Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I have never had a lot of friends... Acquaintances, yes. Fellow partiers, definitely. But friends? Not so much. I have, however, been fortunate enough to have more "good" friends than most -- good friends are those whose phone numbers and birthdays I will always remember, who I make a great effort to hang out with or stay in touch with if they live elsewhere, people who I have known for many years and will know for many years to come. It's probably because I really only have the energy for the real lasting friendships. I'm not good at spreading myself too thin for shallow social purposes.

This weekend I had a good friend and her girlfriend in town, and I really came to appreciate the length of time we've known each other, the hilarious and ridiculous memories we share, and the complete opposite senses of style we have... It made me realize that everyone I consider a good friend of mine is pretty unique and unlike me in many ways. Sure, I have many things in common with most of them. They're all, for the most part, middle class white kids from the suburbs who come from Catholic backgrounds, have had pretty stable family lives, and now work full time jobs or are in some sort of graduate school. Pretty boring, except that we probably bonded in the first place because of our bad habits and our liberal mentalities.

I realize, however, that I have individuals all over the place with whom I can share different occasions and events and memories and plans.... I have collected a circle of intimates who can and do mesh when the time is right, but who exist mostly in separate bubbles. Obviously, many of them overlap beautifully as I've grown to know them over the years. Some I've known since elementary school, since middle school, since high school, since college... Some I've only gotten to know within the last year. It's like a huge Venn diagram of multiple circles overlapping that eventually creates one huge circle with me in the middle, floating amongst them.

Throughout my formative years, I both envied and feared the girls who could maintain a definitive "group" -- the ones who gathered year after year on someone's stairs for Prom pictures and bought pages of pasted pictures in the yearbook and then joined sororities and did all that crazy social stuff. But that's just not me -- groups have always seemed so frightening, so constricting... Perhaps they were (and still are) an easy social outlet, but for me, I just don't have the energy or the extroversion to understand how the politics work and how to maintain those kinds of relationships where everyone is friends with everyone else and everyone is equally close and, and, and... As you can see, even the thought of it overwhelms me. I suppose I've just always been too much of a loner, too much of an only child -- I crave my space and I value my time. I want to be able to pick and choose who I share my space with, who I spend my time with, and usually this means I can really only handle a limited amount of close relationships.

Limited in quantity, I suppose, but not quality, and I think I do have quality friendships. I have always been fearful of putting "too many eggs in one basket" in a sense. I have done this in the past with friends and in the process ended up ignoring others. But I'm older now and I realize the incredible importance of nurturing the close friendships that I have had for some time and being open to new ones. And all the while I can recognize and appreciate the vast differences between myself and those I am really truly friends with, and love them for all their quirks and flaws and for everything we disagree on. I would rather have 3 close friends who are unlike me in a million ways than 300 who are exactly the same.

I suppose I don't really have a point to all this. I just appreciate my friends and I don't need a big group to do it in. I just love everyone for who they are, and that's that. So thanks, friends. I think you're all really nice...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Water World

Having put down my book for now, I'm concentrating on all the magazines and literary journals I have lying around my apartment. I have subscriptions to Time Out New York, Harper's, The Sun, Slice, and of course, National Geographic. It's ridiculous that I have all this paper lying around that I simply don't read, so yesterday I officially replaced the book in my bag with my newest copy of National Geographic, the magazine I've had a subscription to since I was a child, the magazine I refuse to throw away, the magazine that I can safely say has seen me through the good and the bad and will forever be my solace and escape. Well, perhaps until today.

The most recent issue focuses entirely on water -- the dwindling supply of fresh water, the hardship faced by most people to get sufficient clean water, its significance in culture and religion, and the steps we must take to save, purify, and replenish our water sources. Working for a nonprofit, I have heard my share about the woes of the world and the humanitarian issues surrounding water supplies. But today I thought so much more...

What struck me this morning is how very integral water is to life -- we are made up of 2/3 water, after all -- and yet how in Western civilization we really take it for granted. Apparently the average American uses 100 gallons of water per day. PER DAY. And yet there are entire families in developing nations that subsist on less than 5 per day. This is shocking. As I've said in former posts, I would rather help animals than people, which is true, but the simple fact that I feel that way speaks to the unbelievable luxury that I have been born into as a middle-class American citizen -- I literally have the luxury of caring for animals. And what's more, the animals that I care for use and require the same water that so many people in the world have no access to... and yet I can fill my cat's water dish at any time of the day.

I turn on the tap and fresh, clean, drinkable water flows freely. Whenever I leave a water glass out for too long, I know I run the risk of the cat getting to it and contaminating it with her stinky little kitty germs, so these glasses usually get dumped. I try to pour them into my plants as much as possible, but still, I recognize that the waste is enormous. The simple fact that my cat has an endless source of water at her disposal is amazing, when you think about the people that cannot access fresh water. Pair this with the fact that I can keep plants that serve absolutely no purpose other than that they are aesthetically pleasing (though my basil and new aloe plant are useful), and these plants require water, then you realize just how accustomed we are to this abundant supply and how jarring it is that there are women and children who must trek for miles up and down mountains to bring just a few gallons of water to their homes.

The article follows a woman named Binayo, who at 25 already has 3 children (she's my age!) and must leave her 4-year-old son to care for his younger brothers while she climbs down and back up a mountain to fetch water 3 times a day. Her husband drinks beer with the other men in the village made of the water she brings -- clearly not only is there a serious problem with the water supply itself, but with the culture that allows this division of labor. In so many cultures, water and women go hand in hand, so the idea of gaining access to clean water is really a women's issue, as well as a children's issue. And those are issues I am very much ok with.

The amount of lives, especially of vulnerable young children, saved by access to fresh drinking water is unbelievable. The amount of disease and death that can be allayed by teaching proper hygiene techniques is astounding. Plus, when less time is spent having to trek to get the water, which is usually a woman's job, more girls have time to go to school and more women have time to grow crops and start businesses. When more women are educated and financially empowered, villages and nations grow economically, terrorism is allayed, and there is peace on Earth... Well, that's a stretch, but the benefits are pretty amazing. When you go about alleviating ridiculous work for women like hauling water, you change societies for the better. Just ask Nicholas Kristof.

Will water become my new cause du jour? Probably not. But it is something to think about the next time I take an extra long shower, the next time I leave a full water glass where the cat can get it, and the next time I make plans to do a long term volunteering trip where I plan on taking care of cute Tanzanian babies and teaching adorable Indian children the ABCs. Perhaps those trips will involve more hard labor of a pipe-building nature than I previously imagined...

Only time will tell. For now, I will read my National Geographics and other magazines from cover to cover. I will also recognize how incredibly lucky I am to be able to have this immense supply of paper and water at my disposal, how lucky I am to be able to bathe and watch my hands each day, and how unlucky I am that more and more I cannot turn a blind eye to certain global issues and will most likely be forever haunted by the realization I simply am not doing enough to help and probably never will. I talk (or type) a good game.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quote of the (Yester)Day

Upon entering my bedroom around noon on Sunday after deciding to go back to sleep for a few hours, I saw that Nick's eyes were open...

Me: Oh good, you're awake! Now we can cuddle!
Nick: You're abusive.

I laughed good and hard, then promptly snuggled up to him only to realize that he was once again fast asleep. When I reminded him of this last night he said he didn't remember the exchange at all. But he found it mighty amusing... Jerkface.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Forward

I am sitting in my apartment wearing shorts and a tank top. My hair is slathered with deep conditioner and wrapped in plastic wrap, and my face is spotted with a green mint masque. I just pained my toenails and I feel beautiful.

All 6 of my windows are open wide so I can catch any sounds and breezes that might float through. I have incense burning and I have watered all my plants. The road to springtime redemption has offically begun on this already delightful first day of the long-awaited season.

Nick and I just ate some eggs and toast with a big glass of milk, and now he's playing the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds." Soon we're going to go pick up two end tables from a neighbor who is moving to London, who has also offered to throw in a beautiful aloe plant as well as any other knickknacks we might find useful. Maybe we'll take some laundry to be done, partly as an excuse to stroll through our lovely neighborhood.

I'm going to paint my nails later, perhaps go out to eat, and then tonight I'm off to see "The Cherry Orchard" with a very dear friend.

Ahhh..... What a lovely first day of spring...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Blast from the Past

I realize that I have not blogged for a few days, much to the chagrin of a certain someone (you know who you are...get your own blog!). But I suppose I actually do have stuff to talk about, so that's exciting...

On Tuesday, a friend of mine from 4th grade called me at 2:00 p.m. to say she and a friend would be in NYC in, oh, just about an hour. She was actually lost in south Jersey, had nowhere to stay, thought she could drive and park in Times Square, and thought she could make it a day trip. I said no, you drive to my apartment, park in my neighborhood, I will take you on a tour of the city, and that's that. So they did, and I did, and it was grand.

Jenny and I met in the second half of 4th grade at Pleasant Valley Elementary School after she moved with her family from Niagara Falls. We quickly became friends and were "BFF" through 7th grade...though how, I don't know. We were so unlike each other, and we still are. She was tall and drop dead gorgeous and tough as nails and amazing at sports and smart as a whip but not so good in school... I was average in looks, below average in athletics (though a dedicated little ballerina) and above average in my reading level and vocabulary. As far as I can tell, little has changed. She had more than a year on me in age, so I guess that contributed to her interest in boys far before me, though we still sat on the floor playing Barbies long past the age it was appropriate. We ran through the woods in dress up clothes pretending we were princesses or riding our bikes and pretending they were horses, and we sat on my porch for hours experimenting with hideous makeup until we looked like baby prostitutes... We played softball in my yard, went sledding down her giant hill, got our fair share of poison ivy on multiple occasions, and did a lot of walking up and down the windy mountain road that connected our houses for a good 3 years. She hid out at my house when her parents yelled at her too much, I hid out at her house so we could play with the puppies and bunnies that always seemed to be breeding there. We saw a lot of animal life and death together... I guess our love for animals and nature was really the thing we had most in common. By 7th grade, she had made a new best friend who I was (and I'm sure still am) terribly incompatible with, and that was pretty much that. We stayed in touch all these years, but hadn't seen one another since we were 16. Until Tuesday...

Jenny and her friend Wendy showed up in my neighborhood, I got them to a parking space, and as we ascended the elevator to my apartment, she did or said something that made me say, "You haven't changed at all!" "Neither have you!" she quickly retorted. And it seemed very true. We chilled out for an hour or so at my apartment, then Nick and I proceeded to take them on a grand and whirlwind tour of NYC. Dinner at an Italian restaurant in the Village, a walk through Washington Square Park and up through Union Square, the subway to Times Square, a long and horrible walk through that godawful place, then a walk to Radio City and Rockefeller Center, lots of pictures and window shopping, and finally Grand Central Station. For leaving Brooklyn at 6:30 p.m., I'd say we did a pretty damn good tour. We took the train back down to Union Square, got a few drinks at Park Bar, then went back to the neighborhood, stopped into my bar, and went home. It was exhausting and enlightening.

During those hours I realized how very different we are, were, and will always be. Jenny is married to what seems like kind of a lame guy who is in the Army and is a few years younger than her, but she has a 4-year-old stepdaugther who she has basically raised for the last few years who calls her Mom and who she is fighting to protect from her mentally ill biological mother. This is hard for me to believe, but she clearly loves this little girl with all her heart. It's really amazing the different paths we've taken... She's lived in California and Florida and New York and Maryland, still loves the outdoors like she always did, and goes hiking every day with her daughter and her dog, but didn't go to college and doesn't have a job, and is now living with her husband's parents in Virginia. She couldn't believe I could stand to live in a city and I could see the culture shock so clearly on her face... Most of our memories together involve my house and the woods I grew up in, and now our most recent memories involve this godforsaken city I now call home and have for more than 6 years. Insanity.

It's so strange to reconnect with someone who you share so many memories with but haven't seen in so long... But those memories are so distant and foggy that as they become clearer through more and more conversation, you wonder about the child you were and the adult you've become and can't quite figure out what happened in between. There's a huge rift in our friendship... We're the same as we always were, to some extent, but I don't know what we'll be in the future. It was amazing to reconnect with her, but I wonder what it has in store. Do we even have anything in common anymore besides a distant childhood in a world we've completely left behind? This sounds like the beginning of a bad novel that middle-aged women in the suburbs read. Ugh. I'm going to leave it at that and ponder this some more.

It's Friday afternoon... I'm done daydreaming and analyzing the past. It's time to move forward with the weekend...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cervantes says...

"The pen is the language of the soul; as the concepts that in it are generated, such will be its writings."

-- Miguel de Cervantes

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wordle 2

Here is my last post made into a Wordle. What a wonderfully creative little tool...

Literary Slacker

I've been a blogging slacker for the past few days... Clearly I am losing the Blog Challenge 2010 miserably. But I think I can be forgiven for not posting every day, since the sheer length of my other posts is just ridiculous. Brevity is just not my strong point, as I'm sure will be shortly illustrated.

Anyway, last night I went to BAM to see The Tempest, which was pretty damn good. Prospero was excellent, as he should be... Miranda was a little annoying, mostly just her voice I suppose... but her part really isn't that big, I realize. It's been a while since I read the play so I guess I gave the sole "major" female role a lot more credit than was due. Caliban stole the show, unsurprisingly, though since they cast a black man in the role all the lines just seem so terribly horrid and racist... However, Shakespeare might have actually meant it to be that way, since the character is supposed to be the son of an Algerian witch, the only "native" of the island... Ahh, the 1600s weren't exactly politically correct.

Regardless, it was good to see a Shakespeare play for the first time in a very, very long while. I really ought to do more culturally significant things like see plays, but I just don't seem to get around to it. Next weekend, however, I'm going to see "The Cherry Orchard," which I actually haven't read. I think the only Chekhov play I have read is "The Three Sisters" in my Modern European Drama class during junior year of college. How odd, since I consider Chekhov one of my absolute favorite writers. I can't remember if we read "Uncle Vanya" in that class or not... Oh well. I've read most of his short stories on my own, over and over again since early high school when I opened up some literature textbook and found "Lady with a Lap Dog" and was hooked. I didn't even know who Chekhov was or how famous he was, I just knew I liked the story.

That's somewhat similar to my discovery of Kafka around the same time. I found "The Metamorphosis" in probably the same textbook and was enthralled, and again, had no idea how famous Kafka was. I just knew that the story was absolutely bizarre and probably had some deeper meaning that my 14-year-old self couldn't quite grasp. I'm not sure my 24-year-old self even grasps it in the end. That's the problem with taking philosophy classes throughout college... You think you understand the underlying meaning and the real symbolism of all these strange literary works, because the professor tells you so, then you forget what you wrote for your essays and tests and you reread and rethink things years later and realize you don't actually have a damn clue and you probably never did.

The same with Shakespeare, though the deeper "meaning" is more just getting through the language and historical rifts than uncovering some underlying message. How easy it is to understand when you're sitting in a class with 30 other English majors who are about your same level of interest and intelligence, being told by the professor exactly what the lines mean and then arguing with each other about the deeper levels of meaning until you uncover your thesis for your upcoming paper, and then you really start taking notes... As I was watching the play last night, I found I could only really get about half of what was going on, just because I haven't been exposed to that language recently. On paper it's pretty simple for the most part, but for 2 and a half hours I found myself a bit lost.

I found this very ironic and somewhat disappointing, since I remember seeing "Romeo & Juliet" at the National Theater when I was in 5th grade, and since I had read the play over and over after I discovered a copy of the book in a box in the attic and saw the movie on TV, I understood every word. My father kept leaning over to me and asking if I understood what was going on, and I would nod and shush him, since I did understand, and I wanted to absorb every single word and action without interruption. I realized he didn't understand, however, so later I translated some lines for him later, with pride. Watching "The Tempest" I realized I didn't have the same familiarity or emotional connection with the text... But I'm not 10 years old anymore so I'd think I have a better understanding of Shakespearean language than I did then!

Once again, this makes me come to the conclusion that I have to read and reread and think and rethink all those literary works I've been exposed to, or should have been exposed to, and I have to do it every few years. From Shakespeare to Chekhov to Austen to Faulkner to Steinbeck (he's one of my formerly favorite authors who I haven't read in many years) I need to keep myself up to date. But I also need to read new works by new authors... And I need to sift through the past and read all those classics I never read in college since I concentrated more on the International Phonetic Alphabet and dialect change than great classic literature.

There's only so much time to read so many books, but I really need to be more conscious about choosing things of substance and not wasting my time with fluffy crap. Not that I ever do choose fluffy crap, but I just need to be selective and diligent and stop wasting my time. Except for David Sedaris, I am not allowed anything I would deem "light reading." Those days are over.... though I don't think they ever existed in my life anyway.

Right now I'm reading "The Elegance of the Hedgehog," having put down Joan Didion to resume at a later date... I really needed a novel instead of essays, and I'm reading it for my book club. The characters in it make me want to read more, anyway, especially more philosophy. There was a chapter on Husserl and phenomenology, though she advises to read Kant and Descartes first. NO WAY. I will draw the line there, because there's no point in reading great works if you're not even going to enjoy them. So diligence about reading also involves not pressuring myself to read mind numbing works of greatness.

Works of greatness, however, I need more of in my life...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Trains of Thought

This morning on my morning commute on the Q train, I realized that I feel most like myself when riding the subway. I feel most like the person I am rather than the person I want to be or try not to be... I am serene and quiet, I am anonymous and completely within myself, and there is no one to bother me. When people see me, they see just another girl who lives in the outer boroughs and commutes to Manhattan, who unwraps her scarf slightly when she enters the train car and wraps it back up tightly when she exits, who slides her sunglasses up over her hair at the beginning of the ride and puts them back over her eyes at the end. I am an anonymous person with silly little rituals that no one notices except for me, because I am just one of the millions... And it feels so nice.

Twice a day, I wait in a specific location on the platform. In the morning, I go all the way to the back of the train to make my transfer to the L easier; in the evening, the second to last car is my domain so I am closest to the stairs at my stop. If there are no seats, which there usually are not, I try to snag a spot by the door on the side of the train where the door opens less often, where I can calmly ignore the comings and goings of other passengers at other stops. When they do open at Atlantic Avenue and Dekalb, all I need to do is shift slightly to let people in and out, though I defend my spot at the door so I can gaze out the window as we cross the Manhattan Bridge, because the southward view down the East River is to die for.

Nearly every morning I see the Brooklyn Bridge standing serenely in the morning light, the Statue of Liberty reaching up over the horizon, the cars moving slowly on the FDR, the boats plowing through the water, the seagulls swooping greedily, the buildings of lower Manhattan glittering in the rising sun... I have seen this view so many times and yet it never gets old for me. On the mornings I end up on the B train instead, the view is blocked since we're on the other side of the bridge... But I get to look northward instead, where I see much more water and have a decent view of the Williamsburg Bridge. But nothing compares with the scene from the Q train...

At night, going the opposite direction, the setting sun can often be brutal, depending on when you cross the river, but if you cross it late enough you'll see the Brooklyn Bridge lit up with its necklace of lights and the cars glimmering as they speed along. Manhattan at night is beautiful as well... from a distance, of course. Everything looks brilliant when you're far enough away... I prefer the mornings, however, when I feel the most calm. The day has not brought any stress or thoughts upon me yet - I am an empty vessel that the world is only just beginning to fill with sights and sounds that I still have the option of absorbing or ignoring.

This morning I was lucky enough to get a seat on a not-too-crowded car, which gave me the luxury of doing a bit more observing. Surrounding me were a multitude of characters... A Barbara Streisand lookalike read her People Magazine.... A skinny, long-haired man read his kindle in a leather case that matched his jacket... The crazy Haitian woman who usually yells at people to move out of her way was sitting quietly in a seat moving her lips in silent prayer... An aging, handsome hipster with salt and pepper hair wore Wrangler jeans and workboots most likely for no other function than ironic fashion... The preppie girl next to me with her iPod encased in hot pink played her music far too loudly for my taste...

I was reading my book, but every now and then I'd look up and simply observe for a few minutes. The subway gives me the freedom to simply sit and contemplate my surroundings if I don't feel like reading for every minute of my ride. Sometimes I am completely absorbed in the text so I don't notice anything going on around me, and other times I need to put in silent headphones simply to drown out the noise so I can stay absorbed... Many times I just put the book on my lap and look. I don't stare blankly, I don't gaze longingly... I just LOOK. I look at the people, at the books they're reading, at the colors of their iPods and headphones, at the roots of their dyed hair and the runs in their stockings, at the shoes they match to their belts and the way their wallets have made a permanent square in their pockets. I look at the people I see nearly every day, and quickly look away. Then I look at the ones I have never seen before, or at the ones I wish I could see every day, like the woman who dresses only in purple, who has every accessory in purple, right down to lipstick and eyeshadow.

Every person is their own unique character study, no matter how drab they may seem... And yet, at the same time, they are all just a mass of humanity being carried to and from various locations that I don't know about and don't care to know about. I can shut off my interest in people and they become an anonymous crowd, with me just one small and terribly insignificant part of it... The thing I love so much about New York, and especially about riding the subway, is that feeling of incredible anonymity and invisibility, and the irony of having that feeling when you're walking and riding amongst 8 million people. What a strange dichotomy. But for a person like me who prefers to be alone, who prefers not to be seen, who prefers to stay quiet and within myself, especially in the mornings, I love the subway and the social leveling it offers. No one is better than the other -- we're literally all in the same boat and none of us is special. We're all invisible.

At the same time we're invisible, we are constantly watched, constantly watching... We watch each other like hawks and ignore each other at the same time. We listen to each other's conversations and yet block out all sound. It's so much easier to think when you can tune in or tune out all the same, and no one will care. And so I cherish my therapeutic commute before the insanity of the day begins. Every day is full of deafening silence and blindly watchful eyes... And I like it that way.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Animal Wordle

This is my first Wordle... And I am now officially obsessed. I made it out of my last blog post. How very interesting this little gadget is, and how reflective of my writing it's going to make me.

Animals vs. Humans - Round 1

On the rare occasions I actually watch TV, I usually alternate between "Jeopardy," "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations," or some variation of "Animal Cops," be it in Miami or New York or Houston or whatever. Tonight I'm chilling on the couch after a light dinner with the boyfriend, and I decided I'm entitled to a bit of TV watching... So "Animal Cops Miami" it is. But on the commercial breaks, I clearly need something to flip to. Enter "Intervention."

This show makes me realize how I truly cannot stand people and their problems. They seem so trite, so meaningless... I'm sorry you have an addiction to prescription drugs, Mrs. Suburban Housewife. But there are puppies who have no food or water and are literally being eaten alive by ticks and fleas that are sucking their blood because their white trash owner couldn't take the time to be even marginally responsible... Could you spare some of your drug money to help them? Could you put down the bottle for just a moment and realize how pathetic you are?

I try so hard to care about people more than animals, but I just don't have it in me. I do care about children, I suppose, especially when they can't read or have been abused. A child who has been abused and who can't read is probably my worst nightmare. Women have a tough time, too. My sympathy, however, ends there, especially when it comes to people in the Western world who live in their fancy houses and feel the need to ruin their lives and their family's lives with their selfishness. I simply cannot get worked up over people's problems (especially self-made problems) when animals cannot fend for themselves, when we have created them as breeds to fit our liking, have created their wants and needs, and yet we starve and beat and neglect and torture them for no other reason than ignorance and cruelty and plain indifference.

I understand there are innocent people in the world who have had traumatic experiences that lead to addiction and depression and cause them to act out in horrible ways... But at some point there's just no hope for them, which is why I probably only really care about helping children. There's some hope still there, clinging on... And I do understand that at a certain point, there is no hope for certain animals. Some have experienced horrible trauma and cannot be rehabilitated, or they are dangerous to people...namely children... And time can be better spent helping others who still have a chance, so I do not disagree with euthanasia. The thing is, I feel that animals are and always will be innocent, and that's why I will always prefer to help them.

I feel we, as power-wielding humans, have such an immense responsibility to animals, so I would much rather put my time and money toward saving and helping and rehabilitating them. Thus, the only organizations I donate to are focused solely on those goals. I frankly don't trust the people my money might "help" to actually better their own pathetic and broken lives... Which is most likely why I would never donate to the organization I work for, as sad as it seems...

If faced with saving a baby and saving a puppy from a burning building, I would choose the baby, yes... humans do come first, especially the little ones. At a certain point, however, I feel that humans are just absolutely horrible and hopeless and just make me sick. So if I'm in a burning building and I'm faced with saving a grown human who was abused and traumatized and is therefore violent and dangerous, or a dog of the same nature... Well, I'll be honest. Yeah, I'd choose the dog... Look at all those dogs who were rescued from that cretin Michael Vick... They're therapy dogs, for fuck's sake.

I feel that there are simply not enough people in the world who have that soft spot for animals, so I might as well follow my heart and help where I feel I'm most needed. I can only be true to myself, right? And I know this is right for me, because I can read and watch and listen about horrible things that happen to people all over the world and throughout history and it can involve blood and war and murder and rape and torture and all sorts of horrible things... and somehow it just doesn't move me like it probably should. If I read even a sentence about an animal that is starving or abused or killed... Ohdeargod, I get a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, real nausea of the worst kind. Even thinking about it, my hands are shaking and I'm just filled with rage...and sorrow.

I had to reach out and pet my cat for a moment just to feel better. Speaking of the cat, I picked her up off the street and knew I would have her forever... As much as she loves to scratch and bite and attack me as I walk by her chair, she's just amazing and adorable and if anyone ever did anything to hurt her I would probably kill them. Just looking at her little white paws and her tiny broken tail (I don't want to know how that happened), I realize I am so happy to have a precious little creature in my life who will never stab me in the back or steal my money or do drugs or hurt anyone...EVER. Animals are the ultimate, perfect friends.

I don't trust people who don't like animals... Obviously I want anyone who hurts animals to die a horrible death, but I don't run into them often. What I don't get is when I meet people who just "don't like animals." They make me want to run in the opposite direction. I frankly don't want to have anything to do with them. There is something that I feel SHOULD BE innate in people to be caring and loving and kind and that should extend to animals. And if it doesn't... Well, I think it's clear what would happen should we end up in a burning building together.

I got the blues...and greens...

Today was supposed to be a day of extreme blogging. As I was reading "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" this morning on the Q train, I was inspired by the essay about self respect... I'll talk about that later though once I've read it in not such a tired, dazed by the world state.... Anyway, I had all these amazing thoughts about the amazing blog posts I would write and the amazing words I would use and about how amazing I was. Well, it's now nearly the end of the workday, I'm tired, and I'm really unmotivated.

Luckily, I got a new pair of boots today, so April suggested I write about those. That is shallow and I don't care. They are beautiful blue, like water, like rain, like the sea, like the sky, like heaven... They are super-soft vintage leather Aldo boots... IN BLUE. Ahh the amazing things you can find on Etsy. I don't even care if I'm shallow, because these boots are DEEP (blue that is). HAH.

Anyway, I also have blue fingernails, a blue sweater, blue eyes... and a scarf that has some blue in it but is really mostly green. And this weekend was the St. Paddy's Day parade in Hoboken, so I got to wear LOTS OF GREEN and today I get to wear LOTS OF BLUE. My life is pretty much complete.

It's amazing how surrounding yourself (or covering yourself, rather) in beautiful colors that you love can make you feel absolutely beautiful and wonderful. The amazing weather might have something to do with it, but that's another story. I think living in New York, the way I express my love for the colors of nature (blue, green, brown) is to wear them... Mostly because I like to look pretty, but also because they just make me happy. I just want my whole life to be awash in these shades...

This pretty much means that I need to move back to the country eventually so I can see these lovely colors in the fields and the sky FOR REAL. I need to travel somewhere lush and verdant. I need to swim in the blue blue ocean. I need... I need... I need to go home and clean my apartment.

Back to reality.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


In honor of the beautiful Spring sky, I am painting my finger nails blue.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I chilled out and got some rest last night, so I'm feeling much better than anxiety-ridden yesterday. Nick and I watched "Shakespeare In Love," which, while it was entertaining and a cute little story, did not deserve to win Best Picture over films like "Elizabeth" and "Life is Beautiful." It was contrived, corny, and completely ridiculous. Sure it had great costumes, but I simply can't believe Gwyneth Paltrow won Best Actress over Cate Blanchett or Meryl Streep. Ludicrous.

On a good note, I'm going to Hoboken for the St. Paddy's Day festivities today! I have a little bottle of Bailey's to pour in some delicious iced coffee, because it's 40 degrees out and it's practically spring, so that clearly calls for ICE in my coffee. YES.

I think my shower has finally heated up (damn you, post war apartment building), so I'm going to go get ready.

Happy Almost Spring!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I really don't feel like posting. So here are 10 boring updates on my life.

1. I feel like crap today.
2. I had a really delicious dinner last night.
3. I have a new friend named Hannah.
4. I am in the end stages of a big work project.
5. I painted my nails today.
6. I am going to Minetta Tavern tomorrow.
7. I want a bagel very badly.
8. I am not religious.
9. I am wearing an $8 sweater.
10. I want it to be Spring.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

More Local Eats...

Last night I went with a friend to our neighborhood's newest addition, The Castello Plan, a hip little wine bar. We went in expecting to get "small plates," but didn't realize just how small they'd be. That's acceptable, though, since the food was rather impressive... Here's what the Village Voice has to say.

We had melt-in-your-mouth mussels in white wine sauce, deliciously seasoned "sprats" (sardines) with a spiced mayo-covered quail egg, some incredibly delicious mushrooms stewed with sour cream and dill, and a really great charcuterie of boar sausage, lamb prosciutto, and some other incredibly fatty and delicious meat. And to top it off, we had a chocolate truffle (sliced like potatoe chips that keep falling apart) that you could sprinkle with either paprika salt, anise seed, or crushed almonds. Plus the last round of wine was on the house... Amazing!
We'll be back very soon to try the raw oysters, although I'm amused that they made a mistake on the menu. They refer to them as "Belle Soleil" but that's not right, as I thought last night but wasn't sure... It's Beausoleil, or Beau Soleil. Silly foodies, you don't know your seafood.

Anyway, when spring finally comes it will be extra special nice to sit out in their little side garden and down countless bottles of delectable wine. I can't say that I know anything about wine, but I know what I like and I think that's enough. Of course, we're bound to run into foodie hipster wino assholes at some point, but I can deal.

It's kind of frightening how hip Cortelyou Road has become, but I certainly don't mind. It's nice to have options when I want to go out to eat, which is more often than not, and to enjoy fine dining in an intimate setting without the Manhattan pretention. I'm not "local" enough in the neighborhood to be able to complain about gentrification... I AM gentrification, and I don't care. I like to eat good food, dammit, and if I only have to walk 5 blocks to get it, well then, I'm satisfied.

Here's what Serious Eats has to say about the evolution of Cortelyou Road.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Working Hard

I'm stuck at work... doing work... I don't really have anything to blog about, but I do have "Ave Maria" stuck in my head because I got distracted for a moment and was gazing at the sweet little shrine to the Virgin Mary I have up on my wall next to my computer monitor. Lots of pretty little prayer cards. I don't pray and I'm not even Christian, but I love Mary. She's just beautiful.

So here for your viewing pleasure is a link to "Ave Maria" as shown in Disney's Fantasia. This might potentially be my favorite part of any movie of all time. It just gives me hope...which is what I need right now. You might need it, too.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Goodnight Moon

I just got home to Brooklyn. I took a surprisingly relaxing, uncrowded, late afternoon train, during which I started and read almost half of "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" by Joan Didion -- this book is destined to become one of my favorites, I can already tell. As soon as I got to the city I cabbed it over to Cask for a Book Club meeting, where we somehow got very tipsy on only 2 drinks each. Hmm... Anyway, the next book we're reading is "The Elegance of the Hedgehog," which promises to be just lovely.

Speaking of books, I started to reorganize my bookshelf at my parents' house this morning, and I've vowed to reorganize the one in my apartment as well. I love organizing books... Nonfiction by subject, fiction by author... Beautiful. I also found my old copy of "Goodnight Moon," which will probably always be my favorite book in the whole wide world. Now I'm tired and must go to bed... So...

Goodnight, dish. Goodnight, spoon. Goodnight, cow jumping over the moon.