Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hi Dad!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Travels and thoughts

I visited the twin! I rode the Megabus down to Charlottesville, VA. It was only $3 on the way down, $13 back.

In fact, I'm on the bus now! See:

Anyway. Kristen has a sprained ankle, so we spent much time driving around Charlottesville and exploring. We also did a bit of shopping and discussing how she will set up her AMAZING apartment once she can walk without crutches and bend her leg and ankle properly. I am very excited for what I see happen there! It was a little like getting to organize my space again, except for Kristen has different tastes and preferences than me, which are difficult to communicate. We stopped at Pier 1 and I bought a few of these lovely glasses with little blue bubbles of glass stuck all over the lower third (the glasses I bought before are very shoddy; I've already broken 2 of them just knocking them over in the sink when doing dishes!). I don't get to bring them home yet, because I like to travel light and I spent the last 5 days living out of one backpack (which means that the backpack is kinda stuffed). Kristen will bring them when she comes to visit me sometime in October. She's going to come and get me, trade bookshelves (I have a darker one she wants, and she a lighter one I want), and we are going to go somewhere (possibly camping?) in upstate New York to enjoy the fall colors. I get very fresh fruit at the corner grocery in Astoria, so I am enjoying the thought of fall apples, but I miss having all the trees and all the leaves blowing around.

Kristen and I also did a lot of studying. Boring, I know, but a good sign for us, since it is likely that we will be this busy again for the rest of our lives and it shows we can get work done and still make time to hang out with each other. Yay! We also talked a lot about our new lifestyles. I have been really pausing to make studying the number one priority in my life, since I have that opportunity right now, and Kristen wants to do the same (I think). It is all very cool.

Recently a friend sent me a list of awesome goals she wants to meet before the end of the year, and I like the idea so I will replicate it below:

Go visit Ganas for dinner
Gain a better background/outline understanding of theatre history
Master Bordieu
Eat 20 different fruits
Eat enough veggies every day!
Walk in Central Park when the leaves are falling
Discover 3 new great places to ruminate over coffee/life/food/alcohol
Befriend at least one stranger (who is not at the grad center)
Finish NASCO's policy manual revisions
Go on at least 3 good dates
Host a successful party at my place
Visit Boston
Cook Thanksgiving dinner
See the tree at Rockefeller Center
Go to/host a non-pretentious wine tasting
Make-outs! Woo!

Ok, you can see I'm getting a little silly by the end, so it's time to sign off.


Friday, September 11, 2009

NYC fun

Well. Two blog posts in one day. Who would have thought I had it in me. Well, technically if I don't crack this out in the next four minutes it will be posted tomorrow, but you get the idea.

Some lovely things happened that I thought I should share with you all. The loveliness began when I was sleeping early this morning. It was a little chilly from the lovely autumnal rain, which I could hear slightly through the open windows, and as I was pulling a blanket around me I realized that my cat was curled right up against me, a little under my arm, sound asleep. It was a moment that, through the blurry eyes of sleep seemed full of love and trust, very kind of him, for all we go through. I slept in until a lovely 8 am, gradually awoken by the hungry cat (attempting to be patient!) We ate and lounged around the room all morning. He curled on the couch, and I in a sweater in the old recliner under the open windows listening to the rain and traffic as I languidly read a book that continues to have some promise. It was a lovely scene that I always imagine when I think of fall, except for this time I actually have a cat and I didn't have a cup of hot cider. So I went to make some cider, but instead I ended up showering, making lunch, and strapping on my new sneakers (check out the purple and gray ones), and forcing myself to head out of the house. See, last week I thought I had this whole walking 3/4 mile to get home thing down but on Monday it kicked my ass (to be fair, I had stopped for $80 of groceries, basically my entire grocery shopping, and the walk is uphill). But still. So I decided that taking a day off isn't really worth it in the long run, so I wanted to try to force myself to go into the city at least once/day. That way I would explore more, get more exercise, and get out of the house. Winners all around.

So I'm quite content in my dress (neat new kicks, perfectly fitting black dress tee with 3/4 sleeves and heart-shaped bodice, favorite jeans rolled up to the knees exposing my white hairy legs but keeping my pants from dragging in the water, and the green scarf that Rachel got me in Israel that I used as a combination wrap/poncho), marching towards the train, finally wearing adequate walking shoes that are giving me a kick in my step. I've had a beautiful morning, I don't notice the length of the walk, and I just got a flirtatious smile from that dude. And my positive attitude just continued. I rode the train, I walked to class with the wind whipping my scarf and the rain around me in just the right way, I unrolled my pants gracefully before I got to my department, and I spent the afternoon getting caught up on my source of employment. Scanning documents for a professor, lunching and blogging about the phenomenon, hanging out with the few people from the department who were around on a Friday afternoon, etc. It was quiet and nice and sort of fun. Then I took the train up to 53rd Street and went to meet my flatmate Amy at the Museum of Modern Art. Due to a corporation which I will not name here, Friday nights between 4 and 8 are free admission to the MoMA. Previously I'd only been to the Whitney to see PROTECT PROTECT, so I was stoked to go see this exhibit, even if it meant that I was somehow supporting ~~nameless corporation~~

So, Amy got the tickets for us, but they wouldn't let her in without checking her bag (she was in bag check for almost an hour, so I'm very glad I didn't bring anything with me that didn't fit in my pockets). The thing is, this museum was crazy. I mean totally crazy. The line for coat check had probably 500 people in it. Like, it was absolutely flooded with people. It was AMAZING to see so many people who might not otherwise get out to see the art. While Amy was in coat check I went up to the top floor and checked out the special exhibition. It was work by James Ensor, and I enjoyed at least a third of it. My two favorite pieces were a portrait he did called The Oyster Eater, because he used a lot of red but hid all the bits beautifully, and Doctrinaire Nourishment, which included a bishop, a king, public service, a nun, and universal suffrage shitting on the happy faces of the masses below, while the sun vomits onto these prestigious figures. I know, you expect me to say how I loved the social commentary, but really I liked it because of how it looked. Everything seemed so right. I just don't know how to describe it.

After that we wandered around the other galleries. For the pleasure of those of you who are art illiterate like me, I'll only name what stuck out (I get on overload after a floor or two of art, and I admit we only made it through half of the museum before we had to go). There was an entire room of Matisse, including his sculpture (didn't know he did sculpture), although nothing I knew of before I entered the room. I had the pleasure of seeing three Picasso's (Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, I believe, as well as Girl before a Mirror and Three Musicians) Dali's The Persistence of Memory, Kahlo's Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair and Fulang-Chang and I (which, by the way, has two parts: the first the famous painting and the second a mirror in a similar frame installed side by side). I also saw Seurat (one of which I liked better than his famous A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, which wasn't there). What was most remarkable was van Gogh's Starry Night. I know it is totally cliche and has been returned to the pop art of the world, but there is something in all the lines and the colors and the picture that just draws you in. It was stunning. I stood looking at it for quite a while. The entire experience is one I can't sum up easily.

On the way out we stopped at the surrealist Eros exhibit, but my brain was too full to process it much, except I thought Julie might like it a lot. Afterwards we walked around Manhattan a bit (found the touristy LOVE statue, will be back to take photos later!), and then caught a train up to Astoria's famous beer garden. It was chilly and rainy, but they had set up these huge tents with lights and everything, so we did the genuine outside experience. We dined on kielbasa with bread and onions, and drank something light and Czech. It was awesome, the closest I've been to nature in a month, and a really fun experience. We struck up a couple conversations with neighbors, and except for one outburst where I called something she was saying totally stereotyping, we got along pretty well. We walked back in the rain and I am beat (done the calculation: over 6 miles of walking today...yay me). But the first thing I did was take out the trash, feed the cat, and do my 50 crunches (I almost forgot! Yikes!)

And the cat just jumped up on the bed even though I was hovering at the edge. He's half standing on the keyboard. I guess it's time to cuddle! I'll see you later, internet.


Nobody saw it coming

I'm a notorious lunch-out-er. I've been known to have lunch out as early as 9 in the morning and as late as 7 in the "afternoon." Maybe it comes from disdain for the peanut butter sandwiches that filled up the lunches of my school days, or perhaps it is a convoluted expression of my desire to institutionalize the siesta in the US. (I mean, who doesn't want a break from everything for a nap right after lunch, refueling your energy level for more late-night fun?) Whatever the cause, no one is ever suprised to find me without a lunch from home. And, really, although I will lunch at chain restaurants or salad bars, I enjoy experimenting more. I love cart-food (an appreciation I picked up in Puerto Rico) and cafes with out-door seating. I enjoy restaurants that prepare a special menu, or just pare their menus down for the hours between 10 and 3. I adore coffee shops and bookstores with sandwiches.

I wish I could say that I came to the realization that I was going to cut down on lunching out when I was analyzing (in detail! with a calculator!) my new New-York-City-on-a-grad-student-budget finances. But I really came to the realization at the grocery store. Because really...REALLY people, it all just suddenly made sense. I had nice cheese (leftover from a rained-out Labor Day get-together), I had spinach and condiments, and man would all that go good with some cajun turkey. I think what finally won me over were the options. Because all those cafes and coffee shops each have their own fabulous options, but with the power of the grocery store, I could essentially make whatever I wanted for lunch. I could experiment exactly how I wanted to experiment. It was very promising.

All of you are undoubtedly going "DUH!" at this point, for which I can really only begrudge you the outmoded vocabulary. But really, you think I would have picked up on this sooner. I am sure it came from a combination of my limited income and oh yeah food-buying wasn't my workjob. (PS, Did you ever ask David H that one joke about the light bulb because it is hilarious for co-opers...Do it.) So, what with excessive overachievement on one hand coupled with a total unwillingness to do anything superfluous on the other, I haven't regularly bought groceries, I'm embarassed to say. Ever.

There was my first year at college, in the dorms, with the mini fridge, but the roommate always treated me with such disdain that I felt guilty for eating a pickle (vegetable...!). Than there was that one summer I lived "alone" but they had a cafeteria at the place where I worked/lived (and apparently /ate). And then... 4 years of someone else buying groceries for everyone in the house. Sigh. I thought I would miss those days.

Who knows? There are thousands of amazing cafes for me to discover in this city, so I might shortly fall off the home-lunch band-wagon. But for today there is Mexican Turkey:

1 Hard Mexican roll (bolillo-esque, but that's not what they called it at the grocery)
Some Turkey breast (I get it sliced so thin that it starts shredding)
A Buttload of Spinach
Lots of Brown Mustard
Slivers of White Onion
2 slices of El Trigal Manchego (thickly sliced, rind on)

Accompanying: kalamata olives and a slice of seedless watermelon (did you know it's getting very difficult to find watermelon WITH seeds?) With a lunch like this, who needs a siesta?

(Actually, I'd still like the siesta...)