Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lost and Found

 The work of street photographer, Vivian Maier, was unknown until a man named John Maloof stumbled upon her negatives at a furniture and antiques auction in Chicago and decided to make a blog (and soon a book) about her.  She was a strong, independent French woman who emigrated to the US as a child in the 1930's.  "She was a Socialist, a Feminist, a movie critic, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of person. She learned English by going to theaters, which she loved. She wore a men's jacket, men's shoes and a large hat most of the time. She was constantly taking pictures, which she didn't show anyone."

Not only was she a quirky, hip lady, she was also a talented artist.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Peace and Quiet

With T in Vietnam all week, I have remembered how much I like being alone.  I'm sure if it were a regular occurrence, I wouldn't appreciate it so much, but now and then it's really nice to enjoy my own company.  This week I've taken pleasure in:

A quiet apartment (More often than not, when home, T usually has the TV on.  Loud.  I can now completely relate to my parents' reactions when I watched TV as a kid--which, I must say was infrequent since the TV-watching rules were pretty strict.);

Flexibility to eat whatever I want whenever I want (T's a meat and potatoes kind of guy and more of a "live to eat" person than an "eat to live" one like me and that often limits dinner options.);

Freedom to watch Gossip Girl (My guilty pleasure.  Don't judge.) without feeling guilty for not spending or without wanting to spend the evening with T;

And privacy to write here (my little secret, mwahahahaha!)

Nevertheless, I'm excited for T's return tomorrow night.  As much as alone time is nice, there's nothing sweeter than dinner for two, movies in bed, and a shoulder to fall asleep on.


You know that old trick of making an ordinary statement sound funny/titilating by adding "in bed" at the end of it?  (For example: "I like wearing high bed.")  Well, when shopping I tend to add "in black" to the end of all my comments.  (For example:  "Ooh, I love that gray black.")  Sadly, thus is the case with this perfectly rockstar- chic bag I stumbled across this Knot Group N/S Hobo by Olivia Harris by Joy Gryson at The Cut:
 I love the smooth leather, simplicity, size, and subtle edginess  If it were black and $300 cheaper, I would be poorer and style.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

London Score

I bought one thing for myself in London (with the exception of some Valrhona dark chocolate): a Kate Sheridan clutch at Spitalfields Market.  Kate is a UK designer with a 6-year-old company that produces bi-yearly collections of "off beat, poppy and unique bags and accessories".  I was in the market for a small bag to take out on the town and for rockstar apparel (of course).  The bag I chose is more Anthropologie than rockstar and maybe more daytime than nighttime.  But I love it nonetheless.  It's a medium sized leather clutch with navy blue on one side and, on the other, a navy and off-white print of owls sitting in clouds.   It has an antiquey looking brass clasp and--best of all--I can fit all my junk in it without paring down my wallet to the bare necessities.  (T is in Vietnam for the week and has the camera, but once he's back, I will post a photo.)  When I met E for dinner last night, I took it out for its virgin ride on the town; upon seeing me/it, E said I looked very chic.  I couldn't believe it since I thought I looked like a slob with my messy hair and yellow pregnant-lady-style Target tee.  It must have been the clutch.  It's magical.
In my online search for a photo of my new bag, I stumbled upon  Allison Ball's charming lino prints.

Roselle is Another Name for Hibiscus

I just learned that today.  All those times when I've wondered about the origins of the roselle drinks sold on the streets of Bangkok and found on menus in restaurants!  It's simply sweetened hibiscus tea, which I also learned is great for treating hypertension, high cholesterol, and water retention, and is high in vitamin C (though, the sugar added by the sweet-tooth Thais probably decreases the drink's nutritional value).  I discovered this after looking in the mirror this morning and discovering my face was puffy, my eyelids heavy.  Perhaps it's the crazy jet-lag fatigue I'm experiencing (I fell asleep at my desk yesterday) or the fact that my body is so turned upside down by the time changes that my eating habits have been erratic.  Anyway, I realize I need to drink more water, stop eating so much sugar and salt, and reinstate daily runs.

A bit of hibiscus tea would be nice, too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In Love with London

London.  It's kind of like New York, only better.  The people are polite, the museums are free, and the streets are pedestrian-friendly.

People do nice things with window boxes.

There are fire-engine red double-decker buses with fuzzy plaid seats on which you can sit right above the driver with your nose pressed up against the windshield, watching the ever-present rain.

Or you can eat dinner in them.  My bff from college, J,  is studying at LSE and took me to Rootmaster on my first night in town.  It's a fun vegan restaurant (or "bustaurant, as they call it) in an empty lot.  The first floor has been converted into a kitchen and the top floor has a few tables.  At night they play Hotel Costes compilations and light the tables with votives.  Very sexy.

One of many "circuses".  Picadilly?  Oxford? I don't know...

The Tate Modern: One of many of the city's free museums. 

Even the ugly things seem pretty:

Earth has not anything to show more fair: 
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by  
A sight so touching in its majesty:  
This City now doth like a garment wear  
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, 
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie 
Open unto the fields, and to the sky; 
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. 
Never did sun more beautifully steep 
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill; 
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep ! 
The river glideth at his own sweet will: 
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; 
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

 ~William Wordsworth's Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yiddish Tuesday: Shaina maideleh

This week's word is:

Shaina maideleh (SHAY-neh MAY-del-eh):  n. Pretty girl

Sophie Blackall illustrates the messages people post in the "Missed Connections" section of Craigslist.  Blackall  describes these notes as "the modern equivalents" of "messages in bottles, smoke signals, letters written in the sand".  Here is the text that inspired this drawing: 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009
-m4w (L train to Manhattan)
You were reading Catch-22 on the subway this morning. I have never seen such a beautiful profile. I wanted to say hi, but then you’d turn towards me and I wouldn’t be able to look at your profile anymore. You were so into your book, I don’t think you noticed me falling in love with you. But I thought I’d ask, just in case. 

P.S. I returned last night from a wonderful, albeit brief time in London and will post about it later.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Yiddish Tuesday: Mishigas

To pay tribute to my heritage and expand my vocabulary, I will post a new Yiddish word here every week.  (Unfortunately, the days of the week don't lend themselves to any alliteration in this case, so I randomly opted for Tuesday since I happened to feel inspired today.)

Mishigas (mi′shah gäs): craziness, chaos, nonsense

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pearls of Wisdom

Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. 

- Etty Hillesum

In this crazy world, where cynicism vies with greed to corrupt our good intentions, only love and caring and good works matter. 

-My mom

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I have been a slacker.  Big time.  And it's not for want of material.  More because I've been intermittently sick and uninspired/lazy.  Bottom line: I need to be much more disciplined about posting.

OK, pep talk done.

So, on New Year's Eve, in light of the disasters in Bangkok on December 31st 2007 and 2008, we opted to throw a house party.  It was a low-key, grown-up affair. with about 20 or so people.  Our house guest cooked his native Italian food and all were happy and well-fed.  Not to mention well-watered with many bottles of champagne, wine, and T's failed attempt at infusing a watermelon with vodka (throw in some jello shots and we could have had a classy version of a frat party...)

The centerpiece

The chef and T hard at work in the kitchen.

We were up until 5am.  I think that's the latest I've stayed up since my early Bangkok partying years.  Fun times.  But, the next morning was not so fun.  We had a 1pm plane to catch to Krabi in southern Thailand.  Once there, we had ample opportunity to recuperate.  We spent a couple of days in Railay where we did some rock climbing and hiking and met up with some friends.

T aka "Big Monkey Man", as one of the guides called him

A tiny frog in our bathroom in Railay

We agreed that the Anyavee Hotel was livable and clean, but left a bit to be desired and so opted to leave a day early and head to our next destination for some luxury: Anantara Si Kao.  While the others went scuba diving and snorkeling, I sat on the shore or by the pool and read, read, and read some more.  It was the epitome of relaxation.

The view from our room at the Anantara

I finished The Girl Who Played with Fire, which was an engaging page-turner like its prequel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but it was equally long and unedited and used many of the same literary tricks.  Still, I want to read the last in the Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

Today, while T is off golfing, I'm going to get ready for London!  Yes, that's right, we're off to colder climates this week for our friends' wedding.  It will be a very short, 4-day trip, but I am so excited!  I'm arriving before T and leaving after him so that I have time to kick it with my bff, J, from college.  Whoohoo!  Today's plan is to search for little gifts for J and for the other friends who we're staying with (and who were our house guests over New Years).   I'm thinking:
  • homemade granola for all 
  • some (requested) wooden bracelets for J 
  • some of this soap for our hosts 
  • and, I was also told about a fancy Japanese chocolate shop in Paragon Mall; if I can find it, we'll bring some sweets

Hopefully, I can get my lardass in gear and go for a run today since I haven't gone in more than a week!  Eek!

And I'm off!

Friday, January 8, 2010


Is it too late?  It's already January 8th and I am now just starting to think about New Year's resolutions.

  1. don't brush my teeth so hard
  2. blog regularly (oops!)
  3. send snailmail
  4. (this is a big one) think about life after Thailand and plan for what comes next

Time away from life here was really nice.  I loved being with my family and was painfully reminded that it sucks living so far away from them.  We had so much fun together...

wandering Soho, Nolita and Central Park

drinking champagne
cooking and eating amazing food
going to the movies
watching dvds at home
reading the NY Times over coffee, homemade scones, and bagels
having a simple, yet sweet Christmas
hiking through the snow
generally enjoying each other's company

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