May 30, 2006


Saturday morning we climbed into the Mustang at 8.50, picked up a couple of coffees, filled the gas tank and hit the highway by 9'ish, as hoped and planned. While there aren't any significant particular memorable details about the roadtrip, I did experience the type of epiphany one experiences when cruising at a steady speed for an extended period of time through the winding Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and flatter Ohio roads. Craig was playing deejay with the iPod - doing a fairly decent job at it, although there were moments where he did not have the next song ready in time to make the transition between songs smooth (but I think I take the job as deejay a little bit more anally retentively than he, which is neither better or worse, of course). It is notable that Craig cannot drive a manual transmission car (he claims he can, just not well) so I drove the entire span of 618.53 (plus) miles myself, for which I am still patting myself on the back. Anyway, the epiphany could be compared quite simply to the beautiful road trip sequence in Elizabethtown, only, we did not park and get out and enjoy the nuances of any of the places we passed through (McDonald's and gas stations aside, of course). It feels empowering to transport through so much geography in so little time (relatively speaking). And it's almost patriotic to witness the lush colors sail by, the full varying greens along the Penna, the vibrant flowers, the view of mountains in the distance (I isolate the Pennsylvania portion because it's always been one of my favorite states to drive through). We were about 56 miles outside of Pittsburgh and Craig turned to me, the atlas sprawled open on his lap, and said, Can we drive through Pittsburgh? I've never seen Pittsburgh with my very own eyes and would like to. I agreed, yes, I would like to do the same. Despite the mile or so of metro traffic entering Pittsburgh, the detour didn't cost us too much time, and it was well worth it. Who knew how attractive Pittsburgh could be? (except, of course, those who have already seen it, that is). We were both taken by pleasant surprise, and it's a good thing we've got an old friend that lives there so that we have an actual reason to go hang out in Pittsburgh someday, although, who ever needs an actual reason to visit what appears to be a cool city, anyway! We made it to Cleveland by 6 p.m., and our friends were excited to have us. My old friend BG is still so much like a brother to me, even without us communicating regularly. We left for dinner almost right after we got to their house (they actually live in Olmsted Falls) and at dinner we met their neighbors Mandy and Pete. I loved them, almost immediately - they were so smart and easygoing. Mandy asked dozens of questions about us, about our history, about moving to New York. I love people who are so interested in others' stories - and meeting them makes me want to strive to do the same for others that I meet. It feels good to be asked questions, to be probed for details. Pete is in school for podiatry, so I had common ground to stand on (so to speak) with him, as well, seeing as I had two feet operations several years ago and could give him candid wisdom from the foot patient perspective. Following dinner and really giant beers, we drove to BG's friend's house party. We were a little uncomfortable there, given the fact it was a celebration for a 21-y.o.'s birthday party (we're all much nearer 30) and the house wasn't exactly in the best neighborhood I've ever seen. But, we made the most of it: milled around drinking Miller Lite and pretty much staying contained within our group of six. After about an hour, we left the party and went to a nearby dive bar, but Mandy and Pete ducked out for the rest of the night. Craig and I, by this time, were so physically exhausted - it's amazing what an extensive road trip will drain from the human body - the energy, the adrenaline, the vitamins. So, we didn't stay at the bar too late. And Sunday morning we woke up early again, headed out to finish the last leg of our trip to Michigan. My parents now live in a village (according to the welcome to sign!) in southeastern Michigan - their new house is incredibly charming - I loved it! It's a 4 bedroom, which seems like a lot of space for just the two of them, but they each have their own office, and there isn't a shortage of places to stay for guests. They've been doing a lot of work since they moved in, and it looks great. My mom made us lunch, and then Craig helped my dad hang a utility cabinet in their laundry room. My mom and I browsed paint chips for the remainder of the house that they've not yet painted. For dinner, my mom had prepared beef stroganoff and I steamed asparagus and we drank some wine my dad had brought back from a recent business trip to California. By this time, I literally felt so foggy - and judging Craig's facial expression, he felt much the same. So, the four of us settled into their living room and watched Easy Rider (which was actually really good, and Peter Fonda was quite the handsome lead!) and The Poseidon Adventure, then cashed it in for the night. Our alarms were set for 3:30 a.m. in order to make it to the old Detroit terminal by 5. By this time, the exhaustion was just painful. When we climbed into our seats on the first plane, my head literally swayed with defeat of sleep deprivation. But, we made it through - a layover in Atlanta, and we were back in Richmond by early afternoon. I read quite a bit of Never Let Me Go in preparation for my book report for my friends. It's definitely a good read. Now, we've subtracted a whole car from our possession! Later this week we will subtract a second! And Saturday we get on our plane - mid-afternoon, fly to New York City, land at JFK, deboard the plane, take the subway to the Upper East Side where we will live in a subletted apartment temporarily while we wait for our actual apartment to become available (mid-July). Our week is very abbreviated, not only by the holiday (yesterday) but by the fact that we're leaving early for D.C. today to see Pearl Jam, and will not be working Friday so that we can monitor the movers as they pack our possessions. In between now and then, we've got a lot to do - but we're overall pleased with our progress. I may be away (absent) for a good portion of the month (not sure if we will have internet and Craig's work laptop in our empty sublet) but upon my return to this page (unless I am able to write later in the week), I shall be a shiny brand new New Yorker, seeing, doing, living and breathing New York things! How completely, completely fantastic. I suffer a lack of appropriate words to describe the swelling anticipation I feel as this draws nearer by the minute. Until my undetermined return...

May 24, 2006


Over the course of the past several days I've experienced varying degrees of emotions, ranging from whole happiness to flushed anxiety to flurried panic (the latter two are quite close to one another) to sadness and back to happiness again, a full circle. One of the ingredients of my constant fluctuation has been my inability to focus on any one thing, much less on reading. Yes, I'm bidding farewell to book club, but yes also, my friends and fellow book club participants are going to accept my book reports which I will either send via blog, e-mail or typed and folded into an envelope and mailed. This means I do not stop reading their selections, rather I read along with them keeping the same time and they will share my written thoughts with the group when they meet. I'm already sentimental and nostalgic about their next meeting June 20th at Sette. Anyway, I've been trying to cram room into my day to read Never Let Me Go. Alas, I've only completed one chapter. I already like the book - its quiet tone, its pensive flow. But I need to really concentrate in order to have - to make - time to read and, again, complete my essay or review before June 20th. With all that will be going on with us in New York, I hope I can stay on board with this, if not forever, for a while, at least. The way I see it, my commute to and from Queens will afford me a minimum of one hour of reading per day, give or take depending on train transfers and time slotted for people watching. This means completing far more reading than I've been able to do since I left college. My stack is already elbow deep: finish that awful Queens Julia Child fanatic book, Four Corners by Krista Madsen, which Craig's parents bought me for my birthday, The Twenty-Seventh City, which LC bought me for my birthday, and the aforementioned Never Let Me Go. Yesterday I probed the Amazon website for book titles to give to my mother, because she has a Borders certificate that she wants to spend on titles we both might enjoy so that she can pass them along to me when she's finished (she is not a book collector, whereas I can't even bear to part with my copy of Heart of Darkness much less any book I've ever read or purchased!) While I was browsing, I developed a thick lump in my throat, an old familiar feeling I'd get when I had English Major Envy post-college (since I only dabbled in Literature courses) or even before that, the same choked emotion when I would see a shelf lined with titles I just had to have but couldn't afford to splurge on. The first title I found which seems interesting enough is a book called Wonder When You'll Miss Me by Amanda Davis. Tragically (and an unfortunate coincidence with the title of her novel), Amanda and her parents were killed in a plane crash in 2003. I only learned this by further researching her as an author. Not to shed feeble light on Amanda Davis, because I've not yet read her book, but her novel might fall slightly under the contemporary genre of chick lit (not that chick lit is feeble - okay, okay, yes it is, sorry to offend, especially when the only type of novel I'd ever be capable of writing would be of the same variety). Additional title investigation led me to Middlesex, which I added to my mother's list of possible purchases. Of course I had to include Myla Goldberg's Bee Season, as well. And yesterday LC sent the book club ladies an article about the book nominated Best Fiction in 25 years, which happened to be Beloved by Toni Morrison, which was followed by an article in praise of great 'small' works of fiction, including such titles as Housekeeping and The Things They Carried. Some more perusing and I ran into Joan Didion, whose name I've seen plenty but have never read (and so I suggested to my mother The Year of Magical Thinking, which sounds desperately hopeful and tragic all at the same beautiful time - I can hardly wait to read it, too!) Basically, the amount of time I have on my hands to panic about New York, I need to spend buried in a book. It appears as though I've already got several on the list of want-to-reads. And these selections should be only the proverbial tip of the literary iceburg, because having fallen so far from reading over the course of my time out of college, time has come to faithfully and completely revisit one of my dustiest hobbies, clear the cobwebs, and read, read, read - not read occasionally because it fills commute time or because it is a discipline for book club, but because it is a filling, swelling love that grows sweeter with each good book that gets read. I consider reading an old friend I stopped calling for no reason. I've missed her quiet company. And with a major move to a noisy city, no better time to rekindle an old friendship than now.

May 22, 2006


We're closing in on a new chapter in our relationship and in our respective lives: this is the second to the last Monday we'll live in Richmond! I spent the weekend absolutely procrastinating my To Do list. Sunday morning found me without my cell phone - I lost it the night before, which is 100% the first time I've ever lost a cell phone, since becoming a cellular phone customer back in 2002. Not to worry, it's such an old phone with such a short battery life, I decided that it was just the boot I needed to drag Craig to the Sprint store to renew our contracts. He moaned and groaned but cooperated and now we've got brilliant new phones. After we returned home, he napped on the couch, and I fetched ingredients for a very basic but fantastic lasagna (I didn't ask Craig for a star rating - he'd probably have given it at least a 3!), my friend GR came knocking at our door with my old phone in her hand which I had obviously left in her apartment (which is good for the fact all of my stored numbers were still available for me to transfer). But as for my old computer, it did not get cleaned out, and as for dragging bags of clothes to Good Will, that also did not take place. Our cars did not get cleaned out. Our golf clubs, Craig's DeWalt tools, my guitar, old silverware and other kitchen conveniences that will not fit in our new kitchen did not get dragged down to the trunk of my car to take to my parents' this coming weekend. But, our closet shelves are nearly empty, which is an accomplishment all its own, because the way I see it, the less closet and storage space we need, the better. There is still one closet remaining for me to attack (which happens to contain the old computer, which will soon be out of my possession anyway) and after that, I will feel fairly positive about whatever remaining items we're hauling with us. Rather, having hauled to us. Our summer intern here in the office is taking our old futon and Craig's bed (which, separating Craig from that bed is like pulling teeth - he's reluctant to part with it because while it is only a full bed, he did spend a decent amount of money on it back when he was a young college graduate). It seems like everything, while still stressful, is finally coming together to result in a successful relocation to New York City! I've located temporary housing for us for the month of June in the Upper East Side, but of course, I have yet to see paperwork (sublease) agreement on that (as well as paperwork on our long term housing). That is beside the point. The point is this: I am having a difficult time sitting still. I'm so excited, I can barely sleep, ever. Last night I did sleep well and dreamt of writing class and art assignments. But a solid night of sleep is uncommon for me these days. I can barely focus long enough on one thing because then another thing pops up and I become distracted. I think this week will be relatively easy: some apartment work here, some apartment work there, a going away dinner with co-workers, a road trip Michigan with a pit stop in Cleveland to see our friends BG and JP, their new house, and have dinner with them before finishing the remaining couple of hours of road trip Sunday morning. We've got one way flights from Detroit Monday morning as bright and early as flying out of Detroit can get, a 35-minute layover in Atlanta, back to Richmond and then Tuesday night we drive to D.C. to see Pearl Jam on their 2006 tour. I've already located cheap one way flights to New York hypothetically for June 3rd: I wish I could express just how much delight I will feel in purchasing that ticket. Traveling to New York City and not leaving it. This is amazing and I know that Craig and I are not the first people ever to move to New York City but it feels so huge, so incredible, like such a beautiful experience that can only get better with age and discovery. The story continues...

May 18, 2006


I've been biting my tongue to keep from bragging about an apartment we had not yet secured, but alas, I think I can finally spill about it now (we're supposed to receive the leasing paperwork and subsequently will be heading to the bank to purchase 2 giant cashiers checks or money orders to overnight back to the management company!) In other words, We found an apartment! It's amazing how breezy it was, considering we were first teetering on the slippery slope of paying a monstrous broker fee, and then, by extreme smooth operation we managed to locate a company who does let brokers show their properties, yet if you see a property of theirs without a broker, consider yourself lucky and amazingly successful and you've saved yourself roughly 4-5 thousand dollars (the near-necessity for a broker applies primarily to out-of-towners moving in; I imagine a New Yorker moving within the city might have better opportunity to find something broker fee-free). There are hitches, for example, there is no telling how much our already-overpriced rent could increase within the next year. Much of our furniture does not anticipate finding its way to New York City, because of the simple fact of limited space. Our kitchen lacks a dishwasher and its cabinets are scanty. The stove is not full size, but this is to be expected, according to my experienced friend LC (the Richmond LC) and her boyfriend, who lived in the Upper East Side for a while themselves. The living room may be the highlight, and if our bulky television fits on one wall, if our futon can be placed strategically to leave room for our round dining table, we may just be alright. The second bedroom is actually a glorified closet. We will likely position the desk in this room, but possibly nothing more. Craig believes a dresser and perhaps our love seat could also be tucked in this room, but I'm going to guess that the size of the room is no more than 8x8, which, frankly, isn't all that roomy. Other positives include exposed brick and hardwood floors, and ample overhead storage (which Craig and I have already discussed must remain tidy, unlike some of the occupied units we viewed on our tour, which showcased tacky marked up boxes shoved haphazardly above, and miscellaneous shoved atop and between the boxes: a really unsightly way to visibly store items that cannot be hidden from plain view). I am slightly disappointed to learn that our location is between 1st and 2nd versus 2nd and 3rd, as I'd previously remembered it to be, but overall we didn't do too badly in the least. A rather unsettling thought occurred to me last night, which is that our piece of corner furniture on which our spare television sits may not fit into our bedroom anywhere (one entire wall is all accordian closet, which definitely puts a damper on the room's arrangement possibilities). Nevermind whether I came to any conclusions or not, the corner piece is coming with us anyway (it was a gift from my parents when I moved to St. Louis several years ago and it doubles as a messy book collection accent, meaning, I house piles of meticulously-disheveled books on its shelving with lack of better places to put all those books, and the appearance of the purposeful unorganization has grown on me). Other notable characteristics of our new apartment include its 2nd floor location, versus the string of 5th floor units we toured (sans elevators in any of the buildings), the fact that we do not face the street, which may alleviate a few decibels of city noise, and I suppose the very best feature of our apartment might just be...that it's New York City! I feel so blessed to have this opportunity. I've indicated this before in so many words, but there is no way I'd want to experience this with anyone in the world other than Craig. He's been so supportive, endlessly kind to me. And when we were in New York together, hunting for a home, eyeing rooms and imagining our belongings filling new spaces, it felt so completely natural. It felt right. Being there feels as good as I felt in St. Louis: like being home, a constant flow of everydayness all around that is soothing while we attempt to make the most of everyday moments. Of course, several obstacles remain. But the closer we get, the higher my spirit lifts. I can't wait!*I also want to take this opportunity, in words that would not ever be enough to do these women justice, to thank my wonderful book club friends HH, GR and LC. We met Tuesday to discuss H's selection, A Lady, First (autobiography of Letitia Baldrige, who acted as Jackie Kennedy's social secretary, among other incredible positions in her yet ongoing professional career). Those women have taught me just how relevant reading is to our lives, and furthermore, how completely important it is to have smart women in your circle with which to discuss books. They've also shown me, in hundreds of more ways than one, how to be a friend and how to have a friend: the value of appreciation, the quality of esteem. I loved knowing these women and I can only hope that our communication, following the move, does not weaken or lose its vivacity or velocity. GR and I already promised to be pen-pals, like the old days, two women penning letters of exciting adventure to one another. I will duly stay in good touch with H and L. And they're permitting me to remain an honorary member of book club from afar! -our next read is Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (I am so excited to read this book!) Here, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you women eternally for your friendships. I will carry them with me always. Love, KB.

May 15, 2006


(continued)...Once we finished scraping our plates clean at Jasmine, Craig suggested a trip to Times Square, which remains my favorite place in the world, despite the fact that it can be noisy, tacky, crowded and altogether a nuisance, at times. I delight in the extremity of it. Years back, Craig ventured to New York City on a business trip. That evening, a subcontractor took him to a bar called Blue Fin. Blue Fin is actually a chic overpriced seafood restaurant with a glass enclosed bar at ground level overloooking the Times Square street scene, and after seeing it for the first time, Craig gushed about it to me and insisted I would positively adore it. Much later, he took me there for a cocktail, and as he suspected, I did adore it. So, Saturday night we decided to stop into Blue Fin for a drink. He opted for the Blue Fin (named, obviously, after the establishment) which came with a red gummy fish resting against the bottom of the cerulean-colored beverage. I selected the passionate cosmopolitan (I can't remember the precise name but it was a cosmo and it was passionate in flavor!) The bartendress took our picture with Times Square streaming in our background, and we sat there for a little while, still absorbing the tension that we both felt of the afternoon's adventure. We admired the expensive Blue Fin menu, consisting of such items as caviar, which neither of us has had (primarily because it's high dollar for our pockets). Notice how I can't seem to steer away from the issue of the dollar. I'm not typically money-centric, at least not that I'm aware, but this move is impossibly expensive, from all sides of the coin, so to speak. We're somewhat prepared, but yet, every time I think that we're ahead, we fall back two more steps. Nevertheless, we were not about to wreck a perfectly decent Saturday night in Manhattan, especially considering it is about to become the place we call home. Although, that said, we swung through one more establishment off the beaten path of Times Square for one last drink, and while we sat nursing those beverages Craig's heavy eyes shifted up to mine and he said, Are you tired? I smiled wanly and replied, Exhausted. So we called it a night, two weary travelers.*My sleep remained fitful. Not knowing for certain about the apartment, the heavy fear of our credit checks, and any other stray elements of concern regarding our relocation kept me tossing around, and when not wide awake with paralyzing alarm, I was dreaming of terrible things, which in turn then woke me again. But in the morning, we took our time getting ready: I phoned my mom a Happy Mother's Day wish from the Big City, Craig took a long shower, then I showered leisurely and we headed for a plain corner diner for breakfast. Craig and I have never been aimless in New York City, but this case was drastically different from any other. Where should we go? What should we discover? Should we continue the apartment search in the event we weren't approved for The One We Wanted? Should we go to the place where we'll work? We resolved to check out of the hotel and head to Brooklyn Heights, the neighborhood of Brooklyn where I felt the need to repeatedly pick Craig's jaw off the pavement. He was astonished at the homes, the gorgeous landscaping, the narrow polite streets running through the neighborhood. We found ourselves a park bench at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade overlooking Manhattan's skyline, and Craig called his mom to wish her a Happy Mother's Day. I perused a Gotham Writer's Workshop catalogue for spring classes, all of which have begun (I will need to catch up with the summer issue likely to be issued soon). Although the weather had been much lovelier Saturday, the overcast skies didn't hamper our wanderings. The whole weekend, outside of feeling overwhelming floods of stress, I also tuned in closely to the expanse of subway system we used to travel from neighborhood to borough to airport. It didn't take long for me to think in terms of numbers and letters for each line, but it will take plenty of time to master transfers, weekend hours, express trains. I attempted to prepare myself for riding solo by occupying my thoughts as I sat next to Craig (I feel an amazing degree of security riding alongside him on the NYC subway system, but soon will come a time where I will be riding alone). I noticed the teenagers in their thick gold chains who ride the subway every day, New Yorker teenagers. I noticed the older woman with her shopping bag riding into Queens. I noticed the quiet man reading his Bible. Then what I noticed later, when I thought harder about it, is that I spent more time in New York noticing things (casual observation) than I have in a long time in a place I've lived. That would be because there is so much to take in in New York City. There isn't a moment that passes where something isn't happening, whether it's an exchanged look between two people passing each other at an intersection, or on the train, or a melody of car horns and crowd control shuffling along the street. It never stops impressing me, no matter how many times I've witnessed it. But this time was different: I was timidly viewing the streets as my new place to live, my new home with a multitude of undiscovered loves and likes and dislikes, waiting for me to happen upon them. What an unbelievable amount of America, all right there.*During our outing, we also found the DUMBO neighborhood, and even ducked into an artsy cafe*bar establishment for iced lattes. Some more walking, and I finally just caved and requested that we head to JFK to fly standby (we had called in the morning to find out the chances of doing so, which we were told were positive). I positively adore this city, but my feet were howling in pain and my stomach still couldn't find peace with itself with all the food, wine and worry I had filled it with over the course of the weekend. Our trip to JFK was smooth, subway and Air Train. And there we ate lunch, found the gate, waited with other Richmondites to board a delayed plane. All this, and today we still don't have certainty or confidence about our apartment selection, but I'm going to look to our new future as a whole new arrangement of problem solving that we've never experienced before. Our respective and combined experiences with moving around surely have prepared us for some of this, and that which remains to be seen will only enhance our personalities, make us that much stronger. We're in it, now, in the beginnings of the adventure, but I courageously and admirably look forward to what's still to be continued.

May 14, 2006


Friday after haircuts Craig and I joined our friends LC and GR for dinner at a Richmond hot spot to which we had not yet been, called Comfort. After some wine, fantastic meatloaf, braised greens, okra, and a pork chop for Craig and me, and a plate of various comfort vegetables for GR and LC, we returned to the apartment (I spent another hour or so downstairs with GR discussing miscellaneous while Craig played one quick round of video game baseball upstairs in our apartment) and it was off to sleep before our scheduled 4 a.m. alarm announcement that it was time to shower for our 6 o'clock flight to NYC. In the meantime, I struggled with sleep yet again, what with the stress of this, and right around 3 a.m. our phones started shrieking from where they had been left in the kitchen. Craig groggily ambled to see what was happening: so began our NYC apartment hunting experience: Jet Blue canceled our early bird flight due to 'weather' and they were re-booking us on the 10 o'clock. In between fitful and fragmented half hours of sleep I realized that this delay could potentially result in a late arrival to view the six apartments we had scheduled to see without a broker, which, in New York City apartment hunting terms, is a rarity (broker fees are common, standard, to be expected, and outrageously unaffordable, so we've been dreading and dreading the whole thing, until I unearthed a very rare management company who, if you apartment search directly through them, does not charge the fee, the oh ever dreaded fee). Nevertheless, what would additional fretting do but further strengthen the hurricane of stomach aches that I've been enduring since the onset of this very stressful, while all too exciting, adventure. So we woke a few hours later than scheduled, got onto a plane a few hours later than scheduled, landed at JFK in perfect time to hussle to a cab and trek the 40 minutes into Manhattan, rolling to a stop on E. 82nd street in the Upper East Side right on target time to make our appointment. During the cab ride I had received a voicemail from Nina, our charming apartment guide, verifying our appointments, and when I called her back immediately, she informed me that our showings were of the group variety, not at all private apartment showings just for Craig and me as we had naively presumed. Craig and I debated the impact this might have on our search: what if everyone in the group loved the same apartment unit? Mad dash back to the leasing office to be first in line? And as we soon learned, beginning with the very first unit we viewed with the super huge group of twenty-some apartment hunters, New York City apartments (the ones in our price range) are not spacious, are not luxurious, probably have plumbing issues, likely have heating and cooling issues (central air? what?), might be on the 5th floor of a building with no operative elevator (no elevator at all, that is) and will cost a fortune to get into. We asked the male apartment guide, Nina's counterpart, how the application process would go, and he advised us that the applicants with the best financials would be selected for the units. Insert defeated heavenward eye roll: the best financials? Without admitting to too much, that hardly describes Craig and me. We're not irresponsible, but we're human. Guaranteed, our financials cannot compete with a wealthy NYU student's whose trust fund and parental monetary contributions carry their burden from one New York City apartment to the next. And whose credit card debt consists of a healthy-sized card filled with Tiffany & Co. purchases tearfully and apologetically begged to be paid off by said wealthy parents. Nevertheless, that's about as far as I want to go with the remainder of the apartment hunting experience, just yet, because we're still awaiting a verdict and I feel too fearful to continue, as if I haven't already jinxed the whole thing as it is.*Following our application process, we walked to the burger establishment recommended to us by Nina: JG Melon, which serves legendary burgers (the burgers were incredible) and french fry coins. We sat at the bar and had a couple of beers, subdued by the reality of the apartment search. But I think Craig and I worked well together to bring each other back to our other reality, which was that we were in New York City, one of our favorite cities in the world: why not enjoy it as we always have in the past? We walked a lot Saturday, later wandered into a bar whose sign boasted "Drinking Consultants Since 1998" and had a couple of beers, then took the subway to our hotel to check in. Our hotel room was fine (one never travels to New York City in search of a fancy hotel stay, at least, not at our financial status) but we decided we needed to get back out and wander some more. We headed back to the Upper East Side to snap some jinxing photographs of the apartment we'd love to live in if things work out (did I say that?) and we browsed the Food Emporium on E. 87th which could possibly become our neighborhood grocery store. By this time we had decided we could eat an early dinner, at which point we discovered our first restaurant as To Be New Yorkers: Jasmine Thai. We sat next to an older emotional woman who huddled cloaked in a red satin or velvet cape thing and whose husband (boyfriend?) had clearly said the wrong thing, because she was crying (if I recall from a quick glance over, there was a large glittering rock on her left hand). But this didn't distract from the fried dumplings appetizer, spicy coconut noodle dish that Craig ordered (no chance we could recall the name of what he ordered) and my Pad See Yu (likely not spelled as they did) which were all divine. Craig had two Thai beers and I had two glasses of red wine, so by the end of dinner, we sat back so satisfied, it was easy to forget the stress of wondering whether we will be housed in Manhattan or not. We loved Jasmine (despite the fact that it may not be New York's finest Thai, because it was reasonably priced and full of flavor and that's all we could have asked for, at that point). This story promises to be continued, but as it nears midnight, and the weight of so much walking (climbing several flights of stairs, to say in the least) and traveling has me wiped out. There is more, plenty more to follow. I love NYC.

May 09, 2006


(New York New York New York!) I'm fatigued by the activity of the weekend. Friday my friends GR and LC took me to Ipanema, a vegetarian restaurant in the Fan District and we drank wine, ate broccoli bisque (LC and I did, while GR selected a vegetarian burrito, instead) and enjoyed one last girls night before I leave town. Chances are we may be able to sneak in another week night girls night, but likely not a weekend night, seeing as May is already packed with moving activity for Craig and me. We had a great time (I adore the Richmonders; they've taught me great things!) After Ipanema we dropped LC off at her boyfriend's apartment, and GR and I continued onto Sette for a bottle of wine and a string of amateur digital snapshots of each other standing beside our favorite bartender, or of one of us grinning dopily at the other. I'll miss having exaggeratedly dramatic or hilarious conversations with GR. Saturday morning Craig went to work, and I launched the Mother's Day Handmade Gift Project, which is not entirely exciting but will save us a few bucks and hopefully will make our mothers smile. While I set to work on the project, I watched Brokeback Mountain. The short-winded version of my review is that I do love the movie, however I managed to detect several flaws in the picture which I would attribute to why it was not awarded Best Picture by the Academy or Oscar or whichever award entity grants Best Picture to a film (I get them all confused; perhaps the Academy hands out Oscars?) First of all, the musical score left quite a bit to be desired. The same slice of score that served to introduce each new scene basically bored me, and didn't accent the love story as I hoped it would. Second, I realize I was multi-tasking, therefore my eyes were averted from the screen a good portion of the movie, however I paid enough attention to formulate the opinion that the chemistry between Jake and Heath hardly built itself enough to lead to their, shall we call it, heavy session of intimacy in the tent. Following that it seemed their chemistry improved greatly and my heart filled with their relationship's passion. I loved Michelle Williams; I thought she wore her heart on her sleeve the entire film. I loved Heath and Jake, but I loved Heath more; I loved his pain. I'm glad Craig's sister and her family bought it for me for my birthday (Hi EB! Thank you!) Anyway, after Brokeback Mountain and more crafting, Craig came home from work and we launched the Great Apartment Clean Out. Craig sorted his collection of sweaters in the guest bedroom while I yanked everything out of our closet and began to make serious decisions about clothes I've been dragging around thinking I will wear them someday. About every half hour, Craig would call to me from the other room, KB, come see this one! regarding yet another sweater he'd discovered with tags still on it that fit him well enough to keep. By the end of the sweater sort, he'd selected only four to donate to Good Will. But what could I say to him: I debated for a whole lingering minute the beautiful rugged blue stack of Abercrombie size 2's that I shall never squeeze into again before deciding dubiously to move them to New York, once again moving jeans I cannot fit into, just in case. We did manage to construct a Discarded Clothing Donation Tower against one corner of the guest bedroom, in addition to generating two very full bags of trash. We also delivered GR the old stereo system that Craig has not used since he lived in Hartford, since at that time he replaced his electronics with a new surround sound system which we rely on to this day for our home theater and music listening entertainment. We rounded off our Saturday evening with a viewing of Hostel (not worth anyone's time) and Domino (Craig loved this, but I drifted off to sleep; we kept it to watch again: stay tuned for a brief review if it's worth a second mention). Sunday we woke up and had one of our sweet and perfect mornings: everything-bagel sandwiches, coffee, and a Sunday morning movie viewing (if it isn't already evident, we did a lot of movie-watching over the weekend!) of The Family Stone, which, well - we loved. I loved it. It's a tastefully composed family movie filled with hilarious awkward moments and all star actors. After it ended, I felt completely lazy, like all I wanted to do was remain in a ball on the couch handmaking small gifts for our mothers and watching more movies, so I hastily hit the Movie Gallery across the parking lot from our building and rented Woody Allen's Match Point (wasn't as absurd and suspenseful as I hoped, but it was alright) and Fun with Dick and Jane (entertaining, but I wouldn't recommend it). Looking back at it, I suppose Sunday was so completely filled with relaxation that I can't imagine what could have left me so worn out; then again, mentally preparing for our move is even exhausting. There are still several milestone fairwells we must make: to my car, to my old iMac, to Craig's car, to Craig's bed, quite possibly to our love seat, to our golf clubs, to one of our two acoustic guitars. I've compiled an actual list but even that process was intimidating: watching as the items piled up. Saturday morning at 6 we fly Jet Blue to JFK. Craig has been formulating our path from JFK to Manhattan (we're staying in a hotel on E. 39th Street) via train and subway. Our first appointment with a broker (we have a Saturday broker and a separate Sunday broker) is scheduled for 10 so we may have just enough time to grab a cup of coffee beforehand. And after that, away we go with the search for a place that ideally will satisfy us for 3 years, a place to paint the walls, a place to call home in New York, New York. As painstaking as the process may be, each step of the way is one step closer to living out a dream. I still can't believe this is happening for us.*PS: I thank Alura for her fine and detailed editing skills: I thought the spelling of 'fairwell' looked peculiar...several lobes of my brain, including the one that knows how to spell properly, are presently inoperative while we prepare to move to NYC. (: Thanks Alura, you are honest and true! xo

May 03, 2006


We're back: returned, revived and recovered from a 4-day vacation in Captiva, Florida. I teased Craig while we lay by the pool nearing the end of our stay, I may need to turn this into a 3-part post (regarding our vacation) because of the amount of content I'd love to chronicle. It's too bad I couldn't post on location! The adventure began last Saturday morning at the refreshing 3 o'clock hour. Our flight would not leave until 8 a.m., but blend into the equation an hour and a half drive to Washington D.C., from where we had booked our tickets, and there you have it: the early bird special. Other than half sleeping in the shower and then stealing a quick nap while Craig drove us, it really wasn't too terrible. We made it to Reagan International in record time, only to find that the Airtran portion of the terminal is extremely depressing. Nevertheless, our flight landed us in Ft. Myers around 10, and several of the others (using first names and nicknames in this post not to expose the debauchery of Craig's friends but more or less because it's easier to recall that way) including Djay, Diana, Chris, Corey, 40 (nickname, clearly), Brooke (Corey's girlfriend), Johnny, Liz, Renee and Kevin (a friend of Diana's and the respective boyfriend) had all landed approximately the same time as we. There was some rental car chaos, some waiting, and about half an hour or so later we were all piled into 3 vehicles to drive the hour or so from Ft. Myers to Captiva. Once nearer Captiva, we stopped at the package liquor store to stock up on dangerous amounts of alcohol, ranging from beer to tequila to vodka, someone even splurged on Cointreau, Sprite, Jack Daniels, rum - am I leaving anything out? As much as I missed out on college spring breaks consisting of heavy drinking, too much sun, lethal sleep deprivation and inexplicable amounts of money spent, this vacation lent me an idea of what I missed. We arrived at the house, Di's parents' place, near the noon hour, and of course, for Craig and me, our first impression was one of amazement. The house was beautiful, impeccably decorated, tastefully arranged, and huge. Craig and I had wound up subject to last room selection: King-sized bed, television, huge closet and bathroom with a shower the size of our entire bathroom at home, but no gulf view. Craig kept saying to me, We got the worst room and it's like the nicest room we've ever stayed in! None of this was actually established, however, until after lunch, because the cleaning staff had not finished tidying up the house, so we unloaded our bags into the garage and wandered up the beach to the Mucky Duck (room selection happened after the fact). The Mucky Duck, while somewhat overpriced, turned out to be our weekend hang out. It is a bar but moreso an eaterie on the beach, a family establishment. The bottom of the menu reads, Children, if left unattended and running around, will be served Espresso and a free puppy! After lunch the real fun began. We went back to the house, all of us already either on our third beer or nearing (some ahead of others) and everyone suited up and hit the pool deck. The weather was gorgeous, beers went down smoothly, and everyone was having such a good time. Mid to late afternoon, Craig's old college roommate Dustin (Djay's brother) arrived with Brian, the two last of the group to arrive that day. More pool time, more beer, pool, sun, beer, and a whole afternoon of laughter. That group, when they all get together, are just one long string of witticisms. Maybe I'm overappreciative of a good sense of humor, or I'm just not exposed to the amount of it that pours from such a large group, but I found myself doubling over with laughter on several occasions through the course of our vacation. Evening brought on wild overstuffed golf cart rides to a place to eat (not the Mucky Duck this time, but another similar type beach spot) and a lot of food, including breaded alligator bites and seafood quesadillas. Saturday night led right into Sunday for more of the same, this time with two hours spent on the beach in the morning (Craig and I began the trend and others joined in pairs or as individuals); Chris dug a 3-foot hole in the sand with a plastic claw, the others sculpted a hideous naked beach babe in the sand and Brooke and I went on to create her a sea shell bikini; plus later, there was the addition of a margarita bar by the pool, which proved to be dangerous for all involved. Sunday evening we grilled burgers and brats with sides of chips and potato salad. I took a break from the action Sunday night to watch our regular shows on the big screen television in the living room. By Monday morning, it felt as though we wouldn't survive another extended day of more of the same. So Monday morning found several members of the group hunched around the screen porch nursing hangovers with Bloody Mary's, Screwdrivers, and fancy Jamaican Sunset cocktails. Something termed "the shampoo effect" washed over us, which basically suggests the rinse and repeat formula of shampooing: the second round requires less alcohol for the same effect. Most of us were back to tipsy and bubbly before 11 in the morning. But I imagine if you're not going to let go a little and indulge on a vacation where there's very little else than beach, poolside, good friends and intoxication, you're never going to let go. By noon we had all eaten leftover cold cuts from the previous afternoon, leftover hot dogs, potato salad and we were gathered again around the pool for another afternoon of Coronas and plain lazy. At this point a gentleman by the nickname of Killer and his fiance Victoria arrived for their segment of vacation. Since I haven't said so yet, the background of the week is that Di's parents own this home and rent it out for 10 grand plus per week. Djay and Di (married last June) decided to invite everyone down for as long or short as any of us could stay. So, all thanks to Djay and Di for the relaxing experience. Anyway, following a whole afternoon of sun et al., we cleaned up and returned for dinner at the Mucky Duck. The place was packed; we wound up waiting an hour and a half outside in the Florida breeze against the gulf for tables. But it was worth the wait: Craig and I each ordered the Chef's Pasta, which tasted incredible after far too many drinks through the day. Monday night turned into my favorite of them all. Chris, Corey, Craig, Dustin, Djay, Brooke, 40 and Killer gathered around one table on the screened porch to play poker. The others of us remaining upright: Johnny, Kevin, Victoria, Di, Brian and I decided to continue the tradition from the previous night (which I had only experienced briefly in between television shows) and play 3-man, which everyone seemed to know but me (my drinking experiences in college did not include as many drinking games as others, I'm beginning to learn!) This game, in a nutshell, consisted of rolling dice to dictate various rules and drinks to be taken. I wound up rolling single 1's several times, which licensed me to make up new rules. 1. If you get up from the table, drink. 2. If you use your hands for anything but drinking or smoking, drink. 3. If you address someone, you must always use that person's first name, or else, drink. Things were happening in fun force but evidently Brian decided we weren't reaping enough benefit from the game, therefore he decided to institute the No Teeth Rule when he rolled two 1's. This rule is as it suggests: No teeth baring, and if you do, drink. Picture, yes, 5 grown adults, nearing 30 or just beyond, lips taut over teeth during smiling, conversation and beer sipping. It was all too much. I know I laughed during the hour of this rule harder than I have in succession in a long time. There were so many other stray parts to this evening, including but not limited to finally immersing ourselves, me, Di, Johnny, Brian and Kevin, in the hot tub on the upstairs balcony, only to find that the temperature was at its peak, 104 degrees (combined with our sunblazed skin created a round of discomfort), and later, raiding the refrigerator for any remains of the past 2 days (I found the green olives, which are basically not permitted in my home, as Craig detests olives, and I'd say I ate my fair share, while someone else ate cold leftover dogs, someone else tried out potato salad, and so on and so forth). We ended the evening only upon finding everyone else had gone to sleep already and it had reached 3:42 the next morning. I woke up in one sore piece, exhausted and feeling relieved that our travel home day had arrived. What a perfect way to unwind before the next few weeks hit us hard. What a perfect reunion with Craig's friends: they are wonderful people and I know he misses them often.*Tuesday's travel, while I dragged around a pretty upset stomach, was easy. We even made it home last night to catch the majority of American Idol (please, KB, stop admitting to watching that. And dear network, Please let American Idol be over soon so I can get back to my normal routine and stop clinging to the television for such smut!) Thanks again to Djay and Di, thanks to Florida, and thanks to New York City, who will soon provide me with my own personal most unique experience to date. And to Craig, thanks more to you than anyone else for toting me around.