April 26, 2009


We've celebrated a great weekend with great gusto. Friday night we came home and napped, then headed out for a Friday night "date" night, something we haven't done in some time. We took a cab down to St. Mark's and 2nd Avenue and wandered in search of food, and landed in a Mediterranean cafe where we ate delicious cous cous-stuffed calamari and entrees consisting of spicy chicken and goat cheese butternut squash ravioli (so delicious!) We even got to sit outside in their cozy little sidewalk patio area! Then we hit a couple of bars, including a quaint little place called The Blue Owl, where we used one of our City Shuffle cards, and finally we traveled back home to Biddy's for a night cap. At Biddy's, we both became overwhelmingly tired so we bailed, leaving Craig's debit card in the capable hands of the Biddy's staff! Saturday morning, we rose with eager plans to travel to Brooklyn with my Nikon and its shiny new tres expensif 18-200mm Vibration Reduction lens. Scary! Scary owning something that pricey and precious. Anyway, the plans had been to head to Brooklyn early, then come back to Manhattan with more than enough time to get ready for Lauren's bachelorette/bridal shower. Unfortunately, very unfortunately, I received an email around 9:30 in the morning that canceled the Lauren party due to a family emergency in Indianapolis with her father. He is in the hospital, but I do not know details beyond that. That saddened me a lot, because Lauren is very close with her family, and with the chaos of planning a wedding, getting her life stuff in order, and so forth, having something happen to her dad is so shattering (well, as it would be if she weren't planning a wedding.) My heart is with them. So, Craig and I traveled down to the Brooklyn Bridge, emerged from the subway station and proceeded to cross the Bridge. This is Craig's very, very favorite thing to do in all of New York City. It's one of the very rare few things he cannot find any flaw in, walking across that glorious Bridge gawking at all that there is to see. I had the Nikon out, dangling from my neck (I dare not let it just bang against my chest rather I cradle the camera body in my hand - I think I'm over-protective?) but the lens we just bought for my birthday can smell my fear! I am so worried about knowing how to use it. It's enigmatic. It's got two rings - a zoom ring and a focus ring, but I can't figure out how to use either to its maximum capacity and so instead I find myself snapping the same photo from different distances using different focal references and then later realizing how little I know about the dSLR equipment usage. No worries, I am planning to take a Nikon day-long workshop in June to re-learn, and newly learn photography jargon/equipment use. Anyway, we spent a lot of time just strolling. We walked through DUMBO, over to Brooklyn Heights, then took a subway to Grand Army Plaza in Park Slope where we walked and walked along Prospect Park before cutting over to 7th Avenue to find Beer Table, a restaurant Craig has read about and wanted to try. We ate bread and beer cheese and olives and Adam, Julie and Julie's friend Christina met us there for a little while. After that, Craig and I wandered to a couple of more places, then returned to Manhattan to pick up his debit card at Biddy's! We stayed at Biddy's long enough that we were wiped out - lots of sunshine, too many beers, and too little sleep yielded some kind of exhaustion. This morning we headed out to Central Park. The beauty of the days yesterday and today alike had us just reeling with relief, after so much rain and so many cold temps. So we wound through the Park, found a bench near the Great Lawn and sat for some time, then walked across to the West Side, all the way to Broadway and 71st to a new Fatty Crab (Malaysian food we have had down in the Meatpacking District). The steamed pork buns had us both in tears! they were so spicy! And we ordered a green mango salad which had a generous collaboration of pickled items - mango, pineapple, maybe some jicama??, red onion, cilantro, and a handful of other items - oh, including crushed peanuts!, that completely entertained our appetites. Our entrees were interesting, but the sausage was strange. We likely won't eat it again! Then we strolled back in the direction of the Park, slowly making our way through some just amazing New York moments, which found musicians jamming, children screaming and playing, diversely-adorned adults walking/running/just hanging out, sunshine streaming through enormous knotted trees in the Mall, and just a regular wealth of New York at our very disposal. New York City never fails to remind us why we love it here. In fact, today, on more than one occasion I wondered why anyone would live anywhere else. This place is like the only Utopia in America. Of course, I'm biased.*Above pictured is the new perfume I purchased at Sephora on our way out of the Upper West Side today. My good friend recommended it, and when we left Fatty Crab, I spotted the display immediately through Sephora's thrown-open doors. I said, "Craig, I have to go in there really fast." Craig said, "NO." And I rolled my eyes at him and ran inside! Ha ha! I grabbed the perfume and was checked out in no time, after spraying the tester on my wrist, and DAMN! It smells just like my friend suggested - clean, more like a laundry softener combined with some vaguely beautiful flowers than a spray parfum, and definitely something that won't offend (I smell so many colognes and perfumes that make me want to throw chairs!) So, in the spirit of wanting to play with my Nikon, and in the spirit of nice smells, I did a photo shoot with my new scent.*Tonight, and really all weekend, I just pray that my friend Lauren is keeping her Sisi and Noni stable, that she is okay herself, that her most adoring fiance Jeff is embracing them all. I hope her father is okay. Lauren, besos and besos for you from Craig and me.

April 17, 2009


Today, so far, has been a rock'n'roll birthday. It really has. Craig and I slept forever this morning. I woke up on the couch around 3 a.m. after trying to watch a show, climbed into bed, and proceeded to sleep in increments of several hours until like 10 a.m.! That never happens! Strangely, I had a dream about an ex-bf who was married to someone else significant in my life only she had her girlfriend living with them. The ex-bf had imploring eyes in the dream, big giant brown imploring eyes, and there was a wedding we were all attending. It was so startlingly lucid that I woke up feeling like if I went to my phone, would I really have the text from him that I received in my dream? The oddest thing about dreaming about him is that he dated something like 3 girls with birthdays the same as mine, which he always found to be strikingly cosmic. Me, too.*So, Craig and I ate bagels, and I showered and headed to get nails done, both pedi and mani. Then we traveled to B&H Photography Store near the Farley Post Office/Madison Square Garden. That place is an insane madhouse, with a conveying system filling all of every ceiling, yet we were ushered in and placed our order for my lens and filter and warrantees in exactly 36 minutes (I know so because Gordo called me to wish me a Happy Birthday right before we went in and I checked my phone when we stepped back into the sun).*The new lens is like a holy grail, to me. I have no idea how to use it, and of all of the 66 photos I shot this afternoon, most are duds. But once I learn about its capacities, once I understand the manipulations of it, I will be in such heaven with that thing!*I want to thank Craig again, again again again, for like my millionth amazing birthday because of him. He is this unbelievably bright star in an otherwise dulled existence. He makes everything seem so light and happy, so easy. And today, I also bought this funky dress/long shirt at Ben Sherman in SoHo, and I'm about to go put it on for our date for Malaysian food and stand up with Janeane Garofalo in the Meatpacking District. He set all of this up, because he's a beautiful, kind, trustworthy and amazing best friend, among all other things. Thank you, Craig, and I can't wait for our night to begin! Happy 32nd to me...!

April 14, 2009


So, things are beginning to calm down, finally. I've been experiencing shades of anxiety that I've never experienced before, nothing worth looking more closely at with medical attention, except that I've been really light headed lately. Stairs have become difficult for me - not impossible, but a strange sensation washes over me as I descend a flight of steps, like with each one I might collapse. I've diagnosed myself informally with a case of vertigo, but there seems nothing I can do for it other than get more sleep, which means the vertigo is a result of sleep deprivation! All of that should subside in the next months, and if not, well, odds are I'm worse off than I've even mildly predicted!*As I type this, Craig naps on the couch through his new drama on Fox. We've been through a wild, often unpredictable ride these days (weeks, months) and we're both beat from it. I think I'd like to rewind a few months and handle things a little bit better, stronger, but as of yet, time travel isn't a reality. But, there are some pure and happy things, too. For instance, at the end of the week I turn 32. I loathed 31 and can't wait to bury it in the archives. I want nothing more to do with 31 as soon as the clocks shift to my birth time of 8:13 Friday morning. I will reflect back on it only that I managed to remember how much I love visual imagery, not how I destroyed a lot of paths I could have traveled, shocked myself with how repeatedly stupid I could be, lost my somewhat haphazard will or ability to manipulate language and therefore haven't written a poem in an embarrassing amount of time, for the first time resigned myself to medicine in which I used to not believe, have asked myself the same question (which I will keep to myself) so many times that I could have filled a notebook with just that question in one short (long) year. I could go on, but with the recognition that I'm being overly dramatic, I want to replant my feet to earth and recall what I'm relieved to have right now. First, there's Craig. We're on different planets but I know we're not far from one another. He's always an arm's length away and he's never reluctant to help me. There's frivolous stuff, too, like my new shiny red camera bag that mimics a bowling bag! and my new Etsy camera strap which is highly fashionable and is my first purchase from an Etsy shop! and my birthday celebration, which begins tomorrow night (or so I tell myself) when we eat at Nina's, invite Jose the Waiter to Biddy's, then head to Biddy's to hang with Benjamin and possibly help him djay the bar with our solid and sound selections of music on our iPods! then continues Thursday night since we don't work Friday, and continues on Friday when we eat breakfast at Mud, head to B&H Photography to purchase my thrilling birthday present (18-200mm VR DX Nikon lens) and a protective filter and then from there, we cruise the City for me to try out the new lens! and we return home for naps before traveling down to the Meatpacking District for yummy dinner at, we think, Fatty Crab (Malaysian), followed by seeing stand up comedy by Janeane Garofalo at Comix! and Saturday we're traveling back to Radegast to celebrate even more with Eastern European beers - tonight on our travel home from work we learned Michelle and Al from the Jersey Shore CAN, in fact, make it, which ELATED me! Michelle and Al are completely awesome. And so that will nicely round out my birthday celebration, which, honestly, I believe will be one of my better birthdays/better years. This year, we will come to a ton of conclusions, in many ways. I hope.*I've been into many things recently, which I guess I could add to the "good" list from age 31. I watched all of United States of Tara on Showtime, and didn't initially love it, but became completely entranced in it as the season progressed. Toni Collette is soaked with talent. Her co-stars are nearly always perfect contrasts for her multiple personalities.*I somehow managed, as a result of my anxiety experiences (long story), to find a new band from Scotland called Frightened Rabbit. I'm totally absorbed in their sound, and I had to validate my newfound fascination with them by texting Jeff Devine about them (he's the best music sounding board I've got, hands down) to which he replied something like, "Yes, they are great sad bastard music" which only confirmed for me that they are for me.*I'm saving Californication for later but I watched enough episodes to know that the dark poetry of that show is definitely something to which I'm drawn. I try to throw in some comedy here and there, too - some sitcoms, and so forth. But really, the actuality of the age I'm about to retire is that I hated it. I hated everything that happened that was bad. I wish I could remove those things from my memory, from my history. And what's strange is that I never, ever experienced regret on such a grand scale. I've soared through my good/bad life with the honest admission to never regretting anything, but now, at almost 32, I know what regret feels like, and it's painful. It's like one of those really giant knots in a muscle, one that even vigorous attention can't make go away.*But the other day on the train, I turned to Craig and said lightly, "I think age 32 is going to be okay. I think it's going to be good for me." Craig reached out and squeezed my knee. I hope that meant that he understands what I mean by all of this, by everything.

April 05, 2009


I'm pretty sure I have posted a similar picture before. I will explain. But first, let me back up and say that it's a complete relief that we're slowly rising up and recovering from the massive push to get our project up and running. I still don't feel comfortable rehashing work here, so I won't. But I will say that we're all off work today, every last one of us, hopefully respectively each indulging in what feels like our first break in a couple of months.*The weekend has been a blur of baseball and other things, so this morning when an alarm didn't sound, it felt like such a relief to stay in bed. We also felt strangely guilty, like maybe we should be up and about - what's this relaxation thing all about, anyway?? - so we rose and headed right to breakfast, no showers!, and settled on Timmy's on the River at 90th and York. Breakfast was just okay, but the restaurant itself felt really comfortable, like being served in your parents' home or something. It seemed strangely like everyone in there knew one another, too. Anyway, after breakfast we came home and got ready immediately for a morning and afternoon in New York. First thing, we traveled north to the Bronx to lay eyes on the new Yankee Stadium. The weather today was stunning, skies were brilliant blue and even a breeze kept the temps mild. Yankee Stadium...is...breathtaking. It's obvious that the Owner spent approximately 800 million more than the other new stadium in town, Citi Field. The place is a palace, with impeccable concourse finishes (what we could see of them) and an interior (which we could see through windows from the outside) that surely has fans gasping at its magnificence. We were amazed. Seeing a game there is a must before we potentially leave New York City, if we leave.*Then we rode the 4 train down to Union Square. We wandered around, sat in the sun for a bit, then eyed some art of the vendors who had all of their work out for sale and display. We encountered a photographer's table and were stopped short when we saw a photo imprinted on a canvas of the heavily (legally) graffitied building in Long Island City that we see every morning on our commute into Queens. The canvas, we learned, was selling for $200, but the photographer also sold smaller regular matted prints of them. We stood there amidst a crowd of other impressed viewers rifling through his boxes of photographs and lucked upon a smaller version of the large canvas print. We then found another more recent photograph of the same building, only further down on the building. We bought them! They are super cool, and they will follow us wherever we go and we will have ties to them because the graffiti on the building changes periodically as new tagging artists request space to display their aerosol art (which must be approved, nice!) So we can always admire these photos as images from our daily commute. We talked about how we will frame/matte them (we will matte over the white with a colored matte, likely) and how they will look over our couch! (see below for iPhone poor quality images of the two photos). So that prompted Craig to request that we walk by our other favorite City tagging on a garage door across from Against the Grain and Grape and Grain, two of our favorite intimate classy adult beverage spots in New York, and that I shoot a photo of it to print and frame. So I did! And I will upload it to Snapfish and have it printed probably to 8 1/2 x 11. Graffiti images are going to become part of our interior flair, and I like that!*We ate lunch at Zum Schneider in the East Village, sausages, kraut, mashed potatoes and imported Eastern European beer, and halfway through our lunch, a little blonde girl fainted, which prompted a handful of FDNY paramedics, as well as another handful of NYPD's to arrive, and Zum Schneider is not a giant place. The poor pale little thing was given an oxygen mask and she really, really looked awful. Her friends were milling about, confused and concerned, and it seemed to take forever, but finally a stretcher was wheeled in and she was lifted in her fragile state from the bar floor to the thin medical mattress, then wheeled out. Our waitress commented to us on the taxpayers' dollars hard at work on all of those city workers just standing around because a girl fainted, and the bartender recommended another girl who was trying to get to the lavatory which was obstructed by the medical emergency to "just climb over the corpse". Insensitive responses, perhaps? I felt really bad for the little blonde. Not only did she pass out (faint) at a bar, but her incident became a dramatic scene for others to view. I hope she's ok.*After lunch, Craig and I wandered to the Momofuku Milk Bar so that he could get dessert. He loves that place. He's such a sweetheart when it comes to his sweet tooth - it makes me smile. He wound up with a milkshake comprised of Bavarian Cream soft serve and wild strawberry flavored milk - I took a couple of sips of it - holy moses, was it amazing! Rich, smooth, delicious. Then we took a taxi home, and I've been messing around a little with Light Room (I've got 5 days left of the free trial) and I think we're just taking it easy the remainder of the night. It feels strange, but nice, to be home at this hour, listening to Frightened Rabbit on my headphones, posting random stuff about my random day, and contemplating what's next in my evening. I may even take a nap, who knows! Nice. Thanks, Universe. Today was much needed. Thank you for it.