Saturday, April 25, 2009

See Dan run

Today was a big day in our household. Dan got new running shoes.

Dan likes to keep things for a long time. He prides himself on doing this. I think nothing gives him more pleasure than saying, "I got this item five/ten/fifteen years ago and look how great it still is."

His running shoes were one of these items. He's had the same New Balance sneakers for 10 years. Dan does not run as often as me. He goes through phases where he will run regularly or not run at all. But whenever he is on a running spree, he will lace up these ancient relics and say, "Aren't these still great?"

The answer has always been no. I mean, I run a lot and know that it is important for a runner to replace his shoes often--at least once a year or after running 400 miles--or they cease to be effective. Dan's running shoes were way past their prime. They were old, worn down, dingy--just horrible, horrible shoes. When is the last time you have seen a running shoe made entirely of leather with no breathable mesh? Probably ten years ago. I mean look at these shoe laces:

Dan would have to use a pen to poke the shoelace through the hole because the ends were so frayed.

"But they only cost $29."

"Yeah, I get it. So get a new pair." We have had this conversation for five years--which means they were horrible even five years ago.

Lo and behold, Dan finally decided today that it was time for a new pair. The last time he went on a run, his feet and knees ached a little which alerted him it was time. We went to Modell's. He tried on two pairs of shoes. He picked up a new pair of white New Balances for $34. We tested them out by running on the East River Promenade, and he said they felt good.

I saw that Dan threw out his old pair in the garbage.

"What, you're not going to donate them to Good Will?" I asked him. Then it dawned on me. No one, not even a homeless person, would ever want to wear those awful shoes. And Dan knew it, too.

The good and the ugly.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dress shopping

My mom came into the city today, and we went wedding dress shopping. Last week, I popped into a bridal store by myself, thinking I could handle it on my own, and that's when I realized "I need MY MOMMY."

Dan doesn't get the concept of wedding dress shopping. When I told him my plans with my mom, he said: "Well, what if you find a dress already? Are you going to bring it here? Where are we going to keep it? You're going to show it to me, right?" It was cute, really. I guess guys really don't know about these things.

Mom and I went to three NYC bridal salons today, including the famous Kleinfeld Bridal. I have heard very mixed reviews of this place. Some people I know loved it and found their dream dress there; others told me to stay far, far away. Since my mom and I went to New Orleans, I have started watching TLC's Say Yes to the Dress, so I knew that I had to go for the experience. And I have to admit, I was kind of excited when show regular Nicole popped in during my appointment to tell me how great I am.

Yeah, that's right. If you are ever feeling down, just go shopping for your wedding dress. There, you will discover that you have a body that looks good in everything, that you are absolutely stunning, that the very dress you have on is TO DIE FOR, that congratulations, you are one beautiful bride. You will be requested to stand on a platform in front of the big mirror. People are called over to look at you. Everyone who walks by you will oooh and ahhh.

The over the top moment for me was when Ronnie, the co-owner of the entire joint, whom I actually recognized from the show but I acted totally cool, stopped by and asked if he could show me off in a gown to his two friends who were visiting the store. When I told Ronnie that the wedding was in New Orleans and a little about Dan, he said he was totally coming. Everyone loves New Orleans and Dan.

Another thing that Dan probably does not know about wedding dress shopping is that when you try on these wedding dresses, Kleinfeld and elsewhere, half the time, you are in a room in your underwear with a strange woman you just met and as if you are a child, she helps to dress you. Since most wedding dresses are massive, the sales woman will unzip the dress for you and fan it out over a platform, so you can dip one foot in. Then you awkwardly balance on that one leg, trying to get the other leg over the big dress and into the hole. This can be kind of wobbly experience, which may force you to grab onto the woman's shoulders, flinging your boobs into her face. Then she pulls the dress up. Most of the dresses--which are samples--are on the smaller side, so you just hope and pray that it goes all the way up. Lucky for me, it did most of the time, but there were definitely sticky moments of feeling stuck in a dress. And then you have to talk about how much it costs. It's a very emotional experience. Do you understand why I needed MY MOMMY?

P.S. No, I didn't find "the one." Well, maybe. I am still looking.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Honey buns

In my free time, I organized my clipped recipes into a little binder and rediscovered some things that I want to cook and bake. Since Dan had to work all day Sunday, I decided to spend the day making Martha Stewart Living's honey buns. They were not hard to make, but it took hours.

Here's me kneading the dough. I told Dan this is the reason why I needed a KitchenAid mixer because you can use the machine for 10 minutes or work the dough by hand for 20 minutes. Because I excelled at the hand kneading, Dan wasn't very convinced. It was a good arm workout. And yes, I am wearing a shirt that says "Cute as a cupcake." My friend Gerda gave it to me.

I am recently experimenting with yeast, which Dan says "smells like band aid." I am fascinated how it makes the dough grow. After kneading it, this is what it looked like an hour later.

I rolled out the dough, and spread the filling on top-- in this case some creme fraiche, marzipone cheese and chopped pecans. Then you roll it up and slice into little buns.

The buns have to sit and rise again. They are sitting in a healthy bath of butter, corn syrup, honey and sugar.

Hot out of the oven.

I know that when Dan really likes something I make he says, "MM." Not "mmmmmmm" but a short, brief "MM." There was no "MM" this time even though he ate two buns. I actually don't really like these sorts of sweets very much so I wasn't surprised not to love them, but they were good. The recipe had me create extra dough to freeze, so the next time I make them, I think I will make the filling and topping with a cinnamon--not honey-flavored--take.

Record Store Day

Did you know that April 18 was national Record Store Day? No, Dan did not make that up. There is such a day. Saturday was beautiful and warm, so Dan suggested we celebrate by visiting the Academy Annex record store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Dan in his element.

Williamsburg is not very far from us, but every time I come here, I always feel like I am in a different world. For those of you who don't live in the city, the neighborhood is a strange mix of immigrants and hipsters, with old, ugly industrial buildings next to boutiques that sell $300 dresses. It's kind of what I imagined New York to be before I actually moved here--very gritty, cool and artsy.

The people watching is fascinating with the girls wearing their flower thrift shop dresses paired with boots and huge sunglasses and the boys with faded tee-shirts, skinny jeans and cool sneakers. They share a love for covering their bodies in tattoos and they all look like they don't shower and smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. I feel uncool and old around these people but at the same time, it feels like they are also trying too hard to be cool and young--so it evens out.

Here are some pictures I took on N 6th Street as Dan record shopped.

The Williamsburg scene: People on bikes, cool girl on cell phone, people selling vintage clothes on the street next to a giant pile of trash.

Walking and shopping.

Art on the walls and doors and ground.

Little girl at a boutique.


Flyer on street.

Art project gone wrong?

You think I would come all the way to Williamsburg just for record shopping? Dan treated me to an Italian dinner at PT, which had a beautiful outdoor garden. Despite good food and a lot of outdoor space, the restaurant had zero patrons except us. (Seriously--a first in NYC!) It was 6--early, I guess?

We also checked out
Cheeks Bakery for their cupcakes, which we saved for dessert. Loved them.

As soon as subway train crossed the border from Brooklyn to Manhattan, I felt like I was back to my city, the people around me a little less cool, a little more like me.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring time in New York

It's the same every year.

First sunny and warm day of the season in New York City, and it appears that everyone, and I mean every person in this city:

1. Goes to Central Park.

2. Flocks to a restaurant to eat alfresco or, at the very least, by an open window--even if you have to wear your coat while eating your meal.

3. Gets an ice cream cone.

I did all of the above today. I am a sucker like everyone else.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another Easter, More Ham

Polish brunch at Mom's, as usual.

Dan and my brother Pete talk sports.

Martina, with her awesome Ramona Quimby haircut.

My sister Annette brought her friend Danielle.

Me, normal on the outside, stomach about to explode from too much food on the inside.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fantasy baseball

Despite the odds (my lack of interest in college basketball whatsoever), I was declared the champion of this year's NCAA tournament in our friends' pool. Dan came in 9 out of 10. It was a very exciting day!

To every one's dismay, fantasy baseball season started on Monday. It's not something that I like to talk about, but fantasy baseball season is a malaise that occurs in my household every year. It is the worst because it lasts six months of the year, and for the duration of this season, Dan compulsively, frantically watches charts and graphs on his computer while pulling on his hair for hours every night. The numbers on these graphs and charts indicate things such as home runs and hits other baseball things, along with information about how his numbers compare to those of his friends who are competing against him. Dan's mood for the evening changes as these numbers change. Think the highs and lows of a manic depressive.

While I do not play, I imagine that given that the season is six months, it is not necessary to watch every second of every game and that the numbers fluctuate over time and there is no need to freak out on any given day. Its kind of like the stock market: some days are good, some days are bad. Watching it daily does no good. Judging from actions, Dan doesn't share my view. There is a need for celebration or panic on a daily basis, sometimes both.

I do not like baseball and graphs of numbers do not interest me much, yet Dan feels compelled to update me on the status of these numbers and his mood frequently. We call it the "Fantasy Minute" meaning he has one minute to tell me everything, but it usually ends up being "Fantasy 10-minutes" if you combine all the updates. I don't pay attention to what he says but he likes to tell me anyway.

During this season, we also end up watching way too many Yankee games on television. Dan came to New York a Mets fan but since the Mets aren't involved in his fantasy baseball league, we are forced to watch the Yankees. Dan would tell you that I have it good, that he doesn't watch sports as much as other guys out there, but considering that I watched zero sports before meeting Dan, this increase in my schedule is not a welcome change. And given that we live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment, there's nowhere to go when the game is on. Even in the bedroom, I can hear that annoying "sports on TV noise" through the walls.

Despite my aversion to baseball, I do have a favorite baseball player named Hideki Matsui who plays for the Yankees. I got into Hideki because when I worked at the advertising agency a few years ago, one of our sales reps took us out to a Yankees game. This was my first baseball game ever and we had pretty good seats in left field, which a great vantage of Hideki. I got excited and called his name and tried to get his attention. The sales rep was so impressed by my interest that he bought me a Matsui t-shirt.

Hideki has been on Dan's fantasy team for the last few years which made fantasy season and watching Yankee games a tad more bearable for me, but for some horrible reason, Dan did not recruit Hideki for his team this year which means that fantasy baseball has no reason for existence.

But it does exist. Every year. Six months. Every day. The things you put up with for true love.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Today I did the thing I said I wouldn't do when I was unemployed.

I sat in front of the computer job-hunting all day and fretted about being unemployed. There's no reason why this happened. I actually had a few copy writing assignments in the last week, which means that I worked from home and made some money. But I fretted anyway. Combined with the rain outside, it made me feel bad about myself.

Dan got us free tickets to see While Torture is Wrong and The People Who Love Them at The Public. I saw Sigourney Weaver in the lobby, and when we took our seats, Dan asked me what I thought celebrities like Sigourney Weaver did when they came to shows. Did they just take their seats like everyone else or did they rush in as soon as the lights go down? We found out when she seated herself right next to Dan. She just took her seat like everyone else. Like other New Yorkers, we acted like we didn't know who she was although Dan could not stop smiling. There was another famous actress there who Dan didn't recognize and it's killing me because I can't remember her name or any movies I have seen her in. Dan thinks she is not a famous actress afterall. We both hated the show.

We came home and I ate two bowls of cereal and handfuls of nuts and a bunch of crackers with cheese slices. I was hungry but not that hungry. I haven't done that in a while. I don't know what happened to me today. I think it's time for bed. Start over tomorrow.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Catching Up

I may complain about work a lot, but I do have a soft spot for the people I meet on the job. I especially love catching up with old work buddies from the good-old-pre-freelancer days.

Our excuse to get together: Elizabeth's 30th birthday. Here's me with the birthday girl at Riposo 72.

Some of my favorite people I don't see often enough: Kim, Meghan and Dani.

Don't you love it when you don't see someone in a long time and they tell you how skinny/great/happy you look? It's the nicest compliment. Also, since I am growing my hair out, I always find it amazing how many people don't immediately recognize me. Do I really look that different?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Madness Report

I wasn't nearly as strict about my March Madness as I was last year, but I have to say that this year's version was equally a success because it really managed to get my ass in gear and more importantly, almost immediately dissolved the depression cloud that has been hovering over me all winter. I am telling you, eating right, exercise and writing--it's my version of Zoloft.

I ate healthy and followed most of my rules most of the time, but I wouldn't get upset if I only had one liter of water instead of two, or if there was only white bread instead of whole-wheat. I cheated. I ate artichoke-spinach dip at Houston's, french fries at JG Melon's, my treat of the week was probably a bigger portion than should be allowed. But I wouldn't feel bad or guilty and it never discouraged me. I didn't do it too often and I went on the rest of my day eating healthy like it never happened. I exercised 5-6 times a week and am feeling myself growing stronger. Overall I lost 3 pounds and an inch everywhere on my body I would want to lose an inch. (Last year I lost 6 pounds in one month, but remember, I was super strict and I actually started off much heavier/out of shape). So I basically dumped the weight I gained around the holidays--awesome enough.

I did write almost daily. I started off strong week one and then started slacking off, but as soon as my unemployment rolled around, I started writing vigorously. It was like the ideas were pouring in my brain and I just needed to get them on paper QUICK before they went away. I am unsure where my story is going, what exact form it will take, but I am really excited that I am getting over myself and writing it down--imperfections and all.

I wasn't very good at taking time each week to do something that inspires me creatively. It's always a goal and I am never good at doing it. I did go to a museum and cook some things, but quite honestly, I have been feeling creative in my writing and am happy to be doing THAT so I don't feel so hard on myself for not doing other things.

I feel the best I've felt in a long time. I don't want the feeling to go away. So just like last year, the madness will continue. How can it not?