Monday, January 23, 2006

Laundry Quandary

Yesterday, I woke up to find myself standing on the brink of laundry disater--nearly everything I owned was dirty. My favorite sweater, favorite jeans, favorite t shirts…all filthy and crumpled in a corner. Ditto for my socks and my underwear.

All of my underwear.

Every last pair.

So I dragged a huge back of clothing over to the nice lady at the Chinese laundry (site of the famous laundry fiasco), who promised she would have me back in my own freshly laundered undies in plenty of time for work this morning.

And thus began what I like to call Commando Sunday. I went Commando while walking in Central Park, Commando while shopping at Citarella, Commando while cleaning the apartment. Sure, it was a little weird and drafty at first, but it was also kind of liberating.

There’s just one problem. The laundry lady lied. When I went over VERY early this morning to pick up my clean clothing, it wasn’t finished.

This is when I started to panic. Just a little.

I briefly considered going Commando to work, but…no. Maybe that’s a little prudish of me, but…no. Frantic, I tore out the entire contents of my dresser, searching for a stray pair of undies—but wasn’t even a pair of granny panties left. Then I checked spiceboy’s drawers, just in case a stray pair of my panties got mixed in w/ his clothing.


Humph. What’s a girl to do?

What’s a girl to do on a rainy Monday morning when she’s got a big day at work and all of her underwear is being held hostage at the Chinese laundry and going Commando is out of the question?

She makes use of what she has, that’s what.

You see, during my frantic search, I discovered that the ever-organized spiceboy just happens to have an entire drawer full of cute, clean little boxer briefs.

And spiceboy is out of town taking care of spicebusiness, so it’s not like he’d miss them.

And I was running late and I had to make a quick decision.

So here I am at work. And under my super cute plaid skirt, I’m wearing a pair of spiceboy’s gray boxer briefs.

It’s actually quite comfortable.

Happy Monday.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

You Know You're a Slacker Bride When:

Your New Year's resolution is to start planning your June wedding

You still refer to your guy as your boyfriend b/c fiance has too many syllables (and when you type the word, you can't get an accent mark over the "e")

Your wedding dress isn't really a wedding dress, and you bought it off the rack

You're not interested in looking at champagne flutes unless
they're filled with champagne

You don't own a single wedding book or wedding magazine

Someone had to tell you that FH means future husband NOT first husband

China patterns make you dizzy

You redesign your blog instead of doing wedding stuff

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Don't Wanna be a Blog Whore

I have a confession to make.

Lately, I'm feeling GUILTY about this blog.

Not guilty like I should stop posting when I'm at the office and actually concentrate on real work or anything. No. I feel guilty like a kid who's been stealing her mom's cigarettes and smoking them at the bus stop with the other kids--not b/c she really likes to smoke, but b/c it's SO EASY TO GET AWAY WITH and now the other kids at the bus stop think she's cool, so she feels like she has to keep doing it.


Tonight, I was talking to a friend of mine. "Can I give you some criticism about the blog?" he asked.

I said sure.

He said (and this is not an exact quote, but close enough) "If you look back to the first month or so when you were writing, the things you were writing about were a lot more real. They were so truthful about your life and your situation that THEY WERE PAINFUL—BUT THEY WERE REALLY GOOD.

"And," he went on, "the stuff you're writing now is okay, but it's just gotten a lot more...MUNDANE."

He's absolutely right.

I don't want to be someone who writes things without thinking them through. And I’ve come to realize that the more I write in this blog and the more COMMENTS I get and the more UNIQUE VISITORS my stat counter records for me every day, the less I’ve been thinking things through.

And I could keep doing it this way, and my very sweet and LOYAL READERS would keep reading and keep commenting, and I would continue loving them for reading me daily. But I wouldn’t feel good about it.

But it’s addictive, right? You’re writing away in your blog in what you think is relative obscurity, then you get that much-anticipated FIRST COMMENT. So you hurry up and write another post. And then you get ANOTHER COMMENT. And this little voice in your head starts singing, “They like me! They really like me! And you’ve heard about THE POWER OF THE PRINTED WORD over and over again, but it’s so much different when you’re the person WRITING THE WORDS.

It’s a total rush. It’s a total ego boost. And it’s a total MIND FUCK.

I started this blog to be creative. But lately, I think the blog is hurting me more than it’s helping me. In recent days especially, I've SACRIFICED QUALITY for getting a post up so I can see if people will comment—and so I see how many unique visitors I get per day.

And that makes me feel kind of DIRTY. And even though this blog is all true, it kind of makes me feel like I’m being less than truthful.

Because it’s easy to post about the shoes in my desk drawer or the non-celebrities I saw this weekend, but when I do that, I’m AVOIDING the real things that I’m feeling and thinking.

And it’s easier to write about the FLUFFY stuff than it is to write about the real, painful, scary stuff.

And I don’t want it to be that way.

I don’t want to be a blog whore.

Faux Celebrity Sightings

I have terrible luck spotting celebrities on the streets of Manhattan, where they supposedly roam wild and free.

While my friends report fun celeb encounters such as bumping into Sarah Jessica Parker or eating breakfast next to Josh Hartnett or dinner next to Marissa Tomei, the only celebrity sighting I've made since moving here in August was Howard Stern walking his dog on the Upper West Side.

Since I have such bad celeb spotting luck, spiceboy and I often amuse ourselves by fabricating celebrity sightings.

The faux celebrity sightings of this weekend were:

1. Elijah Wood at Casa Mono
2. Anthony Bourdain at Sugar Sweet Sunshine
3. Lenny Kravitz at Supper

Monday, January 16, 2006

TAG, I'm It

I've been tagged. What the hell does that mean? I'm not sure. I'm usually not into this kind of thing, and I don't think I'll ever do it again. But I do appreciate the TAG from jennsylvania.

To the girls I've tagged at the end of this--don't feel obligated. I just love all of your blogs I thought I'd TAG you.

Enough dallying:

What is your earliest film-related memory?

I remember seeing Bambi at a drive in when I was a very very little girl. I remember the sound was too loud and there were so many different colors and pictures. I was enchanted and afraid all at the same time.

I also remember going to see ET with my dad and sitting in the dark theater and being so TERRIFIED when ET was really sick and so SAD when he finally went home.

Name two favorite lines from movies.

1. "Ah, it's so stimulating being your head." (from Labyrinth, starring David Bowie)
2. I'm having performance anxiety, so #1 is the best I can do right now.

Name three jobs you'd do if you could not work in "The Biz."

Okay, I know this is supposedly a screenwriting meme/tag thing, but I'm not a screenwriter. My "Biz" is publishing. So, three jobs I'd do if I could not work in publishing:

1. I'd love to replace Alton Brown as the announcer on Iron Chef America. I think I could totally kick his ass.

2. I'd love to teach horseback riding lessons.

3. I'd love to open a restaurant with spiceboy.

Name four jobs you have actually held outside the Industry.

1. I was a waitress.

2. I worked the in photocopy department of a medical library, where I had to copy medical journals with names like THE NARD JOURNAL and GLIA.

3. I worked retail for a small kiosk in the Pittsburgh International Airport.

Those are the only jobs I've worked outside of my "industry."

Name three book authors you like.

I only get three?

1. EB White. Charlotte's Web was the first chapter book I read on my own. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Hall, read it to us, and I asked my dad to take me to the bookstore so I could get my own copy. I can still remember the SMELL of that book--oatmealy and papery and full of promise. I read that book so many times, I used to be able to recite the first chapter by heart.

2. Michael Chabon. He blows my mind. He breaks my heart. I have a total writer's crush on him. BONUS--he got famous writing about Pittsburgh, the city of my birth.

3. Carole Maso. As you'll note from my PROFILE, The American Woman in the Chinese Hat is one of my favorite books of all time. I go back to it again and again--for inspiration, for filling a rainy Saturday afternoon, for reminding me that there are no finite possibilities for choosing how to live your life. I really think that someday, Carole Maso is going to be considered on of the greatest writers of our time.

You think I'd stop at three?

In no particular order: Joan Didion, Ruth Reichl, Melissa Bank, Amanda Hesser, Jeffery Steingarten, Augusten Burroughs, Laurie Notaro, Li-Young Lee (the poem Persimmons, in Rose, is so wonderful), Lewis Nordan, LaVyrle Spencer (you cannot judge me until you've read BITTERSWEET. If, after you've read it, you can tell me you don't love it, then we'll talk.) I could go on, but I want to finish this.

Name two movies you'd like to remake or properties you'd like to adapt.

I only have one:


Okay, girls, YOU'RE IT:


Style Girl


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Weekend Observations

I drove to Pennsylvania this weekend to attend the wedding of a close friend.

The bad news is, I had to attend the wedding sans spiceboy, as he had to hold down the fort at Spice World, his lovely and very busy restaurant.

The good news is, I've kidnapped spiceboy and brought him back to Manattan, where I am holding him hostage until Tuesday morning, when I must return to work in midtown and he must return to work in Pennsylvania. Ah, the joys of a long distance relationship.

A few observations about this weekend:

1. Nothing makes you realize that you're hurtling toward adulthood more quickly than seeing your friend in a big white dress.

2. Nothing makes you realize that you're hurtling toward your own wedding day (and that you are light years behind schedule in planning) more quickly than seeing your friend in a big white dress.

3. Attending a wedding solo can be really fun.

4. The hotel room I slept in last night was bigger than my apartment.

Food Love:

If I had to pick a last meal, that meal would be: sweetbreads with grilled fennel and bay leaf donuts (served with creme catalana) from Casa Mono.

If you haven't been to Casa Mono yet, then drop everything you're doing and GO RIGHT NOW.

I promise you'll be glad you did.

That's all. Good night.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Homeward Bound

I'm off to Pittsburgh for the weekend to attend the weddding of a good friend and to squeeze in some quality time with lovely spiceboy, who is hard at work making sure Spice World runs like a well-oiled machine.

I predict that this weekend I will:

--Eat at least one meal at Spice World
--Cry during the wedding ceremony
--Dance. A LOT.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Land of the Forgotten Shoes

When I moved to Manhattan, I swore I would never be one of those dorky ladies you see walking down the sidewalk in a really great outfit and ugly sneakers.

I am now one of those dorky ladies.

Since my foot injury in September, I walk to work every day in my extremely comfortable but horribly unfashionable sneakers, and change into my more fashionable shoes when I get to the office.

The problem is, instead of taking my cute shoes home with me at the end of the day, I started shoving them into my bottom desk drawer, where I promptly forgot about them.

Until today.

This morning, while trying to pull together an outfit together for work, I tore apart my entire apartment in utter panic trying to find my very favorite red Mary Janes. They were nowhere to be found. Not under the bed. Not shoved in my closet. Not shoved in spiceboy’s closet. Not by the door, under the couch, or in the bathroom. I was sweaty, wild-eyed, and 20 minutes late before I realized where they were.

My desk drawer, of course.

And when I finally got to the office and opened my bottom drawer, I found not only my Mary Janes, but several other pairs of shoes and accessories I had completely forgotten about:

--red Mary Janes
--brown leather knee high boots
--black ballet flats
--black open toed kitten heels
--oversized black belt
--black pointy-toed flats

It was kind of like getting a whole new shoe wardrobe all over again.

I was going to take the shoes home w/ me, but I’ve decided to leave them at the office. That way, when I get to work in the morning, I can choose the proper shoe to suit my mood.

If I’m feeling sassy, I can slip on my pointy-toed black flats. If I’m feeling dainty and girly, the ballet flats are a good choice. If I’m going for librarian-chic (this is a new look I’m cultivating, also known as geek-chic), then it’s all about the Mary Janes.

So, I’m sitting here in my Mary Janes, feeling quite pleased with myself and my librarian chic look. But now that I think about it, the black ballet flats would give this outfit a nice girly flair.

I guess I can always change into them after lunch.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

NERVE-ous Breakdown

When I was in the 7th grade, I used to help my friends with their romantic dilemmas by proofreading their love notes and spying on their boyfriends in study hall.

But the times have changed. Passing notes and spying in study hall have faded into obscurity, just like Sony Discmans and Gotcha bracelets.

The other night, quite unexpectedly, I found myself doing the adult version of passing notes and spying in study hall---I signed up for an account on Nerve so I could help my friend scope out potential dates.

I managed to skip past most of the "what's your personality" stuff without answering it, but they did make me fill out some basic "likes and dislikes" before they would approve my profile.

One of the questions was "what are your interests?"

And I answered something like: so I love long romantic walks on the beach and cute cuddly puppies, kittens, and baby seals.

I figured that if anyone was to accidentally stumble upon my profile, the baby seal thing would deter them from pursuing me further.

Then I went off to scope out dates for my friend.

And once my friend-ly duties were done, I signed off and didn't give it another thought. Until I checked my email the next morning.

I had three responses from a cross-section of Manahattan men: The scruffy/sensitive book guy, the older college profesor guy, and the conservative financial guy.

No kidding.

I think my next step is to convince spiceboy to sign up on Nerve to see how many responses he gets.

And to see if Nerve will actually match the two of us together.

If that doesn't work, I guess I could always try passing him notes in study hall.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

New York Minute: Part Three

Today was just about as perfect as a Sunday can get in New York.

It was sunny and warm--no need for hat or gloves. I spent the day wandering the city--I snacked my way through the Lower East Side (thanks to the very helpful writings of The Girl Who Ate Everything). I wandered without really knowing where I was going, and without a map. I got lost and then found my way again. I bought a pair of green pumps which I absolutey do not need. I saw a movie with a friend, then we had dinner and people watched on Avenue A.

And this evening, as I was waiting for the 6 train at Astor Place to take me back uptown, I noticed movement down along the tracks. There, between the railroad ties, a rat scurried about. Not an usual activity for a rat in the subway.

But this rat was different, because it was dragging with it the decapitated body of another rat.

Nasty, right?

That's not all of it.

Every so often, it would stop and...snack on its companion.

It was a cannibal rat.

Oh. So. Gross.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Wedding Worry #27: Am I a Slacker Bride?

In 147 days, spiceboy and I will take those first tentative steps down the road of UNTIL DEATH DO US PART.

Both the ceremony and the reception will take place here. The ceremony will be in the garden, which looks like this:

Pretty, isn't it?

That's really the only thing I have figured out, save for the caterer.

Which brings me to this: It's fewer than 5 MONTHS until the wedding, and I hardly have anything done.


Everywhere I go, I seem to run into these UBER BRIDES who grill me about the wedding. How's the wedding planning coming? What are your COLORS? Have you chosen FLOWERS? How many BRIDESMAIDS do you have?

Colors? Flowers? Bridesmaids? NO, NO, and NO.

The truth is, whenever I try to do WEDDING STUFF, I'm seized by the sudden inability to make a decision about anything at all. Like finalizing the guest list. Or settling on wording for the invitations. Or picking china and linens for the tables.

Oh, wait. Maybe I'm seized by indecision about these things because they are so MIND NUMBINGLY BORING.

I want to know who the SIMPLE MINDED TWIT is who spread the rumor to women all over the United States that wedding planning is FUN.

Really, is CHOOSING FLOWERS for table arrangements really anyone's idea of a good time?

Is learning that there are 8 BAZILLION different types of wedding gowns and that ALL of them MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE A DERANGED, FLUFFY CUPCAKE really a fun way to spend your weekend, especially after a grueling week at work?

Is debating the merits of BUTTERCREAM ICING vs. WHIPPED CREAM ICING the type of in-depth conversation an engaged couple should really be having as they prepare to spend the rest of their lives together?


And to me, that's really THE MOST ANNOYING thing about wedding planning. All of the fuss and hullabaloo and dresses and flowers and music and place settings and blah blah blah do absolutely nothing but DISTRACT you from SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT:

The marriage itself.

If you stop and think about it, GETTING MARRIED is one of the biggest changes your relationship will go through, aside from HAVING BABIES. No matter if you've been together for 5 months or 5 years, once you get engaged, there's suddenly a lot more at stake.

There's SICKNESS and there's HEALTH. There's RICH and POOR. There are career decisions and family obligations. Your decisions don't affect only you anymore, so you have to weigh what you do much more carefully.

I've been spending a lot of time torturing myself over the fact that I'm not a GOOD BRIDE because I can't seem to get my act together with this wedding planning stuff. And I started this post today as a way to make fun of my SLACKER BRIDE TENDENCIES.

But you know what I just realized? I don't want to waste my energy on being a GOOD BRIDE, at least not in the flowers/dress/table settings sense.

In the long run, that doesn't really matter.

What matters is that I have fallen in love with this amazing person--a person who GETS ME. A person who LAUGHS WITH ME. A person who, ultimately, MAKES ME WANT TO BE THE BEST VERSION OF MYSELF. And I know I do the same for him.

And that's why JUNE 3, 2006 is really so important. Because on that day, we're both pledging to WORK TOGETHER to be the best versions of ourselves--ALWAYS.

So I think I just figured out that I'd rather not waste my energy on being a GOOD BRIDE. I'd much rather concentrate on being a GOOD WIFE instead.

Friday, January 06, 2006

What Julia Child Doesn't Tell You About Potage Parmentier

It gives you gas.

Lots of gas.

And I've still got at least six cups of leftovers.

spiceboy's actually lucky he's not with me right now. I don't even want to be with me right now.

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Love and Dinner

Feeling melancholy tonight, so bear with me.

The entire time I was at work today, all I could think about was dinner.

I knew I wanted something warm and comforting. Something simple and satisfying.

But most importantly, something time consuming. This to help me take my mind off of the fact that spiceboy will remain in Pittsburgh for the next month or so, taking care of things at Spice World, his splendid restaurant.

So. Potato and leek soup, I decided. Or, if you're a fan of Julia Child, Potage Parmentier.

Yes, Potage Parmentier with a nice glass of white wine.

I placed the wine in the fridge to chill, then set about my task in our small kitchen, flipping on The Food Network to keep me company.

I rinsed and sliced the leeks. They were palest green and whitest white, curling into long, cool ribbons as I ran my knife through them.

Next, I peeled and sliced the potatoes, so starchy they left a chalky film on my hands, the knife, and the cutting board.

The rinsing and slicing is what takes the longest. After that, everything goes into the stock pot with some water and salt, and then the apartment starts to smell really good.

I ate my dinner alone, in front of the TV, sitting behind my little TV tray, scooping the fragrant soup from the bowl with a hunk of crusty bread.

I always miss spiceboy terribly when he's out of town, but I feel his absence most of all when I sit down to eat.

Just as I finished my soup, spiceboy called. He was at Spice World, of course. As we talked, I heard the blurry noise of the restaurant in the background--customers, clanging plates, background music--broken by the staccato voices of the servers yelling out orders to the kitchen:

"I need a samoosa, a Thai beef salad, and a pad thai!"

"One order of spring rolls, please!"

"I need 3 coconut cakes!"

I closed my eyes for a moment, and I could feel what it’s like to be there--the candles flickering on the tables, the funky mambo music on the stereo, the smell of garlic and ginger and fish sauce, the swinging metal door that connects the dining room to the kitchen--the whole place has a feeling that can't be described in one word. Spice World is spicy brown, hectic, exotic, alluring.

I know that when the restaurant closes, spiceboy will stand behind the counter, eating his dinner (whatever the chef prepares) out of a shallow bowl with a large spoon, while punching numbers into the credit card machine and cashing out the register.

I know that once he finishes with dinner, he’ll be the only person left at Spice World. He’ll turn off the stereo. He’ll place his bowl in the dish bin. He’ll pick up his ugly leather bag and sling it over his shoulder. He’ll turn off the lights in the dining room, then he’ll let himself out, locking the door behind him and walking across the dark, muddy parking lot to his car.

After we hang up, I picture all of this in my head.

Then I stand up and put away my TV tray. I turn off the TV. I do the dishes. I brush my teeth and wash my face and get ready for bed. And in a few minutes, I’ll turn out the lights and go to sleep.

When spiceboy and I are here together, the 350 sq ft aparment can seem really small. But tonight, it feels much too big for just one person.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


I just got a call from Dear Friend ABS, who is a loyal friend to spiceboy and myself. He is also the best Brooklyn tour guide ever, and on a recent tour, he bought me my first COFFEE MONKEY, for which I am forever grateful.

He is also a loyal blog reader.

He is also a major music buff.

He called to inform me that when Johnny Cash sang "it's good to touch the green green grass of home" he wasn't singing a heartfelt tune about the concept of home and family and comfort.

No. Apparently, Johnny Cash was singing about coming home to die.

As an editor, you'd think that my oh-so-sharp reading/listening comprehension skills would have caught such an important detail.

Not to mention the fact that I received a Johnny Cash boxed set for Christmas and I've been listening to it obsessively for the last nine days.

Or the fact that, while on a cross-country road trip several years ago, I listened to the Live From Folsom Prison CD constantly.

And yet despite my profession and frequent exposure to this song, this small detail about coming home to die managed to slip past me.

I thought he was just singing about coming home from war or rehab or something.


So, to clarify--I'm not coming home to die. Just coming home.

And I'm damn glad to be here.

Home Again

As Johnny Cash once sang, it's good to touch the green green grass of home.

Or if you're living in Manhattan, it's good to touch the gray gray concrete of home.

I'm back. And I'm thrilled to have a reliable internet connection again.

More soon.