Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Statue of Liberty from Governor's Island

Back in the summery weather, Eric and I went by bike to Governor's Island (you take a little ferry) and lounged about in some awesome hammocks they have at the farthest point. I took this using the Hipstamatic app on the iPhone, which makes these old-fashioned photos.

I love Governor's Island...especially when it involves hammock cuddling with a significant other.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Busy Bees

The past couple of weekends have been really busy in a good way.

Two weekends ago, I went up to Red Hook, New York, for Freedom Fest 3 (for which Eric's friend created a website). It was basically a mini-wedding. They rented this huge, awesome house with a giant in-ground pool and 12-person indoor hot tub. There was a big white tent, a Grateful Dead cover band, and of course a lot of booze and food. Eric was in charge of cooking over 50 pounds of pork. He really hit it out of the park! I was thinking people would be drunk and not care about food, but everyone was raving about it. He made three different sauces (vinegar-based, mustard-based, traditional) and it was so good. My only regret (and boy do I regret this) was not eating more. I literally had three bites of his sandwich. ARGH. Despite drinking TWO red bulls and vodka, I passed out a little earlier than I wanted, and my stomach was like, 'aaa' so I ended up bringing saltines up to my bed and eating a couple and then trying to fall back asleep. Eric, on the other hand, was up until almost 5am. How, I do not know why..

Normally, the best part of a party is the late, drunken part, but I think my experience was the opposite. Unlike most of the guests who came up in a party bus (about a 2 hour ride from NYC), we got to stay the whole weekend. The anticipation, have a chill hang out Friday night, lots of quality romantic time with the boyfriend, the hungover breakfast the next morning--that was the best. And there's something about sneaking off with your boyfriend when you're in a crowd that feels very romantic. I met a lot of his old friends and hearing everyone compliment him and really enjoy his company made me really proud and happy to be his girlfriend.

Also--we woke up in the morning to NO POWER and thus NO WATER. It was hilarious (in retrospect). I walked into the kitchen, all disheveled looking, and said--"So, there's no power and no water?" and everyone was like, 'Yup." Pretty funny. I also lost my new J. Crew bikini which pissed me off--I looked EVERYWHERE for it--I mean that house was a mess, we spent hours cleaning it even though most of the party was outside, and still no swimsuit. On the plus side, I took advantage of the J. Crew take an extra 20% off final sale to buy 8 pieces of bathing suits (only one matches, and that one I don't really like, because as Eric says (in the negative) it makes me look naked and it also doesn't have the most flattering cut, and instead of sunshine yellow it's MUSTARD yellow. I'm most excited about this suit that is white with blue polka dots on the bottom and a really pretty navy top on top. So cute! Each suit piece was just $7.99!! Even at $64 for the eight pieces, I got one great suit and a few other ones I will be happy to mix and match in PANAMA. Woo!!!

This weekend I was really proud of myself for being super-social. I really enjoy hanging out with my friends but sometimes I have to force myself to do it. I don't want to say it's like medicine, but here goes--the whole making plans part is the medecine and everything else is awesome. When I get anti-social it's so self-reinforcing. I'll start to feel blah and then not be in the mood to hang out with anyone, even though seeing a friend would be EXACTLY the thing to perk me up. With Eric around, I rarely feel lonely during the weekday evenings, but if it's a weekend with just us and nothing but errands and cooking as activities, I'm more likely to get in a blah mood. I love Eric's cooking but he has WAY more stamina than me.

So Friday:
My yoga teacher didn't show up so I decided to call Anna for a last-minute coffee, and we ended up with tea at d'Espresso. I hadn't seen her for awhile so that was good--she's on my commute home so I'm hoping I can meet up with her more after work

Friday at Midnight: My cousin hosted a Midnight Soul Brunch. It was one of the things where the only person I knew there was my cousin, so the party itself was a lot more effort, but I'm so glad I got to hang out with him in a "friend" setting and not a "family" setting. He and Eric seem to get along pretty well, which I also appreciate! We bought growlers of beer at Whole Foods and and were the toast of the party for it. It works like this: You buy a $5 jug at the store, then bring it to fill up--the beers we chose were $5.99 and $7.99--and one of them was a truly awesome pumpkin ale. I LOVE craft beer. I've always been against getting growlers when it's just me and Eric, but I may change my tune - 64 oz is 2 and 2/3 beers each. That's tipsy, but not WASTED (and I only like to have a couple beers generally--If I get drunk it usually involves wine or spirits). The next party we host I definitely think we'll fill them up, especially with the bikes we have now (though I ended up having to carry them in my front basket, which made it very difficult to streer. Eric tried to bungee cord the growlers in a soft cooler case that he attached to his back bike rack, but it TIPPED over--I screamed--but thankfully did not fall to the ground. We were racing on our bikes to get to Whole Foods before it closed at 11pm, and it made me realize how much I miss getting out and partying like I did when I was single. The city is so ALIVE at midnight--the early birds are going home, everyone else is getting ready to party until 4. I love it!! I am not through with bars, time for me to try to go out more.

On Saturday I went with Rita to Greenpoint Open Studios, which was another really fun experience. We've gone to Bushwick Open Studios the past three years (is that possible, or was it two??), which involves getting a map and then checking out where artists work. They display their work, maybe have some wine and pretzels or whatever for you to munch on. The best part is you actually get to talk to the artists, find out what makes their work tick. Some of this work is SO good--like I would buy it if I were more wealthy and had some cash to spare--and each person's work is that much more interesting when you hear what inspired them or how they created it. LOVE. Rita got way drunk, we biked home (perhaps dangerously), and Eric made some awesome chicken parmesan. To die for. He also took a cheesecake out of the oven which we ate the next day. This cheesecake is perfect. No cracks. Firm on the outside and fluffy in the middle. Huge (It used FIVE blocks of cream cheese). A little sour cream-y and lemon-y. It's perfect. So perfect.

On Sunday, we were planning on biking up to my friend Johanna's place in Morningside Heights in the West 120's (9 miles) then going to a Medieval festival in Fort Tryon Park. I didn't realize that the park is actually in the west 190's--another few miles. I think I biked 17, 18 miles that day?? (We ended up biking back to Johanna's, then taking the subway the rest of the way home since it was getting cold and dark). The Medieval festival was fun, something I wouldn't normally do. I was shocked at the scope of the thing--over 40,000 people were there, apparently, and there were tons of enthusiastic but often amateurish performers, people were in cosume, and of course Eric and I had a turkey leg and fried dough. I saw lots of cool instruments, including a player of a hurdy gurdy (thought you would like to hear that, Laura!). Back at Johanna's apartment, she had just moved in but it looked fantastic. She had painted one wall in each room, and it was such a good look. I went to the Benjamin Moore store at lunch so I plan on doing the painting that I have been putting off forever at my apartment, simply because it's been ambiguous about our lease and we'll have to paint it back when we leave.

That's all folks!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Raise your hand if you hate bigots!

This makes me so angry.

My favorite part:

1. Misinformation sucks. Why does everyone hate on feminists? Even people who are feminists say they aren't...I never had a bad impression of feminists, so it's hard for me to understand why people think that. I'm not activist-y, but I support feminism.

2. I get upset when people use the Bible to promote hateful behavior. At the very end they point out that he's against beating women and families (well, thank God for that) and he also says that you shouldn't let your sons whore it up because they'll be defiling someone else's daughter (yay for not having a double standard).

But he also says some pretty awful things about being subservient to your husband. I don't know how anyone can live the way he describes. I feel really bad for a man or woman that's in a relationship where the man is on a pedestal as a "virile king."

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sarah's Insomnia Update

So it's 5:16am on a Saturday morning, and I'm up. No, I wasn't up all night partying, nor am I waking early for an exciting flight somewhere. I have insomnia. And it SUCKS.

Last night (it feels weird saying that when a night's sleep doesn't separate the "last") Eric & I went out with his friend and former co-worker to La Mela, a fun Italian restaurant in Little Italy. You just kind of sit down and they bring out course after course. Eric has been bugging me to try this place for awhile so it was fun to go! For appetizers they have roasted red reppers, asparagus, mushrooms, the typical antipasti, which is followed by a pasta course (my favorite). I was full by then, but Eric insisted on ordering the third course, so I had a couple bites of veal and chicken and and shrimp. I rallied by dessert and was definitely able to fit room for ice cream, ricotta cheesecake and tiramisu. Did I mention the three of us finished a double bottle of white wine?

While it was a fun experience, I wasn't that impressed with the quality of the food. The mozzarella slices in the caprese salad (the other appetizer) were seriously like an inch thick, but didn't have much flavor...we BUY better mozzarella ourselves, and we get juicy tomatoes, not ones that are pale--the tomatoes would have been acceptable in the winter, not the summer.

But so anyway it was a lovely dinner with good conversation and atmosphere--that was the best part. We didn't look at a menu, and Eric knows I get stressed about money, so he wouldn't let me look at the check..but I was just looking at Yelp reviews of the place and they all say that the 20% tip is INCLUDED in the price...but Eric and his friend were both talking about how much to tip...our portion of the bill was around $100 (of course I sneaked a peek!) so if he tipped on that we're basically out $20. I AM SO PISSED. This is why I need to look at bills!!! Mistakes like this KILL me. I went over and woke up Eric in the other room when I found this out...like I seriously get irrational and want to call up the place and rescind the tip and even change my opinion of the place since I feel cheated. ARGH ARGH ARGH ARGH!!!!! It makes my stomach all aflutter and sick-feeling too. I wish money didn't have this kind of control over me!

But anyway the reason I am awake is because I had cappuccino with dessert because I thought maybe we would stay awake for awhile or something. Instead, the wine won and I fell asleep, but in a weird way and woke up threeish hours later when the alcohol wore off and I was left with caffeine. I blame the wine and the crowd effect (Eric ordered the coffee so I wanted one too!)

I actually have been having a BIG PROBLEM with insomnia though. It started in mid-July, I think. I had an interview with someone who was calling from Japan at 9am. I normally get into the office a bit later than that, between 9:15-9:30, so the stress of waking up an hour early (which sounds eye-rolling in retrospect!) and wanting to get a good night's sleep plus the first interview for a piece I wasn't feeling that confident about kept me up all night. I haven't had insomnia (with a couple of health scare and random exceptions) since high school, so I didn't even have those blue over-the-counter sleeping pills (apparently they are the same as benadryl) that I used to take to mixed effect in high school. Unfortunately, this bout with insomnia kicked off a wave of sleeplessness. I had insomnia later that week, and several times since then. I've gotten more sensitive to noise, can't tolerate an air conditioner which makes Eric unhappy--it sucks. Thankfully, I read some stuff online that helped. Mainly, I try to avoid going to sleep until I am so tired I'm dragging myself to bed, about an hour past my bedtime. But this means I'm getting less sleep. The other part, which most people have probably heard, is not tossing and turning. You're supposed to get out of bed after 15 minutes and do a quiet activity. Haven't figured that one out yet. I think I need to find my diary and write in there...that was my initial plan tonight but I couldn't find one, as I haven't written in a diary for ages. What I'm doing now, which is play Spider Solitaire on a brightly lit screen, only makes me more awake. Like I spent from 3:30am-5am kind of laying quietly because the idea of performing any kind of activity that involved thinking seemed way too difficult, but now I am WIDE AWAKE. Lovely. Anyway, this bout of insomnia is clearly caused by my mistake of drinking caffeine, and will not be repeated. Hope it doesn't eff up tomorrow though.

The other health problem that I'll touch on briefly since I guess I need to get all this out is MIGRAINES. I'm seeing a doc soon to be sure, but I've had two now in the past month and they are scary and crazy. I was at work when suddenly I start seeing white spots in my field of vision. The best way to describe it is as if you look at the sun and then see a bright spot when the sun is gone. It was worse looking at a computer screen. I tried to type and literally couldn't see half of what I was typing. After half an hour the white spots went away and was replaced with a mild headache above my eyebrows. Which turned into a RAGING headache. With nausea. The first time I mainly stood over a toilet trying to throw up and the second time I went out to try to eat something, settled for a somewhat bland-looking slice of margherita. As the guy hands me the piece I'm suddenly overcome by a wave of nausea, ask for it to go, walk outside, throw up in my mouth, spit in East Village garbage can. It was classy. Anyway, the second time was followed by a night of insomnia (don't remember the first time) so I am hoping that the two are related (and it doesn't have to do with my birth control pills, because I seriously do not want to have to stop taking them...people with migraines are really limited in their BC options).

These health issues seem pretty stress-related despite the fact that I seriously have nothing to be stressed about. I'm in a great relationship, have wonderful friends, like my job. It's really silly and I shouldn't let little things bother me. I've always felt that I have this set level of anxiety that's a bit high, and it comes out in different ways--insomnia, hypochondria, being too focused on controlling what I ate, etc. I've been able to stop most of these problems, but they come out in other ways. What IS the healthy way to discharge stress?

This past week I've decided that I am seriously lacking in the exercise department. There is no gym nearby, so I've been exercising in a rather ad hoc manner. I walk or bike to work, which is 3 miles a day and takes 1 hour (walking)/30 minutes (biking) round trip. But that's really not enough. I swam eight times this season (pitiful, but I picked up at the end) at this outdoor city pool that has lap swim in the summer, and now that that's over I have some guest passes at the Y (I can go 6 times for free at each Manhattan location, which is fabulous considering a membership is $90ish a month for an individual). I played tennis with Eric's friend and hope to do that more.

I also bought this Yoga Passbook for $80 that lets you go a couple times to different yoga studios (I've now used 3 of them, so gone 6 times...yeah I need to work on that too). But since yoga is $10-20 a class this option is so preferable for people like me on a budget. Obviously I work better when I have a gym membership and can be like, oh, it's Monday, I can catch the 8pm yoga class. However, I really do want to make good use of this yoga book...because I've been so derelict I basically can go a couple dozen of times at places within a 5 minute bike ride from work, so I have no excuse. It's just the newness part of it each time that is a turn-off.

Anyway, I went to yoga on Thursday and it felt so fabulous. I need to do it more for stress reduction and, of course, fitness. Distance swimming was my "thing" and there are parallels for me between yoga and distance swimming. Yoga emphasizes breathing, just as swimming does, and the movements are slow and fluid. I am definitely not a fast-twitch muscle person. I am SLOW. When I leave class I can feel so incredibly happy and almost euphoric. Why wouldn't I want to do that more often? So now my goal is 2-3 times a week, which will be much easier now that I've discovered biking, which makes getting around to different studios and toting a yoga mat much easier. I need to buy a yoga mat strap though...

So now the sky is changing from black to light blue and I am still awake. Damn caffeine! However, I've caught the blog up with all my raging stress-related illnesses and plan of attack--MORE EXERCISE, ESPECIALLY YOGA.

What else?

Eric and I are going to Panama for vacation this November. I just bought the guide book and we haven't planned out what we're going to do yet. When I read through last afternoon I was overwhelmed by everything and kind of disappointed with the beach options--we're going at the end of November, which is towards the end of the rainy season (mid-December), but the Caribbean and Pacific sides have totally different weather so it seems like we may be in for rain no matter where we are. Last year in Costa Rica (one country north) we also had rain but looking back it didn't really bother us (and it only rained one day at the beach, which was beautiful and we didn't really mind). So we'll see! It also sounds like Panama City will be fun and there's plenty of buildings and ruins etc to see so we can fit that in.

I think that's all for now...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend Update

I am really getting into this biking thing! On Sunday Eric & I took a ride around the lower perimeter of Manhattan, up to Chelsea Market (my previous haunting place). There, we stuffed our backpack full of Manhattan Fruit Exchange goodies. I was very excited to get my fix of unpasteurized juice—I bought grape and, to try something new, Spinach Orange. I have always been intrigued/afraid of veggie juices, but this juice was wonderful—sweet from the oranges with a mild, pleasant spinach flavor.

They opened an Anthropologie in Chelsea Market. Of course. Two months after I move away, they open my favorite store ONE BLOCK AWAY. We briefly went in there, and I went to the hardware section and ended up buying a cute discounted hook to hang on the back of a door. I have been buying a lot of those lately. Gotta love hooks.

We went back through Manhattan (I think the total was about 10 miles round trip). My friend Rita had biked over from Brooklyn, but instead of riding more we went up to the apartment and had some dinner. The heirloom tomato we bought from Chelsea Market sadly turned out to be bust, but we grilled it and had a warm caprese salad, which was still enjoyable, especially with warm mozzarella. Fresh mozzarella pretty much makes everything better. We also finished the ravioli I bought in Little Italy. I had also made Molasses cookies the other day, which were wonderful, and still had 2/3 of the batter left in the fridge. I put them in the oven, but because our usual kitchen timer was outside, we just thought we would remember…but we didn’t. I remembered over FORTY minutes later. Miraculously, the cookies were fine. They’re crisp, and I prefer chewy, but they didn’t burn or anything. I suspect it’s because they were made with (trans fat-free) shortening, which probably has a higher burn point than butter. Crazy.

Later that night, Eric & I watched the last episode of “The Wire.” I am very sad to finish this series. It’s just so, so, so incredibly good and thoughtful and deep and intense. Eric and I had great conversations about this show and I actually feel like I’ve learned things about how police, gangs, politics, public schools, and how unions work. The show has a pretty depressing theme overall, with the idea that institutions hold you back and nothing will ever change and the same cycles repeat themselves over and over again. The last episode brought that all back, setting it up for the cycles to continue and repeating some of the scenes from the first episodes. I can’t wait to go through the blogosphere and read more about the show now that I don’t have to worry about spoilers. I miss you, Omar and McNulty!!

Now that we’re done with “The Wire,” I think we’re going to move on to Damages and Treme. We saw the first episode of Damages, and it was pretty good, with lots of information about high-powered lawyers, and Treme is the next work from The Wire creators. But now that it’s warmer out not sure if we’ll be watching as much of the tube.

My Mom and Aunt are visiting this weekend. I am very excited but also nervous because I want them to have a perfect visit with all good weather and events and nothing bad happening. But I am trying to be less anxious/people pleaser/perfectionist so instead I have been telling myself to throw all those expectations away and just have an adventure. An adventure!!! I am sick of worrying myself sick…literally.

Today I have some discomfort in the back of my throat and sneezed once and started freaking out. It’s like, calm down Sarah, it will be fine. My worrying is something I want to address. I know I’m being irrational about a lot of my worries, especially when I freak out about my health or think I have some sickness or random disease, but it’s really hard to find a way to stop and get out of that thought cycle. I wish I were a cool, tortured neurotic. Maybe I should work on shifting my anxieties over to brooding, existential things instead of thinking I need a root canal.

So that’s a good example: My dentist did a filling, which turned out to be much deeper than he thought because it was partly a replacement filling and there was more decay than he anticipated. As I left the office, he told me to beware of shooting pains, because there was a small chance the tooth wouldn’t calm down and I would need a root canal. Enter me: beleaguered with tooth pain for two weeks until I went in and he told me everything was fine.

It’s really the power of suggestion. If you focus on an area of your body, you can make yourself experience pain or sensation and your brain can twist that however you want. I guess on the bright side, my mind has the ability to control how I experience my body in a more active way than most people (I suspect). I just need to figure out how to use this power for good (i.e. calming) rather than bad. Or maybe I need to not try to control my body at all, and just acknowledge how my body feels and move on. This makes me feel New Age-y….although speaking of it, I need to do more yoga. Yoga is a lot about experiencing your body and not trying to control it. There are points where you try to do things like breathe away stress and relax your whole body, which can unconsciously be tense. But it’s also about not forcing your body and allowing it to do as it wishes. I need to get back into that. I think it makes me feel better (which in my case, means virtually nothing, because I can make my body feel anything), but at least I get that sense of well-being. So that's it for me worrying about how much I worry, the main worry in my life right now...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Highlights List

1. I am now the proud owner of a bike. I have gone on two biking adventures since I purchased it three weeks ago. It just transforms the way you experience the city. The first week we took this 5 hour trip that involved Central Park, Soul Food in Harlem, and just the prettiest water sights from bluffs you have ever seen. Last weekend involved the Manhattan Bridge, Prospect Park, meeting up with a Brooklyn friend and brunchin', then over the (massively crowded) Brooklyn Bridge, the three of us, home to some Easter dinner. Biking is so much faster. I am still nervous about traffic but thankfully there are areas with good bike lanes so that makes things easier. Eric & I are thinking of going on a bike trip over Memorial Day weekend because renting a car costs $500 for that weekend and hotels are apparently expensive too...we'll see how that pans out.

2. Amazing weather! It got almost to 90 degrees this Wednesday. I kind of regretted my wish for a hot summer. The best part of this is living somewhere with a balcony. This week Eric & I have been having our morning coffee out there, as well as our evening meals. Pre-Sunset, it's pretty awful out there because the sun is shining right in your face, but that's the price you pay for some great overall exposure. Usually we eat post-Sunset so it's been more of a problem when I got out there for some happy hour or post-work relaxing.

3. Gardening! I have one hanging plant indoors (that was a drama to hang, since there is a lot of steel near the windows that you, um, can't drill through) and bought some mint last weekend (MOJITOS!!!). Eric has killed every tree-like plant that he has ever put on the balcony, so I hope to fix that this summer and make the mint survive. Since it's lower down than a tree, hopefully it won't tip over the pot, since we do get high winds that can pose a problem. All of the plants sold at delis are kind of questionable or expensive, but on Wednesday I went to the Union Square Greenmarket and saw tons of indoor/outdoor plants for sale. I am going on a shopping spree!!! Hoping for an aloe vera plant, some basil, and maybe one other herb.

4. CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture). Eric & I joined. It will be for 22 weeks, I think, which comes out to $15 or so a week, for organic fresh veggies that we have to pick up on Thursdays from 5-8. Neither of us is crazy about having to be free at a specific time once a week, but hopefully it will work out and we can make friends who can pick up the produce for us in a jam. I am looking forward to GOOD tomatoes, and not those awful pink ones. Hopefully this will make us eat more veggies, too, and be more healthy. Last night I improv'ed this awesome veggie dish (1 zucchini + 1 tomato + 3 cloves of garlic in the last minute + fresh basil, wilted in the pan for a little less than a minute after that) and it was sooo good and made me get excited about vegetables. I liked the mix, so much more interesting to the palate than sauteed broccoli. Amazing accompaniment to salmon.

This weekend we plan to take the ferry to IKEA in Red Hook, and hopefully we can cart out the awful dresser we replaced a couple weeks ago. Hurray for the weekend!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Weekend re-cap: cookin' and decoratin'

This past weekend was great. Terrible weather kept us inside except for some hair-drenching trips to the market (E had to force me to go both times), leaving us with time for some home improvement, relaxing, and cooking.

Friday night we made these awesome burgers, seriously some of the best ones I have had in my life. I used to dislike burgers--I would always order a grilled cheese off the kids menu or the chicken mcnuggets at mikey d's--but I've come around. They're far better for you than baked goods, my main vice, so I feel free to indulge now and then. E had me buy a pound and a half of meat, claiming he would make three half-pound burgers, so I bought two hamurger buns and one brioche bun from this new place in Essex Market, Pain D'Avignon. That made the difference. This place is also a restaurant supplier, and the final burger (also thanks to Eric's superb cooking) had a real restaurant taste. But anyway, he ended up making two twelve-ounce burgers, and I ate the whole thing. I felt fine, since I had a small lunch, but three hours later the foods was still sitting in my stomach and I started making some groaning noises. toooo mucccchhh fattttt. I also drank red wine with the burger, which I would have anyway, but I heard there is something in red wine that neutralizes a bad thing released when you digest red meat. So doubly awesome.

Our next big cooking adventures are going to be in bread, so that night we started on a yeasted coffee cake that we had for breakfast the next day. It was a little dry and possibly overcooked, and the cinnamon-pecan crumbles on top kept on falling off, so they probably should have been tucked into the dough, but it was a good start. Yeasted things are also less sweet than chemically leavened cakes, so I look forward to developing a more adult, less sweet palate when it comes to baking. I found this recipe for St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake that we plan to try next, for a more decadent takeb. I also attempted the much-talked-about no-knead bread. I used the recipe in my copy of "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman (also where we got the coffee cake recipe from), and it called for 2 cups of water, when a lot of the other online recipes called for less. This turned out to be a problem when I got to the baking time and the dough was wayyy too wet to shape into a ball. I had to add more flour and let it rise more, and then I had to disrupt the dough once more to try to plop it into a pan (it cooks in a covered cast iron to produce steam similar to steam-injected. I think the latter part disrupted the air bubbles and created the dense loaf that popped out of the oven. It did have an awesome look to it and great crust, so, again, good start. This isn't as easy as making chocolate chip cookies.

Sunday Eric made omelettes (new for him) and we made another Bittman recipe, Chicken with Chickpeas and Lentils. I am so used to eating really rich food with Eric that it tasted kind of healthy and bland. I added some yogurt and mango chutney, however, and that fixed the whole thing. It was yummy. Since we were so healthy and had some processed peanut butter left in the fridge that neither of us will eat plain, we made peanut butter cookies that night. Seriously, so much cooking!

Last week I bought this cute lampshade at KMart to go with the vintage lamp I got in Michigan that it beaded white milk glass. Now we have more lighting in the bedroom, woo! It also matches the bedspread pattern so I am excited about that. I also bought a side-hanging plant bracked that we were able to install, after our failed attempts to drill into our steel beams near the window. I couldn't hang up this cute shadowbox in the bedroom for the same reason (so annoying), but I did hang up the photo calendar Eric made that has a lot of pictures of us in Costa Rica. But, my most exciting DIY project was the handkerchief one!!

My grandma sent me this beautiful handkerchief from the 1940's (she's an antique dealer, so she knows) with a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge in the middle and four other tourist attractions on the side. I thought it was cute and was going to hang it up with tape where the shadowbox couldn't be hung up, when I had a flash of inspiration.

I've been carrying around this picture frame I found in my old apartment's "take it" section for over two years. It said $39.99 on the back and was from Bed Bath & Beyond, but it has a thick mat and I could never think of anything to go in it. Still, I was happy to have it because I've discovered that framing shit is expensive but makes your walls look really, really good. Also, the saw hanging thing on the back was missing. I bought an additional saw hook from Home Depot a few weeks ago, but still had no picture.

I fitted the handkerchief into the frame and voila! It was a little too big so I did some artful adjusting. It's not perfectly straight and it has a little wave in it so you can tell it's fabric, but I like the overall effect. We hung it above the bed and it looks really, really good, with the black matching the black bed frame. I had planned on getting New York City-themed prints anyway, but this is totally unique and a nice way to remember my Grandma. Plus, you can look at the picture then look out the window and see the Brooklyn Bridge! I LOVE IT!

Last night we watched the Season Finale of Season 4 of The Wire. SO AMAZING. I love this show, but it can be so depressing. Boiled down, the theme of the show is "anytime you try to fix something the system/society will prevent you from making any meaningful change." This season

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Apartment Update

I moved into my new apartment the last weekend in February. I stressed so much about the move, while E was chill the whole time (figures). The total cost of the move ended up being little more than one cab fare on the very last day with a few extra bags, so I was very, very happy with how that worked out. I didn't really have any furniture, except for my bed, which I sold, but I still had a nightstand and mounds of clothes to move. The move ended up happening in three parts. A couple weeks before the move, E had borrowed a friend’s car since he was going to multiple Trey concerts. We moved a bunch of stuff after work, which was great.

Then, the second-to-last week in February, E had to rent a car for work. The only car they had at the time was a huge plumbing van, like the kind serial killers use. He decided to take it, even though it was a pain to drive, since it would be convenient for the move. It was so big I had to help navigate. Anyway, that was fabulous. We were able to load up my nightstand, side table, mirror, and my millions of bags. I didn’t really have boxes, so a lot of stuff I just piled into random large purses and garbage bags. The next day, I scoured craigslist for cheap furniture and we ended up buying two bookcases for the apartment (for under $100!) that fit quite easily into the van. I was also very happy because when E bought a bed a few months ago the security guy yelled at us because it’s a co-op and you have to use special moving passes whenever you’re moving stuff, so they can pad the elevators. You’re also not allowed to use luggage carts to move furniture. We disobeyed both of those rules but didn’t get yelled at again, for which I was grateful.

The weekend after moving in my stuff, we went to Home Depot and bought everything you could possibly need for home improvement...well, almost everything. A drill, drill bits, screws, superglue, picture hanging things, extra hooks. A really nice worker helped us, and he told us to fill out this customer service thing online, which I did. I hope he gets recognized for his good work!

E turned out to be a whiz with the drill and it feels so nice to have hooks and, thus far, one picture hung. The only problem is my plant hook. In my last apartment, my philodendron hung from my window, but I think by our windows it’s steel, because even our masonry (aka concrete) bit wouldn’t go through the wall. It’s now hanging precariously in the middle of the living room because it seems to need to have all its leaves hanging to survive. I just bought a side-mount plant hook at Kmart during my lunch break so I hope that that will do the trick.

I’m pretty happy with the new space, but I hate hate hate all the old fixtures. There is just decades of grime that won’t lift, no matter how hard you try. The enamel coating has worn off the 60s-era sink and bathtub, so it’s porous and stains quickly and leaves weird dirt streaks. Doors are broken and shredded and don't close very well and are covered with layers and layers of paint. Our kitchen cabinets don’t close. The whole apartment needs to be repainted. A lot of things are covered in paint from the previous haphazard paint job. The toilet leaks. The ceiling has water damage that we need to call maintenance about. We’re missing blinds (working on that) and are hit with blinding afternoon sun on the weekends. The areas that do have blinds have orange or blue mini blinds. I hate 60s and 70s-era color choices. The floors are a little scuffy-looking….and did I mention WE DO NOT HAVE A DISHWASHER??? This is very dire, given that we cook EVERY DAY and have all these nasty dishes in the sink. I bought some heavy-duty washing gloves at Home Depot that hopefully won’t hole up in like a week like the other ones. At least that way I can wash in hot water AND have hands that don’t feel painfully dry. However, it is really frustrating to be in an apartment that needs so much fixing up. Laura, I am jealous of your well-refurbished apartment. However, I need to keep the benefits in mind: HUGE apartment (by New York standards). 19th floor view of NYC, Brooklyn Bridge. A balcony to go outside and enjoy the view. Laundry in the basement (another only-in-New-York-it’s-a-luxury). Rent…well I think the rent is reasonable by New York standards (at least when it’s split with boyfriend), but it’s still like mortgage-level.

Oh yes, and an apartment to share with the boyfriend!! I’m actually really pleased with how far we’ve come already with the apartment, and we have a Salvation Army pick-up in a couple of weeks so we’ll have a little more space in our closets (another New York luxury). But that doesn't mean that when I'm searching for my next place I will want it to be sanded and painted and have non-vinyl, chipping countertops. Ugh. My apartment and I definitely have a love-hate relationship.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I took these pills and now I'm a crybaby

I think men don’t cry because of hormones. Since going on the birth control pill a year ago, I have found that crying comes much, much easier to me. I cry reading a moving newspaper story at work, I cry at movies, I cry when I’m frustrated, I cry whenever I’m having emotional discussions with my boyfriend. When I told my gynecologist about it, she seemed worried, but I explained I don’t feel sadder than I used to, I just express my sadness with crying.

In fact, this morning I cried while having an IM conversation with my boyfriend—to be fair, we were discussing something really, really sad. Although it was awkward to blink back tears and hope no one comes over to my desk in the interim, I still like being able to cry more easily—except for the fact that crying in public has become a little too common. I didn’t appreciate the time I was sobbing in the subway uncontrollably before the Wilco concert, or the other time I ended up sobbing on public transportation after a conversation with my dentist (the truth can be harsh).

But I associate not being able to cry with being depressed. I remember feeling so sad when I was alone in LA the summer after my junior year of college, and being utterly unable to cry. Even after I got over that, my before and after still involved a lot less crying than my childhood and early teens.

But now I am a crier, and proud of it. I am 99.9% positive this is because of birth control pills, because objective things like television shows, newspaper articles, and movies don’t change. Their emotional content is pretty standard, and the only thing that’s changed is that I cry in response to them. The other possibility is that I am much happier with my boyfriend, and I can experience the full range of emotions, good and bad, because I am in such a good place. That could be true, I suppose, but I am less inclined to believe it because the crying and emotion in response to random things seems so utterly disconnected from what’s going on in our relationship. I would be more inclined to believe that if I were mostly crying when we’re having emotional conversations or fights or whatever.

So anyway, birth control pills have an unexpected side effect: making you cry more often! And some random crazy chick (that would be me) thinks this is a benefit, not a drawback.

Monday, February 8, 2010

What better way to start your day than with a constitutional

In less than one month, this will be my new walk to work!

View Larger Map

I am also thinking about getting a bike to make the commute a bit faster. I can store my bike in the apartment, but I will have to lock it outside of work, which I am a bit afraid of. Mayor Bloomberg passed a law last December saying that employees should be able to bring their bikes inside their workplace, but I asked the people downstairs and they said they had a "no bike" policy. Phooey. I see bikes without wheels, seats, etc. all the time, which have either been stolen or people going through the trouble of removing these things so they won't get stolen. One would hope during the day it's okay, but there are a lot of delivery people dropping off breakfast and lunch, meaning lots of bikes are going in and out (and not a lot of space to chain up). That makes me a little more hesitant to spend the $200-300 I estimate it will cost for bike, helmet, and decent lock. But the bf likes bike riding and, if not for commuting, it would be a fun weekend activity for us.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Costa Rica Pictures

Ok, I should have linked to these long ago, but Flickr was being finnicky. Enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Google solves problems for the would-be lovelorn

I like to type existential questions into Google. I'm thinking of taking a big step in my relationship (moving in, not the other one), and I'm filled with all those fears and doubts the way people of the Sarah persuasion are, and I came across this article about knowing if someone is "the one".

I started crying when I read this:
"I remember sitting on an old davenport in a tiny cabin on the Washington coast years ago, having a tearful conversation with Mr. R about this very concerning concern. He was pretty convinced that we were IT. Yes, but how did he know? I still wasn't sure.

Finally, he said in pure flabergastation (flabergastification? flabergastedness?) something like this:

There is no ONE. No one that exists out there in pure form, in spiritual perfection, in theoretical bliss. We make it the one every single day...in what we say to each other, in how we treat each other, in what we do together. On dog walks and in car rides, over dinners and through disagreements. So stop looking for some theoretical one out there in never-never land. And agree to make this the one, each and every day, with me."

It was exactly what I needed to hear. She even touched upon my greatest fear earlier in the article (before the quote), that twenty years down the line I'll change my mind. And how can that even happen? How can you be with someone so long and not have it work out? That scares me to death. If you "make" it the one, you have control over your situation, you're choosing to love someone. They're choosing to love you. At the same time, I have a problem with wanting to have control over things that are uncontrollable. Part of me feels I should just flow with whatever happens to me. And what about the things you can't really control? What about the ways that you're initially drawn to someone, like physical chemistry, having similar things in common, or life goals. What if those change? What, oh god what, do you do if the passion fades away? (Another one of my fears). I guess there is nothing left to do put keep thinking and feeling and wondering...and eventually, believing.