March 30, 2009


We did it. We opened our project. And we're tired, but we've survived it. Today was refreshingly quiet and calm comparatively speaking. I shot the above posted with the iPhone once we made it home last night - those are our fire escapes, that is our building facade, our home on E. 92nd Street. We're still recovering, but I think we're close to feeling normal again.*I would love nothing more than to post and post, to let it all out, everything I have been feeling, but after cooking a pretty decent pasta with onions, fennel and sausage, plus a colorful salad of greens, red bell pepper, English cucumber and red cabbage, I am overly tired. And today I arranged, over email, that we meet up with an old friend of mine from Detroit who will be in New York tomorrow. We're meeting him at Momofuku Ssam for dinner, then plan to have a beer at Vol de Nuit, Against the Grain and maybe Satsko, if we make it that late. This friend dates way back, and it will be good to see him. He's got two children now, and lives in Dallas working for his father's company. He and Craig weren't exactly civil with one another back when we were all in the same office, but I love Craig for the fact that when I told him Jason would be in town and was asking for restaurant suggestions, Craig offered that we meet up with him and show him around a little. Oh, my Craig is such a great guy! Things are different now - it's been like 8 years and we've all come a long way. So that's tomorrow. And this weekend is the Boston Red Sox exhibition game against the Mets in their new home. It will be cool.*Tired, and off to find some sleep in the corner of my room.

March 27, 2009


Times prove to be tough right now. I appreciate the idea that there are people who are this stressed at work all the time, not just at the big push at the end. I wish I could explain, but words wouldn't even do it justice, so instead I will just mention how grateful I was to get off the train at 86th Street today and slowly trudge home through our neighborhood. The temperatures were mild enough that I only required a light sweater. We decided that we'd meet at home then head to a new restaurant on 1st Avenue (to be discussed shortly). I think the time was roughly 6:30 or 7:00, and daylight filled my adventure home - thank you, spring! I stopped to stare up several times, to calm myself, to steady those frenetic brain synapses that seem to be not only overlapping with one another but also short circuiting as I try to recover parts of my self that have collapsed beneath other parts of my self. I found calm in the trees, in the branches yet to bloom as well as branches with small green gemstone blossoms on them (the latter not pictured). I very slowly navigated the sidewalk as if it were my last stroll in New York City, ever (a nightmare which becomes more real and may have to take place, after all, sometime sooner than I wish to admit). I admired details I've been remiss to admire. It felt good, and it was fleeting, because I don't think I could feel it by the memory alone. But I found it, that solace, some peace.*We went to a restaurant which we are certain used to be an Argentinian place, and which still offered cuisine of Argentina on the menu. Then we determined that it's the same place revamped. Nevertheless, the food was terrific. We ordered empanadas (the place now calls itself "Latino" cuisine, a nice catch-all), filled respectively with spiced beef, chicken and a caprese version with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Then we each ordered red meat - this place offers skirt steak, hanger steak, shell steak, T-bone steak, filet steak...and some chicken, but clearly we would each order steak! and I ordered the house salad and Craig ordered the rice and we split a sauteed spinach. The restaurant wafted of/with brilliant scents, and we were happy with our meals. Thankfully, because it cost us!*Now we're home. I'm finishing up my night. Craig just climbed into bed and I am very, very close behind him. Our jobs demand our full attention right now. I will get back to recognizing details of life when I have more time. I miss it, the other details. But at least there are always other things to which to turn. Always.
ps--I have a cough. It's not good. And I hope it's on its way out and not bronchitis or something worse. Please, please go away, cough.

March 20, 2009


It's been next to impossible (basically, exactly impossible) to have any kind of life outside of work these days. While I am blessed to be employed, and I get that, it's still frustrating. I don't remember the last time I phoned my mom, or had thoughts that didn't travel right back to The Job. But there have been moments, precious moments, and for those, I am grateful. For instance last Friday, Craig headed with some co-workers to Madison Square Garden for college basketball. I swung by a sushi place and indulged in spicy tuna roll and one of that particular restaurant's special rolls, Sauv Blanc, and too much iPhone time (but that's fun!) and enjoyed being alone for a handful of hours. I needed it. Then Saturday after work we enjoyed Zane Patrick's Day (a "holiday" celebration thrown by our favorite drinking show host Zane Lamprey) at the Knitting Factory. We had so much fun. See other blog for photo details! The place was jam packed (something like 600 people attended), and spilled beer made the floor sticky, and it was wall-to-wall elbowing to get around the 3-story venue, and there was only 1 bathroom for women and 1 for men in the whole place (drinking Guiness and needing to use the bathroom with lines of 30-40 people do not mix!) but somehow, I felt so happy that whole day. Oh, and all of that was after we waited in line for nearly an hour to get into the party! Anyway, if I had more energy I'd offer more detail. Hopefully my photos do the talking. Anyway, since then, we've just worked a lot. I'm tired. I watch some TV here and there (and fall asleep during), I've tried desperately to cook and not wish miserably later that I hadn't tried to cook (I love to cook and how tired I am is squashing my favorite hobbies), I've attempted to come up with poems but somehow, my head isn't aimed at language right now, nor is it aimed at taking care of myself, considering the "diet" we had been so smart at has become such a thing of the past. But I will dote on myself for one thing: my love and passion for real music hasn't departed me. Recently when we saw Kristin perform with both 50 Foot Wave and Throwing Muses, I was reminded how very little everything else seems when a song I love plays, or when I see an artist perform that I think is just other-worldly. A friend of mine loaned me an artist. I listened tonight, but was a little bit confused by the noise that entered my head. I explained this to him over email, and he understood, and promised me different versions of this guy's stuff, which I will fully embrace and accept and hear with an open mind. Somehow I'm always slammed back into Neutral Milk Hotel, whether the association is simply gender or something deeper, so tonight I thought of NMH and about how blown away I was when my then-friend (in college) showed me NMH. I remember every single moment that that guy and I spent listening to music together, particularly NMH. And how the lyrics made me cry so much. How I felt connected, and close, without having any idea what the band's head guy had to say, and why was he confusing me with such beautiful music and lyrics? Why did it make me feel like I was being lifted above everything else, and that I was invincible? And it still makes me feel like that? I suppose I just consider music to be a catalyst. It should heighten emotion, it should fit a moment. It should make a person feel something that they would otherwise not feel, good or bad. I will say that I have seriously never met anyone who has met me all the way with music. I think that that happens and it's okay. We are all attracted to different sounds. But I would give anything to find people with which to share the moments of music that leave me breathless, emotionally still, or frenetic, or just plain confused.*The friend of mine who shared an artist with me attended my Kristin shows with me, Craig, and another couple. And I could feel the thrill that everyone felt, just being so close to Kristin and her infecting presence. But how do I define my musical tastes to anyone? It's such a spectrum. If you meet me in one room and ask me what I couldn't live without, I'd say Kristin. If you meet me in a different room, I might say I can't fathom life without Neutral Milk Hotel. In several other rooms, I might say REM, or the Cure, or Bob Dylan, or Joni Mitchell. I might add that my friend Jeff introduced me to Niko Case, Regina Spektor and Of Montreal...oh, and Low. And Andrew Bird. But back to this Neutral Milk Hotel thing. I'm aching, listening to this. And I keep listening.
Here. Without infringing on copyright laws, I just want to include some of the NMH lyrics that push me against a wall and force me to believe that there are emotional geniuses out there who have said what they wanted to say, and making me wish that I could:

"I am listening to hear where you are"...(this line is sung with indescribable panic, I love it.)
"Catching signals that sound in the dark..."
"Catching signals that sound
in the dark we will take off our clothes and they'll be placing fingers through the notches in your spine"

(This is from Two-Headed Boy.)

"Through the music he sweetly displays..."

"Make for his lover who's floating and choking with her hands across her face"

"The world that you need is wrapped in gold silver sleeves left beneath Christmas trees in the snow..."

"and I will take you and leave you alone."

And I'm doing it no justice. Seriously.
And what I love is that this guy has just disappeared. After his band put out the album that I'm addicted to, he couldn't take the publicity, simply couldn't take it, thus disappeared.

And the lyrics I listed above aren't even the pinnacle of what Jeff Magnum wrote. But I just wish I could bare my soul like that. That real. That raw.

Anyway, listening to music is never a thing I take for granted. I'm lucky to have been exposed to music that thrills me to the core. And so are others who feel the same. Music might be just the best escape from real life, while summoning real life issues, all at the same time. Long live listening to music.

I'm too tired to discuss RAW files and Light Room. I will master that program soon. Just not tonight!

March 08, 2009


Apologies for the terrible photo shot from the iPhone. Without the Nikon these days (too cumbersome for my schedule, this is just temporary) I'm left with meager snapshots of my City captured by a little gadget. The week has been tiring, and I'm barely awake this morning as I sent Craig off to work again with a bagel, coffee and hugs. But yesterday afternoon was amazing. Apologies in advance of the probability that I will use the word "amazing" numerous, annoyingly numerous times in this post.*We worked in the morning. I got things done, actually accomplished tasks, without the distraction of people stopping by to ask for stuff. It was refreshing, if work can ever be deemed as such. Then Craig and I departed the office before noon. We traveled to Union Square, where we ducked into the Blind Pig for lunch. I ate the spinach salad that I so love, with roasted red peppers, portobello mushrooms, gorgonzola, hardboiled eggs, tomatoes and warm bacon dressing. Craig ate brunch. Then we walked to the Classic Stage Company theater on East 13th. First off, what a great idea to offer a small artsy theater in the middle of this neighborhood (and I'm sure it isn't the only one of its kind). (The photo above is of the building adjacent to the theater.) Second, how brilliant that we would get to see, intimately, very closely from the second row, with almost the scent of these people!, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard perform in Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. This was far and away the best play I've ever seen (and I consider myself lucky to have seen quite a few, beginning in college and carrying on through my adult life). The theater itself was miniature, intimate, amazing (sorry) and the set blew my mind - a long swing near the entrance (which an usher held back while patrons entered in the beginning and streamed in and out during intermission), and a loft overtop a room divided by wood beams so that the audience could see everywhere at once. The cast members shone. Most of my enthusiasm from the onset of planning to see this revolved around Maggie, because I've loved her from Secretary forward, and have always admired everything she's done. Throw in the fact that her partner Peter is someone I've also found to be striking even prior to their relationship and now family (little girl Ramona). And they are New Yorkers, which obviously adds an element of endearment for me. But as we became enthralled in Act I., the actor playing Vanya also stood out, despite the brilliance of Maggie and Peter. And the blonde playing Sonja emanated true talent. And the play itself? Dark, raw, emotional, absorbing and filled with current themes, despite that it was first published in 1899. I loved it. We were mere feet away from the actors. Maggie is stunning, just magnificent, amazing (sorry!) and stunning. If I were not so exhausted from everything, I'd try to offer a more intelligent review, but nevertheless, we absolutely loved this performance. Craig echoed all of my gushing sentiments, which made me particularly pleased because I worried a bit about how he'd receive it. The basics (spoilers ahead) of the plot are this: a very old professor and his shockingly young wife (Maggie, Yelena) travel to a small district in Russia to stay with the professor's previous wife's brother (Uncle Vanya) and the professor's daughter from the previous wife: Sonja. The professor is sickly and seeks treatment from a local doctor (Peter, Astrov). We find out that Uncle Vanya is in longtime love with Yelena and Sonja is in love with Astrov, however in the play, Yelena and Astrov are drawn to one another (and hey, is it hot to see Maggie and Peter act out attraction on stage knowing that they are linked in real life, which I cannot explain but felt anyway!) Yelena references Astrov as "an unusual man" but when she says this, her eyes sparkle in a way that suggests unusual is in a good way. Appropriately enough, the play ends with the professor and his young wife leaving the district, the doctor Astrov leaving the estate as well, and the drab dull lives of Sonja, Uncle Vanya and company resuming normalcy, despite the fact that it is repeatedly pointed out through the play how "idle" the prof and Yelena are as humans (Yelena is told, "You have nothing to do on this earth" by Astrov). My summary of this play really does not do it justice, and sadly, today marks the close of this show! But we were fascinated. I say "we" and for once, I think I can confidently remark that Craig, too, was as fascinated as I.*Following the matinee, we headed to Bua on St. Mark's for an Old Speckled Hen. Then we found a few more bars prior to our intended dinner at Momofuku. There are several Momofukus in the City, but none are alike one another other than they are hosted by the same Executive Chef David Chang. First we wandered by Momofuku Noodle but it looked slammed, so we traveled a ways to Momofuku Ssam, and waited about 15 minutes for a table. Packed, loud, perfectly New York is this place...and the food? Indescribable. Absolutely impeccable, plated beautifully, everything about this establishment can sincerely boast brilliance. After dinner, we traveled through Ssam into the Momofuku Milk Bar, where they serve desserts. Craig ordered a slice of pistachio cake and a side of Fruit Loops Milk flavored soft serve ice cream (after the first bite, he leaned to tell me how much he liked it and his breath reeked of Fruit Loops!! He cutely kept saying it was Fruity Pebbles-flavored) and it's plain to see that Executive Chef David Chang knows how to tickle New Yorkers, because both Ssam and Milk Bar were filled with eager crowds. We were pleased.*So tired were we that we ducked into Grape & Grain for one last drink around 8, then headed home in a cab. We admitted to one another how tired we were, and granted, we had had our first adult beverage at 1 prior to the play, so it was nice to suck it up and come home early. Now, after sleeping until too late on the couch and finally going to bed in the early a.m., then waking to see Craig off, I'm just worn out. I've got plenty of apartment to clean, which is part of the plan. But I think that naps this afternoon are also in order. I'm just so relieved that yesterday afternoon offered us so much. We need that at a time like this, with stress levels at their alltime high.

March 04, 2009