Tuesday, November 27, 2007

dear dust-ghost

All the trees are dropping leaves. I always think I can smell the coming season just before it arrives, but maybe it's just a transplanted Midwestern sentimentality.

A couple Fridays ago, I boarded an early morning bus to Boston. Five hours later, I hugged my mom in the airport hotel, where we ate quesadillas at an Irish pub and set out to navigate the subway system. We slid through parent and child hordes at the aquarium, pressing our faces to the glass, watching penguins breathe our own air, wondering what it looks like when a jellyfish digests a fish. It's a curious business. After, we wandered Newbury Street and Boston Common, clasping arms and shivering, ordering bread and wine at cozy bistros while waiting for Bob to meet us. Mornings, he left early for his convention while Mom and I sat in our beds or the hottub or the coffee shop, chatting and gossiping and still missing each other. More museuming, more eating, briefly meeting up with Alex in a dirty bagel shop, shoe shopping, wandering and then Sunday, back on a bus to Chinatown. Mom kept apologizing for not doing enough, not seeing enough, but sometimes it's nice to stay lazy in a big city with people you miss.

During Thanksgiving weekend, I wrote letters, braved the supermarket for holiday food, became a bowling champion, learned how to roast a turkey, and baked pumpkin pie (thanks, Sara Lee). On Thursday we made dinner for six, ate until food coma set in, drank wine until wine coma set in, played board games and word games and passed out feeling full and happy. Or at least I did. Friday night brought a Jersey City excursion with Ivy and Thew, where we jammed to Brian's dj stylings, observed party guests and their costumed "we come in peace" interpretations (the night's designated theme), and endured a gruesome two-hour trip back to Brooklyn. the weekend's close was spent eating pizza, drinking egg nog and listening to records.

It's time for Christmas music again. More covers of carols drowning in remixed heaps of coloratura, melodrama and crap. Time for animatronic Santas greeting me outside shops and bodegas. I don't like either prospect and I probably never will.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

we've got boxes

I've been memorizing, stress-eating and staying up too late.
I keep forgetting the quadratic equation and what words like "abstemious" mean.
I miss maple trees.

On Friday, I caught up with long lost Interlochen Beth, a face from my teenage past. After a seven-year correspondence dearth, we reunited in Fort Greene, hugging and exchanging questions like “so, how was the rest of high school?” At the Habana Outpost, a surly man with an unfortunate haircut took our order, gave us food tickets and waved us to the “truck," which turned out to be a real, kitschy transplanted truck on a rain-soaked outdoor patio. We handed our tickets to the cooks and, ten minutes later, still standing under the truck's awning, strained our arms above to retrieve the food and headed back inside. Ultimately, a ridiculous ordeal for mediocre fare. We chatted about college, camp gossiped, played "where are they now?" with former cabinmates, then headed to Bushwick for a party where our "we went to summer camp together" relationship puzzled many and where I repeatedly defended Michigan to a Jersey native.

Saturday brought a mid-morning migraine and sluggish math review, surprisingly unrelated. Took the bus to watch Islands play in Williamsburg, glimpsed and dodged a high school acquaintance, ate a burrito as big as my head and caught another bus for night two in Fort Greene. Ended up in a co-worker's apartment with cigarette smokers, art installations, free wine, a poetry and short story reading, and a performance by the Tin Star Sisters. Another headache on Sunday, brunch in Clinton Hill, more practice tests (god bless the GRE), neglected laundry, then staring at the ceiling, cat napping and writing until heading to Greenpoint for a polka punk band who brought new flair to "Roll out the Barrel," "Who Stole the Kishka?" and other Eastern European classics. Came home to find a gigantic cockroach chilling in my kitchen. Yesterday I doused it with enough Raid to last several lifetimes. Tonight I'm buried in books again, feeling the itch for change and welcoming its possibilities more and more.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

it keeps coming

September is here, and half over. Another start to a school year that I'm not part of. I wonder when I'll stop viewing the calendar like this. Maybe I won't. Sometimes I wish I could curl up under a school desk forever.

Weeks are flying. I spent one weekend picnicking in Battery Park, rolling around on grassy hills and sneaking into sprawling, abandoned houses on Governors Island, half-drunk. Every Saturday and Sunday morning we hunt down brunch, then pass afternoons wandering neighborhoods to window-shop and people-watch. There are movie nights, music nights, study nights, and one spent drinking cheap wine, watching too many episodes of "What's Happening!!" and learning about "Yacht Rock." Labor Day brought a windy beach picnic, swimming in the Atlantic for the first time, and confirming a preference for fresh water over salt water. Chopped my hair shorter than ever, bought a new camera, said farewell to a friend bound for Spain, explored Prospect Park, stayed up half the night for Dan Deacon and Girl Talk, and shoved my way through overcrowded booths at the Brooklyn Book Festival only to let timidity overcome. This Saturday, Brian leaves for a two-week vacation to Portland and Tulsa. I'm always envious of escape.

Today, i'm 700 miles away while my sister brings another boy into the world. Until Christmas, he'll be someone I only know through photos and phone calls.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

baked alaska

Once upon a time, I moved from Michigan to New York. I left six days before graduation with three suitcases, dyed red hair and some ambiguous plans in my head. Since then, some things have happened; some things haven't happened. I can't say I'm restless, but different ideas are sprouting and the more I consider them, the more they start to look like me.

I spent this morning planning an elaborate (and ultimately fake) vacation to Alaska. If I left in three weeks, I could get a roundtrip flight to Anchorage for $398.

In other news, my roommate is here and awesome. Despite some minor altercations on move-in day (there's nothing like a streetfight-induced police call to welcome someone to the neighborhood), we squeezed her bountiful possessions into the apartment and then drank much celebratory beer. Already, we have successfully carried out full, interesting conversations, and as a bonus, our book and movie collections complement each other. I'm optimistic.

As for the weekend? On Friday, I drank tainted Dark & Stormies (we were forced to substitute raspberry ginger beer for regular, and malibu coconut for dark rum), watched Dirty Dancingfor the first time, and sat on Ivy's stoop to accidentally watch her neighbor take a shower (beware the curtainless apartment). On Saturday morning, I had brunch at Tiny Cup with Ivy, Thew and Alicia (the new roomie), and bought clothes at Salvation Army with autumn in mind. Later, Brian and I celebrated our one-year anniversary. The planned Governors Island picnic was foiled (yet again) by unbearable weather, so we spent an air-conditioned afternoon perusing Richard Serra's exhibit at MoMA and staying deliciously cool in Brian's apartment. After making a pitstop at Rosemary's Greenpoint Tavern, we trekked sweatily to Moto for pork chops, mashed potatoes, chocolate pudding and two bottles of wine. By most standards it was a lazy Saturday but, you know, it's all that saccharine stuff about who you're with and not where you are.

Monday, August 20, 2007

you are alone

Oh, weekend. Had plans to picnic on Governors Island on Saturday, but stayed in bed too long for the trip to be worthwhile. Decided to attend the Yankees v. Tigers game, but rode all the way up to the Bronx in a congested subway car to find the game sold out. Headed back into the city for a very specific and tasty dinner, but alas, the restaurant was closed for vacation. We ended up eating at some outdoorsy cafe with tree shade, Christmas lights, overcooked hamburger meat and a big barking dog. Back to Brian's, where I fell asleep on the couch watching The Barefoot Contessa with Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner. woke up to unforecasted gray skies and a urinary tract infection. Classy. Postponed the Governors Island picnic yet again, writhed around in bed for awhile until hunger took over pain. Ate drenched, soggy french toast that I couldn't finish because of the freakish texture. Spent the day popping pills that turned my pee orange and watching movies with Brian at my apartment. Today, I'm home from work for a doctor appointment and with a list of procrastinated tasks to complete before my roommate moves in on Wednesday. It'll be nice to have someone else here. Also, she can abundantly add to my kitchen utensils, which consist of one big green plastic plate, six spoons and a few noticeably inexpensive pots with metal handles.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Last Thursday marked my move to Brooklyn, which began horribly. I had an argument with my landlord, who very illegally attempted to withhold my entire security deposit for "severe damages", i.e., microscopic nail holes and picture hooks. I am in the midst of writing a letter to threaten legal action. Hooray! Then on the way to my new apartment, we were carefully driving along in a construction zone when we hit something protruding and the passenger window exploded into my face. By some grace of someone or something, I emerged with only a handful of cuts and undergarments filled with glass. And luckily, I had (reluctantly) paid the $18 U-Haul insurance, and thus did not have to pay for the damage. So hey, I survived, and my new apartment is the bomb. The end.

After a two-year absence, Liz E. is back in my life and staying at my apartment this week. She's here for a schmancy law firm job fair through Cornell, so during the day she does stressful lawyer-y things and then I meet her and other Future Lawyers of America for dinner. These people read my company's books and get excited when I talk about my job. I am intrigued because this never happens and I never expect it to.

In other news, I'm sifting through intern applications, and I am aghast at the number of errors wreaking havoc on resumes and cover letters. Seriously, you studied in "Londan"? "As you will find on me atached resume?" Pain.

Monday, July 23, 2007

there is a light that never goes out

So, I have a new apartment! In one week, I will leave my familiar, safe, cozy haven in Astoria for a more rough and tumble year in Bed-Stuy. I can't wait. Plus, my new digs are bigger, nicer and cheaper than my current place, and I'm fairly certain my fresh new roommate and I will surpass the small-talk phase. Also, I'll be close to Prospect Park, a one-bus ride to Brian, and accessible to more interesting goings-on besides techno-pumping Euro cafes filled with frat boys and expensive coffee cocktails.

My trip to Michigan was fantastic. So fantastic, in fact, that I was supremely bummed to come back to New York. I miss trees and Lake Michigan and old friends and arguing with my family. My nephews are growing and growing, and with another arriving(!) in just two months, I wish I could make it back more often.

Jerry Stiller was behind me in the concessions line at the Norman Mailer retrospective last night. At first I wasn't sure it was him, but then I thought, "could anyone else possibly look like Jerry Stiller?"

The Pitchfork Festival in Chicago was a good time, but not as fun-filled as I had hoped. I understand the inevitable crowd congestion, but seriously, someone grossly overestimated the park's size and oversold the festival. When lines for bathrooms are 45-people deep and you can't wander five feet without trampling over someone, there's a problem. Also, what's with the new rambo headband fad and knee-high sandals resembling ankle braces? Someone fill me in.

Whatever, life is good. I've been spending entire days in the sun, drinking and being merry and dreaming and looking forward to the future.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

i think i know my geometry pretty damn well

Well, it's been a few weeks. Since my last entry, I've gotten a little older, a little wiser, a little busy. So I'm making a list, because we all like lists, right? For inexplicable reasons to you and me, these are not in chronological order.

1. I celebrated the beginning of my 23rd year in style. Brunch at Park Luncheonette, perusing misshapen baked goods at the farmers' market, throwing a highly unattractive and ill-advised tantrum about the magical perfect birthday outfit and my newly shorn hair. We made it through Central Park and a temporary thunderstorm to see Apples in Stereo and Television, traveled to Williamsburg to meet Rebecca for dinner at Moto (my recently declared favorite eatery, with a real speakeasy feel), an experience highlighted by cheese fondue, a big-as-your-head bowl of mussels, bittersweet chocolate pudding with a candle, and a live balkan brass band. Met up with others for drinks in Greenpoint, which ended in a 2 a.m. drunken ping pong battle. Needless to say, my birthday was the bomb.

2. This past Saturday, after a wasted morning and four subway transfers, I arrived on Coney Island. It was a momentous occasion on many levels (well, two): it was my first visit, and it was the annual Mermaid Day Parade. A full day of mermaid- and pirate-inspired chaos, culminating in a three-hour (it might have been longer, but I got impatient and hot and withdrew early) freakshow parade of sorts. Entertaining, naturally, but one can only bear so many costumed mermaids, drawn-out minutes of jammed parade traffic, and shrieking, sunburned babies born from shrieking, sunburned parents. Sat on the beach, rode the Wonder Wheel, ate gigantic sausages, people-watched, flexed my impressive bumper cars skills (three times, for good measure). Around 9 we stumbled home, feeling pink, stuffed and exhausted, but happy.

3. I'm jumping a plane to Michigan in six days. There will be a Pentwater excursion (lake michigan! boats! trees! no garbage smells and incessant car honks!), a seven-year-old's birthday celebration, a big fat Greek wedding in Motor City and other unplanned excitement.

4. My lease is up in a month, and because Astoria has proven to be safe, clean and fantastically boring, I'm moving to Brooklyn. I haven't met my new roommate, but she definitely exists and her name is Alicia (a friend-of-a-friend setup). As a fellow Midwesterner (a Wisconsiner!), I'm sure we will have a jolly time saying "pop" and "in line" to the shock and dismay of East-Coasters everywhere.

5. Four days after my return from the pleasant penisulas, I'm flying to Chicago for the Pitchfork Festival to spend two full days with Brian & his Oklahoma entourage. Amid seeing some great and not-so-great acts, I'll also be staying in the "joke of Chicago" hotel, according to my brother's recent review. Allegedly, our selected stay is famously home to Chicago's miscreants, bums, live-ins and the ilk, which should make for some unforeseen adventures.

6. I'm going to a pool party barbeque on Saturday. It's on Staten Island (uncharted territory). I'm a little wary, but confident that the heaps of free barbequed meat will assuage my fears. And maybe the ferry. But no, mostly the meat.

Friday, June 8, 2007

the chrysler building was talkin' to the empire state

There were three birthdays in the office on Wednesday, which meant I shoveled too much cake (a moist, delicious, brownie-like cake that didn't make me gag!) and Mexican food into my esophagus for celebration's sake. Yesterday, I opted for a half day (because I can) and spent the afternoon in parks instead of slumped over a desk. After lunch with Brian in Battery Park City, I walked up Fulton Street just in time to see a middle-aged, beer-gutted man in a full pink tutu, with lacy garters and a frilly headpiece, just cruising down the sidewalk, smoking a cigarette and on his merry way somewhere. At Bryant Park, I indulged in overpriced ice cream and propped myself up with two park chairs about 10 feet from a sundried, thunderously snoring man with his shirt inched up past his mountainous belly. Just after settling into my book, a woman set up shop five feet ahead to prepare all of us naysayers for Christ's second coming, which is apparently soon. I stayed just long enough to hear about floods and fire, then witness a passer-by's failed plea for silence, closely followed by a police citation. When I exited the park, the policeman had gone and I could hear the woman's confident, steady voice start up again. Tonight, I'm attending an experimental show in a converted silo on the Gowanus Canal, tomorrow is a mystery, and Sunday I'll be picnicking and paddling a boat through Central Park. Sometimes life isn't so bad, you know?