Thursday, September 28, 2006


Tonight, we went to a dinner party of sorts, where spiceboy provided the food (an Ethiopian chicken curry called Doro Wat) and a very charming man named Pierre (pronounced Peer to all of us uncultured Americans) provided many lovely Bordeaux wines from his family's chateau.

Pierre told me about the winemaking process, which his family has been involved in for three generations now, and he said, "When you have the right wine, it just hits you, and you just know it's perfect," and then he tilted his head back and sighed, and said:

It is ter. rif.ic.

And I like to think I knew exactly what he meant.

And then we all ate dinner, and the food and the wine was just too much for me, and before dessert was served, I knew I needed to walk home and breathe some fresh (exhaust-filled) air. And so spiceboy and I stumbled on home, full of Ethiopian curry and French wine, and I'm slightly drunk right now, so please forgive me.

On the way home, we stopped in the bodega on the corner of 69th and Second to buy water, and spiceboy waited outside. And inside the store, Barry White was playing on the radio. And so I paid for my jug of water, and the Korean man behind the counter smiled at me as I hummed along with the music, or perhaps he smiled at me in the way he smiles at all slightly drunk girls buying water at his store.

And so I walked out of the bodega and handed spiceboy the jug of water and we walked toward home and I sang some Barry White:

I know so many ways that I...

And it wasn't until after we'd crossed 69th and turned down 70th right next door to the Stinky Beach that spiceboy caught on. But when he did, he sang, at the top of his lungs:

...could love you 'til the day I die...

And the few people at the outdoor tables turned away from their nearly empty drinks and stared, so I sang:'re all I'm living for...

and spiceboy sang: I'll be yours for ever more...

me: you're the first...

spiceboy: you're the last..

me: my everything!

And by this time, we were at the steps to our apartment, and making a spectacle and giggling and yelling, and he paused for a moment to kiss me at the base of our steps before unlocking the door, and the air was crisp but not cold and quiet but not still and we each wrapped our arms around the other's waist and we made our way inside.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Homecoming

Saturday afternoon, just after a rain. The air is warm and humid, the skies are cloudy. You know he’ll be home soon, so you take the screen from the window and lean out out out, over the window ledge, over the fire escape, eating a mango and watching the sidewalks for his familiar walk, his familiar face.

After a few minutes, you see him and yell down at him:


He looks behind him and across the street, and shifts the black bag he carries over his shoulder, but he does not look up. So you yell:

Up here!

And he looks up.

He smiles and waves says hey in that funny voice you sometimes use with each other and you are practically jumping up and down, you are so excited to see him.

Later, you’ve turned off all the lights but have forgotten the radio and so there is the radio and also a siren from outside, and he takes your clothes off, kisses you, says I like your panties as he slides them over your hips and down your legs, casting them aside.

You say: Thank you and then you laugh out loud at how polite you sound. And then you are lost in the moment.

Later, you are lounging in bed and there is some jazz on the radio and outside there is yet another siren and you are half asleep and you think how well jazz goes with the sounds of the city. You think that jazz was made for places like New York, and then you think that you were made for places like New York, for days like this, and you cuddle closer into his shoulder and settle in for an afternoon nap.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Post About Nothing

Lately, I’ve been taking great efforts to eat very healthily. I try to stick to fresh fruits and veggies whenever possible. I’ve cut down on my cheese consumption. I’ve started taking soy milk or skim milk in my coffee rather than half and half.

I don’t think the results are visible from the outside, but on the inside, I feel great. I have more energy. And of course there’s that self-righteous satisfaction of being healthy, and let's be honest--who doesn't love that?

And the pooping situation? Well, let’s just say that all trains are running on schedule these days.

But alas, there are weak moments. Moments when, despite my best efforts, I succumb to the temptations of sugars, butterfat, and hydrogenated oils. This morning, I had such a moment.

I was on my way to work, and a morning errand gave me occasion to walk past the Buttercup Bake Shop. As I passed by, I glanced inside. It was brightly lit, and standing in the large front window were workers in cute little aprons, slathering great big, cloud-like dollops of pastel icing on millions of tiny, perfect, happy cupcakes. I stopped walking. What is it about cupcakes?

Oh, God.

I stood there, drooling, as a woman in a smart suit pushed through the door of the shop and stepped onto the sidewalk. She held a Buttercup bag in one perfectly manicured hand, a coffee cup in the other. The air that wafted out behind her was sugary sweet, buttery, irresistible. The little bell on the door handle jingled as it swung closed behind her.

Oh, God.

I thought about the arsenal of healthy breakfast foods I had waiting for me at work—a packet of nuts, a gorgeous Bosc pear, a banana. All paled in comparison. I was at the very gateway to Cupcake Mecca!

I took a deep breath, pulled open the door, stepped inside, and gazed in wonder at the cupcake cornucopia before me. There were cupcakes of every kind—from chocolate to vanilla to cinnamon, and even red velvet. A traditionalist from way back, I took great care in choosing a golden cupcake with buttercream icing.

I also ordered a large coffee. With cream.

As I walked the rest of the way to work, I caught my reflection in a window and smiled. It was the smile of a woman satisfied.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Pros of taking your honeymoon several months after the wedding:

1. You're more relaxed
2. You can take more care in planning w/out being distracted by the wedding
3. You have more vacation time so you can take a longer trip than if you took one right after the wedding

Cons of taking your honeymoon several months after the wedding:

1. The military decides to overthrow the government of the country in which you were planning on honeymooning.

Ok, so it's a peaceful military coup, for what it's worth. But it's a coup nonetheless.

I'm not sure what the actual definition of honeymoon is, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't include the words military coup.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Afternoon

It is, as the title suggests, Sunday afternoon. She is at home, alone, on the bed, propped up on pillows, in pajamas, or some version thereof.

Outside, it is sunny and warm. The kind of Sunday in September that prompts people to say we should really get out of the house and enjoy the day.

She considers this for a moment, and then there is that guilt, that urgency about wasting the day that almost drives her outside. But after a moment, she reconsiders; these days she is reluctant to do anything b/c of what people say, even though she wants those same people to pay attention to what she's doing.

So she opts to stay inside, and listen to what's going on in her head. She writes a paragraph, pauses, and adds one sentence to the end of it. Then she erases the sentence and writes it over again, in a slightly different way. Then she erases that sentence, too, and does not replace it with anything else, b/c she realizes that more often than not, her first instinct was the correct instinct.

She used to write these things down in a notebook, in private. But she, like everyone else, has succumbed to the temptation of cell phones and the Internet and US Weekly and INSTANT GRATIFICATION, and even though this makes her hate herself a little bit, she does not feel validated unless she's sharing her thoughts as quickly as they're coming into her head, and self-reflexive is the new black and self-indulgent is the new self-reflexive, is it not? Either way, when she hits publish, she knows she will feel validated.

So maybe that was a roundabout way of saying that Blogger is the new black.


It is much later now, and she is still inside. She is not sick, or depressed, or hungover, or lazy.

At least, she is not more of any one of these things than the others, and it is none of these things which prevents her from pulling on her jeans and sneakers and descending the four flights of steps to the street and arriving, blinking, onto the sunshiny sidewalk.

Lately, life is what it is and though she started this online record more than a year ago in hopes of making some sort of statement, there really is no statement to make.

There is the morning walk to work, then there is work--all manner of flourescent lights and papers and paperclips and meetings and the blinking red light on the phone that means someone has left her a message. There is the evening walk home, and then there is home--and the safety and protection of such a small space in which her entire life is contained.

She knows that living in such a small space is not realistic in the long run, but it allows her to keep her eye on everything at once, and she likes that, because lately, as life spreads out and out and out, it's nice to know there's something she can keep track of.

So lately, there is just life, and there is the walk to and from work, and there is the comfort of home, and there are the weekends, free and golden and lazy if she wants them to be. And there is something new as well. Or not new, but something that she's noticing more and more and this is the simultaneous existence of happiness and grief: The death of a friend's father, and days later, the birth of another friend's daughter. The announcement of a marriage followed by the announcement of a divorce. The gain of one family, and the loss of another. Each week, via phone and email, she receives the news of each gain and each loss, and she gets out her pen and her notecards and she sends out the congratulations and the condolences and as she stamps and licks each envelope, as she writes down the names and addresses of the people she holds dear, she files each of their stories away in her heart, and she quietly waits her turn, because these stories are all of our stories at one time or another and there is happiness and there is sadness and we will all take our turns with them, won't we?

Lately, she finds no stunning revelations hidden in the mundane and no important lessons to impart, and who is she to impart them, anyway? There is only life, and the possiblity of a hundred Sunday afternoons, and how she chooses to spend them.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I am in the apartment alone. spiceboy is in the East Village, cooking, and soon I'll leave the apartment, hail a cab on Second Avenue, and zoom downtown over the bumpy streets and through many yellow lights that are just turning red, to join him for dinner.

Last week and this week, our house is full of food. Moreso than usual. It's as though spiceboy has woken from a long summer's nap and decided that it's time to fill the people he loves with supper.

On the kitchen counter is a loaf of cornbread, yellow and wrapped tightly in cellophane, which he baked on Sunday morning.

In the refrigerator is a creme brulee ramekin filled with something custardy and delicious-looking which I'm sure we'll share later on tonight. I can't wait for him to unwrap it for me, to explain it to me, to hand me a fork and watch my face as I taste it, waiting for my verdict. I love that I am his first taste tester and his food critic and his sous-chef when he needs one.

Tonight, the air in the apartment smells of something that is at once spicy, savory, and sweet. It's exotic yet familiar.

Next to the computer is a list, scrawled out in spiceboy's loopy handwriting on a scrap of paper:

fenugreek seeds
black peppercorn

Some of the ingredients in our dinner, no doubt. But it's something more--and that's where the "familiar" comes in.

It's the smell that made me fall in love with him--and with food--way back when, in his little restaurant on that little street in that perfect little pocket of time in Pittsburgh, when there was so much possiblity, and the dreams of bigger things to come.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

As Usual

Last night, I walked home from work, as usual.

I walked up the four flights of steps in our building, as usual.

I opened our door. The TV was on. spiceboy was in the kitchen making dinner,which smelled like garlic and ginger and chili.

Betty was looking up at me and wagging her tail.

I dropped my bags and kissed my husband, petted my puppy.

We ate dinner and shared a beer. The voices of children playing on the street outside carried up to our window, and the air blowing in through the screen was warm.

I did the dishes and spiceboy checked baseball scores on the computer. We watched some TV, then turned it off and laid on the couch, talking about what might become of us in the future.

We shared a piece of chocolate, and not long after that, we went to sleep.

That's it. Sometimes life is not exciting or funny or romantic. Sometimes life is just normal.

Here's to normal. Happy Thursday.