May 31, 2008


We're back - sunnied, relaxed and renewed from a South Carolina getaway. I won't recap every detail because frankly, our photos speak more than I could describe in words (I hope to post those soon, maybe before the weekend ends), especially since we spent quite a fraction of our time just sunning on the beach, reading and chatting. We left Laguardia on time last Sunday, even landing early, and Craig's parents picked us up within twenty minutes of our retrieval of our checked bags. The condo in which we stayed for the week was actually in North Myrtle Beach, which is about a twenty minute drive from Myrtle Beach. We met up with Kara, Ben and Brady and found the condo easily enough. It was really nice - spacious with three bedrooms and a large kitchen and living area and two full bathrooms. Brady is growing so quickly - he's on the brink of both walking and talking - he was such a well-behaved baby through the week, too! He fussed very few times. Anyway, we all got lots of sun and enjoyed being together. Kara and Ben beat us more often than I care to admit at Scrabble and even once at Trivial Pursuit (in fairness to us, Ben's got his own Scrabble rule with regard to existing words on the board and we applied the rule and it contributed greatly to his wins! Ben!) and we ate well, while way too much. Craig and I drifted off a few times - went to eat lunch on Main Street at a place called Duffy's Seafood Shack, drank a couple of beers at a beachside open air patio one night before dinner with the group at Greg Norman's Australian Steakhouse and spent some quiet time alone at the beach the last day, too. Overall it is difficult to vacation with a group but only in the sense that everyone's paces are unique, particularly with baby Brady's schedule in play. But I don't think there was a moment where any particular one of us wasn't content with anyone else's pace or schedule. We grilled out at the condo community's grills a couple of nights in lieu of going out to eat. We ate breakfast every morning at the condo - toast, cereal, fresh fruit, juice and coffee - one morning we all pitched in for an eggs and potato breakfast, and another morning Kara and Joann made superior waffles (I can't give away their trade secrets but let me say, as a non-regular waffle eater, these were fantastic and completely fat-free, to boot!) Wednesday, to divide all the beach time nicely, we traveled to Charleston, which is about a two hour drive from Myrtle Beach. It is a quaint little place with New Orleans French Quarter-ish architecture and blooms and foliage. We took a trolley in the morning but walked the rest of the day, just strolling and observing, really. To wrap up our charming Southern adventure, we drove to the Magnolia Plantation where we split into separate groups - Kara and Ben took Brady to the petting zoo and through the garden, Craig and I walked part of the garden with Ed and Joann and then they took the house tour while Craig and I sought alligators at the swamp. Unfortunately, we saw nothing but a moss-covered turtle - later we learned that Kara and Ben encountered two gators just hanging out on the path in the garden! Kara was pretty freaked out but snapped photos to show us. Then on our way back to the condo, just Ed, Joann, Craig and I stopped to eat seafood in Murrell's Inlet (outside of Myrtle Beach) and the weather took a spotty turn - hard rains, temperatures dropped into the 50's! Morning was more of the same only less rain - sky stuffed with clouds, cool temps and so forth. Ed, Joann, Craig and I drove to a pier in Myrtle Beach to walk the length and view the shore. Craig and I snapped stormy ocean photos and we even saw a woman catch a baby shark. He was maybe a foot long and her husband disengaged the thing from the hook and pitched it awkwardly back into the water but I can safely say that was the closest to a shark I've ever been and hopefully the closest I will ever be! For lunch we stopped at Broadway at the Beach, a large boardwalk complex with shops and restaurants - we endured a 20-minute wait for Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville - the food was pretty decent and my Ruby Red Margarita was good, too. Then Craig and I headed off on our own to walk the perimeter of the complex. We indulged in a vanilla iced latte from the KISS cofffeeshop (weird!) and he ate pistacchio ice cream on a cone and I tried a Kahlua Chocolate Truffle from a chocolatier. By late afternoon, the weather shifted back to what we'd had in the days prior - bright sunshine and 80's temps, so Craig and I caught a last hour on the beach by ourselves at that time. The whole week was really nice - it was nice to be away from the realities of the everyday, for sure. We weren't overly impressed with 17, the main road that runs the length of the Grand Strand - huge warehouse type beach junk stores called Wings, Bargains and Waves, one after another, lining the strip. But the beach itself was very clean and warm.
a red bridge I loved at the Magnolia Plantation...
another bridge Craig liked at the Garden...
stormy Atlantic waves on a South Carolina morning...

The morning we flew out, Craig received a missed call from Ben as we rode with Ed to the Myrtle Beach International Airport. Craig tried to return the call but didn't get to, really, until we had checked in. Ben informed Craig that the breaking news on tv was that a construction crane had collapsed at 91st and 1st Avenue in Manhattan. This news shocked us both considerably, especially given the number of times we can be found walking across that intersection to pick up miscellaneous items at the Duane Reade on that corner. We hurried to the bar in the airport to order a couple of coffees and watch as CNN unfolded the story. I kept hugging Craig because I felt so spared and blessed that we weren't home or near when this happened. It's so strange, because a number of times I've worried about that construction site and the crane. Normally I wouldn't feel unneccessarily concerned, but crane incidents have occurred too many times in recent construction history to not cause me some alarm. Luckily for us, our apartment building (we're right around the corner from this occurrence) was left standing and unharmed. But had the crane fallen in a different direction, I'm not sure I could say the same thing. How scary...anyway, our cab driver dropped us, after landing back in New York, at 96th and 2nd so that we weren't sending him into the chaos. News trucks, NYPD and FDNY were everywhere, combing the debris for casualties, crawling all over to protect neighborhood residents and to cover the story. It was wild - and a detective even knocked on our door and asked me if we had seen or heard anything. Luckily for us, I told him, we had just returned from a trip so no, we heard and saw nothing. This hits, so to speak, so close to home. Scary. This morning I heard nothing but helicopters for the first few hours after I woke up. Oh, we've been spared and blessed, I can say that much.*We saw the Raconteurs last night, which was incredible, and tonight we're meeting my friend Laura who is in town from London for sushi. Today we're sifting through stuff, organizing, unpacking, unwinding...we move in less than one month! It will be here soon. And Monday, it's back to the grueling grind. The best part of vacation is the vacation itself - the worst part is the hard reality to follow! But it's what affords us time away, which is the optimist's approach. And so it goes!

May 24, 2008


(The above posted photos were taken after the incident that follows...)
My camera and I had a bad day together today. In fact, it was so bad that I almost felt...betrayed. Once, not long ago, I had a problem where the shutter release button would not depress all the way. It confused me because I didn't know what functions I had or had not set, or what mistakes I had made, or whatever user errors could have surmounted my ability to get the thing to shoot a photo. But the error went away, and I happily snapped pictures but this morning, the error returned. With a vengeance. I do not know how to explain how badly I freaked out internally. It wasn't like regular everyday problems that cause me to easily freak out - no, not the same thing - it was a many hundreds of dollars camera failing to comply with my wishes to operate it. So, I did what any dumb new Nikon D40 owner would do, and I huffed into Best Buy all mad. With my receipt waving madly in one hand and the "broken" camera in the other, I explained to the mean lady at the Customer Service desk that I was on Day 16 of ownership without a Best Buy extra warranty (14-day return policy - go figure) and that I'm on vacation effective tomorrow and that the only reason I coughed up such a huge fraction of my salary for that thing was for this vacation. And now my 18-55mm lens would not autofocus, but instead would whirr as if in pain, unable to take photographs?? Come on. I know it's New York City, but give a girl with no ability to operate a dSLR a break, for crying out loud.*I don't want to recap everything else I did following the unsuccessful Best Buy adventure to find a lens to function for the week in the place of the seemingly dysfunctional 18-55mm, how many calls I placed, how many frantic internet searches I did. I even got to a point where Craig offered to throw an expensive alternative lens on a credit card to satiate me (he is the sweetest person in America!) I swear, I pawed through the manual and through my literature seeking for an easy answer. And even the internet didn't help me, no matter what I searched.*But this story has a happy ending. Craig is a little bit run down with a head cold (I know, before vacation, and that sucks) so while he napped, I decided to give the thing one last college try. I attached the kit lens back to the camera (kit lens being the operative phrase here, seeing as I've read/heard nothing but bad stuff about "kit" lenses since the seeming breakdown) and I checked the menu feature, which told me something strange in focus mode about "closest subject" versus the "single subject" that I had selected before. I switched back to single subject and WHAT DO YOU KNOW...the lens remembered all about autofocus! Hurray! KB's inexperience to the rescue!! Oh, I just can only hope I've figured it all out. I guess I haven't used it in a few days - does it default back to that "closest subject" mode?? Hmph, if so, I will figure out a way to reconfigure that. Whatever it is about that "closest subject" function that caused my lens to whir in utter pain, as if I were demanding too much, as if I, the amateur dSLR photographer were punching the poor camera in the gut repeatedly without reprieve, I will squash that somehow. My poor D40. It took a mental beating today!


Last weekend while we were out with the Nikon D40 we wandered into a place we like called The Porch in Alphabet City and were served our beers in these pint glasses since it was the middle of the Subway Series. Fun. So, it's been an interesting week. I was ill Monday and stayed home trying to mediate my internal body temperature. I watched too much junk tv and could barely move around to pour myself juice or eat toast, but I managed to do both somehow and that night we ordered Chinese - I needed the Egg Drop Soup to warm me - but by Tuesday, I was at least able enough to rise out of bed and drag to work. Wednesday Craig took me to a surprise show at Joe's Pub - Juliana Hatfield. He had been corresponding secretly with Jeff who possibly could swing tickets through our mutual friend (we know her through Lauren and Jeff) Shanta, who has a very important job booking acts, I believe, there at Joe's. Jeff has taken us to VIP seating shows before there at Joe's, so sure enough, Shanta hooked us up with comp tickets and a cute table for two. Unfortunately, Juliana wasn't the thrill on stage I would have hoped. In fact, she was quite hollow for a performer. But regardless, we were so appreciative for the special treatment and thanks to Shanta for that and to Jeff. Thursday night we got off the train at Vernon-Jackson in Long Island City and met up with Lauren and her friends to celebrate her 30th birthday...and her engagement to Jeff!!!!!!...surprise!!! a place called The Cave and Creek. Lauren is undergoing so many life changes right now - she's also just graduated with a Master's from NYU GO LAUREN GO!!!...and it's been such a blessing that we've been reunited here in the City and that we've gotten to know Jeff and other friends of Lauren's while living here. My longtime friend from college Eric was also there, with his beautiful wife Lynne and with Eric's two brothers, as well. Craig and I are having dinner with Eric and Lynne in a couple of weeks at their place in Astoria, because Craig and I are in the market to purchase a piece of Eric's art. I've never seen his studio but if it's anything remotely like his studio back at IU, I will be amazed, impressed and inspired to be in the presence of such Eric Visual Greatness. Anyway, so we had a few drinks and left early enough to be responsible. I just love knowing Lauren and I'm so happy that Jeff is in her life.*Yesterday the office closed early for the Memorial Day weekend, so I swung by my 59th and Lex shopping stops to find a couple of tank tops for the week. I'm still a little squeezed with money until the onset of June, so I can't go crazy spending. Craig couldn't leave early because of all that he wanted to get done, so when he got off the train at 86th he called me and we met at Taco Taco for dinner. I drank a fantastic watermelon margarita and he had a guava one. We ordered this outrageous taco concoction with chicken, pork, flank steak, chorizo and cactus and brought like 2/3rds of it home! This morning I'm up again with the sun - it's okay today, though, because I have a lot to accomplish in preparation for our trip this week. We leave tomorrow afternoon and arrive in Myrtle Beach around 3. I'm kicking myself right now for having never saved money for a laptop because I'd love to be able to download my photos through the week as we go, but no laptop is owned by me. I've put it on the purchase radar, but behind a real couch after we move. There will be researching to take place, and it's a sure thing that I will go Mac, but these things take time. Saving up takes time.*We're excited to spend the week with Craig's family. Yesterday his parents traveled to Indianapolis to meet up with Kara, Ben and Brady. Today they were all going to hit the road for South Carolina. They will pick us up at the Myrtle Beach Airport tomorrow and the week will be ours to soak up some sun, wander boardwalks, splash in the ocean, eat seafood and just overall relax from the everyday realities we endure. Happy Memorial Day.

May 17, 2008


This morning I woke up ridiculously early for a Saturday morning: 5.47. That's the approximate time most week days find me stumbling around for my glasses to go take a shower, not a glorious chilly Saturday morning with the crisp air coming in and Craig the Human Space Heater snoozing away nearby. But last night was lazy and early to bed for us - I made Penne with Vodka, which I'm gradually mastering over time (Gristedes did not carry Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes, so I went with Contadina Roasted Garlic instead, and I think it contributed just the right touch) and garlic bread and asparagus, and we watched Cloverfield (I fell asleep most of the way through) and since we're altogether exhausted through the week, I guess by Saturday a.m. I'm ready for the weekend to begin. Hence, up early. Additionally, Monday night began the Craig~Kristin spring/summer concert-going series, and we kicked it off with Tegan & Sara at Terminal 5. Beforehand we ducked into a little wine and cheese cafe where Craig ordered what is named the Pig's Ass Sandwich (I took a bite and it was delicious) and I ate their gourmet mac and cheese with carmelized onions and we shared a cheese plate, which was the highlight for me. I should invest in a cheese class so that I know more about what I like. Anyway, the week dragged on and I rarely got to play with the Nikon, so this morning I wanted to experiment. I read a lot of literature through the week on controls and getting creative with it, but I have a long way to go before I begin to actually like the images I'm capturing. Nevertheless, I'm attempting different combinations of aperture openings and it's fun. So this morning I shot a series of photographs which I am naming Evidence of a Dead Jade. The unfortunate thing about these photographs is that the lighting inside the room from which I shot the photographs is miserably dim compared to the bright light against the exterior wall facing the courtyard, which is its backdrop. If I had any amount of decent light from behind, the images may have come out better. But our overhead light in this room stinks and that's one thing I look very forward to in our new apartment: light. Let the light pour in. So, I'm rather of the thinking that an image should
be captured in the frame of the camera, through the view finder. I've never been a fan of doctoring photos - cropping them, enhancing them - it shows my age, perhaps, from an art perspective. Or that was how I was taught at IU, anyway. I'm not talking snapshots where that person's head happens to be filling some of an otherwise-attractive couples shot of Craig and me, and cropping that head out betters the snapshot. Oh, and I'm not claiming to be an artistic photographer by any means, as well! But with this new device of mine, I'd like to learn and improve upon my ability (if existing) to get a picture properly framed the first time. See above, there is the slightest white edge of window sill on the right that I didn't intend to be there. I didn't frame it adequately, I guess. Still learning. Plus, my eyesight sucks and I wear my glasses in the morning - yeah, blame that, KB!

So in the spirit of not wanting to adjust photographs after they've traveled from the camera to the computer, I went ahead and defied my principles and brightened this image and threw a sepia adjustment to it! Still not satisfied with the boring morning still life photo shoot, I decided to throw open the window and try placing the Dead Jade on the fire escape. This yielded better lighting results while I poked my whole head out the window and snapped away.

So, Nikon experimentation continues. Craig finally rose up from the mess of the bed and he has headed out for our Saturday morning bagel ritual. We're going to catch up on some recorded tv with bagels and coffee and then he's headed out for a haircut and to pick up our signed lease for the new place. While he does that, I'm gearing up to drag the Nikon somewhere in the City to capture my New York. Keeping in mind that this could possibly be our last whole year in this brilliant and powerful geography, since jobs dictate what we do in this age, I want to be sure to have as much visual New York tucked under my arm as I can, so that if we wind up somewhere else someday, I can always come my New York, not to some other better photographer's New York, not to another blogger's New York or to another writer's New York, but to mine as I want to always remember it.

May 14, 2008


No, it didn't involve the Nikon and no, nor did it harm the 50" television, the 22" computer monitor or any of the other fancy gadgetry which we've collected along the way. But sure enough, Sunday night while I was fooling around with substituting chicken in a Thai crabcake recipe (it bombed badly) Craig glanced up from his post on the couch and said, "What is that sound?" (I'm paraphrasing) to which I listened and heard water streaming - not just streaming but really pouring quickly in river-fashion, and we both quickly discovered that one wall, followed by a second and a close third, were being cascaded with water from the ceiling! Oh, to rent! We learned that the residents' shower from the 4th floor apartment had "broken" - bear in mind, we're on the 2nd floor, so an apartment separates us and the 4th floor unit - and water, as a co-worker put it, does what it wants. So Sunday night in between shaping really bad chicken cakes we ran around sopping up water. The wall in the bathroom near the window was gushing so badly that once I opened the window, the river actually did a couple of turns and headed out of the opening and down the exterior wall of the apartment building. The impact hit us the hardest in our bathroom (obviously, as all units above and below us are the same layout as ours). Our doorframe to the bathroom swelled, making it impossible to completely close the bathroom door. Days have passed and our superintendent has since doctored it by shaving down the doorframe, but we very narrowly escaped the situation unscathed. And what a happy coincidence that we're moving in a month and a half...but really, in two whole years, we've never suffered as many problems as we have very recently, in very compressed amounts of time. Losses of hot water due to a boiler problem in the building, time after time in the span of a couple of weeks, then this unforeseen flood...hopefully we've seen the worst. I want to leave this apartment with nothing but fond memorable first-NYC apartment stories to cherish! Frankly, we could not have asked for a better first-NYC place. This apartment has treated us well.*Now moving on to things that scare me more: the economy. I just phoned in my last payment to one of the dinosaur-sized cards I've been financially lugging about for an embarrassing amount of time, and to rejoice, I called another much-smaller card and canceled it with the intent of paying it in full next month. That will put me down to only three bills a month - two smaller cards and my student loan. The two smaller cards should be put to rest before September sees the light of my face. At that point, when I can scan over my debt and only see a student loan, life will be so, so, so good. But back to the economy fear: I'm nervous. How long can my financial liberty last? Things do not sound good across the country. Gas prices are approaching $4 a gallon, if they haven't reached that in some cities already (today I nearly bowed down to worship my MTA card at its fixed rate per month!) Food is not reasonably priced right now. People in this country have children that need to eat and from what I hear, parents are sacrificing eating to feed their kids. Meanwhile, Myanmar and China have been hit badly, so they need us and anyone who can help. Have these things been happening my whole life and I've just been oblivious? I'm not an activist anymore - not that I was ever fully one, but I approached wanting to support activism when I was younger - but something really must change. People must change their habits and ways. Governments must reach out. I'm speaking from lack of knowledge but what I know is that when a mother deletes her breakfast from her day so that her daughter can have an extra few dollars to eat lunch, optimism isn't ours. It's been on my mind a lot lately, because I think to my own family and their futures, and I think to Craig's family and theirs. I wonder what a future can hold while so much is in jeopardy right now? And worst: I'm afraid to have children. I don't want to be. Fear is not a part of the equation I ever factored in. I want to want to have children and to feel that they will be safe and protected. Right now, I don't know that I can.*We're awaiting our Indian food delivery and we need an hour or so to unwind from some work stress. I am so blessed right now. I'm completely, wholly blessed. I wish some of what I have on the rest of my country because I'm almost too content for what's happening now...

May 10, 2008


Nothing exceptional about this image except that this is what we see from our bedroom window across the courtyard. The new resident has hung plants (finally! That's what a balcony is there for, besides hosting oversized keg parties in Manhattan living quarters!) and I wanted to not only thank her, but also pay tribute to what's been our view for two years. If this isn't any indication of why I want streetside windows, aside from the pretty green plants, I do not know what else is! Anyway, this morning after posting I made a few messes: traveled to Ace at 94th and 2nd to pick up a new pot for the previously pictured Jade plant, with which I have developed a near year-long relationship without mercilessly slaughtering it, as happens to most plants/flowers who cross my path, and found a nice rusty-orangish new home for the Jade, but when I filled the pot with new soil (I should really just call it 'dirt' because what happened next doesn't license me to use such a professional gardening term as 'soil') and when I dug a little well for the roots and bottom part of the Jade, transition wasn't so smooth, and the whole thing just died in my hands. I don't know what went wrong! I was tender, I didn't push and shove the core branches around - but they all sagged to different sides - it was a tragedy! Craig walked into the kitchen, which I had quickly turned into a makeshift greenhouse/plant murdering tank - dirt clumped in piles in the sink, on the counter, and there in the nice large new rust-orange pot sagged the lifeless Jade! Needless to say, there were such phrases thrown about by Craig as, "That is why you will never get a puppy" and "What did that Jade ever do to you?" - all which made things worse, so then he tried to help by replanting the Jade back in its original smaller green ceramic pot. An update, after we spent the afternoon in the Park with the curiously complicated camera, is that the Jade looks like it just wants put out of its misery once and for all. Craig's bandaid treatment doesn't appear to have worked. Poor Jade!!
So, here is fairly much my first attempt today to get one flower to stand out while the rest soften behind. (once again, clicking on the larger image reveals the attempt better than the version on this blog page.) This one wasn't the best, yet it helped me to understand a bit better that sharply focusing on one thing will better enable the depth of field I'm attempting to accomplish sans computer software. Nothing wrong with enhancing computer software such as Photoshop - but I want to test the limits of the camera and know how it functions without computer aid. For as much money as I spent, it sure better be able to leap, spin and serve me cocktails, if I ask! Anyway, I'm about to post some more of today's efforts on our photo blog site. Some of them satisfied some curiosity I had, while others may as well be left to rot in a folder on our computer. I plan to post two shots taken from the rocks overlooking Wollman Rink, where the Essex Building and other Midtown Buildings rise in the background - one was shot "normal" in image enhance mode, the other was shot in "vivid". I think the contrast is noticeable.*I stopped at the bookstore on my way home and browsed the dSLR how-to books. I was disappointed in the selection but did invest anyway in a Nikon D40-specific book, which hopefully (as it professes it will do) will help me further develop a relationship with all of the neat, again I stress complicated features of this cool mechanism.*Craig naps, and Jeff will be over in about an hour. I'm excited to give the camera a rest, as I don't believe margaritas and expensive equipment necessarily compliment one another...


(click on the individual photos to see the softened background attempts) The new camera has arrived! I make no claims to have any idea as to how to use it yet. In fact, the chronology of the camera's manifestation goes like this: through the week, I've done research, contacted Roger who recently purchased a fancy one himself, took mental notes, and by Thursday, I stopped into Best Buy, announced to the guy what I wanted, he unlocked one from its secured cabinet, handed it to the cashier, and I marched right home and left it sitting in the Best Buy bag on the floor while Craig and I celebrated with dinner at Don Pedro (yum). Then we came home and I began to rip open the box only to realize the battery would have to be charged for 90 whole minutes before I could even push buttons! Downer! But, I did so, and Friday morning I felt really itchy to stay home from work and play, but alas, going to work is what afforded me the thing, not staying home! So off to work I went. Then, after what felt like an eternity, 5 o'clock arrived, but Craig hadn't received an Important Document that he needed to provide to Important People to permit those people to proceed with working Saturday, and he was frustrated, so I waited for him, and waited...finally, we left the office only to be pounded with rain...the location where he needed to deposit said Important Document was locked up, so he had to walk all the way around to another location, at which point he encouraged me to head to the train - he'd try to catch up. I made it to the platform, jeans half soaked from ankle to knee (that's always a fun commute) and tennis shoes fairly wet, too, and I looked across the way for him but I did not see him coming, so I jumped on the first 7 to arrive. He called me minutes later and told me he, too, had caught a train already. We tried to meet up at Queensboro but he must have been two trains behind me, which means that the 7 trains were running at highly efficient speeds which isn't the norm, especially for a rainy ugly Friday evening commute! Alas, I made it home. Craig was precisely crossing the threshold right behind me. He ordered a pizza from Nina's (which he later decided firmly is the best pizza he has ever, ever had...which he followed up with, And that says a lot, because I've had a lot of pizza!) and I delved into the world of digital single reflex photography! As shown above, I didn't really have a lot of options to experiment with in the apartment. Wine, jade and candles?? Nevertheless, I spent a majority of my time turning the camera over in my hands while watching a tutorial on the computer. I will confess I could not get my f-stop below 4.2, which either means: a. the lens does not have an aperture larger than that, or b. lighting/shutter speeds/basic little know-how barred me from figuring out a lower f-stop number. Either way, recalling photography knowledge from far, far back when I was an amateur black and white 35mm shooter in high school and a little in college is proving itself to be a slow operation. But time will lend a lot. I plan to pick up a book that better guides me than the owner's manual. Hopefully, before too awfully long, I will be clicking away with this new device and the result will be loads of happy New York City memories!*Today, if the weather is nice we are going to accompany the new camera to the Park. There have been flowering trees for weeks now and we haven't made it there to indulge in it ourselves yet this spring. Tonight we're meeting up with our friend Jeff for southwestern eats and margaritas at Cilantro. Tomorrow I need to get us back on healthy eating track by planning a menu for the week. This week past has been spotty at best. Additionally, I am making it my mission to spend at least an hour or two each weekend prior to the move pawing through stuff that potentially is pitchable. I shredded a stack of paper last weekend - old billing statements, etc., which was good, but only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. We've got 7 very short weekends before we are moving down the street to find our "new perspective". I didn't say so but last weekend I think we found the couch of our dreams, only, it's potentially too large. Since I invested as much money as I did into this camera, the couch is on hold either until we move or maybe the week prior. We certainly don't have anywhere to put it here!*I love the opening of a new weekend. The possibilities.

May 02, 2008


Congratulations to Brian and Julie! We left last Saturday morning for Cleveland, Ohio to witness our good friends' wedding ceremony (and to seriously enjoy their exciting reception!) We upgraded our rental car to a roomy SUV which enabled us to pack little Alexander and his parents Roger and Mary into our rental vehicle to travel an hour from the hotel to the church where the ceremony was held. Roger and Mary were accommodating Auntie KB's need to stare longingly at the beautiful little sleeping face of Alexander - how sweet and how well it worked out! I can't even begin to gush enough about Alexander. His skin is so clear and soft and his tiny hands were balled around my fingers (well, given I shoved my index finger into the sleeping grip, that is!) I got to stare at him during the ceremony, as well, in between little emotional tears for Brian and Julie. We've known those two for a long time, Brian, specifically. Brian worked with Roger in Milwaukee years ago, then Brian moved to Detroit where he met Craig and me. Three years later I met Roger in St. Louis. It's nice to have friends from all parts of the country tied to one another. And what's funniest, still, is that all of them - Craig, Brian, Roger and Mary - attended Purdue University at similar times in same programs (Mary's was a little different) and yet never crossed paths. It's enough to make you wonder if you don't wind up meeting and adoring the people you're meant to eventually meet, even with near misses in the past! Anyway, Brian has always been like a brother to me. Craig roomed with Brian in Farmington Hills, Michigan, briefly, and later I accompanied Brian to Barbados on a free trip after his then-girlfriend ditched him two weeks prior to departure! We're all very similar in our senses of humor and sensibilities, so our relationships with one another have always been strong. It was great to see Brian and Julie cross over into another chapter of their lives. The reception was a blast (Alexander sat that part out and stayed warm and cozy at Mary's mother's house) with the glowing bride and groom dancing to their fantastic live local band and everyone in attendance dancing and cheering on the newlyweds. The cake shown above was an impostor cake, we learned. After cake was served and we heartily inhaled it, the cake above remained as it appears in the photo. Craig turned, confused, to Mary and me and said, "Am I confused, or did we just eat cake?" Mary said, "I ate cake. You ate cake." Craig said, "Well what is that thing doing then?" and pointed to the lovely piece of art shown above. Mary explained that sometimes caterers will have sheet cake in the back that gets served, while the example shown above is out for show only. That wasn't good enough for Roger and Craig, who set out on a mission to determine whether the cake above was real. Roger dodged up to the table with his camera, snapping photographs and Craig deftly walked to the back of the cake and ran an index finger along the base of the "frosting" to test its authenticity. The two returned to the table and Craig announced, "Yep, it's real" right as Brian sat down at our table. I was laughing enough that Brian said, "What?" and I had had several cocktails and explained that we weren't quite sure what was up with that cake. Brian said, without missing a beat, "Yeah, everyone's asking the same thing!" but in the end, none of us, the groom included, ever learned the fate of that cake!*Great to see good friends, to celebrate wedded bliss and a new brilliant baby. Sunday morning we headed out to eat breakfast and landed at a Family Diner that served us both coffees, omelettes, hash browns and toast for the low, low price of $10.24 (the total on the tab). Nice! Good old Ohio. And we arrived back in the City around 4-something Sunday, after swinging by Brian and Julie's house to wish them a great honeymoon in Cabo (they're staying at our RIU! We are so envious!) and after enduring weird security checks at Hopkins and climbing aboard the mini plane and reading magazines cover to cover, etc. Our cab ride home from Kennedy was bizarre, too. I jumped in first while Craig loaded the trunk with our single checked bag and the Rastafarian cabbie had loud, loud reggae blasting through the cab. Craig got in and was immediately annoyed and asked the guy to turn it down. I swear the guy swerved from nearly falling asleep like 4 times, and once we arrived on our street he swore loudly at the driver ahead of us. Then he dropped us off and as Craig headed to the trunk, the cabbie began to drive off. "Sir!!!" I shouted, "Our bag!" and he abruptly stopped and jumped out to apologize to Craig. Most cab rides in New York City are similar: non-English speaking local chattering endlessly into an ear piece (phone conversations that seem one-sided, given how longwinded some of the drivers tend to be), jerky brakes at stop lights, but an overall general respect for the fares seated in the back. On occasion, you might end up with an odd duck. I think that's what we found to deliver us from Kennedy to our apartment last weekend.*The week has been good. I haven't said it yet because it was a quickly evolved plan, but we're moving! Yes, we're moving...we're waiving our chance to sign a THIRD YEAR'S LEASE (unheard of) to move approximately four buildings closer to 2nd Avenue in a drastically differently-laid out apartment. It's a long story, and I'll save it for another time because Craig is anxious to kick off movie night after overwhelming platefuls of Indian delivery from Dakshin on 1st (our first experience with was good but I prefer Baluchi's tikka masala). But I will say this much: tomorrow we head to the management company's office to sign this new lease, and after that, we are traveling down to SoHo to window shop for furniture. Why have we ever purchased anything at the old standby Linens n Things or Bed, Bath & Beyond when there exist such eccentric and modern shops as CB2 and Room and Board?? We've got style at our fingertips and yet we've insisted on the generic housing goods at chain housingware stores?? I look forward to what these places have to offer. I'm on the horizon of having only one remaining monthly payment besides rent, and I am beyond relieved to be able to say that and know that it's true. There are still several more months before I've arrived at such financial liberty, but I'm closer than I was two years ago, which is leaps and bounds for me. So new (albeit reasonably priced) furniture, my new camera and a completely different outlook are soon to be ours! I can only be patient.*Here's to a weekend in the City for us to unwind and do our thing. Work is good, we are good, our health is good and all I could ask for is a nice night's sleep after a movie...ah, the weekend.