Thursday, January 31, 2008

Little fluffy clouds

Do you remember that song? The clouds in that song were desert clouds. In this picture, the clouds mean the weather is changing, maybe to snow. Today was cold but sunny, and I walked to Herald Square and back.

Looking north on Ninth Avenue from 51st.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A restorative diet of carbs

Good news: Last night, I gave 110% in my first yoga class in 2 years. It was awesome, and it left me sweaty and smiling.

Bad news: Today, my muscles are wiped out. Fortunately, I don't feel injured, just very tired.

Best news: At least I didn't have to drag myself to a job this morning!

I spent the day on the sofa, which (believe it or not) is not how I spend most days, even if I spend them at home. And today's menu looked like this: Cocoa Kripsies, saltines, diet cream soda, leftover homemade caramel corn from last weekend, rigatoni with pink sauce. Maybe another bowl of Cocoa Krispies for dessert, but I wouldn't want to push my luck.

While on the sofa, I did manage to complete and email-off a cover letter for a job at the Met that I read about last week. As a general rule, it wouldn't take me so long to complete such a straightforward task, but it's the sort of job I have to work really hard to keep from psyching myself out about. Nothing builds confidence like writing cover letters for jobs you've never done before, the required skills for which are nowhere represented in your resume, for which you will be facing many professionally-trained competitors. Still, I think the letter is good, and it's not like I have anything to lose. I mean, it's not like they're going to call me up and laugh at me.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I'm sorry! I just can't stop saying it!

It's what I'm going to say every time I pass a storefront that used to be something I liked, even a little bit, that is now going to be a branch office. Today, that was the florist on the corner of 14th and Fifth that is going to be a Chase.


There's always something going up, or coming down, or being inspected or repaired. I walked past these guys heading to the subway at 11:30, and they were still there at 1:45 when I headed back to the apartment. They are not working on a bnak! but if you keep walking to the corner and take a right on Ninth, there's a North Fork going in, and a Chase across the street.

I can't believe we've lived here long enough that I feel invested in these things. No more bnaks!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Signs of spring, such as they are

Or one sign, anyway.

Inside the deli "greenhouse" at 54th and Ninth, a branch blossoms in a bucket.

All the news that's fit to prnit

Oh, I bet that bnak is not the only venerable insitution with egg on its face today.

That's A9 in this morning's late edition.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Eyelid dandruff

That's how dry it is. I looked in the mirror this morning, and my eyelids were peeling.

Lucky you: no photos.

Makes me long for the Slidell, Louisiana, winters of my youth, when I would put on my clammy pants and wonder if they'd even been through the dryer. I distinctly remember one purple, elastic-waist pair, that managed to be both damp and itchy at the same time.


Update: I hope to redeem this otherwise lame! post by adding this video I made on the way from Katy to Lockhart while we were in Texas over the holidays. No editing, ambient sound.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Peligroso es mi nombre medio

John says it's just what married people do on the weekends, but it makes me feel old and lame.


What did we do today? Took it easy, read the paper. John fiddled with his iPod while I jogged on the treadmill. We went to brunch at El Centro. Then we went shopping.

For vacuum cleaner bags.

When did I get so old?

Now we're watching Ocean's Thirteen. Which, if I'm not mistaken, my parents liked a lot.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Wank shui

We try to keep things tidy here, and we mostly do. We try, every two weeks or so, to also keep them clean. Today, with nothing else pressing, I did the vacuuming that John usually does, bless his heart. I also read several hundred pages of the new Ken Follett book. (Bliss!) Fortunately this thousand-page hardback monster will be going back to the NYPL within the week. Because where would we keep it?

Here are some of the more troublesome corners of our place. Living in a New York apartment, a friend once told me, is like living on board a ship: everything has to be carefully stowed in its place. She knew from stowage, too: she and her boyfriend proudly bought a 450 square foot apartment several years ago, the thought of which would simply not occur to a Texan.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Delicate silver loops

In some corners of the Met, the old regime lingers.

But change is afoot.

Tara Donovan, in the Gioconda and Joseph King Gallery.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

À l'opéra

No photos allowed inside the Metropolitan Opera House! I'm one of those people who seeks out a sign before just going for it, so I didn't even go for it a little. Sad, because I would love for you to see what we saw, and hear what we heard.

John and I walked home after, struggling to converse, as every sound and sentence seemed like it was being sung. Are we alone in this affliction? It happens after musicals, too, though not after concerts.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Marital tension

It is not news to me that my better half has a soft spot for scoundrels. We're about to start the sixth season of The Shield, and suffice it to say, one of us swings Vic and the other swings Dutch.

But The Shield is fiction. And while some might argue that presidential history is also fiction, that doesn't keep me from being a little concerned that I am married to a man whose favorite president is Andrew Jackson.

Sure, he was an undeniable romantic. He had a horse named Sam Patch, seen above in a low-res image. He was also an unapologetic racist, responsible in no small part for the demise of North America's native population.

John just likes him because he was so ornery. This is a man, after all, who left the White House on this wistful note: "After eight years as President I have only two regrets: that I have not shot Henry Clay or hanged John C. Calhoun."

So, who are we backing in the current political fracas? We are undecided, but I know someone who would prefer the mouldering remains of Andrew Jackson to any candidate with a pulse, and he's sitting next to me on the sofa.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Good-bye, holiday Monday

Farewell, "day off"! We hardly knew ya!

The art of the day was dentistry, with John off to get some gruesome oral surgery. He has stitches in his mouff. I will not look, but I did go out for prescription drugs and soup.

The craft of the day was laundry, and this was spontaneous crafting, because I just did the laundry. But somebody got up on the freshly-made bed this morning and made a tinkle which soaked through everything. I'm not naming names, but let's just say I sometimes call her bitch-kitty, though I've never before had this good a reason.

No photos today, for all the obvious reasons.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


As in, the American military is entrenched in Iraq.

Or, my ass is entrenched in the sofa.

We spent most of today, the coldest day yet this winter, on the couch. John at least took the occasional break to sit at the desktop PC so he could print a new draft of the brief he's working on.

I, on the other hand, waited ten minutes for John to come out of the bathroom (I'm sorry, is that too much information?) so I could direct him around the room to bring me the couple things I needed to take care of some online errands: notebook, checkbook, purse.

As soon as I unzipped it, somebody redeployed from my lap...

Relax: Gemma is no longer entrenched in my purse.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Still life, kitchen cabinet

This morning I opened the cabinet where we keep the glasses, and I liked what I saw.

I broke one of the tumblers not long after we moved to New York, which is why there is room in the back for a commemorative glass from Napoleon House in New Orleans. John got it years ago when he took a road trip from Austin with friends to see U2. I like the idea of him, younger than I ever knew him, carrying it around.

Friday, January 18, 2008

HeadOn: apply directly to the subconscious

My apologies that the photo is not all it could be, but I was not prepared to the whack on 34th Street.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ninth Avenue haiku

Rain to snow to rain:
hauling home my groceries,
writing this poem.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Light, Gayle, Meth

I've got crystals on the brain. Well, half the brain. Today, the other half has been lost to a crying-induced headache. Why the crying? Oh, just not knowing. What to do. With my life.

Well, when in doubt, make something. The little decahedrons are just about the funnest thing in the world to make, even if that red paper is uncooperative. The paintings are going to get more layers, I think, though they are awfully pretty just the way they are.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Our little secret

Please don't tell John I stopped in the middle of an intersction and took off my gloves to peel this up from the New York Street.

Neat graphics, right? And the front is even more interesting.

I spent the rest of the walk home mentally collaging bits of the images onto a small 3D piece I've been planning.

Until I got it inside.

And was overwhelmed by the smell of rose-scented air freshener.

What was in this box, or did it just get run over by a parade of flowers?

Down the compactor shoot with you, stinky pretty cardboard!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Effing toaster

I have a burning desire to make faux ivory from polymer clay. So flammable, in fact, is my yearning, that I burned the first half-dozen pieces I made. Today I got wise and spent two hours watching my toaster oven skitter up and down the Fahrenheit scale.

(This is the sort of wisdom that keeps me unemployed.)

(Also, I think this is exactly the second time I've used my Pyrex digital probe oven thermometer.)

Two hours well spent: after I established a pattern of temperature swings, I was able to bake three pendant-sized pieces. Only the center slab is the ivory technique, but the other two might also suit my faux scrimshaw needs.

An update: Check this out! Actual crafts happening! Witness my scrimshaw debut!

For a first go, I'm pleased as punch.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Life's little extras

Today, I wanted to shop, and thanks to M and Mae-bell, I did.

I had a list (mostly boring stuff: kitty litter, tampons, etc.) and it as been crossed the eff off! I even bought a rotisserie chicken for our weekly Wire dinner, and a few extras, pictured below.

Lime salt, for popcorn. Via Wal-Mart.
Polka-dot wrapping paper, for Valentine's day bien sur. Via Target.
Pickled effing okra, to show that you can take the girl outta Texas but you can't take the Texas outta the girl. Via Fairway.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Shyness is nice

Isn't she the embodiment of coy?

This was worked in wet plaster in ancient Rome. According to the wall text, you can see fingerprints in some of the half-dozen or so panels. We were at the Met to say au revoir to the Euphronios krater, and to finally take a peek at the new Greek and Roman Galleries.

C'est magnifique!

Friday, January 11, 2008


In more ways than one, but in the most literal sense here.

And I thought I had a pretty good umbrella.

I need to take another look at this building sometime. Perhaps. Sometime. Sunnier. If I was a quilter, I would turn it into a bedspread. I think this is what the French would refer to as jolie-laid.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Home improvement

Notice anything new? I put an image in the header. It was not as easy as the header widget would lead you to believe, and involved actual manipulation of the HTML. And yet, I did it! Hooray me!

Also, starting from January 1, 2008, you can click on any image to enlarge it. So go back and click on those dumplings from Sunday, and drool with envy.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Thank you, Emily!

Thank you for saving this post from a really, really bad picture of (at this point) a really, really ugly painting.

Emily sent a box of tiny goodnesses: the cozy maryjane slippers featured above, chili pepper chocolate, a crazy little three-eyed dragon (!) and some petite flotsam and jetsam that I will reveal later (plans are being made). Thanks so much!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Oh, the silliness

I took a long, slow, errand-filled walk home from an appointment today, and got to stretch out the seventy-degree journey even longer by running into an art friend in front of the Port Authority. Thank goodness, because she saved me from making the dreaded Popeye's detour (right on 40th as I head north on Eighth).

By the time I got home, I had almost forgotten that I wanted to check out the milling throng of striking writers I expected to see in front of the Colbert Report.

Have I mentioned we live next door to the Colbert Report?

Anyway, I could see some movement down the street as I neared our corner, but it wasn't a picket line.

It was just a line of excited soon-to-be audience members...

...and a bouncy castle for the strikers.

Click to enlarge, because the sign is funny. The commotion that initially caught my eye was bouncing strikers, but I was too shy to shoot until they had finished.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Might as well be Texas

I decided not to go with my gut reaction and let this ruin my day. Between that sticker and this weather, I have a little geographical vertigo.

My breezy jog quickly deteriorated to a shin-splinted walk. I kept going. At the end of my second lap of the lower loop, I spotted this dude walking ten dogs.

On my way home, I was cheered to see some fellas hard at work inside the coming-soon Pinkberry on 58th between Eighth and Ninth. Keep at it, boys!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A Good Start

Maybe it's just me, but isn't it nice to wake up to a clean apartment and an empty laundry hamper? It creates a serene atmosphere that helps shield you from the cognitive dissonance of paying, um, a lot for dinner one night, and then paying four dollars for a dumpling feast the next morning.

We ate our dumplings and drank our sodas in Columbus Park, where the ambience is enhanced by squealing children of all ethnicities. The south end of the park is all basketball courts and playground, where we sat in spite of a ban on unaccompanied adults. We walked north through the park, back toward Canal, stopping to enjoy the birdsong from half a dozen cages hanging from a tree along Mulberry.

I'm no ornithologist, but this twitter-er looks like it might be in the same family as the little hua mei in nearby Sara Delano Roosevelt Park. This seems to be a new development since refurbishment of the park was completed. Some things don't change, though: a few old men at the scattered concrete tables by the pavillion, playing Chinese chess, and dozens of other old men crowded around, shouting suggestions for the next move.

Rainy New York

The corner of 57th and Ninth, about 12:15am.

It looked pretty nice outside today, but we spent it indoors cleaning and doing laundry. We met friends to see There Will Be Blood, and emerged three hours later to drizzle. After dinner and dessert at Isabella's, the streets were still wet, but we had no trouble hailing a downtown cab, and this was the scene as we sped home.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Heady stuff

To celebrate the holidays, The Marchviolet sent me this lovely, strange cocoa (along with other amazing stuff). Here it is in my favorite mug, on a trivet that used to be in my grandparents' house in Kansas City.

The cocoa is wonderful: chocolatey, citrusy, smooth. It was so easy to make on the stove that I wonder why I've been messing around with that Swiss Miss crap all my life.

The mug is from Shearwater Pottery in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. I remember going there on a field trip when I was in middle school. Sadly, Katrina hit Shearwater really, really hard. Most of the Shearwater information on the web is stale, but if Wikipedia is to be believed, the Andersons are making a go of it again. Thank heaven for small mercies.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Year's Resolution

I just wanted to share, so you can help me stay on track.

What? You say the audio is a little garbled? Maybe this will help.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Take a whiff

But it's not what you're thinking.

Or maybe it is.

If what you're thinking is really strong, artificial-smelling hazelnut coffee drink.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

This afternoon 2008

See the little squirrel?

Click on it to get it bigger.

See it now?

John and I saw a squirrel go into this rotted out knot a while ago. I've looked when I've been in the park since, but today is the first time I've found it actively occupied. It's about 15 feet up, but the squirrel pulled back when it saw us. Poor squirrelly brain. Doesn't it know we don't climb trees?

Last night 2007

Somehow, I expected more from a New Year's Eve at Casa Big Kitty.

Here's the ubiquitous Feuerzangenbowle, which looks cool, is thrillingly dangerous and actually tastes rather yummy. Still, if you've seen one Feuerzangenbowle, you've seen them all. Yawn.

And here's yet another baked Alaska, following up after a lobster dinner. I mean, really, how many of these can I be expected to eat in a year? And itty bitty sparklers? Honestly, sooooo 2007.

Best wishes everyone!