August 20, 2009


I actually prefer the original photograph to the one I just posted. I manipulated this one in Aperture, changing saturation levels and quantities of colors and what not. I more or less just wanted to play a little. Anyway, despite the fact that we were in Myrtle Beach in the spring (quite some time back, not this past spring) this photo reminds me of the heat of summer. It's really hot right now. I could barely breathe exiting the train at 86th Street tonight, and the most excruciating thing about it is that above ground felt no better than under! I rushed home to throw open the apartment door and gulp in the cooler air inside from our window unit. Central Air? What's that again? Things are really pretty methodical right now, at least for me. Wake up, shower, grab an iced coffee, commute to the office, contemplate my day, experience my day, come home from work to eat with Craig, whether in or out, go to bed. Do it again. And again. And again. But, distractions such as planning for Europe help with that. As for my restaurant review guide, I'm still waiting for the webform to be set up (I really, really hope to hear something soon?!!) Now is such the perfect blissful stress-free time for me to concentrate on that, whereas within a month or two that could all change. Anyway. Last night Craig and I went on a date. We grabbed a cab to Houston Street to the Landmark Sunshine Theater to see It Might Get Loud, which is a rockumentary featuring Jimmy Page (Zeppelin), The Edge (U2) and Jack White (The White Stripes). We bought popcorn and I seasoned it with White Cheddar seasoning (they have Jalapeno, Ranch, Sour Cream and Onion and White Cheddar! Nice!) (and some weird marsh mellow sweet one, yuck!) and we settled into the very nice theater and my god, was this film amazing. It focuses on these 3 guitar virtuosos from 3 different generations, each who has basically defeated what it means to play guitar and gone further than so many others have dared to go. Of course we went because Craig has a major man crush on Jack White (for glaringly obvious reasons - Jack White is a certifiable badass) but we both do enjoy and admire Led Zeppelin and as for U2 - eh, not big fans, but after seeing the film, I totally get why The Edge was selected (and I also conclude and stand by that I think "Where the Streets Have No Name" might be one of the most amazing songs ever recorded). I really can't even begin to describe the texture this film contains. Craig and I both have played guitar in our respective lifetimes - I actually took lessons and contemplated furthering my abilities pretty seriously for a while - so maybe that played a hand in how much we appreciated it? I don't know, though...I think just obsessing over music as much as we do was enough to feel so compelled to and absorbed in this movie. These 3 musical giants each had the chance to teach the other 2 one of their songs and rock the songs out together on the film. Jack selected "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" which was really quite perfect, and when they all started playing it together, I could almost reach out and feel his giddiness that one of his songs was being played by himself along with two major guitar brains! And Jack White actually composed a song on film, right there on the spot! Can't wait to get my hands on that. Oh! And Jack White is evidently most inspired by an old blues musician named Son House who has a song called "Grinning in Your Face" which is Jack's favorite song. Son House sings acappella and claps his hands (for the recorded version of the song played in the film on vinyl) - it's actually an amazing song, especially as accompanied by Jack's verbal reaction to it. Anyway, I don't want to say much more because in all honesty, I felt such a quiet, still and overwhelming respect for this film and its rich content. Following the movie, we walked to Joe Doe, which Craig has been wanting for weeks now. Joe Doe is owned and operated by this cute little couple, Jill and Joe. Jill was our server and Joe is the chef. They serve "aggressive American" which I think is such a fantastic description of their food. They order farm fresh ingredients from local farms weekly, ranging from chicken to duck to greens (I ate the greens and they were a perfect blend of crunch, bitter and vinegar) to chick peas (which they serve lightly battered as a complimentary starter). We shared pickled onion rings with garlic mayo dipping sauce, and he ordered the free range chicken while I ordered the flank steak. Craig had been hoping for the pork belly, and inquired as to why it was not listed on the menu. Jill informed us that all we have to do is email her our requests and Joe will place the order! As in, email her what we would like and come in later in the week and we can order it! What the...! And she was ever the attentive server (the place is eensy, seats like 20, but still!) For dessert, we shared this banana bread with vanilla ice cream, caramelized bananas and caramel sauce and just about fell down from the brilliance of the flavors. Such a great date for us! We grabbed a cab back to the neighborhood, then, and ducked into Biddy's for "like two beers". Unfortunately (or, fortunately? I mean, I had fun!) we ran into a Biddy's friend named Zelda, with whom last time we met her I got along famously! So, Craig wound up cashing it in early and I stayed out with Zelda and her friends. Until an embarrassingly late hour. Embarrassingly late. Like, I won't confess it here, even. What do I think I am, 22 not 32?? I made it into work regardless, and lasted just about the entire day without conking out. Tonight, we ate Nina's pizza and spinach salad and are going to watch Seven Pounds (Will Smith, I have no idea what it's even about??) Summer this summer is lazy. Droll. And sleepy. But I do own it, regardless. It's my summer! I am so looking forward to more Europe chat/plans. Tomorrow is Friday. We're laying low to save money and avoid the beginnings of the hurricane season creeping toward us and to plan stuff for Europe! Really nice, being on cruise control right now. Cheers to the last week of summer, beginning next week.

August 15, 2009


Ancient photograph posted here because I'm transitioning, as we speak. This morning's post marks the first, ever, to be typed on the stylish little MacBook Pro whom I've named Annie and who is finally, finally, after months of deliberation and then two nights of head scratching, an hour long phone conversation first with "Lance" of Apple then with "Will" of Apple regarding my Airport Extreme and all of its cables, networks, addresses (IP? DHCP? What the...)...wireless! Annie's wireless! And yesterday, I took her to the office to download an iWork trial and an Aperture trial, both with which I'm going to play this morning while Craig sleeps on and on! It's ideal - I won't lie - sitting here on my comfortable gray couch with my lightweight little friend in my lap, Internet-ready, word processing ready, and photo-play ready on a casual Saturday morn. So this is what all those laptop lovers over years have been experiencing and loving! This is my first laptop ownership, so I'm fairly geeked over it and impressed by its convenience. Craig's work laptop is where Elements began back when, in the Atlanta days, but we weren't "wireless" so I remained at the mercy of an Ethernet cable. This stuff is downright impressive! I'm old, so old that the last time I owned a Mac, or, as I'd prefer to call it, an Apple computer, word processing was about all of the capacity I had. I could log onto very slow AOL email, but I wasn't using it much back then. Digital photography didn't exist then, not, at least, in my world (the first camera Craig and I owned together was a 35mm) and in fact it wasn't until like April 2001 that I finally broke down and accepted a "cellular phone" from my dad - a tiny little AT&T thing, for "road emergencies only." Now, it's 2009 and I'm on a laptop with wireless Internet and I cannot live without my silly iPhone and Facebook and Gmail. There are so many times this is so loathsome to me, yet I love it in the very same breath. Communication lines have both weakened and strengthened. Finding old friends (via Facebook) has never been easier. It's just about a given that all people will eventually cave and at least join (regardless of what excuses they may make about why!) This world is so different. I imagine this is what our parents experienced when cars got speedier and fancier and when Walkmans with headphones trumped old vinyl players. Or when television advanced from b&w to color (quite possibly before my parents' time?? I am not good with stuff like that!) I can even be quite sure, sitting here, that this luxurious little laptop is already depreciating by the minute and something will soon, if not has already, take its place! So, so strange, to think. And I've been communicating with an old friend who likes music a lot, and it got me to thinking about how much I miss, truthfully, saving my allowance or minimum wage pay from Dairy Queen or the Greenwood Gazette or babysitting, jumping in my '85 Escort (4-speed!) to zoom to that Greenwood record store called Karma, rifling through the cassettes or, yes, compact discs, even, to find new music. Attracted to cover art, band names, song titles...what have you...why do that now, when Pandora Radio will inform me what I may like based on what I already like? Whoa, lazy! I guess things are acceptable now as is, but there are select memories that I have that I doubt the newer generations will get to have. And as much aging has taken and will continue to take its toll on me technologically speaking (for instance how confused I was setting up WiFi, or how I will likely remain to be amazed at this thing that I'm doing right now, sitting on my couch with so much free range ability in my lap) I don't mind that I can look back and have lived during a time when technology was in its fetal stages, when cassette tape would wear out from repeated play, or when MTV still showed music videos!*Today is magnificent. We are heading out around 2 for our second "food crawl." Craig has found this Vietnamese sandwich shop where he wants to kick it off. I'm elated because I happen to like Vietnamese cuisine (thanks to Bonnie & Jack back in St. Louis!) and Craig has always been a little wary of it. Of course, that was until his new favorite man crush Anthony Bourdain mentioned it! Now Craig is all for it! We have invited our friends Steve and Andrea to come along, as well. We're going to hit as many places as we can in about 4 hours, then accompany them to their apartment in Midtown to walk and feed their new puppy. Then we will head out again for a few more hours of eating. Food! I'm so excited. We will aim to hit all sorts of varieties of places, of varying ethnicities, ambiences and locale. I love these days. I love feeling less stress about work and a good dose of simplicity. Next up: must decide on this French language thing and whether or not I'm going to attempt to tackle it prior to traveling this November. Decisions! Thanks to my Apple friends for bestowing the ability to post like this this morning. :)

August 10, 2009


Posting might be spotty this summer. There are a handful of reasons for that. Primarily, I'm focusing my energy on some other things, like hoping and praying that we stay here (if this new job goes through) because I've fallen madly in love with living here and doubt that I would survive the misery of any other city (I don't mean that negatively toward anyone else, but having been exposed to this, I think many people who have lived here and other places also would know what I mean!) and much of this City makes up who I am, now. I've left lots of places I've loved before, but leaving here would be the equivalent of leaving everywhere I've loved, all wrapped into one big intuitive place. Then there's planning for Europe, which Craig and I are embracing fully, with giant arms, COME ON, EUROPE, feed us adventure! Then there is also the wonderful, wonderful and exciting experience I embarked on beginning early last week: I'm a contracted book editor! Can I say it one more time? I'm a contracted book editor! I'm...again, as many times this year, rendered speechless! A book editor? I'm carrying around a title right now called "editor"??? Last Monday, I received an email from the organization for which I contributed bar reviews late last year/early this year (the book was published in the spring of this year). I pretty much believed I secured the position byway of enthusiasm when we met at the book launch guide, but wasn't fully sure until my now Managing Editor Kaelin emailed me the confirmation of such, followed by my receipt of a Start Up Packet and a Contract confirming my payment and guidelines. My first assignment is to provide the company with a list of 275 restaurants, places in all 5 boroughs, varying neighborhoods, a list of potential themed "sidebar" ideas and the proposed organization of the book. Once approved, I get paid my first fee and will launch into recruiting contributors! Ahh! Really? This is really, truthfully the best way I can pay homage to this City who has taught me not only diverse types of cuisine, but also that I love food vocabulary, relaxing over amazing plates of delicious food, becoming absorbed in the textures of such different environments, and, well, really just everything having to do with New York City. This is just perfect. Craig is even going to be one of my contributors! Nice! So maybe once the book is published we will throw ourselves our own book launch party back in the Midwest, and our friends and family will attend, and will raise their glasses to our New York accomplishments. Too good to be true! I think. Cheers! I love you, New York!

August 01, 2009


Saturday morning, way, way too early for me to be awake (up since 6-something) but the thing is, there is more adrenaline in me right now than there is anything else. I'm taking on multiple personal tasks, trying to sort through very old photographs being one (it's pretty amazing, if I must say so myself, how far I've come with the Nikon and understanding it all on my own), contemplating opening up the new MacBook to load those old sorted photos, having hand-picked only the ones I felt happy that I shot, having only gotten through June of last year, though, meaning I have a long road ahead!, thinking I might review a restaurant or two, thinking about Craig, thinking about our newly scheduled trip to Europe!!!! Oh, and how we must both learn French. Back up. Early this week, we felt really quite envious of our friends Jeff, Lauren, Al and Michelle. Jeff and Lauren left in early July for their honeymoon: Greece and Italy. We spent last weekend with Al and Michelle in New Jersey, in their home near Spring Lake and on their boat on some water (which finds my skin flaking off in gross quantities), during which time they described their upcoming trip to Rome, Madrid and wherever Al's family is in Spain. Craig and I don't deal well with travel envy, so, what do we do? We scheme our own trip! Beginning Monday and trickling through mid-week, we decided we'd like to spend Thanksgiving of this year traversing unfamiliar territory. We debated back and forth about countries, cities, and what not, but wound up finding extremely affordable flight options into Amsterdam and out of Paris, with a stop in Brussels via train in between! Elated? Ecstatic? Out of my mind? I don't know how to describe how I feel about this. It's funny...I know people travel Internationally all the time. But somehow, in some weird sense of a way, I feel like it's this giant blessing granted on Craig and me when we make the decision to do this/pay for this/execute this. I feel like the Universe is apologizing for how many times it has slashed us, ruined things for us, by granting us with this new travel experience. Are we terrified? Of course! In Amsterdam, English is spoken but the streets are all Dutch names which include more than half of the alphabet in their spellings, and prostitution and drugs are legal (zoiks!) and canals divide the entire city, bunches of canals, dividing sections from one we swim them??? Then there's Brussels in Belgium, where, who knows if any English is spoken...then there's Paris, France where NO English is spoken and all of the Parisians are going to SPIT in our WINE because we are dumb Americaines! Bah! How exciting is all of this?? To know that we might get lost in cities (we never get lost in cities) and to know that we might be faced with options that are completely out of our world??? So much more adventurous than England, so much more mysterious! I can't wait. I'm so completely filled with this trip. I'm nervous, happy, excited and a lot more. I just can't imagine! Craig, me. Wandering strange streets, snapping photos of exotic old architecture. Faced with decisions. I'm so thrilled. The Eiffel Tower won't just be something I see in movies. The Louvre!!! The Louvre! Pyramide du Louvre: I.M. Pei designed that! He designed my art building at IU! Canals flanked by colorful old architecture...really? I get to see that?? I'm just so blown away. I'm...I've got no words. This is a trip of a lifetime. This is real life, seeing something that really exists that we don't get to see every day. I just can't wait. How perfect. Sorry to gush, it's likely annoying. But this is big. And I can't wait.