ever. I was basically running in place. The seagulls were doing that thing where they're flapping their wings as hard as they can and they are still staying in the same place. I was a people version of that seagull. And I got a terrible cold. Turns out that really heavy exercise can dampen your immune system, so I guess I just need to get to the place where a 30-minute run doesn't kill me and give me (and then my boyfriend...) a cold.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My New York Times debut

So a couple weeks ago Eric & I were interviewed for a Sunday Styles article about the "growing trend of home butchering." Our butcher, Jeffrey, was being interviewed for the piece, so he invited us to come to his class so it would have a better showing and we could say good things about him.
They got a couple of things wrong about me. I'm an assistant editor (I don't want to overstate my occupation) and I went to a college with lots of vegetarian and vegan students. I didn't live in a vegan house. Today, after some debate, I wrote in with the two errors, so we'll see if they fix it. I started thinking about all that misinformation being circulated through the internet, years later, and decided to nip it in the bud.

Here's the slideshow (I start at slide 8), where they paraphrase me. You can see Eric on my left!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Yesterday I went to the gyno for my annual. I really like my doctor. Yes, she has her flaws--like pushing me to take brand name bc pills that cost three times as much, sometimes being so exuberant I don't have time to ask my embarrassing question, and talking so loudly that you can hear her say "VAGINA" on the other side of the door. But I like her.

I've been examined by male doctors before, and while it was a medical touch, there was a certain care for what they did that signalled "This is a special region. A sexual region. I'm taking care not to violate that." She just dives right in. She has this bubbly voice with odd inflections, so when she says "vagina" it's like va-giii-na, with the g-i a slightly different pitch than the rest of the word. She's great. And this time, I barely even noticed how casual she was with the whole speculum, breast examination, etc. Because that's how I felt about it too.

The other (bodily function) part of the story was that I have had a YI for the past two and a half months that I was trying to will into going away. It actually did go away when I got my period, because of the change in Ph, but came right back a week later. Because YIs and BV are really just an imbalance of naturally occurring organisms, and when I get them, I get them again and again and again, I usually try to stick through the pain and itching. And sometimes it works. After trying all the home remedies (yogurt, garlic, tea tree oil), I am convinced that eating a clove of raw garlic twice a day really does help. They say you can smell garlic coming out your pores, so the scent alone proves that it is permeating all the different areas of your body. Just don't do it on an empty stomach or you will feel nauseous. I'm also too cheap to treat them with a $15 cream every single time I get an infection, so I was thrilled that when my doctor gave me the fluconazole it only cost $3.18. For two pills! (apparently one doesn't work so well anymore, the fungi have built up drug resistance). I have never had such a cheap presciption before. Even at our college health center I think it was $10 or $15 for ONE PILL of fluconazole. Plus she gave me two refills, so I think I'll fill one to bring on my Costa Rica trip, just in case. I feel like I hit the medicine lottery.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A La-Di-Da weekend

I am really excited to go home today. Friday I was feeling sick, it was cold and rainy, and I decided to walk straight over to Eric's (35 minute walk) rather than walk home (20 minutes), get my cell phone charger, neti pot, drill I was going to let Eric borrow, etc., rest, then go over (20-30 minute subway ride + another 10 minute walk). As a result, I have been without a phone for going on three days. It's strange how if I had lost my phone, I would be freaking out over not having it for three days, but because it just died, it was fine, even strangely liberating. Plus, Eric got a new laptop with a camera in it, so I had my informally scheduled Sunday call with my parents over video chat. I really like video chats - my parents pop in and out, Eric & I pop in and out, we arrange the laptop to let them see the sunset. It's nice.

Because I was sick, I did pretty much nothing on Saturday, though I finally left the house so Eric could pick up some free meat that had been in Jeffrey's display case, some pork and ham wrapped up with cheese and vegetables. Of course I had to have a Tra La La cupcake. Mmmm. We watched "Curb Your Enthusiasm," PBS, etc., had dinner, and by the end of the day I was feeling much better.

Except that Eric woke up sick on Sunday, and he's staying home today. We had hung out Wednesday and he didn't get sick, but I guess that sustained contact made sickness inevitable. When you're sucking face with someone not sharing water glasses seems kind of pointless.

To break up the day, we left the house in search of a new cannoli place that had opened up on the Lower East Side. We forgot to write down the address before we left, so we ended up wandering around forever and getting weird directions from people that were totally incorrect. Finally, as we decided to head home, I glimpsed a bubbly pink sign out of the corner of my eye. Success!! We split a mini almond joy cannoli, which was my favorite, then had a regular (with chocolate shell), and pistachio after dinner. I want to go back and try their pumpkin pie cannoli. Mmm. For dinner, Eric made Ropa de Vieja (which was two days in the making), which translates to dirty clothes. It's a beef stew with really tender meat, and a hearty tomato sauce, and spiced mainly with cumin and oregano. In the morning, Eric came into the bathroom with this giant, white/yellow frisbee with some dark marks on it. He made me guess what it was. It was the fat from the beef broth, which had congealed at the top after a night in the fridge. It was at least half an inch think. He was like, "What should I do with it?" and was about to try to break it in half and flush it in the toilet before I intervened. I guess that's what he normally does with grease? Gross.

Eric & I are thinking of starting up a food blog together. I want it to be as much about cooking food as the evolution of our relationship. Kind of like Julie & Julia, where she would talk about her personal life. The only thing is, I am a pretty private person. I feel very ambivalent and reluctant about opening up my life to other people's criticism. Any ideas for names?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sniffly Sarah

I'm sick. I've been sick since Wednesday. I really wish I could stay home sick. But I don't.

I have ten sick days and have used exactly half of one. Unless I'm deathly ill I feel so guilty for staying home. I think, oh, I'm reading the internet, I could be at work! Or there's some random responsibility that makes it impossible for me to miss work. I'm also bad at judging. The past two mornings I felt okay waking up, but then walking to work in the freezing cold gave me the shivers, my nose is running like crazy, I have all this sinus pressure, etc. ARGH!!

I also think I was confused by the fact that I had the seasonal flu shot on Tuesday. I remember last year feeling a little off, but definitely not like this. I was a little bit congested before I got the shot, so I wonder if the added (killed) virus just blew up my cold. I would have felt stupid if I had stayed home sick because of a flu shot. Doesn't that defeat the point?

I'm still considering getting the H1N1 shot. I can't decide. I am going away over Thanksgiving and Christmas, and flying (I think) increases the risk. I'm still 24, which is in the recommended bracket. Should I get the vaccine?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I can't wait to watch a "60 minutes" on this

I had seen this video a few months ago and thought it was a fluke.

Then I saw this one.

I can just imagine a "60 minutes" episode about this, talking about the inspiring rehabilitation this jail provides.

That being said, I kind of want to join in on the fun...though not in a jail in the Philippines.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dear Crystal Ball...

I had another rather splendorous weekend with the boyfriend. We made tons of food, as per usual, and I made cranberry nut bread. More than the meat and butter concoctions Eric dreams up, these things are the death of me. I am such a sugar addict, and I'm always chasing that sugar high with one more tiny slice of cranberry nut bread. Thankfully I have Eric who I'll implore to regulate me. It's funny, because I, under my notions of health, tend to eat more in the morning and during the day, whereas Eric is the king of after dinner food, including his inexplicable bowl of rice krispies or whatever after a big dinner. Why not just eat more dinner? Anyways, my 'I eat more during the day so it's okay to eat more quick bread' is not going to fly, at least according to the numbers on the scale when I got home after the weekend.

Yesterday I went to see Capitalism: A Love Story with Eric. Normally I don't talk about movies on the personal blog (ugh, I've had enough!), but since this one is more personal and political, I have to say a few things. One is, see the movie! Second is, in my opinion Michael Moore's films aren't the strongest in breadth or depth or accuracy, but challenging conventional wisdom. He's great at coming up with different thought experiments--like, ways to visually depict Wall Streeters as bank robbers--that help equate white collar crime with its more violent cousin. I also liked the personal stories, and his description of how the $700 billion bailout bill was passed was eye-opening. Finally, he talks a lot about America's glorification of capitalism, including why we equate Jesus and religion with capitalism. I liked the film, and hope it comes out a success like Farenheit 9/11. I also need to watch Sicko, which I think I missed and certainly has a lot to say about our country's health crisis.

Finally, I've been thinking a lot about job security and my career and my future--and by a lot I mean not enough. Frankly, journalism isn't the greatest field to be getting into. People are doing it for free. There's also a lot of talk about changes and shutdowns and layoffs that occur periodically and stress me out. My plan before, when I heard this four and six months into the job, was that I have money saved and I will travel the world, something I never got to do, and then come back when the recession is over. Although now having a boyfriend complicates everything. I really hope that my job, and those of other magazines, won't be eliminated--everyone would like to move on at their own time and of their own accord. But I updated my resume tonight slightly, and did some searches for jobs I think I would be interested in. From looking at my resume, it gave me some ideas about how to grow my position. I have the opportunity to really invent things, I think, and break ground in the new media area. But I certainly don't know how to monetize that for the company. I'm trying to think of ways I can excel at what I'm doing, to learn the ropes more aggressively, and break new ground. I have so few peers at my job, so I think I want to seek out more people in my field so I can learn more about the state of the industry. I also did some job searching, for the type of job I would be interested in a year or two from now, since it's understood that my position is not a growth position and would require me to move on. I'm interested in doing qualitative research, like being a moderator or an analyst or what have you. Turns out most of the jobs I found there require much more experience than I have. And some have more quantitative requirements than I would care for. But they seem like they pay well, and most require lots of traveling--which is both a good and a bad thing. I'm really glad that I spent some time--seriously, like an hour max--thinking about my future. It's something I need to do more often and actively, and not out of fear but out of desire for personal growth.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Peaches, Peaches, Peaches!

Now, the slideshow:

Double-click to see the big-screen version with captions

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Brother Visiting!

My brother is in between terms at Colorado Mountain College, so my Mom booked him a ticket out to New York for four days. He got in late Friday night, exhausted. While he actually got here earlier than he was planned for, it was because my Mom put his name down wrong, as Matt S--- Douglas, leading to a huge mess that proved difficult to change because she did it through Expedia.

He finally got here around 11, and we went to Corner Bistro, where we split a Bistro Burger and had a couple McSorley's. Matt's not 21 yet, but he has a fake ID, which apparently was in our home in Seattle. A week before he came, I called up my Mom and asked her to send it to me so we could go into bars, etc. She did so readily, which Matt and I both thought was hilarious. That would NOT have flown when I was twenty and three-quarters. We went to a Belgian Beer Bar, Vol de Nuit, in the Village after, and kind of ambled around looking at all the drunkies.

The next morning we went to Murray's Bagels, then walked down the High Line (which I LOVE). We then proceeded to walk all the way to the tip of Manhattan via the Hudson River Park, in ninety degree heat. I can't believe we did it. I was surprised that Matt was able to stand it, because most visitors aren't used to walking so much and get tired more quickly than the "natives," but Matt's been walking up some big hills, he doesn't have a car, and he's at 6,000 feet, which definitely prepped him for the walk. I checked later and it was about 3 miles--I figure we walked about 4 including our roundabout way and a couple detours.

We then took the Staten Island Ferry, which I had never done before. It leaves every half hour, which is quite convenient. The 3:30 pm ferry was packed with a million tour groups. We had to fight to see the Statue of Liberty. We decided to walk around a bit on Staten Island, but that was a mistake. There was nothing there. He wanted to get a drink in this one pub, a sketchy old man bar, but I knew the Lower East Side awaited so I steered him away. We took the 5pm ferry back to Manhattan.

As I was contemplating how we were going to take the subway to the Lower East Side (there's no direct way), I suddenly saw a sign for the M15 bus, and in a stroke of genius realized it would take us where we needed to go. Fabulous. The cold air zonked Matt out. We grabbed a couple mojitos and some chips and dip at Le Cubain, which just opened, and then Rita arrived just as we were leaving. We decided to go do some more happy hours and then head up to the sushi place by Anna's old apartment that I had never been to but was touted as "good and surprisingly reasonable." We went to Pianos, which was a bit too loud and Matt & Rita accidentally ordered a beer that wasn't in happy hour, that took a couple of tries before the waitress fixed our bill (The magic words: "I think there was a miscommunication..." which I think worked because I didn't assign blame). We then went to Iggy's which was amazing. We had a hilarious bartender (who later gave us his "card") and Rita made friends with the Jewish couple next to us. We ordered some weird shot that the bartender described as a "Red Headed Slut but with x instead of y" don't remember exactly, and Rita was joking that there should be a shot called "Big Jewish" something or the other. They met on Fire Island years ago, and told her that she should go there for the day, at least. We had a few drinks/beers/shots each, and the bar tab was on the high side for my eyes, but I am trying to be better about spending money, so I signed away. We then went up to Sapporo East on 10th and 1st, but first made a detour into a liquour store (my idea...maybe after looking at the bar tab??) to buy some SoCo, and then we bought some cokes at a deli next door. We went into an alley to fill them up. It was amazing. Drunkenness: accomplished. We had to wait about a half hour for a table, so it was good we had some drinks to sip on. We ordered some pretty good rolls and this creamy, warm crab and avocado appetizer thing. I was drunk, happy, and now full. Though I normally cab it or take the subway from there, for some reason all three of us walked home. Rita had forgotten her keys so she slept over. I drank lots of water (It didn't entirely work...).

That morning, at like 8, I looked over and Rita was gone. I thought she was in the bathroom. But then a half hour passed and I realized she went home. I called my phone from Matt's phone, found it, then texted Rita to see if she was okay, to which she responded "No one home but safely eating a sammy in the park." I thought that was ridiculous, and said so. Then I went back to sleep. I woke up a couple times, and eventually realized that we would not be making the 11am tour of the Lower East Side. I eventually roused my brother out of bed. We went to La Bonbonnerie for brunch, a diner that I adore for its surroundings and service more than its food. I ordered the Challah French toast and two eggs (the latter were a little excessive, but I like to get my protein). It was delicious. We then took the A train to Jay St./Borough Hall, and got out and walked to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was so crowded and soooo hot. The views were beautiful. I was pleased that I got to do some new things with my brother--the ferry and the bridge--because as much as I like showing people around, I like doing new things too. We got off the bridge and I got us slightly lost before we veered into Chinatown.

Matt got some inari sushi, which was surprisingly delicious (it's also really cheap--bean curd with rice inside). I got my coconut water, and we got some starburst-like chinese candies that my brother really likes. We wandered into this park in Chinatown that I had never been to before that was really cool. There were a couple bands of musicians playing on all their Chinese instruments. In the park there were all these people playing this game with checkers-like pieces and boards of dots connected by lines, and groups of people would gather around to watch the game. It was about 90% people who live in Chinatown, 10% tourists with guidebooks. Considering Canal Street is about the reverse proportion, it was refreshing to get a sense of this community in an entirely different light. I went to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory to get some red bean ice cream (pretty good, slightly bland), and then we scouted out for bathrooms and settled for a nasty McDonald's. I took Matt to Joe's Shanghai, where I also brought my parents, and we ordered some Soup Dumplings. They seat you at tables with other people you don't know (something that freaked out my Mom the first time we were there). We were sitting with a couple and this single army-looking guy, when a single tourist was seated at our table. She seemed very confused about why she wasn't being seated at an empty table, and introuduced herself and apologized for interrupting. We explained that we all didn't know each other. It was nice to know the rules and be able to explain them--I also like that this place is so friendly to single diners.

It was soo hot, and we were nearing the end of our adventure. We walked up Little Italy briefly, then over a block, where we stumbled upon this Banh Mi place I had heard about but never been to. It's in the back of a jewelery store, and the sandwiches are huge and $3.75 and delicious. Matt and I split one. Mmmm. We then took the subway back, where my brother has proceeded to fall asleep for the past three hours. Mad Men starts in 45 minutes. I can't wait.

Matt leaves Wednesday morning--we're planning on going to a Mets game and spend another evening hanging out with my boyfriend, who was away this weekend at Phish shows. It's supposed to be over 90 again the next couple days. Argh.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mid-weekend Hoegaardens

This is my favorite beer:

I have been drinking it all summer it seems. I have always been a fan of belgian beers, and especially sweet hefeweizens. I'm kind of a Blue Moon person, but I don't like that it's owned by a big brewery (coors). Hoegaarden is the real deal. I just had three in Central Park, courtesy of a $14 deli 6-pack. We went to this free 200 guitars show, but it was so crowded we couldn't even get close enough to see the 200 guitars so we decided to go drink in Central Park on a giant rock. After three beers, I really had to pee, so I also did my first au naturel pee in Central Park. Considering I chased a rat away from that park last week, I didn't feel so bad about peeing underneath a pine tree, especially given Joanna's go-ahead.

Yesterday we went out for happy hour on Smith Street in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. The first bar we went to, in particular, was great. I had an excellent $3 hefeweizen and a $5 moscow mule, which was ginger beer and vodka. We went to a tiki bar afterwards and split a scorpion, which I love because the center lights on fire. Then we went to Gowanus Yacht Club (the name is ironic...) for a final hefeweizen. I hadn't eaten dinner and I got home and ate homemade hummus and leftover microwaved thai food and felt too full (much the way I do tonight, after finishing the rest of the hummus).

I slept almost 11 hours--I think I was a bit sleep-deprived--and hung out, trying to get rid of my headache, for a couple hours. I ate some yogurt and honey and had a fake-bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on wheat bread, along with some iced tea. That started to do the trick.

When I went for a run it was kind of a fail. Turns out that my normal run route was covered with fire trucks, police vehicles, and the like, because a plane collided with a helicopter in the Hudson. Before I left my roommate told me about it, since they had been on the High Line some time after it happened, but I decided to go anyway. I'll admit I was curious about what the rescue operation would look like, and the press, etc. It made for an interesting walk, but my run was cut slightly short.

I also went to the light choice (TLC) for the first time today, and their soft serve is sooo good. I definitely will go back there, especially now that I have subscribed to their twitter feed to get additional discounts. I am such a nerd.

Also, today I bought antlers. I was walking back from my run and one of the brownstones on my block was having a stoop sale (think that's what they call them here). I had just seen an interior design piece that featured antlers, and there was a pair. They were A DOLLAR. I had her save them for me and went back to the apartment to get my wallet. They are now sitting on my shelf, and look so cool!!! She called them "quirky" and they definitely add an unusual feel to my bedroom. Since it's so girly, I think it looks cool to have a slightly masculine accent. And I feel okay about the animal thing since I certainly didn't kill the animal, it doesn't look endangered, and if you do kill an animal you might as well make use of all of it.

Tomorrow I don't have much planned--but still enjoying this fabulous, rather mild August weather.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What would the Central Park rat say?

I just finished one of those fabulous, New York City weekends, the kind where you look at yourself from afar and think how you could be a character in one of those chick lit books or, of course, SATC. I think this was mainly because I managed to maintain a pretty upbeat mood throughout the weekend, and get drunk three times, including twice in one day. Friday I went to my friend Max's birthday party at 675 Hudson, which is in the Meatpacking District, an area I normally avoid due to the preponderance of Jersey girls in stilettos tottering through the streets and a general aura of tooliness. However, this place (the basement of Vento), was trying to be a Lower East Side dive bar. Styled in the same manner as a 1970's rec room, with little alcoves where you could play connect four or board games, it was a fun, chill place. I liked that the alcoves were quieter so you could talk, and then the main area was louder and allowed for some dancing. Despite only know a couple of people, I managed to talk and chat until Julia and her boyfriend and roommate showed up drunk and two and a half hours after I got there. They bought me a drink and I rallied. I made friends with this hipster DJ who lives in Bushwick and had to fend off his advances and let him know I had a boyfriend (He still asked if I wanted "to have some fun.") Silly boy. We ended up the night at around 3 or 3:30 am at Park, another place by me that proved much nicer than expected. It was just the sort of night I would have if I were single, and it was nice to know I could still do that and enjoy it even as part of a couple.

Saturday Jess, Evelyn, and later Julia and I went to Central Park. I brought some hummus and cucumber and a bottle of prosecco, Jess brought wine, and Evelyn brought ciabatta and brie. The hummus was really spicy (Sabra supremely spicy--highly recommend) and it was hot out so I kept on having to drink more wine to get rid of the spiciness. All in all, I ended up quite tipsy. I also successfully chased off a rat--it literally jumped and scampered back into the bushes. Take that, rat. I had never picnicked in Central Park before and I definitely plan to do it again.

After rehydrating, we ended up going out later to Rusty Knot (fake, nautical-themed dive bar--by me :) ) and Tortilla Flats. Fun.

Today Rita came over and we played cards, got bagels at Murray's, and walked on the High Line (LOVE). I went for a run this evening along the Hudson River that left me feeling tired in that really good, refreshed way. I am so happy that this weekend I spent a lot of time with my friends (I love you all!). I've come to realize that I'm a more social person than I thought, and I start to get depressed if I have too much time to myself. Friday night I was not in the mood to go out, but it ended up being so great--I think I need to push myself more to meet up with friends. I'm so lucky to have a manageable work schedule, to the point where I can have more alone time than I want--or time with television/movies/books. I'm seriously getting so bored and sick of all these STORIES. Maybe because it's my job, but I find that I have NO attention span for television or movies (books, more so). I can read newspaper articles still just fine. All the stories can depress me--make me feel like I'm living and experiencing all these other lives when I want to be experiencing MINE.

Eric is coming home tomorrow, so I get to see him after my screening of Julie & Julia (a movie I am quite excited about!)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chicago, Upper Silver Lake, and NYC again

Last week I flew out to Chicago for the week. I went up to Upper Silver Lake in Michigan for most of it. My grandparents have a cottage up there that I've been coming up to since I was a kid, and I hadn't had the chance to visit for two years. That was the highlight of the trip--though I am jealous the 90-100 degree weather in Seattle did go East to Michigan. Although I was limited to my carry-on suitcase, I found some great dishes and a lamp that was TWO DOLLARS. It is an antique milk glass lamp, absolutely gorgeous (though it needs a lampshade, which will cost approximately six times the cost of the lamp, of course). I had been eyeing a lamp that my grandma had like that, so I was thrilled to find my own!

One of the big highlights of the week was my cousins' graduation party. So many of my relatives were there, including ones I hadn't seen for a long time. We kind of grouped off into young and old, and it was fun to talk about more mature things with my cousins and their friends. Growing up I was a couple years (and a few degrees of sheltered) younger than my cousins Katie and Maggie, but now we connect perfectly, which is great. We can just pick up where we left off. My cousin Colleen, who is my age, brought her boyfriend of at least two years (I think three). They both have Down Syndrome, and are a joy to watch together. They were slow dancing in the pool, and just in general really enjoying each other's company. Whenever I see that kind of joy (and how Colleen is so able to brighten my mood), I think about how babies with trisomy 23 are often aborted nowadays. I have really mixed feelings about eliminating people that in my opinion benefit society and bring out the best in people--the ability of those around them to nurture and be compassionate, and the ability of those with Down Syndrome to bring joy to the world by showing us how to revel in its simplicity.

We got to the party at around 5pm, and stayed until 3am. I was shocked. I kept on expecting my Mom to say she was tired and wanted to go home, but I guess the wine and conversation kept her buzzed. When we left, Maggie had already fallen asleep. We seriously were the last people to leave, minus the people who were staying the night. My Mom and some of our relatives got into this long, hilarious, swear-filled diatribe against another one of our relatives right before we left. Kate and I were just laughing in shock. It was worth being tired and hungover the next day on my flight home...

I was so excited to be reunited with Eric. Seriously, it was so great. All week I had been going over our relationship to various relatives, to the point where I was like, is this really how I feel? But being back with him, I was like 'yep.' One of his friends was driving in from Philly so she picked me up from the Marine Air Terminal (a very weird one...) at LaGuardia and we all hung out. I was so dehydrated, and all I could stomach was these amazing New Jersey tomatoes with salt and pepper. I think I ended up eating two tomatoes worth of slices. Amazing. After his friend left Eric made whole red snapper wrapped in all these herbs. I looked on his computer later and he had done all this research about how to tell if the fish was fresh--he bought them in Chinatown for $5 each and apparently there actually was a great degree of difference in freshness. We had that and corn on the cob on the balcony and looked at the city. It was so romantic and I was so happy to be with him again! Later on that evening there was this ridiculous thunderstorm (earlier there was hail). Because it was dark we could see lighting illuminate entire clouds. It was one of the coolest things I'd seen lately. I'm glad I flew in earlier that day...

This week I've been getting back in the swing of things--I went for a run tonight, checked out some books and made plans for a solo weekend (Eric[s in Red Rocks, Colorado :( ). Eric and I booked our flight to COSTA RICA this November (we're going the week of Thanksgiving). I saw Pedro Almodovar's new film Broken Embraces (I like), Funny People (meh), and saw Tim Burton at MoMa. A pretty cool week for work, though I'm waiting to screen footage from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs before I interview the directors, and it's not happening, so I've been idle and dreading the fact that my deadline is getting tighter and tighter, and not being able to do anything about it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No need to cry over Wilco; Schroon Lake!

It was funny that Laura posted about being crazy emotional last week. Because yesterday I did that too. And although the level of crying was pretty exceptional, now that I think about it, I have been prone to crying spells, even after I thought I had adjusted to the bc pills. They all feel pretty justified, though, so I'm not sure if it's me or the hormones, or just specific situations I've been in lately. I tend to cry not when something sad happens or if I get hurt, but when I am frustrated or feel helpless or in sympathy to some injustice.

Anyway, one of my pet peeves is lateness. I have gotten in fights with people over being late, because I think it's rude and disrespectful and I also really worry about missing things if I am not somewhere on time, and I hate waiting awkwardly alone by myself. Waiting sucks. So I don't even feel like re-hashing the whole situation, but it involved me waiting for someone, her being significantly late, which made us in turn miss the three other people we were supposed to meet underground in the subway where there was no cell phone access. When we finally got in cell phone touch, my boyfriend started yelling at me (before I handed it off to my friend) and made me think they had in fact waited for us, and we had left without them.

And then, I was sobbing on the subway. I couldn't stop, and then I felt so embarrassed I was crying more. I had actually been trying to be more patient for people lately, and cutting them some slack before I started to get angry, and this had utterly backfired. And I had waited pointlessly, since she was in the bleacher section and I was on the floor, so it didn't even matter if we met up. I think part of the reason I cried so much was because I really needed some kind of expulsion of emotion, and the only other alternative was to yell at my friend, and I just couldn't do that.

So the actual concert (yes, that's where I was going) was fun. Eric & I ended up being by ourselves for the opening set of Yo Lo Tengo, and he really cheered me up, and then two other people showed up and my other friend and all was well. Wilco put on a good show. I like their more lyrical songs, of which they only played a few (maybe there only are a few). Feist and Grizzly Bear showed up towards the end to sing and do maracas, etc. (more indie bands that I actually like a bit more...). The show was at Coney Island, where I'd never been, so we went down to the water after the concert which was fun, and went for a second round of Nathan's, getting a fish platter and a softshell crab sandwich. When I arrived before the show I had part of a cold chili dog (the casing is very firm and you have to punch your teeth through it) and this huge super-size beer that Eric bought. I was surprised that I wasn't hungry after the show (though of course I nibbled on our food), until I saw the posted calorie counts for the beer. The one I had before the show was over 600 calories!! Most chain New York City restaurants are required to do that now, but since I don't frequently eat in chains I haven't seen the damage. Lordy. I can't believe beer is so caloric.

I had a big breakfast today but no lunch...still recovering from a long weekend of overeating.

But, before it becomes too late: Fourth of July at Schroon Lake!!
Eric and I made some last-minute plans for the Fourth last weekend, and came up with an amazing rate for a one-bedroom cottage ($240 for three nights, when normally it goes for at least double). His family friend let us borrow their car, so we took the NJ Transit out to pick it up and made the four-ish hour drive up. We got there at 1am, and almost went into the wrong cabin.

The cottage was decorated the way all cottages should: lots of wildlife references, hand-me-down style furniture and glasses, and wood paneling. It was awesome. We went to some random diner (Black Bear) in the morning, and picked up groceries and alcohol for the trip.

Friday and Saturday (the 4th) were both iffy, weather-wise. The skies would be blue, but every time a huge cumulus cloud would come over, the temperature would drop noticeably. It also rained on and off. Friday night Eric made ribs on the grill, we had some drinks, and went out in a rowboat. There was some kind of Christian Rodeo going on that we could hear from the lake, and we got quite a giggle out of that. And did a little making out, etc., on the lake, in the rowboat, which was wonderful and romantic.

Saturday and Sunday morning we ate breakfast on the deck by the water (bagels one day, eggs the other). On the Fourth of July, Eric made burgers that were the BEST EVER. They were soooo good. We had to use our neighbor's grill because ours wasn't getting hot enough, but in the process they complimented our idea to grill the onions (so necessary) and invited us out on their boat the next day. Fabulous. The night of the fourth it was FREEZING outside. No longer raining so much, but so incredibly cold. I bundled up in front of the fire Eric made for awhile as it got dark, and then he was all childlike and anxious over the fireworks so we went to this park area where we had seen some fireworks the night before. Unfortunately, we couldn't see the town's fireworks from that vantage point, but luckily some pyro teenagers and perhaps their parents had their own fireworks show. I love fireworks shows done homestyle, because people are generally more appreciative, you're RIGHT THERE, and there's always pyro people laughing and saying "dude, that was awesome."

When we got back we made s'mores. Yum. And no mommy telling me how many s'mores to have.

Sunday the weather was fabulous. Eric had been wanting me to play hooky from work on Monday, but I am against using sick days unless you are actually sick (guilt/superstition), and we were closing a big issue and I had stories due. I am actually happy we ended there on such a fabulous, sunny (and for me, sunburned note).

The man next door and his family had been coming to the lake their whole lives, so they took us on a tour and explained all about the area, pointed out places they had stayed, and all the awesome lake houses. One had a water trampoline and one of those air-filled pillow launchers, multiple jet-skis and other boat toys, and a fleet of white SUVs in their driveway. There was something about the white SUVs that really pushed everything over-the-top. Did their family coordinate or something?

I took off my cast and swam that afternoon, which was great, until we asked our neighbors if we could use the water trampoline and I accidentally did a butt jump and supported weight with my hand. It HURT so badly, and I was so upset with injuring myself more. I had to get out of the water a bit after that.

I had such an amazing time with Eric. We got along well the whole time (I think we might have had like a thirty-minute period of disagreement--oh, and did I mention we handled a flat tire (our second) successfully?). The lake was so quiet and romantic and it got me excited for my upcoming trip to Chicago and Michigan, where my grandparents have a cottage on a lake. I didn't think I really needed to get away, but I am so glad that we went. It was just so much fun!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sad face :(

I've been kind of depressed the past couple of days. Normally I relish solitude and alone time, but if I suddenly have a lot of free time after being crazy busy, I just feel lost and depressed.

Added to that: I have been in physical pain all week after a rollerblading accident, unable to do things that would have distracted me, and Eric is gone at Bonaroo for a week, making me even more lonely.

The accident: I adore Hudson River Park, and was rollerblading on my new, fast rollerblades. It was extremely crowded. There are all these sewer grates you need to swerve around, and at every pedestrian crossing there are bricks, some of which you can glide right over, and others that are basically 19th century cobblestones due to wear. I approached a crosswalk (at 34th st) going too fast, which I knew, because I saw a rollerblader on my right who had totally stopped and was going around it. In retrospect, I would have tried to do a U-ie stop even if I had to cut off bikers, etc., going in the other direction. But I didn't. I decided to brace myself and plow right through. But the next thing I knew I flew forward, banana-peel style, landing on my butt and tailbone, and had broken my fall with my right (a bit) and my left (a lot) wrist. I lay there in shock for a minute or so, dumbly nodding when people asked if I was okay, then went over to a park bench for another few minutes before the pain and a vague stress/shock related queasiness passed.

I iced and was super careful (though I forgot about my tailbone, and thus had a hard time walking the next few days--I have huge bruises on my ass, including a big purple one that's half-hidden and my boyfriend at first thought was poo (haha)). I was going to just deal, based on what my Dad told me, however, on the advice of my co-workers and gchatters, who regaled me with horror stories about permanent loss of function, I went in. I actually had an incredible health care experience (all the doctors I see make me wait forever, and my GP just gives me referrals, and I am still mad at my gyno for totally ignoring my requests for generic b.c., so now I am on a pill that costs me three times as much but works so now I don't want to switch).

I found the Beth Israel orthopedists, called the hand/wrist line, they said they could squeeze me in THAT MORNING, I waited less than fifteen minutes, had a really professional doctor. The walls were like The Palm, covered with autographs of famous hockey players, actors, and politicians. Crazy. I found out I broke a small bone in my left hand, my palm really, and I needed to wear an immobilizer for 5-6 weeks. Yesterday I went in for a CT scan (again, very professional and quick) which confirmed. In a way, my Dad was right, because if I had done nothing and used the immobilizer I also would have gotten better, but I might have ended up going in anyway when it didn't get better right away. I have trouble pressing the shift and control button with my pinky and then hitting another button to capitalize or whatever, but I've been adapting. Already the pain has gone down a lot, and I'm hoping next week I can run without killing my tailbone area. I tried to put my gym membership on hold but that has been so much phone tag, etc., so I'm frustrated about that.

And I miss Eric. We hung out Monday before he left, but we've only texted a few times, and I had to be like "call me, I want to hear about the trip," which he did almost immediately after I asked. But what I really want is someone to take care of me :( :(

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Parents, meet New York City

My parents finally visited this weekend, after living in NYC for a year and a half. Neither of them had really been to NYC before (my Mom twice, my Dad NEVER!!!!! Can you believe it? And he's actually decently well-traveled), so I think a lack of familiarity, work obligations, cost (since they had to stay in a hotel instead of with me), and my brother still living at home were factors that prevented them from visiting me. Actually, it was probably my brother, since they booked a ticket within a month of him leaving. Ha. Oh! and the boyfriend. They definitely wanted to investigate once they found out I had a boyfriend. As if I weren't reason enough!!

They stayed at The Benjamin Hotel on 50th and Lex, which turned out to be a great choice since it's right by the E and the 456 trains. I really wanted them to stay somewhere nice, and thanks to priceline it was super affordable...though they had to upgrade when I wanted to stay with them, oops, so that might have brought them back to normal.

We did so much. Thursday they flew in and we had dinner, with my boyfriend, as Sip Sak. The food was incredible - I had some kind of lamb thing over smoked eggplant puree, incredible appetizers, and turkish wine, and they got to meet Eric.

I stayed with them that night, and Friday we went to Murray's Bagels (by me) for breakfast, then I showed them my apartment. I had talked it down so much, they were like "This is SO nice!" I was hoping they would think it was worse since I am sick of how small it is, but whatever.

Then we went through Chelsea Market, got some Amy's Bread and a Wich Craft brownie, and after I wanted to show them the High Line, which is this park built on an elevated train track. Turns out it's not open yet, but we went up to the third floor of The Standard, which is very chic and modern and has these weird art elevators that make it seem like you're going to heaven or hell depending on if you're going up or down, to take a look at what it will be like.

It was a bit misty, and we walked south on the Hudson River Park, through Battery Park City, literally all the way to the World Trade Center. This is like a few miles. A long walk. My Dad took all these pictures, because whatever, he wanted to do it, then we did more Wall Street looking around, then hopped a cab to Chinatown to eat at Joe's Shanghai. On the way there, we were stuck behind Prince Harry's motorcade! (I'm foreshadowing here, because the Prince will return.)

Had some delicious soup dumplings, some coconut water from the street, then we headed back to the hotel for a bit, had a glass of wine, then grabbed some halal cart before we saw In the Heights. After the play, I was starving, not having eaten much halal, so we got some banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery (I have already researched the recipe to make myself) and some pizza. Night!

Saturday, we met Eric for brunch at Shopsin's, this famous place, now in Essex Market, for its grumpy chef and huge menu with unlikely pairings. I had some coconut pancakes with an egg burrito that had cranberry salsa on top (sooo good). I also ate some of Eric's pancakes. The slutty cakes (pumpkin, peanut butter, pistachios, cinnamon) were outrageously good, as were there cinnamon raisin apple pancakes that appeared to have been soaked in cinnamon sugar liquid until they were plump and delicious.

Eric played tour guide for awhile, showing them around. My feet were hurting and I was super hot in my tight jeans (both ways, I assure you), so we went back to Eric's apartment. I did NOT really want my parents coming up there, both because I think Eric has bachelor pad shabbiness (though an incredible, spacious apartment, balcony, and view. I am so tough), and because I have a lot of stuff around there and didn't care for the allusion to sex (we don't talk that much about that stuff, though my mother did make veiled references until I finally had to tell her I am on birth control. Lawd.). However, he sent them to the East River Park first, we had a bit of cleanup/alone time, and all was well.

Then we decided to go to Governor's Island. There's a free ferry, you can walk around, nice little views. We go. There's a huge backup, and tons of police, so my Mom asks why. Well, we're right by a heliport and President Obama is coming this evening. Wow.

Then we just make the ferry, and get off, to find out there's a polo match going on for Prince Harry's charity. We watch the Prince play some polo, then walk around the blisteringly hot island. As we're going around the back, we run into tons of VIPs (I later find out Madonna, Kate Hudson, et al were there, but I didn't see them in their hats and sunglasses). Nice.

We go to Agave in the Village for dinner, and there are all these NYPD helicopters around. The Obamas (who were dining at Blue Hill before going to Joe Turner's Come and Gone). Walk around the West Village, drowsy from margaritas, sleep.

Sunday! Go to a diner, EJ's Luncheonette, on the Upper West Side, then meander around Central Park for hours. Go on a tour. Central Park is BIG! I get a little cranky from the heat and my feet hurt. Resolve to go to the gym more often.

We go back to the hotel for some wine, then head down to Otto for dinner. I had this delicious shaved fennel pizza that I ordered, then some puttanesca and a margherita that my parents ordered. And some amazing gelato for dessert. My parents walked me back to my apartment, where I slept that night, and I did some heavy relaxing. I met them the next day for lunch, we went to Baogette for some banh mis (I think I converted them. Try them! Spicy Vietnamese sandwiches. They are amazing).

I very much enjoyed doing nothing Monday night.

Friday, May 15, 2009

New York City, filming hot spot

There have been SO many films shoots taking place recently. I suppose that many projects have been waiting for slightly warmer weather to start shooting, but on my block alone, West 15th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue, there have been three film shoots in the past month. First, there was the "Untitled Nora Ephron Project," which was shooting in Chelsea Market. According to a crew member I asked, the film is set in LA. Fancy that.

Next, there was The Baster, which stars Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston. For that shoot, I actually had to wade through some paparazzi on the way back from the supermarket. Kind of exciting, I suppose. I have no idea where they’re filming, though, since it seems my block is more of a parking lot for star trailers than an actual shooting location. I saw The Baster a couple days later on my way home from work, shooting deeper in the West Village, so I’m sure at least a couple of recognizable locations will be in the works.

Earlier this week, I saw some kind of production that was like “Obsession” or some kind of lustful, packed noun. They were setting up the camera (in the rain  ) when I left for work so I felt kind of bad.

Then yesterday and today I saw Twelve shooting. On Sunday night, walking home from the F train, I saw The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. They were shooting a car chase scene on 14th St, and even though it was 11pm the whole area was lit up with film lights, there were TWO cranes (i.e. very expensive). I walked home alone 15th st, and saw all the cars they must have been using (or were about to use) for shooting. There were some sick Ferraris, Mercedes, and a bunch of taxis. It was pretty cool, and a lot of people were taking camera phone pictures. Last week a car chase in Times Square went awry and injured a couple people, so I'm glad that they weren't filming anything when I was walking by.

On my walk to work over the past month, I’ve also seen police officers towing cars for an upcoming shoot of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (which, like The Baster, I saw a few days later parked in a different location) and “Ugly Betty.”

I can’t quite figure out why I’ve been seeing so many more productions lately. I definitely think that there are more than usual on my own block than last year, since that is something I certainly would have noticed. But I’m sure my tendency to walk instead of take the subway now that I don’t have a monthly pass, as well as my walk to work, has added to the amount of productions I see in action. Since I’m involved in film myself, I love to see all the shoots going.

New York City’s prominence in movies and television, as well as books, is part of the reason I moved here. I liken the experience of moving to NYC, and experiencing all the places I had seen in the movies, to drinking alcohol for the first time, where I was like, “so THIS is what drinking is like!” and proceeded to try to figure out how Hemingway and Fitzgerald could write drunk, which at the time, especially, seemed absolutely bonkers to me. One part I had never picked up in all the references to drinking was that it felt good. It didn’t just make you slur your words and stumble and say stupid things and ease tension, it felt good. In a specific way that you could only understand after being drunk yourself. Similarly, living in NYC is like the movies in some ways, but also so utterly different, that the only way to really understand is to go there and live there yourself.

I still get a pleasure seeing areas I know on film. I rewind my DVR or movie to pinpoint the location exactly, and press freeze to see if I can make out the cross streets. Reality shows, in particular, seem to love the Meatpacking district, which is right around the corner from me. “The City,” “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” and “Stylista” have all used locations just blocks from me. This is what I love about New York City, knowing that I am living on a “set.” Knowing that where I live has been documented and glamorized, whether it's fact or fiction, makes everything so much more awe-inspiring.

Living in New York City is, more accurately, a mix of awe and practicality. Most days I'm dashing by the beautiful buildings and cafes, but every once in awhile I look up, like a tourist, and see everything in a different light. I can walk around with a little spring in my step, and a small smirk of superiority, when I see the Sex and the City bus tour parked around the corner outside of Buddakan, or when I watch Made of Honor, and Patrick Dempsey drives up to the Starbucks on my way to work. And parks. What is he, crazy? Has the movie abandoned all claim to realism? (unfortunate answers: yes, and yes). I love living in a place that's simultaneously a fantasy and a reality, a cultural zeitgeist, and a place that everyone seems to want to make her own.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why I Love New York: Morning Walk to Work

It's finally starting to get nice out. One of the coolest things about New York City is my walk to work. The experience is much more sensory than being in an air conditioned, weatherproof box with piped music--no smells, no faces to look at, no freezing cold, icy rain, or that great balmy feeling of spring. In the morning I always see kids on their way to school (including Sarah Jessica Parker taking her kid to school sometimes, if I'm running late), people walking their dogs (the pee smells TERRIBLE in the summer). On garbage day it also smells terrible, but walking along west 9th st I see the most gorgeous things put out to the curb--if only I had room!

I've also observed the financial crisis. Suddenly, this winter, I saw "Townhouse for Sale" and "For Rent" show up on many private residences. Now, stores are closing. A children's clothing store closed, a woman's boutique shut down, a bath store looks to be in dire straits, and Flight001 keeps on advertising their sales. Balducci's (gourmet grocery store) is closing this week, and I can't think of another thing that can go in the amazing neoclassical building--how many grocery stores have columns, marble, and painted ceilings?

I'm under the impression that until maybe the 1950s, when everything suburbanized, many people would walk to work. I strongly believe that walking to and from work--instead of spending an hour behind the wheel--brought down obesity and stress rates in society. By the time I walk to work, I'm ready and alert. I don't need coffee right away. If I've been feeling stressed during the work day, that twenty minute walk home provides me with a chance to unwind. Since it's the 21st century, I often make phone calls to friends and family. I run errands. I walk. The slight uptick in my weight due to my boyfriend's rich food and birth control notwithstanding, I gradually went from tight-fitting pants to loose pants since I've started the job. Nothing major, but it's positively impacted my well-being. I feel happy and well-connected. I'm not isolated from my world, but experiencing its weather, its sounds, smells, and people. While I've heard that walking in the city is more stressful than walking in nature (and I totally believe that), I can vouch for the fact that walking in the city is WAY better than driving on a highway. My summer of Los Angeles commutes just killed me. I love my commute, and you can check it out on google maps here:

View Larger Map

Monday, April 6, 2009

A feisty weekend

Had a nice, fabulous weekend with the bf. Despite a nagging cold that left me tired and periodically napping/apologizing for being tired and saying 'no' to everything/unattractively blowing my nose, we really packed things in!

Friday I napped, then went over to bf's house. It was late and I was feeling very low blood sugar so we just had some whole foods artichokes with aioli on french bread, and I had some prepared blood orange ham he had bought. Normally we cook together so this was a bit of a change. Later I ate the rest of his haagen dazs. I am evil.

Saturday we hung out, then went and walked over to Chinatown for some dim sum. I have always wanted to do dim sum, but was under the impression that you needed a lot of people. Untrue. We went to a pretty low-key place, ordered maybe 5-7 dishes, random dumplings and some beef noodles. Eric ordered a couple of fried things that were cold, so I totally won in the ordering department. Fried shrimp wrapped in bacon just isn't that good cold. Due to my cold, I drank pretty much the whole pot of tea. Overall, the place wasn't stellar, but I tried something new that I liked (siu mai: open shrimp and pork dumplings) and we took cute photos of each other. And after that, because we are huge gluttons around each other, we went to Doughnut Plant, which has these amazing gourmet donuts. I like cake ones, so I got a strawberry (REAL strawberry pieces included) glazed cake donut and Eric got the blackout. I was desperately consuming sugar in an attempt to stay awake.

Eric had been emailing people on craigslist to get last-minute tickets to Prarie Home Companion that evening at Town Hall in the theater district. At the last minute, he got them for $20 each (much less than the $67 each face, plus those random fees). We high-tailed it but it took almost ten minutes for us to get a cab. We ended up taking one of those fake cabs. Usually they rip you off but when I said $15 he agreed. Times must be tough. Eric gave him $20 anyway. We were 15 minutes late to the show, which started at 5:45, but got there just in time for the real radio show to start up. It was kind of funny because all the skits/songs were about life in New York (I was particularly fond of a song called 'coffee') and one of the couples skits was so like us it was funny, we kept on looking at each other laughing.

Then we went home and made some shrimp scampi and I watched a Bobby Flay on Pad Thai since I had just made it last week and was curious about the sauces they would use. And went to bed early because we WERE GOING HIKING TOMORROW.

Eric's friend picked us up a little after 8am (he's a trader and has to get up early, and apparently that extends to the weekend). It was nice tunes and smooth sailing up to Bear Mountain. His friend Joe was telling us about a grilled cheese restaurant he's in the process of opening so I put in my two cents (of course). The day was absolutely gorgeous and one of the warmest this spring, but the real reason I was sweating 10 minutes into our hike was because a) we were going up a STEEP mountain, b) I was carrying a cup of coffee, c) I was wearing Eric's fleece and fleece gloves. There were some gorgeous views of the Hudson River, and we climbed over 1,000 feet, and celebrated with these huge, New Jersey sandwiches that were truly out of this world. Fresh mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, turkey. Yum. I had some of the Italian red meat sandwich Eric had and it was delicious but I am glad I didn't have to eat that whole thing. On the way down we basically had to scramble down all these rocks, just huge slabs of rock you had to count on your rubber shoes to grip you so you wouldn't fall down. I am SO glad that we didn't come up that way. I would have died. I was incredibly exhausted, and because Joe lived in New Jersey he dropped us off at the train station on the way home since it was easier for him. We took a brief ride, then got on the subway, so it took an extra hour just to go through the city. Always funny how that works--once you get to the huge, dense mass of people you can only go so fast through it. We relaxed for a few hours, then I walked over to my book club.

Evelyn, Jess, Anna, and Julia were there when we arrived. It was at this nice, new bar called the Donnybrook (on the Lower East Side), that has an English/Irish pub theme going, a little white illuminated light by the stairs that says W.C., etc.. They don't have a kitchen yet so Julia brought some banana bread, which I thought was really nice of her. Rita and Sahar showed up a bit later. Our discussion was great--we read three short stories, one by Poe, one by Kafka, and one by Woody Allen. I have been lacking for mental stimulation and all three of these were the brain exercise I needed--and discussing them was so much fun. I ended up staying almost three hours. Our talk devolved into a little bit of that Sex and the City-type discussion, and snippets included: gynecologists, and why some of them stick their fingers up your butt, why someone thinks her ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend is faking cancer to get him back with her, how our health center used to think all the young black women needed to be tested for AIDS since "sooo many young black women have AIDS," what we were talking about while drunk two weeks ago during St. Patrick's Day, and surely a few other tidbits that made us decide that this was why our book club was going to remain all women. It was absolutely hilarious, and even though people were coming and going we always felt like we had a cohesive group. I'm looking forward to many more book clubs. I brought Rita back to Eric's because she had bought me my Hoegarten but we had stopped after one round. We had some leftover shrimp scampi, chili, and some candied/crystallized ginger that Eric had made while I was gone. It was really good, nice strong grown-up candy, and I definitely want to learn how to make it.

And today? I didn't bring an umbrella to work, and my oatmeal exploded in the microwave, twice, leaving me with a very small breakfast, that I supplemented with candied ginger. Yoga tonight, DVR, and lots, lots of sleep.

Monday, March 30, 2009

As the pendulum swings!

I totally called this. The Huffington Post (which I don't read), the website that writes about originally researched news articles and explains them the way your friend would: opinionated, with a point of view, will now CREATE journalism.

Awhile back, as I was thinking of the future of my job, and the tension right now between blogs and newspapers. The problem is that newspapers put a lot of time and money into their articles, and then earn money through subscribers and ad revenues. Blogs put very little time and money into their pieces, but can turn a profit by writing "voiced" opinions of the news.

I predicted that blogs would cannibalize on newspapers until they no longer existed, and there was no more original content to mine. Then, in order to survive themselves, they would need to come up with original ideas themselves. With journalism and its big budgets already flaming out, the new projects would be on a smaller and more manageable scale (or, in this twist, funded by a non-profit). Journalism will rise from the ashes; a baby instead of a Jabba the Hut, overgrown menace.

I see this happening more than once, as blogs struggle with the investments they must make to create original content, that in turn are cannibalized by other blogs. There will definitely be a few pendulum swings before everything settles. I even see subscriber-based New York Times as within purview; I know personally I cannot live without my newspaper, and if the subscription is cheap and information again becomes barrier-based, I will need to pay money to cross the barrier.

Oh, journalism.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Goal: improve elderly-level memory

I've felt like I've been getting dumber for some time now, in a very specific way. This blog post today on the NY Times, about working memory, nailed it.

-I find myself thinking of something to say and then forgetting it: I can't hold a thought in my mind.

-I find it difficult to hold a thought in my mind in order to mull it over.

-I find myself having trouble remembering basic things, and must Google them.

These are all working memory problems. Thankfully, just as it can slip easily (or so it seems to me) it can also be regenerated with some effort. I think my problem with working memory is exacerbated by certain personality/lifestyle attributes.

-I'm no longer in college anymore, forced to do these things.

-I drink and smoke and sometimes try to hold intellectual discussions while doing both of these things (although don't know if I'll give up the wine at the book club, I think that actually still comes out a net positive)

-I am selectively stimulated in my new job. I miss interacting with people, which I don't do as much, and throwing ideas off of them. I can't be awesome in a vacuum. (ha, ha) I need to talk things out. It's annoying, because my job requires the skills I feel are slipping, but it doesn't nurture them, especially given my blog/RSS feed addiction. I totally overcheck those sites instead of working.

I feel like the best analogy is diving, where you need to be incredibly fit and flexible to dive, but actually diving does not work you intensively and long enough in order to make you more fit and flexible. You have to go elsewhere to improve yourself.

I think it's going to be my goal to improve my working memory and the depth of my thoughts.
This is going to include:

-yoga, which I do already. My instructor the other day mentioned that people who practice yoga are more mindful and listen to people when they speak to them. It requires focus and concentration, and it also decreases stress, etc., and a host of other things.

-intensive exercise. and figure out a way to get back into the water. I need to increase blood flow, push myself, and just feel activated and invigorated. I've been running on the treadmill at the gym, and I'm excited to go outside and run and rollerblade once it gets warmer.

-purposely check the ADD tendencies

-be selective about multitasking. Even listening to music, gchatting/working, etc., can be bad when I need to focus. Doing mindless work while listening to "This American Life" (which I do sometimes when I have to do data entry) is okay. And apparently doodling while thinking about something improves concentration, so situationally-dependent multitasking is okay.

-limit the amount of times I check RSS feeds. I will say this yet again.

-DISCIPLINE myself. Just because it crosses my mind to check a blog/email/bank account/that one thing/etc. DOES NOT MEAN I NEED TO DO IT THAT SECOND. More likely, I am stuck on a sentence and want to avoid it rather than buckle down and think of an answer. Knuckle down. It's my new motto.

Of course, it should be mentioned that I am doing this as I prepare to write a 2,000 word piece essentially straight through, due to my procrastination yesterday. Still, I think this was a good piece of time to set aside and think about ways that I have lapsed as of late and ways that I can fix them and be happier and smarter and more engaged in everyday life.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Why abortion is murder I am okay with

The inspiration for this post comes from two things: one, the documentary I am in the middle of watching, Lake of Fire, and two, the fact that I just read The Easter Parade and a character starts to write an article about her duo of abortions but stops.

I think abortions are an incredibly tricky issue. I have been pro-choice from day one, and while I haven't wavered from that stance, my reasons for staying on this side of the debate have changed drastically.

Here's the first one: I do think that abortion is killing something, so essentially I condone murder. Before, I didn't think of a fetus as alive, just a mass of cells, even though I have seen jarred fetuses before. While watching Lake of Fire right now, they opened a scene with a glass cylinder with a tube attached, kind of a permanent, glass IV. The movie is black and white, but the cylinder abruptly filled with a fluid that could only have been bloody, pulverized mass. The camera pans right, and you see a vagina with a tube inside it. The doctor says, "It's over," and pulls out the speculum-like thing inside the vagina. Twenty weeks.

Then, because the girl was so far along, he puts the bloody mixture on a metal screen, and rinses much of it with water. He tweezes out a foot, an arm, part of the torso and head. He needs to make sure all of the baby got out for the woman's health. It's like a puzzle, like panning for gold.

That's the first operation like that I've ever seen. I assume it's dilation & extraction (or evacuation), the most common abortion procedure. I paused the doc (which, by the way, seems more pro-choice than pro-life) and immediately googled pictures of fetuses, thinking about what I would do if I were in such a situation.

It's hard. I definitely believe there is life in an unborn child, but it's a twilight life, and in between murder. The child is more alive than not, but its first breath, its integration into Earth, and being held and accepted makes it perhaps no more alive, but its existence more real and visceral.

Whenever I think of the question "When does life begin?" I think of a practice of a culture (I've forgotten which one) I studied. The babies there are not named until the seventh or tenth day. If they die before that time, they are treated differently, because they are not fully alive. To me, this seems like a practical way to deal with a high rate of infant mortality, a way to minimize the emotional impact of stillbirths and babies that die shortly after childbirth. It also shows me the range of where "life" begins. Some think it happens even before the egg is fertilized. Some think a soul is floating out there before that. Some it's at birth, some it's at conception.

I think of the legality of abortion, philosophically, as utilitarian. One is able to create more good for the mother at a time one can conveniently distance oneself from what you are truly doing. I think there are circumstances under which almost anyone would murder someone, and the unformed, unknown entity of a fetus is a particularly apt candidate. If murder is simply saying yes, pressing a button (and we know how easy that is to 'execute' from the Holocaust), then many people would do it. And do it.

Here's another thing. Even pro-lifers often hesitate when you ask the question, "If abortion were made illegal, what would you recommend as a punishment for women who have abortions [commit murder]?" No one asks for the death penalty, or even life in prison. They want the woman to recognize what she has done, to repent, to realize she has committed a sin and killed an unborn child. Which almost makes me think that they view abortion as grey murder themselves.

It's difficult to know what one would do in a situation of an unexpected pregnancy. I believe that I would seek an abortion, especially given my current situation, but I think I would also believe that I was doing something wrong and in fact selfish, and putting my needs above that of the other life. Although I think that knowing that I would not be able to provide for my child would make me feel less selfish, and more a statement of my cruel and cold practicality. I also think that if I had one abortion, I would be less inclined to have a second.

Anyway, I find the process of abortion horrific and a sad but necessary part of American society. As long as the right to choose is safe, I actually have an incredibly amount of sympathy for many pro-lifers, especially the ones without the crazy talk about a woman's place and whatnot.

Friday, March 6, 2009

One month

So I've been dating this boy for one month now, today actually, though I'm not really the type to keep track and celebrate that kind of thing. I like him. After our first weekend together we said we wouldn't date anyone else, which is essentially a bf/gf relationship. But I'm still scared to call him my b*******d. I've tried throwing the word around, and I like the idea of shouting it out from the rooftops in the abstract (i.e. facebook, where all those ex-hookups can see and hopefully be jealous), but the idea of introducing him to strangers as my boyfriend freaks me out. I mean, I guess I'm comfortable having close friends know, but I think what I must be scared of is how I judge couples. I always evaluate to see if they are a good match, if one of them seems to be dating down or up, what they see in each other. I also look at how confident a couple seems with each other, which can influence my judgment, making me care less or care more about a quality that, unmediated, would have a very clear reaction in me.

Anyway, I think I'm almost ready. Soon, soon.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Johari Window freaks me out

I just learned what the Johari window was, and found it radical (as I do many things in psychology) in taking its premise for granted. I guess what I mean by that is that I still have a problem with psychology explaining the human brain so scientifically.

Here's a Johari Window:

As some may know, I am obsessed by the idea that I am secretly retarded (a flip way of putting it). If I had one secret power, it would be to read people's minds. There are a million reasons for this, that I don't particularly feel like unfolding in a blog post, but it has led me to do and say some pretty silly things. Laura, remember how I used to make you write letters listing all my flaws? I'm laughing out loud just thinking about that. Now that I know about this nifty square, I can just say that I am obsessed with the "blind spot." Nice to have a name for this, huh? I guess this is what they call an heuristic...

Apparently, from my googling, the Johari window is very popular among workplace psychologists, you know, when people have no idea that they are doing a poor job or everyone hates them...

Also, to figure out my blind spot, I found this online thing. You should follow the link and name five adjectives that describe me--I'm curious to find my "blind spot."

Also, rather fittingly, I'm listening to Lady GaGa sing "Poker Face"
p.s. Her album is a Britney Spears level of awesome.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Orgasms N Exercise!

So while reading the NY Times Sunday Magazine article about the science of female desire last week, I saw a brief link to orgasm-like feelings after exercise (sadly, since I no longer have access to Wesleyan's medical journal descriptions, I can't read it--I got into reading medical journal articles when I took this one epidemiology class).

I WISHIWISHWISH I could read about this! People talk about running "highs" or whatever, and that's true, but calling something a "high" is a pretty neutral term. YES, it can refer to drug use, but NO, it doesn't conjure up a full-body orgasm or anything. Looking at the abstract more closely, it appears that exercising made people more responsive to sexual imagery, but it wasn't due to the hormonal changes they thought.

As a swimmer, and especially a distance swimmer, I've had times where I inexplicably felt really, really, really good while exercising. It's a giddiness, a euphoria. It matches, but is qualitatively different, to times where I've felt euphoric from caffeine, alcohol, getting really good results on my AP tests in the mail, and, although it's been awhile, sex. I imagine this is under-researched because it's a personal, not shared emotion. While your teammate is in agony it's a bit alienating to slur out "I feel soooo good right now! I'm totally high off this ridiculously hard set!"

While I've had warm fuzzy feelings during exercise and after---usually it takes pretty strenuous exercise to induce it--I have particularly strong memories from my senior year water polo season. Maybe because at that point I'd sampled the various sources of euphoria, I had a different sense of contextualization that made full-body pleasure seem like a simile to orgasm. Anyway, we would have these two-hour, strenuous practices, then I would have to dash over with wet hair (15 minute walk, which I know now from living in New York is 3/4 of a mile) to catch one of the bajillion screenings I had for my Senior Film Seminar. So while changing/walking over/before starting the movie, there were a few times where I felt REALLY, REALLY good. Just like dreamy, stupid smiley, and good allll over. It radiated from me and kind of draped over me and either made the whole world look like Willy Wonka or made me super ebullient and wanting to share my good mood with someone. Kind of like a certain variety of orgasm, but so so much longer lasting. And also kind of like the Little Match Girl before she freezes to death in the snow.

So, while people don't really talk about random acts of euphoria (I contemplated telling my classmates that I felt orgasmic, but reconsidered) unless you're, of course, having sex, it's interesting to see that something so wholesome, like exercise, can produce such a profound reaction in the body. I LOVE it. And what better place to talk about it than in the frankness of the blogosphere?

I felt something like that today, walking home after I interviewed my first movie director over the phone. I had been so nervous, and then it went really well, and I just felt giddy and happy and relieved and it all felt so good.

I think this might mean I'm becoming happier in general.

And do you know what--I've been feeling a lot happier lately, and I've also been doing much more strenuous exercise. Although I've been walking to and from work for five months now (that's 2 miles a day, provided it's not raining really hard or I don't take the subway to a screening after work), and doing yoga a couple times a week, it's only now that I've started running (20+ minutes on a treadmill; funny...that was how long the test subjects were on there...) that my body has really been activated and made use of those pleasure centers (in order to help with the pain of getting back in shape?).

I really like the idea of the body as a machine. I think it's empowering, healthy, etc.. Noticing such a big difference in mood, I definitely think I will work to keep this gym habit going.