November 27, 2007


Thanksgiving unfolded very nicely. This was memorable, and I hope Craig and I can always have this tucked away to remember. Our flight was scheduled for 6 sharp Thursday morning, the first flight out of LaGuardia. I will say this much for LGA: leave on the first flight out, always, if possible. Don't aim for a mid-day (which is what we've got scheduled for our trip to Mexico and that has me worried...) because by then, flights have had time to back up and become delayed and be a nuisance and overall not yield good travel scenarios. Regardless, we flew out only 10 minutes late, after cruising through security with our single bags and pre-printed boarding passes and so forth, and even after I awaited every vendor in the airport to open a little after 5 so that I could get coffee and magazines, two whole staple items for flying longer than 35 minutes, in my estimation. We landed in Chicago (Midway) around 7, and Ed was waiting for us at the cell phone lot, as always, always. Craig called him and he drove to retrieve us and we rode the half hour to Whiting, Indiana, and there his mom was building our Thanksgiving feast and Craig's younger sister was also there with her husband and amazing tiny baby boy who captured my heart immediately. He is such a precious little guy, almost unreal, how shiny his eyes are and alert and wide, how firm his little body is to hold! Oh, I am so happy to have spent time with him, even just a little. So then my parents were well on their way from Michigan (it will forever remain difficult for me to place them there, 25 miles west of where I met Craig in Ann Arbor in 2000, right outside where I considered myself to become an adult for the first time, post-college) and they arrived in Whiting around 11, I think, and we guided them to Craig's parents', and then there it happened, in a few beats of the heart, our parents met! It went rather well, really, all things considered. My parents were nervous, and possibly so were Craig's, but everything turned out just fine. My dad's elbow glided with the edge of the linen napkin and a flame from the tea candles we had at our individual place settings, which resulted in a 1" diameter hole in an heirloom linen napkin (not good) but Craig's parents very kindly smoothed out the discomfort of that moment. My poor dad! He was mortified. Anyway, the whole day went well, despite how long it felt due to the fact we had been awake since 3 E.S.T. My head grew heavy around mid-afternoon and I needed sleep seriously by 9 that night. Craig and I turned in early.*Friday morning we jumped in his dad's car and went to meet my parents and Aunt Claude and Uncle Jim for lunch. That went well, too. I haven't seen Jim and Claude for quite some time - they looked good and seemed happy. They live just outside of Chicago, so they met us over in the Northwest Indiana area. My parents gave Craig and I some cash for Cabos and my mom found a ridiculously great recipe organizer - a book with plastic dividers to hold recipe cards, et cetera. I'm overjoyed by it because not only is it cute, but it also serves my entire food fascination and organization obsession well. I have close to 100 or more cards to fill now, and that should not be a problem whatsoever.*Speaking of food, tonight I made a terribly perfect Asian peanut sauce with Chicken and Red Pepper served over Jasmine rice. The recipe calls to be served on Japanese noodles (which I mentioned at the time I made it last, I think) but those suck. I much prefer the light delight of Jasmine rice. Craig raved and raved, which I take as a great sign.*So, strange things are happening this week. Tonight Sharon is putting her old sick cat to sleep. Tomorrow we meet to discuss an old story (which I must work on soon to send to her tonight.) Thursday Craig and I are going to see a band I haven't thought of since I was a young toolish teenager, a band which sings weird lyrics about death and dying and killing, called My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. Friday, then, we are going to see Andrew Bird, whose song called "Lull" has me mesmerized beyond comprehension (I listened to it on repeat too many times to admit to flying over the thick fog of the Midwest on our way back home Saturday night, and it turned my head over and over again in ways a song hasn't done in a while.) I think Saturday belongs to us, hopefully a quiet day and night which finds us recovering from two school night functions back-to-back.*I'm off to wrap up some editing on the old story. I could go on and on, all about traveling and how it felt and how it feels radically perfect to have the right mate in my life, the most perfect best friend a girl could want, but I really do need to send Sharon something for tomorrow. I feel so bad about her cat. It's another reason for me to not invest in a pet (emotionally). They wind up in sad situations like tonight's/Sharon's.*More to come.

November 20, 2007


A couple of weekends ago I purchased a twenty dollar stocking cap whose future would be abandonment at some bar on the Upper West Side. It was such a nice cap: black cableknit with an inner rim of warm fuzzy cotton right around the ears. And it was twenty dollars. That's a lot for a hat. So, since I left it behind for some innocent discovery by a hatless passer-by, I decided tonight, on my way home from work, to swing by Orva for another hat and perhaps a sweater to wear Thanksgiving Day. I found both a hat (as seen above) and a sweater (not shown), neither which blew my mind but both which satisfied the curious itch to blow some cash, an illness from which I do suffer on rare occasion. Craig would call it a more common occurrence. Anyway, the new hat is much cooler than the black cableknit prissy cap. The sweater is neither here nor there.*I don't have a lot of time to write tonight, and I also don't have much motivation. Tonight marked a night where I arrived home at a reasonable hour even having left after 5, having shopped at Orva, stopped for cash, and stopped for random other errands. I awaited Craig's arrival home shortly after mine, then followed him around the apartment exchanging conversation with him. He prepared a bag for the ladies, and I continued to chatter with him, all the while not preparing dinner. He kept dropping cute hints, such as, Wow, I can't believe dinner was made when I got home tonight (sarcasm), and a little later, Did you just finish dinner while I was at the ladies? (sarcasm), and finally, I was only in the bathroom for two minutes - I can't believe you made dinner so quickly! Dinner tonight was only Orzo, Chicken, Mushrooms and Asiago, the easiest dinner since mankind was born, so I hastily threw it together after all of his subtle hints that he was hungry, and needless to say, he was happy with the result. I made asparagus that had slight bruises and for the record, Craig doesn't miss the most minor discoloring so he complained about the asparagus. But aside from his comments, dinner was good (including our greens) and following dinner we indulged in warm cookies - the kind that come in perforated squares of dough and are best baked on a nice firm surface like a cookie sheet but will bake okay on a flimsy surface like foil, in a pinch. I requested two and he made me three. And they were delicious, like little bites of heaven, he called them, but we will pay later when we notice the scales tipping to the dark side. Luckily there are fitness centers at our resort in Cabo.*One more day until Thanksgiving. One more day until our parents meet one another face to face. It will be fine. Our parents are all respectively good people. Really, I imagine it unfolding like a typical parents-meet-parents scene: one or two are annoyed in the smallest way, the others are shrugging it off; or heck, maybe they will all be automatic best friends and Craig and I will walk away unscathed. I just don't know what to expect.*Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Congrats to our friends Djay and Diana who gave birth early, early this morning to their little girl named Cameron. Craig and I are going to have to get a credit card at Toys-R-Us to keep up with the gifts for the births of our friends' babies. Maybe it's all a sign.*

November 11, 2007


This particular Sunday finds me feeling pretty tightly wound. I don't know what it is - if it's been a hard week, if my mood is being affected by the stress of work (I ran five meetings last week but the way those go is that you learn all along the way so that by the last meeting, you're completely educated on the subject, which is good) or perhaps it's the fact that November is flying by and I'm feeling like time is out of control and out of my hands. Anyway, last Sunday we headed over to 1st Avenue to watch the crowd gathered to observe the New York City Marathon. Craig persuaded me that it would be cool, and in fact it was pretty amazing. First we left the apartment mid-lunch because the tv told us the leaders were headed north on 1st (they run a little in all five boroughs, beginning in Staten Island, crossing the Verrazano Bridge, running through Brooklyn, running into Long Island City, Queens, crossing the 59th Street Bridge and running north along 1st into the Bronx, finishing up somewhere in Central Park.) We wanted to watch the leaders cruise by just to, well, say we saw the leaders. After that we returned here to finish our sandwiches then left the apartment again to join the onlookers on 1st. The crowd was wild - very enthusiastic, very supportive, smiling, spilling out of bars. People wore themed t-shirts for runners they knew, and many held signs cheering on the athletes. Katie Holmes ran but we didn't see her. Lance Armstrong finished in something like 20 minutes better time than he did last year. The first place woman finished in 2 hours and 20-something minutes - good God! Running for 2 hours +? Please. She's insanely fit and the astonishing thing you'd not know by looking at her cut flat torso is that she gave birth to a child just 9 months prior. The human body can be such an enigmatic machine. So, the race itself was pretty inspiring
in that these people committed themselves to quite the feat. Craig and I observed that while we stood by and had a few beers, these people were accomplishing a hefty goal, one for which they had trained aggressively in attempt to accomplish it. I told him maybe we'd run next year. Please. Right.*So, another week is down as is another weekend. We went to see a few bands Friday night, one called Razorlight, a British pop rock band Craig loves. Saturday we hung around the apartment and then left to meet our friends Alison and Scott on the West Side to drink beer and watch college football. Illinois beat #1 ranked undefeated Ohio State. Then our co-worker Paul and his girlfriend Stacy joined us, along with Stacy's two girlfriends from Southern Illinois. It was fun but today we paid for it. This week's menu has me excited: Thai-Style Beef tonight, which is going to be fun considering I've never cooked with fish sauce, curry paste and coconut milk before, and I'm looking forward to that, andouille, red beans and rice another night, penne with turkey sausage, zucchini and feta another night, and a tasty turkey and white bean chili that is going to be a staple for the winter months. The shopping is done, football is on, and I'm feeling like bedtime tonight might be an early one and might consist of me propped in bed watching whatever TNT Sunday night movie might be on, or maybe I will burrow into the blankets with some poetry. In a week we fly to Chicago for Thanksgiving. We are finally, finally introducing our parents to each other, which will be an interesting occasion. Craig's sis Kara and her husband Ben are bringing their new baby for the day. We fly out of LaGuardia at some ungodly hour the morning of Thanksgiving, and then we're returning Saturday morning so that Sunday can be ours. It's going to be intriguing, to say in the least. Then, let the countdown begin to Los Cabos! I ordered some resort wear from Victoria's Secret - ordering clothing online is never the smartest thing to do but I've got my fingers crossed. I ordered a pair of platform flip flops that have me pretty darned excited. Our resort just opened this weekend (it's an International chain all-inclusive resort, so I'm confident that they know what they're doing) so I'm looking forward to what I hope are rave reviews. How excited are we...also, since I haven't said so already, warmest congratulations to the Long Family as they have welcomed a new baby boy to their threesome: Ashwin Marcus.

November 03, 2007


It's already November. So much has happened this year and there's so much left to go. It's amazing. Last week we got back into the swing of the diet thing and I made some pretty decent dinners. Update: the unwanted tenants have disappeared, thankfully. I attempted an Asian peanut sauce with dark sesame oil, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, light peanut butter, crushed red pepper, chicken broth, ginger and garlic. The sauce was tossed with red pepper strips and chicken strips. The mixture was then ladled over Japanese chucka sobu noodles. I'm tempted next time to use angel hair spaghetti instead. The Japanese noodles are like ramen. I'm not a fan much of ramen. Thursday we were supposed to go on a cruise around Manhattan with our joint venture partners (their entire New York region company) but at last minute we decided to bail. We went last year, and it was really nice, but the problem is that the boat shoves off at 4.30 and doesn't return to dock until 9. That's a long, long time to be on a boat, especially after the work day. So, anyway, not a big deal that we decided to skip. Friday could not have come sooner. Craig and I decided to go on a date. First, we walked to Choux Factory on 1st Avenue for coffee around 6.45. Then we headed down a couple of blocks to the independent single screen theater to see The Darjeeling Limited. The theater is really very nice. We were both very entertained by the film, too. (Warning: possible spoilers to follow.) It opens with a "short film" (referred to as Part I. and also titled "Hotel Chevalier") which stars Natalie Portman as the ex-girlfriend of Jack, one of the three brothers starring in the feature film. The content of the short film returns at the end of the feature, primarily to connect the two, I suspect, but also because we get a better picture of the motivation for Jack's moodiness in the feature. The feature film was filled with artful scenes, colorful gaudy effects of the setting as well as the ranges of emotions expressed on Owen Wilson's, Adrien Brody's and Jason Schwartzman's faces throughout. I suppose I won't give too much of it away, but it was an excellent Wes Anderson film. It felt somewhat like a rough draft at times, like there were extra episodes that could have been cut in places, and I felt that the encounter between the mother and her 3 sons near the end was basically gratuitous. But there were awesome moments, funny ones, like the time Owen Wilson admits that their "spiritual journey" is actually part of his ruse to get his brothers to their mother, who is a Catholic nun in the Himilayas (Owen has been following an "agenda" created and laminated daily by his assistant Brendan) and regarding the event of seeing their mother, he says, "That I actually have listed on the agenda as 'TBD.'" Throughout the movie, there are little shreds of interesting humanity that seem unreal yet so humorously honest. I realize the movie has gotten mixed reviews, and much of the hype over it relates to Owen Wilson's real-life attempted suicide prior to the premiere of the film (his character attempted suicide shortly after the death of their father) but regardless, the soundtrack is harmonious with the content of the film, the visual stimulation is ruddy in quality, raw, beautiful (Adrien Brody's character says, near the end, "I like how this country smells. It smells spicy...") and the dialogue never left me wondering, as I read from one reviewer, how the brothers were related. It's clear and confirmed in the flashback to New York City, to the day of their father's funeral, that the three brothers were raised under the same influences nevertheless reacted so uniquely to events of their lives, and that's essentially what family is in the end.*So, following the film, we had a beer at Ryan's Daughter around the corner. It was around 9.30 at this time and we were hungry, so we finished a beer and headed in the direction of Pio, Pio, a restaurant on 1st. Like last time we wandered past Pio, Pio, there was a line outside waiting, so we shrugged that off and went to Taco Taco on 2nd instead. I need to research this Pio, Pio place and figure out what is all the rage over it. Dinner was nice. We talked more about the movie but we were getting tired, especially after guac prepared tableside by the waiter and plates of bistek, tomatoes and lime, so we decided to have one last drink at Biddy's and then head home. We tried to watch a recorded show from the week but didn't last through. We went to bed early, and I didn't sleep very well due to extreme vivid dreams and the fact that we're in sleep with the bedroom window open mode, which always leaves me sniffling, so I was up and down between 4 and 8.30. I did manage to cram in a couple of additional hours of sleep somewhere in that time, but it was scarce. This morning we went to Jeff's old haunt, The Bagel Mill, on 1st (we have spent some serious time hugging 1st Ave this weekend) but I was underimpressed compared to our usual Bagel Express on 2nd and 93rd. Following breakfast, because of the overcast nature of the day, we opted against our walk to Central Park and decided instead to scope out C-town (photo depicted above.) Understand, I do all of the grocery shopping. All of it. Every last ounce of it, unless there is the exceptional day where we're out of this or that, or he's out of cereal (he's a cereal nut) or maybe we need 2 things, and in that case, he might go to Key Food at 92nd and 2nd, if things are just absolutely dire. But more often than not, I am the sole shopper of grocery items. So, today, we just randomly (a year and some months after having moved to this neighborhood, mind you) fell into C-town to see if it compared to Key Food at all or to see if it sucked. Well, if it isn't evident from the photo above (given that the photo above seems to represent any grocery anywhere, not a New York City 2'-wide isle grocery which is the norm) C-town is really, really really nice. It's so nice. It's like heaven on earth as groceries go in New York City without having to be Food Emporium or D'Agastino's. Midway through our walk, Craig declared, "You will never shop at Key Food again. You will come here." I raised my brow quite high because I already had made my judgements against C-town for various reasons (like, imagine if you had a purse that was a knock-off that was just as good as a Prada one and you suddenly had to defend it because maybe the tacky adhered "Prada" label on your knock-off was crooked or maybe mispelled but that didn't take away the functionality of the purse itself, and it cost nine hundred dollars less...) so needless to say, having Craig instruct me where to shop took me back a bit. But before I could fully react, he followed up with a, "Well, I guess you do all the shopping without me so it doesn't really matter where you go." Haa! How funny. So, while yes, C-town is sort of a little slice of Upper East Side Heaven as Groceries Go, I've never had a real problem with my Key Food (or, none that I would now admit to in the face of this controversial fancy status of C-town as a nearby competitor!) As I told Craig as we ordered deli meat for today's lunch at an immaculately clean and shimmering deli counter at C-town, "I know my way around Key Food. It would take me forever to learn my way around here." (Note: Probably in a few weeks I will grow irritated with Key Food's dysfunctionality and cleanliness problem and take my business elsewhere to C-town.) (I'm able to admit my weaknesses!)*Today, after our adventure at New York's Upper East Side's 3rd Fanciest Grocery Store, we came home and caused total upheaval in our bedroom closets. We have storage overhead in the bedroom, roughly 5 Rubbermaid bins filled with things we don't ever access, so we went through each one, deleting items right and left, and went through our respective closets plus the shared closet (there are 3 closets in our bedroom) and now, life as organization in the clothing sphere as we know it, is good. We've got two mountains of clothing ready to haul to Good Will tomorrow. I can't wait to be rid of so much unwanted stuff. Additionally, tonight we're off to Long Island City to see the Jeff and Lauren pad. We're going to stop at Barnes and Noble for a book on Cabos (another story for another time regarding Craig's unreadiness to just sit by a lazy pool for 6 days straight when we go to Mexico this Christmas) and we're dining with Jeff and Lauren at their new apartment, then heading to a wine bar nearby that they evidently love. Then, back to their place for games or drinks or both or what have you. I miss those two dearly. Meanwhile, it's drawing near naptime. Craig is already there and I want to join in considering the rotten night I had and the lack of sleep. Tomorrow we're back to 1st Ave to watch Marathon runners run by. We're going to have a few beers at some 1st Ave bars and make an afternoon of it. Tomorrow also will consist of poetry and groceries (AT KEY FOOD) and miscellaneous laziness as needed. I love weekends. Why can't they be more frequent?