July 28, 2008


Spoiler alert: This won't exactly be the cheeriest post. Apologies. Things seem to get easy, then tough again, switching back and forth between the two which might sound like good balance but which is in actuality really hard to navigate. I don't want to dwell on the weekend - Gale was here and was a good listener, and we encountered others who were also helpful and distracting for me while Craig went and had his explosive exciting Las Vegas weekend. I think I did alright finding my way around sans head chief Craig, which made me proud. But again, this post isn't about that. And it isn't about anything particular, in general. We just had a really rotten evening - one bad conversation followed by a mail bomb (um, not literally - I mean, more financial strain) and I didn't cook because instead, I came home kind of early from work and waited for Craig to come home to talk and decided to lift the old dusty guitar from its case. Such simpler times, being a high school guitar student, driving my beater car to the strip mall where my then-instructor Kara would transcribe my favorite Kristin Hersh songs by ear for me (in tab) and subsequently teach me how to better play them. So I played the only song I remember, "Country Feedback" by REM (easy chords) and listened to myself sing the words in my head and felt really, really cursing pains in my finger pads from the strings (!!!) and then noticed an old newspaper article about Kristin Hersh in the bottom of my guitar case. The article was called "Hook in Her Head" (titled after a song title of hers) and it was all about the devastating beauty that is Kristin Hersh, and it was labeled September 2001 and she was, then, 34. So now it's a few years later and she's a few years older, but is still contributing to my life in such large ways while not even knowing she is. And I think of how much she got out of her head, how many hooks, between late teens and 34 and now, and I remember the simplicity (and complexity) of sitting on the lawn (it always smelled like fresh grass) at Collins Living Learning Center in Bloomington, Indiana, strumming my guitar with my friends Matt and Jen, singing, having other musicians join us and contribute, and how simple (and complex) were those times. And I never claimed musicianhood. Not seriously. I could play okay and I could shake a mean fist at a fast rhythm guitar riff, and sing along, but all of that faded pretty quickly when real life started. But tonight, yes, it was fun to briefly cradle the guitar and to think far, far back to when things like bad economies, dumb mail containing financial aggravation, little tiny dish washers in tiny Manhattan kitchens that don't wash dishes as well as giant advanced suburban...hmmm, remembering how much I love living in Manhattan!...and strains on life in general that just feel chronic. But there are good things, too. Tonight, those just seem to feel far away.

*very very first song i ever learned on guitar. again, easy chords.

Sorry to be morose. There are just those times sometimes.

July 24, 2008


above: Ikea chair with Flor tiles. Trendy much, KB? below, Chair with Newly Stocked Booze Cart. Yeah, we will never drink any of that. :)
Prior to writing this post, I have, stored, to date, 222 Elements posts and 22 craigkristin posts. Hmm! Play the lotto, KB? 22222? Nice. Oh boy oh boy oh boy - it's Vegas weekend. I've been dreading this weekend for months because, you know, rites of passages/rituals for guys getting married (Craig's good friend Corey from college) should have been eradicated at the turn of the century, when humans developed equal respect for one another. But oh well. I am happy for Craig to get to reunite with his buddies that he never sees - friends are extremely important. And I can safely say I am not the only girlfriend on the planet who wouldn't mind if a huge asteroid destroyed Sin City. On the upside of things, my long lost friend from Richmond, a gal I only knew for 6 short months but with whom I developed immediate friend chemistry, is coming to town tomorrow! Hurray! I have not seen the girl since June 2006. She's departing Richmond in the morning (that's the airport where Craig and I spent some time - I told her to tell me how it looks!) and lands here at Laguardia around 11. I'm off tomorrow (I tend to take same vacation days as Craig so that we're in sync when it comes to taking days together) but will go pick her up from LGA with the help of a co-worker and friend of mine. Transportation to and from LGA, if not by cab, can be on the more challenging side of things, but it works. Not having a car still pays off - especially with gas at 4-something a gallon. So, I'm all over the board right now with so many things I haven't mentioned and have happening. Above shown is our new, quite comfy and quite reasonably priced, albeit somewhat excruciating-to-achieve desk chair. Back in the day, when we were in 316 down the street, we lent(gave) my old Pier 1 dining room set to a co-worker who moved out to Long Beach with considerably more room. We then obtained a smaller table with two small space-efficient stools. However, we did keep 1 of the 4 chairs as a desk chair, despite its black wrought iron with cushion nature. Well, so the 4th member of the co-worker's family is now closer to an age or at an age where he is no longer in a high chair, right around the time we moved to 306 and decided to ditch the 4th chair (giving it to co-worker). He drove us home from work one night, retrieved the chair, and we continued, that weekend, to move down the street. Then we noticed a shortage of chair options. Hmm. Well, lucky for me, Craig has forever owned this massive piece of Oak (I'm just saying that - I don't know wood types) which we call an "end table" (it is) (see in background of first photo) and it fit quite snug under the keyboard tray at the desk as a makeshift chair (much in the way Craig was using the DeWalt utility flashlight to find his socks, previously. We here in New York get creative). Weeks have passed, and finally, finally, finally Ikea Brooklyn opened. I'm being very facetious about that. We loathe Ikea. Their stuff's okay, it isn't that. What it is, is the mass headache that envelops one's brain who tries to accomplish anything there. And I'm not even going to go into the half of it. Let's just say, in a nutshell, that traveling from Flushing, Queens to Red Hook, Brooklyn was the easy part. Fellow New Yorkers know that that's not an easy task. Being in the store? Overwhelming and mind-numbing, if those two can link with one another.*But so we got this chair, and it's altogether really okay.*Back to the weekend...I have a massive itinerary mapped out for Gale and me, and it will be unbelievable to see her after too long. We regularly email with one another, and it's like chatting every day to a very smart woman who has been very insightful about life in general. So being with her this weekend, along with ignoring Vegas' existence emotionally and mentally (creatively, somehow) and Craig's presence there, I think my weekend is going to be quite nice. Photos of our adventures to follow.

July 20, 2008


Weekends do such strange things to time. I am stupefied repeatedly at the way in which time rushes by from Friday night to Sunday night. It feels like just yesterday that Craig and I were high-fiving our "it's Friday" chant. Well, anyway, we've really packed things in. Friday night we got dressed up and headed to Accademia de Vino, a fancy place in the Upper East Side which boasts 500 wines on their wine list and an interesting - I think Sicilian - menu. We ate and drank well, then Saturday woke up to run some errands and prepare to travel to Harlem - 125th Street via subway - to catch Metro North to Westchester. Friends of ours hosted a lovely barbecue with sprawling platters of chips, dips, fresh vegetables, barbecued shrimp, grilled "flap loin" (whatever that is - it was indescribably delicious), grilled chicken, grilled zucchini, chicken sausage, sausage, potato salad, pasta salad...I could go on and on, there was really that much food! Everything was delicious. Company was splendid and Craig and I stuck it out as the last to leave, as always with a good party! But we were still home and in bed by 1. This morning we woke up early again and traveled out to various stores - beginning with Tiny Living in Alphabet City after a memorable brunch at 7A (a diner we will gladly add to the rotation) and moving on to such stores in SoHo as Design within Reach, Jonathan Adler, BoConcept, Apt, Room and Board, and CB2. We wound up discovering ourselves at CB2, which is strange because our last experience there was less than desirable. So we bought a lovely table lamp for in the bedroom, which I am loving more and more and feeling sorry that we have it hidden behind the tv on Craig's dresser - I feel like it deserves more face time out here in the living room (see photo)
but maybe someday we will find a lesser lamp for the bedroom (a lamp is required in there to see into our dark closets - to date, Craig has been using a utility flashlight from his Dewalt tool kit) (hilarious) and then we can move the hip lamp to the living room. For now, it fills the bedroom with softer light and definitely will enable us to better see our clothing while pairing pants and shirts in the morning. And we also bought four Flor carpet squares where our desk chair will go by the computer (once we buy a chair, that is) and two pretty cool charcoal frames that we plan to use for two of my black and white amateur photographs. They are large frames but the photo space is only for a 4"x6". Neat for the walls.*Now we're home, after my craving for a Genesis turkey burger and a grocery trip which will yield homemade guac (an Emeril recipe) for Craig, cheese, crackers, watermelon and Weight Watchers toffee crunch frozen chocolate bars, mmmm. Craig has been sleeping for hours after all of today's humidity (it was brutal! we are beat) and after I get the guac mashed and the snacks in order, I can't say a nap isn't in order for me. And I don't take naps. But what a weekend...what speed with which Friday turns into Sunday - no kidding.

July 13, 2008


Things are going really, really well. It's hard to explain, but there are certain times where I just feel as though this year might be full of incredible experiences for Craig and me. I was feeling that very much this weekend. Friday we stopped at Brother Jimmy's on our way home from work and ate barbecue. We were home early, so Craig started our restaurant wish list (using a website recommended by our friends Alison and Scott - Foodist Colony) and I messed around with the Nikon. Saturday morning we woke up pretty early and headed out for a city adventure. We kicked it off at Jamba Juice, where I ordered the Banana Berry smoothie and man, it was good. From there, we were all over the grid. We ran a couple of important errands, swinging by several of the MLB statues as we walked...and walked, and walked...we walked a ton yesterday, resulting in two very, very exhausted individuals by about 5! We ate crepes at Shade Bar halfway through the day, and by 5 decided to travel to Alphabet City, where we inevitably are always overserved beers. We started at Bua, which is a newer find for us - we think the bartender has some seriously good music on her iPod, which she plays overhead to set a hip mood. It's mostly wood and exposed stone and brick wall, with black and white framed photos of Jeff Buckley all over the place because he used to play there all the time, and there are tables under an awning out front with large garage door windows so the bar feels open. There was such a nice breeze in there yesterday, and after so much walking, a couple of beers set to good music was enjoyable. Then we hit a couple of other new spots, and of course we couldn't let a night go by in Alphabet City without visiting Ricardo at Satsko. We had a blast - we always have so much fun there. It was just a really excellent day - fun, good exercise, good to see so much of the City (ranging from Midtown to Times Square to the Financial District to SoHo and Alphabet City) and to spend a Saturday out and about. We went back to Room and Board, because the New Couch purchase has had me concerned lately. The couch we fell in love with is 88" long. Our doorway is 79". The hallway outside of our apartment is 35" wide, and the narrowest portion of our apaartment's hallway is 31" wide. There are logistical dimensional issues with stuffing an 88" long couch into our apartment, ie., it's not happening. But the couch we would be able to fit, of the same model only smaller, is 68" which is essentially a love seat. So, I've been down about what to do...but we found the answer at Room and Board! There is another cool model upholstered in the same fabric that is 76"!! Hurray! It's even almost a bit hipper, maybe. Anyway, so that's settled...now I just need to reserve the funds and away we go - a new couch is in our near future.*I haven't completely gotten into the routine of the new apartment. I'm getting there, and I love it here but waking up in the mornings getting ready for work hasn't developed a routine yet for me. I fumble, a little. It's hard to explain. Anyway, today we headed to Central Park with a cooler filled with Vermont White Cheddar, kiwi, bananas, cherries and waters and Wheat Thins and books and iPods. We spent a few hours out there hanging out on the Great Lawn enjoying some peaceful sunshine. Now I have posted my weekly updates of photos and narrative and plan to kick off Sunday evening with Penne Vodka, asparagus and garlic bread. Then I am putting myself to work on some organization - my closet needs work as do a few dresser drawers. This has been such a great weekend. As always, I'm sad to see it come to a close. Next weekend: barbecue with friends in Westchester on Saturday, some apartment shopping on Sunday. We might even eat brunch at the nearby French restaurant D'Alsace. Who knows? We do what we want.*

July 08, 2008


My stove. I used it again tonight and am happy with it. I still treat it like a child who is trying to run into oncoming traffic but overall, I think I am slightly less protective than I was with my old stove. I'm okay with leaving brown rice to steam on its own, despite the fact that experience reminds me that steaming rice likes to rise out of its saucepan if there is too much steam and water. But because the stovetop is white, I have stain worries and splash worries. Oh, well. It's just a rental, right??*I listened to my Nano on my commute home tonight and thought about the D40 and read my D40 book. I discovered a very small note regarding a "polarizing" filter and have since learned that THAT filter is the key to my photographic happiness, not Photoshop, not a telephoto lens. I need a polarizing filter! It's like sunglasses for my lens. It will filter the amount of light shed onto a photo, and it will sharpen the colors that reflect back into my camera's lens. Nice!*Meanwhile, tonight I made Szechuan Turkey with Green Beans and Craig loved it and we ate too much and I ran the dishwasher (nice!) Soon, I am off to bed because I can't make it much past 10. The rest of this week is easy and I won't be cooking as much. We're eating Kashi frozen pizzas and drinking Diet Cokes and watching Netflix through the rest of the week. And maybe I will mess with the Nikon again on Saturday. But now I want a filter, a small plastic film to pop onto my lens and to sharpen colors as I know them. That might be the key that I'm looking for with regard to the 40. It just might be.

July 06, 2008


We've had a blast this weekend with the Gordons and other friends here in New York. Thursday we got out of work early so we were able to go to the grocery for ingredients for the Bojda Burgers for Independence Day at Amanda's. Brian and Julie arrived around 6.30. Craig helped them to find a parking spot on our street (!) because 92nd was closed most the day due to Subway Construction. They had a look around our new apartment and deposited their bags - we drank a beer and then headed out to try Justin Timberlake's restaurant in the 70's called Southern Hospitality. The place was pretty cool, actually - fried pickles and nachos apps, Julie ate the mac and cheese, the boys ordered steak and cheese sandwiches and I tried the grilled shrimp over dirty rice (they brought out the fried shrimp by mistake and while normally I don't turn plates away, the fried pickles were enough fried goods for me so I requested a replacement with the grilled shrimp instead - no problem, it only took like 10 minutes longer). After dinner we stopped at several bars on our walk back home, winding up, of course, at Biddy's. Friday morning, the 4th, we slept in a little. We woke up and I headed out for bagels and coffees, then we all showered up and Craig slapped together his famous burgers for Amanda's barbecue later that afternoon. He and I stocked our cooler with beer and the pre-made burgers and jumped in a cab to drop the cooler at Amanda's. Amanda lives on 3rd Ave between 109th and 110th, so we requested that the cabbie hang out and wait while Craig ran up to her place with the stuff. Then we were back here to pick up the Gordons and headed to the Bronx via subway. The weather the entire weekend was not promising, but we managed to enjoy a majority of the game and were undercover in our awesome seats compliments of someone through work. The innings were quite long and involved, including a ball hit into left field which Johnny Damon slammed into the field wall to attempt to catch - the ball rolled out of his glove and he fell to the warning track while the ball teetered briefly ontop of the field wall before falling forward to land near Johnny, field side. Johnny was injured when he crashed into the wall but really the whole play had the crowd rumbling because of how weird it was the moment when the ball seemed suspended ontop of the wall. I also witnessed my first live rundown between 1st and 2nd bases - I thought that was fun. After the 7th inning, it had begun to rain and it was already closing in on 4.30, so we left the Bronx and traveled to Spanish Harlem for some traditional 4th of July Bojda Burgers and beers. We stayed a couple of hours, then headed downtown to find fireworks. The rain really wouldn't let up, so Julie and I stopped for umbrellas at a Gristedes...as luck would have it, the only selection included compact leopard-spotted umbrellas and one large hot pink Mary Poppins umbrella. I chose the latter and we were quite the pair with our ugly fashion accessories. The fireworks started late but were okay to watch. I'm not as into fireworks but someday will have to be because eventual children will love them and I will want to take them, of course. Anyway, Saturday morning we woke up and traveled via taxi cab to the Circle Line Boat Tour pier. The skies were threatening but we arrived in perfect timing - not too late but not overly early, either - and we lucked out to grab four really good seats outside but undercover. This is like the 10th time for Craig and I to cruise around the Hudson and East Rivers, and we enjoy it because it's like New York in a Nutshell. The Nikon was acting up (ie., User Error) which frustrated me and reminded me that I seriously need to spend some time learning how to use the thing. The book I bought is useless - I'm going to have to do some more probing and even perhaps entertain the notion of taking a crash course. I like to mess with the settings a lot but without being completely familiar with what I'm doing, there are times where the camera just refuses to operate (when I don't have all the stars aligned properly). I intend fully to purchase a nice telephoto lens however those cost about as much as the camera kit itself, and to invest that much in a lens, I feel I should know what I'm doing first. Craig agrees.*After the boat, we wandered through a rain-soaked Times Square and jumped on the train to find the White Sox statue at Union Square (there are 42 Statues of Liberties positioned throughout the City garbed in all MLB teams' logos, along with 12 other statues of various paint jobs, as part of the oncoming All Star game at Yankee Stadium) and then headed to Cafe Fenelli in SoHo for lunch. We wandered some more following lunch, then traveled in a taxi to Alphabet City, where we drank a few beers at Grape and Grain and the Porch. Our last stop of the night was, of course, Satsko, where we've been dragging everyone regardless of food interest/interest in sake, and we convinced Brian to try crazy milk sake. Things got a little wild, and Craig and I kept shouting "mabuhay" at each other which we learned from Zane on Three Sheets Phillipines. I guess Julie and Brian just figured it was a "thing" that Craig and I do, but then this morning before they left we were eating breakfast watching the MOJO channel and a clip showed Zane shouting "mabuhay" from the Phillipines episode, and Julie exclaimed, There it is! You guys kept saying that over and over again last night! Craig and I got quite a kick out of each other right then. We have adapted the saying and like I told him this morning, when he says it I feel like I have to say it back to complete it. It means "live" or "thrive", according the Zane's website. See? Watching drinking shows is no waste of time.*Today, we saw off the Gordons and have been basically completely unproductive. I'm about to contemplate a grocery trip and will probably straighten up somewhat around here. The forecast for like 5 days is a drag, more of what we had these past two days. I'm feeling really anxious about our new couch, but we won't probably be able to purchase it until mid-August. Things should be looking up gradually considering we both just got good raises at work and we're nearing the upgrade of things we own/wish to own. The second bedroom is empty except for a bookshelf and dresser - never did I imagine myself living in an apartment in NYC where we have a spare room! And once the couch is bought, we will shove the futon in there to be used for guests. Brian and Julie slept in there on the air mattress and it was really nice for a change to be able to host two grown humans and not feel like we were all elbowing around one another. I should be able to invite friends over now and comfortably be able to entertain. We're probably going to be able to fit a smaller scale couch plus a chair in our new living room. Things are good.*Back to work tomorrow for a full week. Oh, boy. But, it's what keeps us here and we are definitely blessed.*