October 30, 2009


tgif tgif! This weekend marks our last full weekend as Upper East Side residents. It's terrifying and amazing all at once, the idea of transition, change of environment, five flights of stairs!, and everything in between. Since June 2006 we have called the UES "home". I cannot count the number of times I've ordered goat cheese ravioli in pink sauce from Nina's, or picked up bagels from Bagel Express (sorry, other New Yorkers, but truly the best bagel in New York City!), or battled through the narrow aisles of Key Food, my bag and basket swinging against my sides as I wedge between other shoppers to reach an item from right where they're standing! Lots of mumbled apologies made for those times...anyway, it's early on a Friday afternoon, and I'm contemplating an early departure today. It's quiet. I've accomplished a lot of work already today. This is the first time I've felt tired in a few weeks, not regular tired, but that overly exhausted hazy sensation, and I blame Craig, who disrupted my morning by commuting with me to the Met Life Building for a quick meeting this morning! :) That, or I'm just past the point of ready for our next two gigantaur adventures - the move to the E. 20's, followed very quickly by Europe. Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris! I can't say those three destinations enough to express my excitement. They comprise this action-packed awe-inspiring triumvirate, to me. I've already begun to imagine our homemade travel photography coffee table book in my mind, and the enlarged prints of European canals, architecture and squares filled with people and birds. The Eiffel Tower. Oh, boy! The beer! The air! The travel companion! Oh boy oh boy! So, above posted is the new apartment layout. We've become so accustomed to having such small space to call home, and this will be no exception. Look at that bathtub - what the...?? It's like half-sized. And the limited closet space = we're in trouble! But, we've eyed a few furniture pieces, as we are losing Craig's childhood furniture to this move. It's not easy to part with such sturdy and nostalgic housewares, but we are also in the mood to outgrow a few things and pick adult pieces together. Obviously, with the expense of both the move and the trip, furniture purchasing is low on the list. But it's in conversations, at least.*I've been singing, to myself, that line from "Uncle John's Band"..."when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door..." because I fear life feeling this simple and well-mapped. That does not fall in line with my normal existence. Don't get me wrong; I'm completely blessed in countless ways, for my health, for Craig, for a home, for a City such as New York to know so well, for family, friends, and heart. But things aren't this immaculate for me, not to the point of having consecutive amazing days filled with comfortable commuting, a quiet and in control work environment, more hours to myself in the evenings, and so much to which to look forward! I feel like Craig is going to turn to me at any moment and ask, "Who are you?" because I'm so happy, so very happy! Even as I age and my eyes feel strained and my skin is dry and I'm not working out at the big dumb gym, I'm happy! Happy with the status quo...and I hope I'm not jinxing myself in writing it.*Halloween weekend: quiet night in tonight, some wine, some packing, some dinner, some recorded television; tomorrow morning, bagels, packing, making vegetarian chili for Amanda's Zombie Prom party, then dressing in a wig and velvet floor-length dress and ugly face paint to accompany my Zombie Date Craig to the party! Sunday morning, brunch at Cavatappo Grill on 1st Ave followed by cheering on NYC marathon runners from the Bull Pen, Craig's favorite sports bar. Fun!*Last note: the size of that kitchen! I know, right? It's like a real kitchen for once!

October 25, 2009


It feels like I'm using up pockets of courage to get to the point where I want to be. I mean, we're so busy right now, packing, contemplating Europe, preparing for a new adventure or series thereof in life. This morning, I sat myself down and opened up a newly purchased Photoshop book (targeted toward the digital photographer) and began to read, starting at page 1. I've already learned more in 2 short hours than I feel I've learned (as a new trade goes, is what I mean) in years. Great, right? Also scary. The more information I stockpile, the more instances I'm going to want to apply it. Europe is a photographic adventure for me. I haven't budged from that perspective since we launched this trip. We've both paid just about $1,500 to cover airfare, lodging, Paris museum passes and train rides. We are a couple of hundred away from being debt-free, so that when we travel there, all of our money is spending cash. I'm proud of us.*Meanwhile, tomorrow Craig reports to the Brooklyn office, for pseudo-permanence. I feel a combination of emotions - anticipatory of the new project, scared to be alone in another company's corporate environment, relieved to continue to now-minuscule commute to and from work, panicked that my role on the new job won't be endurable. But! Life is just so quick and small. So instead of worrying about any minute thing, I'm going to sail through the days like they are serenity, floating on the surface of serenity. Calm waters. No breeze. Just sunshine. I'm blessed. I'm sitting in this near-packed living room with a fall temperature drifting in from the window off-and-on gazing at the art of our lone brick wall in this apartment, where our tagging photo hangs, matching splendidly with the gradients of the deep, subtle and weathered reds. I'm about to launch into a Sunday with Craig, wherein we eat bagels, drink coffees and celebrate being here. Praise to our Upper East Side neighborhood, where we've experienced the highs and lows of urban life. But bigger praise to our new destination, because it's time for change. It's time to renew.*

October 20, 2009


This past weekend we traveled to Chicago for Craig's cousin Esther's wedding (which took place in NW Indiana, not Chicago proper.) The highlights for me were seeing everyone, eating more than ample amounts of home cooked food, and being away from real life for a few days. Our flights were tolerable, though leaving LaGuardia and landing at Midway and vice versa could always be a better experience, and even weather held up. Friday night we picked up Chinese food with Craig's parents (I've drifted far from liking Chinese food, but of course would not speak up to cause any rifts in the proposed plans) and Kara arrived kind of late with her family (she carried a sleeping Jake into the house and upstairs, and Ben carried a wide-eyed but barely cognizant Brady). We hung out with Kara and Ben and Craig's parents for a while before going to bed. Saturday morning, I played with Brady and his toys for quite some time, and we ate homemade blueberry muffins and drank coffee and caught up with one another. Saturday afternoon, we each showered and got dressed up for the 2 o'clock ceremony at the church. Following the ceremony (where I got to see Hannah and Lauren - they were so cute and their eyes lit up when we spotted each other!), we returned to Craig's parents to relax and eat cheese logs and apples and crackers and await the reception which was to begin at 6. The drive to the reception was about 45 minutes. Fun to see everyone, and warm and wonderful to be received by Esther and her new husband! Sunday morning we woke for Craig's birthday celebration (Happy 33rd, Craig!) and it was easy-going and calm - pumpkin pancakes made by Kara, and coffee and Shrek because Brady loves Shrek! and football and relaxation. For a late lunch, Craig's dad grilled pork medallions wrapped in bacon and Craig's mom made roasted sweet potatoes and white potatoes (of course, I opted out of the sweet potatoes - yuck!!) and green beans and a chicken and rice casserole, plus her spinach salad with mandarin orange slices, red onions, walnuts and some raspberry vinaigrette dressing. We ate so much food - several servings each, and then indulged in homemade amazing cheesecake for Craig's birthday! There was a great moment where Ben tried to feed a forkful of cheesecake to Brady (who is typically a mild-mannered kid) and Brady yelled, "No no no me no like it's YUCKY!" So funny and adorable, despite the incorrect grammar! I love that kid.* At some point, Erica and Hannah and Lauren had arrived, and that was a lot of fun, too. Hannah is my little friend, and Lauren is becoming my second little friend quickly! I love all of the kids - they're just so sweet and well-mannered.*Monday morning came too quickly. And alas, now it's Tuesday night, and I'm fairly sleepy. I made chicken soup with wild rice and cremini mushrooms tonight, which warmed and filled Craig and me. Craig's now asleep, and I'm about to watch some more reruns from the DVR box. We move in less than a month! And leave for Europe not long after that. Life is good right now. It's serene and noticeably more livable. It's easier. It's relaxed. I love it.*The above posted was played with in Photoshop, a Lomography attempt. I like it alright. I can do better. But I'm still learning. I love Photoshop, the Nikon and Annie! We're becoming the best of friends.

October 13, 2009


I think I posted this photograph very recently, but here it is again, in honor of the sad death of my Jade plant. Aw! We're going to attempt plants again in the new apartment. Let's see if I can remember to water the botanical friends the way I remember to feed Craig and me. I read another chapter in the PS book, this time about lighting options, and so I essentially vignetted this pic (well, not really, as there is a vignette option, which I did not read about, but this is similar). I'm in serious need of a new photography transfer from the PC to the Mac. I'm being selective, so it's time-consuming. I only want my favorites to be shifted over. This weekend we fly to Chicago for Craig's cousin's wedding, and Annie is taking a plane trip with the intention of us spending time together in the air sans The Internet (so distracting, sometimes I wish I could just totally disable it for a few hours a night.) I will have the Photoshop book at one hand and Annie at the other, and together we will scratch our heads over photography and try to visually prepare for the Europe trip. I want my photographs to be very telling when we return, and I want them to be satisfying enough so that we can pick plenty to display on apartment walls and shelves and such. Europe is so exciting to me, but my biggest draw may just be the photo ops. I love New York a ton, and there are photo ops crawling on top of one another to be shot, but I'm itching for something brand new, something foreign and frightening and exciting and ancient, like the old architecture in Amsterdam, or the pillowy waffles (and brilliant chocolate) in Brussels, or the Eiffel Tower and its ability to elicit a swoon. Those places in Europe are fiction to me. I don't believe they exist, and I can't wait to be proved wrong! I can't wait to step onto a street and gaze across a canal with attractive landscape rising around. I can't wait to fall in love with travel again. I have felt that so many times, in Maine, in Canada, in Vermont, in New Hampshire, in England, in Mexico. I loved Charleston, I loved Nashville. I love small towns, I love urban atmosphere, I love seeing a different range of things. Today was one of those days where my elation over traveling was positively compounded by my elation to move to a neighborhood where we will be so ecstatic to live, to the point where I was just plain happy today. A very normal, regular and understandable happy. Life is good today. If it throws me for a loop tomorrow, I won't be disappointed. There is just so much out there. There are so many wonderful things.

October 10, 2009


This past week amazed me. I felt so, so, so completely different from how I've felt the past three years. I felt solid, content, calm, complete. Commuting two express subway stops has a great portion to do with that, but so does the environment: formal, quiet, subdued with polished amenities and cold water from the water cooler and windows!! And Manhattan. I haven't left Manhattan Island since last Thursday! We're now joined at the hip, me and Manhattan, in stride with one another. I've eaten out every lunch since adapting to my new environment, but I've aimed to eat as healthy as I can, primarily vegetarian (in fact, I haven't eaten meat all week) and it's been nice to eat out with Craig or with co-workers or all of us together, like a real staff, traveling on foot to some deli or cafe and enjoying an hour out of the office (something else that has refreshed me tremendously!) In fact, Friday, my friend Niki (thanks again, Niki!) suggested swinging by Barnes & Noble over the lunch hour, and as typically happens when someone points out the obvious to me, the obvious being Oh, yeah! I can run errands on my work lunch hour?? I am still bowled over at that revelation! So, I was able to pick up a Photoshop book to catch me up to speed on the years and years I've missed of Photoshop upgrading, alongside digital photography, which did not exist the last time PS and I were colleagues in college. So the above posted photo was a hastily altered pic but it was fun to "lens blur" on the computer versus using my f-stop with the Nikon. I know, I know. Classic photography should shoot out straight from/through the lens. But what's wrong with a little computer play? And note, it took me all morning and into the afternoon to absorb and understand the jargon which enabled me to alter the photograph in PS, which means my consumption of new knowledge needs sharpening. Time does wonders to the brain, both good and bad.*I've avoided posting about this because if I do (which I'm about to), I fear jinxing it. Late last week I phoned Craig at his desk extension, reminding him to phone our apartment management company to extend our lease through January (because we still have little idea of what's to come). He touched back with me about half an hour later and informed me that our management company had a unit available in its SINGLE building down in the Gramercy Park neighborhood. We've eyeballed this building for years, because it's so near the areas where we consistently find ourselves eating and drinking. So happens, the Open House was being held the next day. And so we went. It's on the 6th floor of a walk-up on E. 21st Street between 2nd and 3rd Aves. Need I say more? We went through the process and it is now ours. We move November 8th. NOVEMBER EIGHTH. That is, cough, minutes away. Weeks, days, whatever - we have bound ourselves to quite the adventure! Moving ourselves from E. 92nd to E. 21st won't be an easy task. BUT. The apartment is amazing (for New York). The kitchen has countertop space. It has countertop space. It has enough countertop space that I can chop an onion and brew coffee in a coffee pot and still have room to breathe! Nice. The bedrooms, at least the way the girls who live there now have it set up, feel like more normally-sized bedrooms. Yes, it's the 6th floor of a walk-up. But guess what? We will be within walking distance, WALKING-NOT-CAB-DISTANCE from virtually every single restaurant, bar, store, and so forth, that we love. So much to the point that I feel like this will be a dream that will be crashed by some bad news, like, No, kids, we didn't get the job in Brooklyn, we are moving you to Kansas instead. (Sorry, Kansas, I have no bones about you.) We're taking a risk, signing this lease. We sign sometime early next week. But. BUT. Adventures with Craig make my life worth living. The second tier to this is that immediately following our move is our trip to Europe. I know. We're insane. We make weird decisions. But they always pan out so well. I can only hope this moving one does. The Second Avenue Subway construction is terrorizing our entire neighborhood now. The street slicing has progressed south into the 80's. Miserable. So we're getting out. So happy. So exciting, such a new life alteration. I can't wait.*

October 01, 2009


Yesterday was monumental for me. It marked my last day traveling out to Queens for our project. I jubilantly strolled across the Citi Field parking lot, smiling like an idiot, probably, but it felt so good to be embarking on my last day out there. Don't get me wrong: many, many brilliant memories have formed over the course of the past few years, some related to the job, others completely unrelated. However, there've also been a whole host of haunting experiences to arise from this. I can only push forward and acknowledge that I've learned a lifetime's worth of wisdom from the things I've seen, heard and done. But that won't change just how elated I was to wrap up that office yesterday. Beginning in February 2007, we reported to an office with walls painted sea foam green with turquoise trim, with shoddy conduit running haphazardly and cheap ugly ductwork overhead, stale air, and no windows. Oh, and then there was that smell in one of my boss' offices. That smell. We figured it was either a dead rat or perhaps the MIA superintendent from Louisiana (no one ever seemed to know where he disappeared to!) I know there are a number of people that work in conditions far worse than we did, but not having windows (I'm such a day dreamer and no windows literally killed that characteristic of mine) was brutal. I appreciated having a job, the whole time, because New York City is expensive and our lifestyle isn't thrifty by any means. But today was a new day, a beautiful one, wherein we smacked the snooze button a few extra times and took the subway 2 stops to the corporate office of our partner's where we will work for a few weeks, possibly months? Other co-workers have been there for a while now, but today was my first day, my blessed exciting and easy commute, my divorce from the 7 train, my exposure to options for lunch! (We ate across the street, a group of us.) And the corporate environment is one that I particularly don't mind, I reasoned today. I've had bad corporate exposure before, but today's differed in that it felt amicable. I think that seeing so many familiar faces assisted in that. I had a great day, and hope to have a great tomorrow and the next day and the next. I'm finally just settling into "happy" after the mountains of frustrations I've been scaling for what feels like years now. And! Autumn has arrived! It's unusually chilly but I love it! Sleeves! Sleeves pulled down over the palms of my hands! Scarves! Cords! I could go on. Autumn, particularly in New York City, is probably the most comforting season. It's easy to slide into. This morning, our bedroom was amazing. With the window open, the chilled air cooled the pillows and exterior of the comforter, mmmm! I love nothing more than to throw a leg over chilled blankets or wrap my arms around or press my cheek to cool fabric. Welcome, autumn!*We went to Williamsburg last weekend, in Brooklyn. We are very much discussing a possible move there, if we land the project we're pursuing. It'd be because of a combination of things. Subway construction has train wrecked 2nd Avenue, which breaks my heart. I love 2nd Avenue so much. I always have (since we've lived here). We'd like the possibility at a newer unit, one with nicer amenities and a little more space. Williamsburg is 1 subway stop on the L away from our favorite East Village area, and Alphabet City. Our commute to the Brooklyn job would be easy: we'd travel through Manhattan, take the L to the 4/5 (whichever one crosses the river into Brooklyn) and probably be no more than half an hour away, one way. And Williamsburg is definitely a trendy, hipster place, one where we'd like to grow to blend into. While having a beer at a great bar on Bedford Ave, sitting in the fish bowl seats, Craig concluded it might be easier for me to "fit" into the neighborhood than him (throw on a fashion scarf, a cute hat and maybe a blue streak in my hair!), but I disagree - aside from his preppy polo shirts and khakis, he'd figure out how to manage! Over the years, he's become extremely comfortable around artsy types. Everyone loves him - he can blend in anywhere. So, we'll see. Things change on a dime, especially since we don't even have that job and could always wind up being transitioned out of this City (boo!)*In other news, before I head out to relax this evening, my restaurant review guide is postponed now with no established start time. I received an email from Kaelin (my to-be managing editor) yesterday, and she explained that there's been an obstacle that has affected their small company and it is requiring that all of their resources commit to correct or overcome whatever that is/was, which I understand, but of course, it does devastate me a diddy bit. I have been so excited to get this thing going. Anyway, Kaelin assured me that they are happy with my enthusiasm and that as soon as they overcome the thing, that we'll get going and it's still my role, to be editor. This may be a blessing, the delay, because perhaps I will be stronger and more able with the onset of the next few weeks. Who knows? Everything happens for a reason. Well, mostly.*Esther's wedding in a couple of weeks! It's the weekend of Craig's birthday (33!) That's the point where we will be ONE MONTH AWAY (plus a handful of days) from our trip to Europe! Ohmygosh I could just fall down with anticipation. So much to do before then, though! So many chores! Errands! Things to learn! Oy!