August 26, 2006


Happy Birthday to my b-l-o-g (half yesterday, half today...I created it a year ago yesterday but didn't really post much until a year ago today.) I can scarcely believe that one year ago I lived in Atlanta with Craig - in our first apartment as cohabitators, and have since moved twice, once to Richmond and then on to New York. It feels like multiple years have passed since all that, which I've deemed a good thing: evidence Craig and I have filled one year with more experience than some witness in a lifetime! At least, from a constant relocator's perspective.*I figured since I posted the City facing south previously (from Rockefeller Center's newly opened viewing platform), I ought to pay due tribute due north - the Park, where I will participate in the Komen New York City Race for the Cure in a couple of weeks, and the Upper East Side there to the right which manages to feel like home more each day.*We've returned home tonight from a barbecue in Seldon, NY: L.I.R.R. at Penn Station to Ronkonkoma, L.I., where our Pakistani coworker picked us up in his car and drove us to his home where his wife and two teenage children tended to food. It was a fine showing of coworkers, and enough kids of varying ages to remind me why I'm not ready in my 29th year to even contemplate the thought yet. Our trains were only running back to Manhattan on the hour, so by 7.20 we were back on the road to be dropped at the Ronkonkoma station to catch the 7.43. One way: 2 hours, door to door. Seems long...yet it amazes me how brilliant travel can be when you simply board a train versus climb behind a wheel. I purchased two books today and began one on the train, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, of which I've read such rave reviews and frankly, Capote has been on my "must read" list possibly since college. Since the release of the movie titled Capote, which we've yet not seen, I've had an itch to read him - what better time than now when I can devour a book in a week or two during my daily commuting? Anyway, it's incredible: it's no secret that a family is brutally slain, and the book is of course a retelling of actual events, yet the suspense leading up to the murders is fantastic. I even fanned a few pages as we pulled into Penn Station tonight to see if I could glimpse how far from the actual crime I am yet, 50 pages in. Not far.*This reminds me that I have yet to explain the whys or hows of my fiction course. When we first moved to New York, without our possessions, with little but the thrill of New York and the pleasure of spending time with my old college friends and their respective companions, I dropped a loose mention to these friends of taking fiction writing from a certain organization that I've known for some time now, without knowing actual details thereof. Their feedback was less than positive with regard to the organization. Politics, bad instructors and so forth. As an alternate suggestion, I checked out an actual liberal arts university located in Greenwich Village, a progressive approach to learning is their mission. I happen to have another old friend in the area who completed her MFA in poetry at this institution, and so I got a hold of her and she replied that my interest in non-credit enrollment is not only (more) affordable but would also yield (similar) results to completing a program, so I concentrated hard on where my money was being spent for a few weeks and went ahead and registered for my first course - ideally it will get my lazy head back in the writing game and inspiration will abound. Ideally. But I am so excited, I can hardly breathe when I think of it. It's an evening course and I will likely feel overwhelmed with such a huge week of work compounded with a night class - but I'm discovering more, more and more that that is what living in New York is precisely about: living upright, mobile and awake - barely fulfilling a sleep quota yet fulfilling every other quota a human might have: in love, in work, in activity, in food, in talk, in sight, in sound. You get the idea.*I titled this post Blues because in remembrance of a time when I did not blog, or for a time when I didn't live in New York or have Craig or basically for a time when I didn't feel as though pieces to the puzzle of me were being configured quickly enough to maintain any loose idea of happiness or even straightforward satisfaction, the Elton John song "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" comes right to mind. It always made me cry before the Craig and me era. In the chorus, Elton sings, "Time on my hands...should be time spent with you." During Craig's snowiest days in Syracuse, NY, during my iciest ones in St. Louis, and mind you, this was all taking place between late-03 and late 04, which was not that long ago, I would play this song repeatedly, whether alone in my car or in my apartment. I would mentally will Craig to call me, or to write, or to be sitting someplace quiet that same time as me, wishing as hard as I was wishing for it to be so, that we could be together. And now, here we are, so much time later and pockets brimming with together memories, changing the whole face of that Elton John song to me, making it happier, somehow, reminding me that each moment can be absolutely filled with not only the person you love, but also the place you love to be, the thing you love to do, and the you you want to be.*

August 18, 2006


Look at this place! I'm hooked. I can't believe it hasn't been 3 full months yet since we moved here and already my pace has shifted, my legs move faster along the City's streets, my mind juggles a hundred different things - wait, that has always been so. Still, so much has changed about my routine. So much movement where previously there was less. So much energy. Again I return to recap events, but there are special significant mentions I must make before I gush on about New York: Happiest Future to our dear friends Timmy and Angela, who wed last weekend and whose event we attended in Ohio - I hope your honeymoon was filled with romance, love, beach, sun and laughter; Happiest 30th Year to a special friend from my freshman terms at Indiana University, Jen, with whom I was reunited Wednesday at the Nolita neighborhood's Sweet & Vicious, for the first time since 1999! and I will get to that; Happy Friday to Craig and me, finally, after a long week filled with so much, yet again; and best of luck to myself! as I gear up my mind to begin my first New York City fiction writing class this fall! And I will get to that.*The week lasted far too long, as I implied, but New York unfolded itself to embrace some of the most beautiful weather. The blue skies over the City positively glow, especially from the vantage point of the 7 train as we commute into work each morning. This morning, unfortunately, greeted a heavy haze, but by mid-afternoon the blue skies pulled through again to deliver us a fabulous start to the weekend. And tonight Craig is taking me on a dinner date in SoHo to unwind from all the action.*So, yes, after all of the turmoil at London's airport last week, the plots, the threats, airports have once again sharpened their only weapon of defense: security. Liquids were not to be carried on the planes. This included such items as shampoos, colognes, even my faithful jar of Blistex! So we checked a bag to fly for one night to Ohio to wish Tim and Angela a longlasting marriage. Checking a bag at LaGuardia was a whole two-hour ordeal. By the time we dealt with a slight delay, landed in Atlanta for a layover, dealt with more delay, boarded another plane for Dayton, flew to Dayton, landed and settled into the rental car, we were exhausted. I approximated our travel time, Upper East Side apartment door to hotel-just-outside-of-Cinci door to be ten hours, minus maybe 24 minutes. Needless to say, we were wiped out, but we were genuinely overjoyed to have the resources available to us to join friends in their celebration. Some do not have such good fortune to be able to do these things. Tim and Angela held a simple cocktail reception following their private ceremony in Angela's parents' home, and they looked so lovely, the charming couple. Wonderful wishes to them forever. Travel time home was equally exaggerated in length, so by the time we ground to a halt on our couch Sunday late afternoon, we were more than beat. It's peculiar how travel can be so draining. Then the week began and Tuesday I joined Lauren and her roommate Amanda in packing Lauren's boyfriend Jeff's kitchen and media. Jeff is leaving his apartment in the Upper East Side and joining forces with Lauren - and my, a talented pair. They are absolutely incredible to know. Lauren made us chicken cacciatore with her grandmother Noni's fresh tomatoes, and we drank wine and talked and I stood on my very first New York City fire escape! despite my awkward slight fear of heights, and to stare down 1st Avenue and watch the daylight dim calmed some of my weekday nerves. I stayed a little too late for a weeknight, but that didn't stop me from turning around and doing it all over again Wednesday. My relationship with Jen is ancient, and was actually short-lived in college, for that matter. We met as freshmen and clicked instantly, and went on to spend a greater portion of the entire year stitched to each other's sides, with a third friend Matt who is altogether another story for some other time. We parted ways for the summer and basically never found our way back to one another: I met Lauren as a sophomore, and many other incredible people, and Jen threw herself fully into the drama, literally, of the theater crowd at IU. There were no irreconcilable differences, simply a departure from one another. Anyway, I've remained in slight touch with her through the years, only to learn that since Craig and I have moved to New York, we would be invited to her 30th birthday party in the City (she and her husband currently reside in Hollywood, but lived here for quite a few years following Jen's graduation from IU). Seeing awakened a lot of the old and extremely fond memories. At first, we sort of just let the impact of our reunion linger there while she tended to other friends and I held close to Craig's side, feeling even out of place, a little. But before long, the veil of our curious reunion lifted and it was all screams and hugs and So Tell Me's...and it felt so nice. Seeing someone that you spent a large portion of time really caring for, feeling such a strong friendship with, after so much time spent apart, was nothing short of amazing. I bought her a journal and she opened it and she even got wet eyes! And she was hundreds of questions about Craig, and about my moving experiences...I met her wonderfully handsome and talented husband Richard, who was just as soft and interesting and smart in real life as I could have hoped he would be for Jen. Before I knew it, it was nearing 1 and Craig was stuffing me into a cab and Jen was telling Craig to take good care of me, I have a huge heart. Brilliant, to see old friends again. Just perfect.*Craig just emerged from the shower and is ready for our date. I will return with more of my ever-growing fascination with living here, details on the writing class, and wonder at all that this City has managed to give to me, in just under 3 short months.

August 06, 2006


Much has happened since I last wrote which means I've neglected to record a lot of important details. And as I type this even now, I'm stuffed with the pasta Craig made us for dinner and my head feels heavy like it's nearing 9 on a Sunday night and oh how I wish a new work week weren't starting up again tomorrow but I can do nothing to prevent the inevitable. In other words, I'm not sure how long I will be able to endure sitting upright in this chair to type. Nevertheless, there are things that I wish to remember so I will do what I can to recap events. Last weekend one of my very best girlfriends from college flew into JFK from Indianapolis to visit us (Jen, who married Pete this past June in Illinois). After battling an extreme amount of delay she finally arrived in the 9.30 p.m. range (her scheduled arrival was 3.13 in the afternoon - Delta will be receiving an unfriendly letter from her, I bet). Craig and I were in Queens with our friends Brian and Aubree waiting for Jen (we'd had our first "work-social" after a grueling week and Brian, who works with us, decided we should carry it on after the fact while awaiting Jen). Anyway, Jen finally arrived, we had a couple of drinks, then bid goodnight to Brian and Aubree and headed back to Manhattan. The entire weekend was completely perfect following her irregular travel day. Saturday we took her to the Top of the Rockefeller Center, where a new viewing platform has opened with commanding views of the City. She was amazed, completely taken with the sprawl of City below. We took some incredible pictures, surely one which I will post eventually here. We walked to Dave's Late Show studio, because Jen is an Indiana enthusiast, of course, and who did we see standing outside his deli but the made-famous-by-Letterman Ruppert. Craig and Jen were overjoyed, positively gleeful, so we walked right up and Craig asked if we could take a snapshot - Ruppert's just as expressionless in real life as on TV, but he agreed, then wished us a fun afternoon. This was the first in a long line of indications to me over the course of the weekend that Craig and Jen will get along famously - they have an unbelievable amount of interests in common, which makes me absolutely positive that my taste in people is consistent! I loved having two of my most favorite people get to know each other (despite the length of my relationship with Craig, geography has stood in the way of those two ever really spending time with one another) - this was well overdue. Anyway, we also went to Ground Zero, walked in and around the building where Jen's dad George does consulting work for Merryl Lynch, stood down at the river overlooking Lady Liberty and pondered boats filled with people and what they might be up to on a lovely (yet somewhat hot) Saturday afternoon. Relatively speaking it an uneventful afternoon but really relaxing and I could tell Jen was having a wonderful time - so were we. We ate lunch at the ESPN Zone in Times Square, and then worked our way back to the apartment to shower and change for dinner. My request was that we check out Cafe Delsace, which turned out to be a great little place. And after that, we headed to Lauren's boyfriend Jeff's apartment for a little party he had thrown together to celebrate his final month in that apartment before he and Lauren move in together. Eric, Lynn, Peter (Eric's brother), Amanda (Lauren's roommate in East Harlem), Chevon (spelling? - I swear I met here years ago when Craig and I were first reunited with Lauren in Brooklyn - she doesn't remember Craig or me but I still think we met - anyway, she is couch-crashing at Lauren and Amanda's presently) and of course Lauren and Jeff, and one other stray couple that are unidentifiable to me even now after having met them twice - were all in attendance. Sounds like a fairly large group for such a small apartment, but it worked out alright (you learn quickly how to step over legs without tripping/bruising, or ducking around conversations without interrupting, while hanging in cramped NYC apartments!) and we had a fabulous time with everyone. We arrived pretty late, but got to indulge in always-brilliant conversation with everyone before the night's end. Sunday, then, we took Jen to Yankees Stadium to roast in the blue seats while the Yankees played the Tampa Bay Blue Devils (not the ideal match up for Jen's first Yankees game but we figured she'd enjoy it either way). After the game we returned to the apartment and basically just unwound from the hot day. She left the apartment Monday morning when we did for work (actually, Craig flew to Ohio for a daytrip to check out some foundation operations and I reported to the office). It was a hit, a huge success, our first New York visitor! Here's to Jen for being a charming and entertaining house guest - I think she loved her first experience.*Then the week unfolded into a sweaty, humid, sticky, triple-digit mess. Power was out in portions of Queens for days and days, subway platforms turned human furnaces, our commutes felt like mini eternities, each walk, each wait, each transfer. But we are made all the stronger for it, aren't we? The temperature has finally lowered into more reasonable ranges but it's still hot. Anyway, last night two co-workers came to our apartment and we all jumped in a cab to go meet Brian and Aubree and their friend Tall Paul (extremely tall) for dinner at an Italian place called Three of Cups. After dinner we headed to a music venue called The Knitting Factory, where we saw Aubree's old friend's band Gordo Gringo. The sound system in this place wasn't too great, so we headed to CBGB's, one of the legendary punk venues that's been around since the 70's and which Craig and I have always wanted to experience. This place was nothing short of an incredible dump (see above for reference) but it was so much fun. There are band stickers literally covering every single inch of the place - Aubree pointed out, "The stickers hold this place up!" The band had a female guitarist and a female vocalist who positively screamed the lyrics into the microphone - but it was all too perfect! Brian and Aubree have frequented CBGB's in the past, so they were proud to show it off. I had the camera and we must have taken near 100 photos through the night, excellent material for our visitors' guide book, which we need to get put together before Andrea's trip here in late August. We had such a blast, a really fun night.*It's time for me to call it quits and crawl into bed with the Joan Didion book I began this morning. I finished Prodigal Summer and still owe my book club friends in Richmond part II. of my essay/review of it (I'd definitely recommend it to anyone - it was a great read). I've already read 50 pages of Joan's memoir and it is definitely a gripping read, in part because I think she's unleashing something in such a forthright manner, something so personal and naked that it's impossible to even consider it from a critical perspective. I'm really glad to finally read it; it's been sitting on my book shelf for a couple of weeks now.*Here's to hopefully a good start to a new week - a good night's rest after a few chapters of good book. Here's every bit of appreciation spilling forth from me to New York for just plain being New York, relentless heat and all.