Saturday, July 29, 2006

Living without air conditioning

(from the Oriental Pavilion in Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

It's the last weekend in July and I'm surviving without air conditioning. Yes, the month of August is upon us, but I have some serious survival skills.

1) It could not be colder in my office if I asked it to be. I leave a THICK cardigan w/ a high neck at my desk and my pashmina is perpetually in my sachel so that I don't freeze at work.

2) Iced Coffee. Need I say more?

3) Fans. I have a ceiling fan and a fan in each of my two windows. It really isn't that bad when you keep drinking water and take frequent showers.

4) Training. Growing up in NOLA and spending my summers from age 12-19 outside at the zoo, babysitting and taking ballet classes taught me how to cope with heat and humidity.

5) Pomegranate mocktails. Alcohol in this heat is not a good idea. It dehydrates you and heats up your body. Instead, take a shot of pomegranate juice in a tall glass filled with ice, add seltzer water and a wedge of lemon and you're set. Mmmm.

6) Last resorts. If it's really miserable, there's always the air conditioned apartment of a boyfriend.

7) Getting the hell out of town. We'll be doing this again in a couple weeks. Another retreat to New Hampshire. When the weather cools a bit and she's totally settled, I'll go visit Katy B.

All in all, I'm hanging in there. I'm listening to Cat Power: "The Greatest" and I have some reading in French to do. There's watermelon chilling in the fridge along with some chopped radishes. Dinner will be a light pasta dish with feta and peas. Delish. I went to the Met yesterday with RJ to revisit the Susan Sontag exhibition. I'll hang out with Mademoiselle Giff tomorrow morning for laundry and movies, then hopefully I will be done with the French reading and can go see a French film with Rebecca. Monday is dinner chez RJ. Tuesday is a summer wine tasting with Leah and others.

Monday is also my parents' 30th wedding anniversary. So wonderful. I hope I can celebrate as successful a marriage as theirs someday. Here's to mom and dad!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

from here

There are times when being inbetween here and there is exactly where I want to be. I took this picture inbetween Paris and New York in June while enjoying two seats to myself. I've been commuting back and forth between spending time with Tim and being at home in Brooklyn, alone. Likewise, I feel like life has also been broken up into intense work, intense play, and the release of being either alone or with Tim. All of these things end up like overlapping circles that don't always allign themselves perfectly.

But there's something reassuring about that. The play of different states. You're always aware, you're always learning. It reminds me a lot of my semester in Paris. I wore myself out with language acquisition, culture overload, and a heavy dose of growing up. There's a part of me that sees that year as a definite turning point in my life. I'm wondering if I'm at another one right now. I'm sorry if I haven't been able to write everyone or communicate on the levels folks are used to with me. It's just been a thick year. A thick time in my life. I'm reconnecting with old friends, and affirming what is happening in New York --- both at work and personally.

But this photograph gives me pause and reminds me that I don't have to be everything to everyone. Sometimes that just isn't possible. Sometimes you're allowed to just drink a lot of iced coffee, wander around Brooklyn, read for hours, and sleep in. I have to remind myself about this.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

maps and plans

Today feels amazingly refreshing. I slept a lot last night -- something much needed after an action packed week. I went to two parties on Friday: one was a pool party in NJ and the other a quiet affair on 5th ave. Today I was happy for the rain that made getting out of bed a bit inconsequential. I read two issues of "W" magazine at a cafe that's new to T and me and then polished off this week's "New Yorker" later on.

It's a good day for reading and a good day to map out the rest of the summer. I want to find a good day to go to Philadelphia to see the Wyeth exhibition at the PMA and T and I are going to settle on busfare for another trip to NH. This time to not only visit the fam, but to also go to the MacDowell Colony for Medal Day. Alice Munro is being honored and I would love to stroll around the beautiful colony. Getting away was a brilliant idea. We've needed it considering everything that's been going on lately. The green of trees all in a blur as we zoomed from NYC to Vermont en route to NH was so restorative. There's something so soothing about a wave of green. This has always been so for me. We saw eight hot air balloons as we passed through a town in Massachusetts. We arrived in Brattleboro with a calm that was not present when we boarded the bus in the bowels of Port Authority 6 hours earlier. We were able to bring that home with us, but I'd like another helping.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

sailing, takes me away

Here are some shots from this past weekend in New Hampshire. We're just north of Portsmouth, NH in these photos. Wish we were back there now. I'd like some more time out on the water.

go on, go on and scream and cry, you're miles from where anyone will find you

Back in town. Too much heat, too many books. I need to settle on a new knitting project since I just finished my last project. I keep drinking iced green tea at work and dreaming of reading endlessly, taking planes, imagining writing letters again.

I have thank you letters to write. I have care packages to mail to friends and family. I have too many emails to return. I miss New Hampshire and the cool comfort of water on my skin. The joy of learning new things --- how it feels to sail a boat. To follow and catch the wind as it fills the sails, the pressure you work with as you steer it along to your destination, a point on the horizon.

Right now, New York is a collection of creative, exuberant, generous, unself-conscious friends. I hope it stays this way for a good while.

It's the summer of Neko Case. The summer of reconfiguring the world. Living through another hurricane season. Another suicide. The summer I've come to accept that we're leaving New Orleans. I floated in Lake Nubanusit this weekend and it felt good to let the water hold me. To be carried by something other than my will to forge through all the bullshit in the face of disappointment, incessant shock, and subsequent revisionist history.

I came home to find emails from ex-boyfriends. Am I really that old? Am I really this young? I make my way through the world with some impossible internal harmony that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other in the face of categories I can't even fix.

Friday, July 14, 2006

birthday birthday

Here are some images from the night. Such a good time with friends and a great way to usher in another year. I'm off to New Hampshire as of this afternoon, but I'll be back in the city on Monday.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Less cranky now

So the laundry is done, and it's miraculously cooler. Jared helped me deal with my computer's quirks (I love you, precious laptop, so be nice to me!). Gifford came over and made me laugh very hard. RJ and I chatted over email today about one of my favorite movies "Fin Aout, Debut Septembre" which he just watched for the first time. I saw the name Esme written in chalk on the sidewalk this morning.

All of these things are serendipitous birthday gifts. I hope age 28 brings many other serendpitous gifts my way. I love living in New York even when I complain to RJ about laundrymats and a lack of central air. These are small things that bother me when I'm hungry, cranky and tired. Thankfully, everyone who loves me knows that with a little food, I'm always a happier creature. It doesn't take much to get me laughing again.

And laughter always keeps you young, no matter how old and cranky you are.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

too hot to write, too

It's hot and sticky in NYC this week. Just in time for my birthday. At least Tim and I are getting out of town. Friday afternoon we're catching a bus to Brattleboro, VT to go visit with his gran, mom, aunts, uncles and cousins. I'm looking forward to friendly faces, mountains, cooler temperatures, and a general lack of skyscrapers. Wish we could go visit Ivy et al in Hanover, but Bekah's at camp anyway and maybe we'll go back again later this summer. It's getting to the point where all I want to eat at home is cold applesauce and cool soups. Juice w/ seltzer and lemon. It's too hot for everything else.

Monday, July 03, 2006


What is it about Icarus that fascinates me? Aiming too high, too rashly? There's a Muriel Rukeyser poem that a good friend gave me when we were freshmen in college that has always stuck with me. I never understood or questioned why she gave it to me. I guess she just thought it would speak to me, eighteen and reframing the questions. But I didn't bother asking why she sent me the poem. Is it possible to ask questions almost ten years later of your friend who has also aged ten years? We're not exactly standing at the precipice anymore. There are times when you wish you could go back and ask all the questions you should have asked.

But looking back, I feel like I did ask a lot of questions. I didn't buy into the proverbial wings (boyfriends, easy A classes, obvious majors, safe choices, among others), but I did wait around for certain things. Going to Paris for the second semester of my junior year released me from that holding pattern. I was free to make of my life exactly what I chose for myself. Today, I look at that friend who gave me the poem and I wish I could offer her some wings. Was the poem a plea for help? A cautionary tale? Another chance? Is it too late for her to fly back? She called me this weekend while on vacation and didn't leave a number. How can you help someone who doesn't give you the information you need to help them?