Thursday, June 30, 2005

new club

I don't know why but I hate belonging to video rental stores. I really don't understand the hesistation, but it's just one of those things. I guess my logic is: videos are one less thing I need to spend money on when I could be buying iced coffee or magazines.

But really, I need to break down and get it. Or start NetFlix or something. Going to the movies last night made me realize how starved I am for cinema. That sounded pretentious, but it was sort of meant to be.

I miss living in Hanover and watching a million movies.

M. Doodle is going out of town this weekend so suddenly I'm making plans like it's the end of the world. I'm seeing RFM on Friday along with my brother, Saturday I'm gonna see "Saving Face" with RiRi and that bf of hers. Sunday I'm supposed to see Diane and Monday I'm seeing RJ and K.

What am I looking forward to doing most though? I really can't wait to get up early tomorrow morning, do laundry, read and drink coffee at Gorilla on 5th ave. I want to go to the BoGa (my stupid nickname for the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens) make soup and read on Saturday and Sunday, I want to just read. Nothing else.

Why am I so anti-social? I don't know if it's really a desire to be alone so much as it's an overwhelming thirst to read. I am just craving time alone with words. It's amazing how desire can multiply like this.

And on top of that, I really want the contrast of cinema. It's like the hot fudge in my sundae. It gives the cool a deep kick. It's way too expensive to start seeing movies even weekly in NYC so I need to start venturing out into video again. Even though I get distracted so easily with video. I flip through magazines, start knitting, leave the room, etc. But maybe I will begin focusing again. Who knows.

Woody Allen life

after watching "hannah and her sisters" at MoMA this evening with joe and helene, joe turns to me and helene and says, "THAT was my very first Woody Allen movie!"

I couldn't believe it. I also couldn't believe he didn't tell us so that we could relish in the joie together. We immediately insisted that we set up dinner and a movie nights so that he can see "Manhattan" and "Annie Hall" at least.

For years I thought of Woody Allen's NYC as THE New York. No Frank Sinatra, no Melanie Griffith a la "Working Girl," no musicals. Just Woody Allen.

So it was incredible to see something iconic like the Winter Garden theater (as Lee --- Barbara Hershey rides home in a cab after Thanksgiving dinner) and know exactly where she was. And have rode a cab in that exact place.

For the past 10 months or so I've been feeling that living in NYC is not unlike living in Paris as a study abroad student, but now that I have a secure job and I can place myself in a Woody Allen film, I think it's safe to say I've moved beyond the interloper stage.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

show and tell

I stuck around work until 6 today because I wanted to do so. I didn't stick around til 6 because I had to and was counting the very seconds before I could leave the building (um, i've never done that!). I'd gotten there at nine, but after a satisfying day, I thought I'd finish off a few more things, and hey why not when you're enjoying yourself?

After I finally left, I crossed the street to go to the bank and was about to check my voicemail when I literally ran into Diane. She works on 6th near MoMA so I suppose she's in the neighborhood, but I never think of Manhattan as the kind of place where you just run into people. That would be Bryn Mawr, village of all colleges, not Manhattan.

After we hugged and talked about making plans for the weekend, she asked how work was going. I flung out my arm to the building behind her and said, "There it is!"

I love work. To anyone who thinks it's better to suffer with the evil you know, you are kidding yourself. Spend the time finding what you love to do and do all you can to make that happen.

Otherwise, you're still at work til at least 6 and -- trust me -- it feels longer when you hate it.

In other news, I'm going to see "Hannah and her Sisters" tomorrow night at MoMA with RiRi and Joe. And Thursday night I'm going to Town Hall to see the Eels with the fabulous Graham (yes, Laura, my Graham, not yours!) from Dartmouth. Good times.

Now back to "Garlic and Sapphires": Ruth Reichl while lounging around in M. Doodle's frosty apartment.

Monday, June 27, 2005

sounds of summer 1

Throughout my life, I've bought music in order to listen to it on vacations. Listening to new music while embarking on adventures has given me the opportunity to graft the experience of place, people, motion onto that music. Everytime I go back and listen to that music, I'm flooded with memory.

Neko Case's "Furnace Room Lullaby" is one of those albums.

From the opening moment of "Set Out Running" I was sold on the voice. I'd already known that I was drawn to her full voice because MJL put "Thrice All American" on my 24th birthday mix tape. But I finally bought the album in Burlington, VT on a road trip with three friends. It was my last weekend in New England, thus ending the dilettante summer I spent relaxing after completing my Masters degree at Dartmouth. I really wished I could have been alone with one friend in particular. We had so much to sort out before I left for Philadelphia that coming Monday.

But as is the case, life gets in the way and it's always the times when you most need solitude that it's the last thing possible.

Listening to the opening words of that song:
Want to get it all behind me/
You know that everything reminds me/
I can't be myself without you/
Want to crawl down in the back/
Springs inside the mattress where I cry my dirty secrets/
'Cause I just can't shake this feeling that I'm nothing in your eyes

I can't help but think that those words spoke more to my situation than I even realized. I had let go of my dream of becoming an academic and was somewhat stranded with possibility. A sense of possibility that felt crippling because it offered everything but what I wanted.

And that summer I had no idea what I wanted. I just wanted to live. I wanted to swim in the river, bask in the sun, drink bottomless cups of iced coffee and wine, write endlessly and talk endlessly, watch movies I'd never seen before and let books drag on forever.

But I wanted to run away from it all. Everything that felt safe and real was the last thing I wanted. I skirted the edge of flirtation and enjoyed it. I snuck back into the house where I was living for the summer and crawled into my trundle bed at 1 am, careful not to wake my kind friends' 11 year old daughter who'd gone to sleep hours earlier.

I took this path in large part out of deep disappointment. I'd always prided myself on being smart and safe. And look where it brought me: 25 and no inkling of a career. I latched onto my friends and then pushed them away. I stayed up late nights and woke early. I cooked and cleaned and poured myself into being physically present. Be it through listening to friends, riding my bike up and down the hills on campus, writing endlessly to the boy I had a crush on, and staying out late drinking margaritas up and down main street.

I couldn't make up my mind to save my life and for the first time, it just felt good.

The second song on Neko Case's album was equally telling:
I could never choose the ones to love/
And the ones who took the credit left me reelin'/
But i owe much to the nameless and all those surrogates/
Those who're singin' my life back to me

I couldn't figure out for the life of me who I loved. And in a lot of ways, it was due to people totally unrelated to my mixed up love life that I sorted things out.

But all these things were lost to me as I took the long Amtrak trip from White River Junction, VT to Philadelphia's 30th Street Station that late August day. I just knew that the pure, soaring twang of that voice echoed the feeling of escape I needed to leave those pristine mountains and rarified air in order to lose myself again in the messy, smelly jungle of South Philly. And in that space, I figured out how to live in confusion and find a way out of that miasma.

Soon I was listening to crisp, ironic, male indie rock all over again, but at the end of summer 2003, it was all about Neko Case, Kathleen Edwards and Kasey Chambers: country at it's best, yearning and pining but always singing with abandon.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

does life get any better than this?

I love summer.

I should put that out there before I say anything more. Everyone else hates the sticky heat of summer, but me? I revel in it. Not only am I from the dirty, muggy South, but I was born in July, smack in the middle of the worst part of summer. I love wearing rolled-up jeans, going around in sandals and tank tops. I love feeling that feeling of baked heat on your arms (w/ lots of lavender smelling sunscreen of course! no skin cancer for me). I think I look best when my olive complexion is just that and not a wan afterthought in November.

Summer means music to me. When I was a kid, summer seemed to begin at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. It marked the moment at which true heat emerged instead of acting as a tease in February and onward. Now, I live in Brooklyn and summertime means summer concerts. This week, I saw Dar Williams in Madison Square Park, could have seen Sleater-Kinney at Roseland (but decided $25 is maybe too much to spend to have my ears blown out by a band I've already seen twice... I'm getting old), saw the Dave Brubeck Quartet and the John Pizzarelli Quartet at Carnegie Hall last night as part of the JVC Jazz Festival and tonight I saw Stars and the New Pornographers in Prospect Park as part of Celebrate Brooklyn!

And celebrate Brooklyn indeed.

Yankee Doodle and I met up with one of my fellow New Orleanians exiled out in Park Slope and with our picnic supplies, we took off for 11th and Prospect Park West. We had bruschetta, havarti with dill, hummus, fresh strawberries, sunflower seeds, baguette and crackers and watermelon martinis in dixie cups. Friends staked out a place early on in the afternoon just beyond where the trees begin. It was an ideal location, far enough that we did not have to stomach the pain of the amplifiers and close enough to get a good look at the stage.

It was a great show even without Neko Case on vocals (she's off recording her new album... but fret not: she is still a member of the New Pornographers) and I even danced a bit with YD. But it's just so nice to sit out at night on a blanket in a park listening to music while curled up with your sweetheart. I have to say this may be the very best summer ever. A fabulous new job, a wonderful boyfriend, incredible friends who have become part of my family, a great room in Brooklyn, everyone I know is healthy and I'm old enough to not care that the married friends are beginning to outnumber the singletons among us. I am living out my dream of working with books and being paid to be well-read. I live in a city where most anything is possible. I think I'm finally in a place where I can safely admit that "that which does not kill you indeed makes you stronger." I'm just enjoying the benefits of working hard for a long time without much in the way of recognition or acknowledgement. Nothing anyone could say can make me feel guilty about reveling in this fact. I deserve this summer and I'm going to make the most of it.

I may not make it out to see Tegan and Sara tomorrow at Summerstage in Central Park, but I will definitely enjoy some iced coffee and reading outside in Prospect Park and dinner with K and RJ on the UES. I'm eager for work on Monday with the delicious expectation of a four day weekend on the horizon. Will I go to New Hampshire? Will I just stay in the city? Who knows, but this much is sure: it will be great.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

my last review

Oddly enough, my last book review for the Times-Pic is a Knopf book. Life is just weird like that.

Here is my review for Lost in the Forest. Yeah, yeah, it came out months ago. Not my fault. Kinda odd that my review of a book about a girl who starts fooling around with the family friend after her stepdad dies comes out on Father's Day. Love you, Dad!

A thought

If Katie Holmes went to Bryn Mawr, she'd be eating Sunday brunch at the high table in Erdman and wearing capes.

Wait, I don't know what the Wiccans think of Scientology.


I have to say that the report of Scarlett Johansson running out of a dinner with Tom Cruise makes me think so much more of her.

Still, Joey Potter, where have you gone? Scarring my last summer's perfect vice: "Dawson's Creek" at 10 am on TBS.

where did the summer song go?

because we are all too appalled to step beyond the horror that is TomKat, it's almost easy to forget the fact that it's summer and there is no summer song.

now you may find me utterly superficial, but hey, life is too short. There should be a catchy song for you to enjoy. One that lifts you from the smog and heat of summer in the city. Kelly Clarkson's "Since U been gone" is too old for this status, but it might have to do. This is pathetic.

Whatever happened to the early 90s when there were songs so horrific but catchy that you couldn't keep them out of your head (much less your mouth)?

Everyone is so busy reading about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and waiting to watch Lindsay Lohan overdose that we aren't getting down to the serious business of summertime: good tunes.

I blame all of this on Mary-Kate Olsen and her 2004 summer meltdown. Damn her and her bad fashion. Bring on the tunes! And those Simpson sisters do not count. Am I going to have to resort to Hilary Duff for summer music? It's a sad day when it comes to that, but I may have to end up binging on some serious summer girl cheese films. Katie Holmes, you too are to blame.

Friday, June 17, 2005


i know i should blog about the wedding and work and everything else, but i am just too tired.

something that occured to me earlier this week is that things that normally grate on my nerves just aren't troubling me anymore. Why? Because I'm too busy living my life to care about passive-aggressive statements, catty asides, general bitchiness and some people's inability to just chill out and be in the moment. That last bit sounds really lame, but honestly, unless you're dealing with death, mental illness, physical illness, or something on that level of seriousness, just calm down. Don't be so existential. I wish I could post a memo to the world that could say: "it's not all about you."

People tend to throw out emotions or residual feelings like a daily paper. I was getting really angry and frustrated about it for a while, but now? I just feel bad that people want to live their lives that way or that people don't have enough in their lives that is engaging and thus they turn to these outlets.

Between the new job and the new job, I am running at top speed these days. My brain is trying to take in new names, computer programs, passwords, phone numbers, authors, agents, contract issues, fact sheets, not to mention a million other questions that need to be asked.

Also, my exposure to books has elevated dramatically for obvious reasons and so all I can think about (in any downtime whatsoever) is what I want to read and how it's been written and why...

I just can't buy into other people's drama or as I may start calling it, OPD.

This is just a rant. Like someone told me this week, "TAKE NOTHING PERSONALLY." If so, you may be one of those people I was mentioning earlier and as a reminder, it's not about you.

I'm just grateful to have a job with benefits, a steady paycheck, access to free books, a cafeteria, smart coworkers and a 401K plan. If you don't have those things, I can understand your stress and everyone should sympathize with you. But being caught up in yardstick games is the very last thing I want to listen to. If anyone makes any baseless or inane comparisons in my presence anytime soon, expect to be ignored. Or mocked, if I'm up to it. I probably am not. I'm too busy to really care about why you would choose to waste your time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

opera in the park

considering that i put in almost 9 hours of work today and then made it to opera in the park, please don't expect literary brilliance after lots of pinot noir et pinot grigio. i did eat lots of cheese straws, strawberries, edemame, salami, cucumbers, carrots, donuts and corn chips (gross), but i am a bit heady from the wine, music, conversation and atmosphere.

there are few things that beat hanging out in the park with great people, listening to world class live music and enjoying some wine in the greatest city in the world. i love living in NYC. Philly's got nothing on this.

work was good. i am definitely exercising lax brain muscles.

it's also hotter than hell. i will voluntarily participate in a rain dance in order to bring on a break in the heat. make. it. happen.

in other news, there should be a girls day out on the LES this saturday. liz and jen, i'm there. cupcakes and more.

summer, for better or worse, you're here.

Monday, June 13, 2005

mimosas at 11 am

Yes, I had a mimosa in work during my first day at work. We were toasting someone's departure, but I enjoyed it for myself as a toast to the first day of full-time work since 9/11.

Yes, *that* 9/11.

Since 9/11, I've been in graduate school and then in a mishmosh of teaching positions that screwed me over from health care and have then been freelancing, thus killing the whole "full-time" element of things.

In honor of the occasion, I wore my "new" Campers which I bought in January and had never yet worn. A colleague commented on them while on the elevator. I work in a place where people kindly and cleverly complement my shoes. This is great.

Work was largely spent organizing my desk and dealing with a rolodex. And I got my ID, scoped out the cafeteria (amazing... Fairchild, you've got nothing on...) and just enjoying the company of books.

It's already exciting and nothing has happened. I can't wait to see how it evolves.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

since when did NYC become hell?

OK. I'm back and I apologize for the utter lack of updates, but if you lived my week, you would totally understand. I just can't believe it is so hot outside. How did it get so hot in less than a week? I need to do laundry but the idea of walking down the street grosses me out so much... I need to wait til it's 4 pm. By then the laundrymat may be closed, though... Hmmm. I guess I will have to go anyways.

Work starts tomorrow. So exciting. OK. More later.

Monday, June 06, 2005

a question

When one mentions "the country" in reference to a second home outside New York City, where is this "country" located?"

wedding bell blues

I'm off to New Orleans for the wedding. Today I got my hire packet and realized I am eligible for 15 days of vacation, discounts on ipods, tuition reembursement and discounted movie tickets. Hot.

I also went to see Ashes and Snow today which was ok. I went with the Interior Design folks which made it a lot better than it would have been otherwise. Gifford supposedly cried here. Um, I think I was too busy being a critical snot. All the photography looked a lot like a hybrid of Anne Geddes' stuff. Not my thing.

However, the structure was incredible. I would love to see something else in a structure like that.

Too bad if you wanted to see it because it ended today.

I also went to see another exhibition that closed today. It was at the Neue Gallery. This photography collection was called "Portraits of an Age: Photography in Germany and Austria, 1900-1938." Go to the website to see photographs. I was drawn to the exhibition because I was familiar with the provocative photograph used as the advertisement. I got a poster of it while at a Seven Sisters conference at Vassar College in 2000. It would be hard to forget that weekend if I tried and I don't want to so while the poster is long gone, I remember that image. And the Shakespeare garden at Vassar. I got waitlisted and ultimately accepted at Vassar. Oddly enough, I was admitted without even so much as bothering to put myself on the waitlist. I'd gotten into better schools. So I wasn't all that interested. And this trip didn't blow me away. But I met great people.

Anyway, I digress. The photography was really lovely and I got to see lots of Klimts and Schieles. I wish they were keeping the photobooth in the lobby. I would have loved to go with a certain someone. Oh well, we have to go on a hunt for photobooths in the city. Anyone know of any?

I will maybe post dispatches from the wedding, but I may be too tired to do so. Expect stories later.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

the beginning of summer

This morning I got up early with a mission to do laundry and be finished by 11 am. I wanted to go to the gardens. For those of you who aren't aware, entry is free to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens if you get in before noon on Saturday. I strongly suggest you do so. The cherry blossoms are gone, but the roses are just coming into bloom and the peonies are incredible. I took a nice hour long walk through the gardens. There were lots of families with young kids, twentysomethings, older folks from Vermont on tour, Jesus freaks and respectable adults enjoying the gardens.

Really everyone was just taking pleasure in living. Being able to walk and breathe easily. It's an incredible thing. Also, after the winter, this summer weather is divine. I couldn't believe I was wearing shorts and a tank top, but I was. The sun felt like a miracle. People smiled at each other and said hello. There's something to the smell of grassy lawns and fresh flowers.

After leaving, I walked up Eastern Parkway to Grand Army Plaza where I stopped to buy cornflowers at the Greenmarket for a friend's birthday. I got a mango drinkable yogurt and walked home.

I'd brought along my discman with "Aida," but the sound of birds and parents coaxing kids to stand still for the photo kept me from popping on my earphones. Clothes are hanging from any fixed item in my room and in the kitchen as well. Dar Williams fills my room with song and I'm waiting for the mailman to make it down the street. Will my "acceptance," I mean, "offer" letter be in the mail? Either way, summer is here. Drink it all in.

Friday, June 03, 2005


I need to write. I need to edit. I need to do laundry. I need to go walking. I need to shake trees. I need to smell roses. I need to drink too much coffee. I need to write letters. I need to believe all these great things are happening because they are.


i'm still freelancing... damn, i thought i'd have at least one day in NYC without work before beginning the new job... but at least this will help subsidize the growing list of wedding expenses. i really just want to take myself out in celebration of the new job and making it to 27 (almost) without getting married. I also want to see Ashes and Snow and the Chanel show. At least Angela and I will go out to the Shake Shack on Monday.

i'm listening to the new Sleater-Kinney which is phenomenal. I need to blog about it later in a more critical light than, "wow, carrie brownstein, corin tucker and janet weiss blow my mind." and "wow, carrie brownstein reminds me of lynn anderson." Or something really inane like "This is the first time I have been in a relationship when a new Sleater-Kinney album has come out." I guess that is significant in that I always find an incredible amount of comfort in S-K albums because of their urgency. It's something that always resonated with me in the past and continues to do so today. I can only handle independent men. Office flirts, egoists, mamma's boys, arrogant misogynists and self-hating guys need not show up at my door.

Tonight I am staying in to sort clothes (viva laundry day!), write/finish this assignment and get to sleep at a decent hour. I hope to listen to lots of Yo La Tengo and mellow out completely.

I should also begin to think about packing for NOLA. I don't want this to be a last minute thing on Monday night at, oh, 11 pm. The flight is at 8... I am so getting to bed by 11:30 on Monday.

All I've been able to listen to lately has been Elton John and Sleater-Kinney. What the hell does that mean?