Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009: A year in review

Let’s see how I did with my 2009 resolutions.

1. Be more frugal.
Being unemployed for 6 months and then working a very low-paying job for 2 months, I had no choice but to be more frugal. I wrote this goal with the intention to stock up on savings and that wasn’t possible this year.

2. Cook and bake and eat adventurously.
I tried honey buns, crepes, Mexican feasts, Cooking School. When it comes to cooking and baking, there is so much to learn that I feel like I barely made a dent. But I did okay. Not great. But okay.

3. Write when I can.
I did work on my fiction from time to time but not enough to consider it an accomplishment.

4. Plan a kick-ass wedding.
This I have done and am still doing very well.

5. Start a new personal project/venture.
Thought lots, did little.

6. Take care of myself and be healthy.
Had a strong start in the spring with eating well and exercising regularly, but once I stopped working, it was hard to motivate myself.

7. Take lots of pictures.
Probably took less pictures this year than in the last four years.

8. Travel.
Small budget calls for small trips: San Francisco, Boulder & Denver, New Orleans. All were great.

9. Focus on the things that make me happy.

10. Be fun!
Not really.

*Be a better dresser and stop wearing the uniform.
No money for new clothes and I haven’t worn the poof since that day. The uniform lives strong!

Resolutions: Total fail.

2009: The Good
The year started promising with a fun New Year’s movie marathon.
Barack Obama’s inauguration
My sister Annette: Pet Detective!
Wedding fun: Kim and Nien, Nate and Susannah, Adam and Nell.
Dan cooks me gourmet dinner for Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving
Spaghetti cat
The Airborne Toxic Event-my new fave band
Dan buys new running shoes--FINALLY
Giant Cheetos
Trip to California and meeting Holly
A Day in Brooklyn with Michele
Everyone has a baby! Arrivals of babies Michela, Kathryn, Drake, Will
Bo Obama
The High Line
Governors Island with Heather
The Mexican Feast
East Side Picnic
Cooking School
Flower arranging
Cupcake apprenticeship
Boulder, CO and Chewy the dog
Beatles Rock Band
Long Beach with Adam and Nell aka the best day of the year
Platon at The New Yorker Festival
Become your dream
Great musical theater: In the Heights and Rock of Ages
New Orleans
Mad Men
The Danes visit NYC at Christmastime

2009: The bad
This picture
Michael Jackson dies
My growing internet addiction and how it makes me procrastinate
Not getting tickets for Shakespeare in the Park’s Twelfth Night

2009: The ugly
Barfing for the first time in 20 years.
A year spent in job hunting anxiety and defeat (Seventeen minutes)
Working on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
Overall: too much depression

I think of 2009 as being a bad year for me. Still, looking at this list, it is uplifting to know that the positives do outweigh the negatives. And it can only get better from here.

Favorite books read in 2009 (not necessarily written in 2009):
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith and Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Favorite movies seen in 2009 (not necessarily made in 2009):
12 Rounds, Star Trek, The Wrestler, Man on Wire, Precious, The Hangover

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cookie Bonanza 2009

Spoiler alert to my family who will be seeing (and eating) these very, very soon.

Cookie Bonanza!

the outsides!

the insides! (mmm....the insides)

2009 flavors!

And something I have always wanted to do...and now crossed off the list:

Homemade Christmas cards!

I could not spend a lot of money on Christmas this year so instead I made everything with a lot of love! Merry Christmas, everyone.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sugar-coated Fantasy

Today I spent the day with my cookies, baking a whooping six different varieties for the annual Cookie Bonanza. If you don't know what the heck I am talking about, see past year bonanzas here and here.

I like to listen to my Christmas cds when I bake. I don't have very many, so every year, I end up playing and replaying Charlie Brown Christmas, The Rat Pack, The Nutcracker and Polish Christmas carols. It's also been kind of a tradition that in the seventh hour of baking or so, when I am sick and tired of these albums and am sick and tired of baking cookies, I ended up putting in the soundtrack to Fiddler on the Roof.

I love musicals and I don't know about you but sometimes I fantasize about musical numbers happening in my real life. I wish it could happen. I really do. I think about this more than I like to admit. And so when I was listening to Fiddler, which happens to be one of my favorite musicals of all time, I imagined how nice it would be if someone just did the Bottle Dance at our wedding.

I know it doesn't really fit our New Orleans theme or our Catholic wedding--a bunch of old Jewish men dancing with bottles on their head--but if money were no object, I wouldn't ask for more flowers or a designer bridal gown or whatever....just give me a bunch of dancers and let them spontaneously break into song and dance. As Dan would say, "it would blow people's minds."

A girl can dream. Too much sugar today? Too much alone time? Perhaps...

Update: Just realized that this is not the first time I have blogged about my song-and-dance wedding fantasy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's raining in New Orleans

Dan and I spent the last four days in New Orleans in a wedding planning spree. It was very productive weekend, and it certainly made us super excited for our May wedding.

The weather was just plain awful. On Saturday, the city experienced FOUR INCHES of rain. I have seen heavy rain before but nothing like this. Dan put it best when he said, "I feel like we're in Vietnam." It was one of those rains where if you stepped outside for a second, you were immediately soaked. Strangely enough, many locals couldn't be bothered with umbrellas and just walked around getting drenched. Many roads, including St Charles Avenue, were half-way filled with water. Cars were parked on grassy mediums to avoid getting flooded out.

Just when you thought the rain would stop, it didn't. It wouldn't. While Saturday was the worst of it, it carried on like this for most of our time there. I am hoping it all gets out of its system before our wedding day.

Here's Dan on a rare "dry" moment--actually it was drizzling a little here. And this is pretty much the only picture I took this weekend.

We ate well on the trip. Perhaps too well. We were never hungry, always full. On the advice of many people, we had a lovely dinner at the well-regarded Cochon, a restaurant that is all pig all the time. While the rain tapped on the windows, we enjoyed oysters in a nice spicy sauce, Louisiana cochon topped with cracklins, twice baked potato and a rich chocolate cake.

I won't delve into too much information about weekend since it has to do with our wedding and one, it's kind of boring to hear the minor details and two, we want to keep some element of surprise. On the last day, I went to a beauty salon for a hair trial to try out the up-do that I plan to wear for the wedding day. Afterward, I felt a little funny walking around town in blue jeans all dolled up with my hair and make-up. But I was completely surprised when we went to the airport and I repeatedly set off the alarm through the security check point.

They gave me a full pat down. The verdict: Too many bobby pins. True story.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Where am I?

I have been out of touch.

It's my crazy work schedule. Some days I am up at 5 am, some days, I working until midnight. Sometimes I work weekends, sometimes I work holidays. Then I sometimes I have days off, but I usually spend my days off catching up on sleep while everyone else is working. My job is not particularly hard or demanding, but I am having a very hard time with this schedule. I am a person who demands 8 hours of sleep and three meals a day. That is just something I know about myself. When I am thrown off-kilter, I don't function as well. Last week, I thinking to myself: "what day is it?" I convinced myself it was Monday. It HAD to be Monday. It was Friday. I have been out of touch.

This carries onto the rest of my life. I haven't spoken to my family in a long time. My mom emailed me the other day, I had no idea what she was talking about. Mom had the flu? My stepfather is having some kind of surgery? I spent my day off today writing Christmas cards and was reminded of all the people I care about but haven't talked to in months.

Speaking of Christmas, I haven't even given one quota of thought to presents. I know this may sound normal for most people, but I am the type of person who is very organized and just knows these things well in advance. Christmas seems so off the radar because I am unsure if this year I am going to be home with my family or if I am going to work. Do I have to get presents? Can I afford to buy presents? Will there be a Cookie Bonanza this year? I desperately want the answers to be yes, yes and HELL YES....but instead my mind is focused on the fact that tomorrow on Wednesday I have the 2p-10p shift and then on Thursday I have the 6a-2p shift and that leaves me with less than 8 hours of sleep between those two days and that freakin' stresses me out.

And then food. I can't somehow juggle grocery shopping anymore and most of the days, I work through dinner and so I haven't been cooking anything too inspired. We've gotten more take out than I care to eat, and while I like Whole Foods, I am getting very sick of pre-packaged sushi and the Indian buffet bar I get while I am at work.

I am not particularly happy with my state of mind or affairs.

I keep telling myself that it will all get better in 2010 and that's like three weeks away. Because 2009 is obviously jinxed. One of the worst years ever...I, and 10% of the country, was unemployed for most of the year, I was depressed because of unemployment, it was the worst summer weather of all time, and now this. I saw the cover of Time magazine recently, naming the '00s as "the decade from hell." A little extreme, I think, but it kind of made me realize how nice the 90s really were....

I am ready for a new year, a new decade, a new mindset, a new life.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Move over, Dan. I have a new man in my life. His name is Drake.

Drake is only 16 days old, and he is the son of my good friend Heather. I had the day off of work, so I went over to meet him and see his mommy in Brooklyn Heights.

Drake is a pretty chill guy. All he likes to do is eat and sleep and poop. He doesn't really cry too much. I think that means he is a good baby. I am a little scared of babies at this age. I am always afraid that they will snap in two and stop breathing. I held Drake for a little while and I swear he smiled at me. I think he likes me. I like him too.

Heather hired my old co-worker, Jen, who has started a photography business, to take pictures of Drake throughout the first year of his life. Today was the first photo shoot and I got to sit in. It was a lot of fun to see Jen work and watch Drake with all his cute naked butt poses. Oh baby butts. So funny.

After the shoot, we ventured into the neighborhood for a bite to eat. I had my try at the stroller and I must say that it's not as easy as it looks. The streets felt so bumpy I felt like Drake was moving all around in there and then in the cafe, it was hard to navigate the corners and it felt like we were blocking everyone's way. As Heather says, it's like learning how to walk again. Somehow we managed okay. Drake was fast asleep the entire time. (BTW: Doesn't Heather look amazing just two weeks after giving birth?)

After lunch, we tried to walk on the promenade but it way too cold and windy. Here's a quick shot by the Brooklyn Bridge and then off we went!

I had a great day. I could get used to this life!

UPDATE: Check out the professional pics here. Beautiful!