July 30, 2013 § Leave a comment
Was feeling a little moody this evening and decided to listen to “Seventh Tree” by one of my favorite musical duos, Goldfrapp. Aside from the fantastic music, in my book Alison Goldfrapp is one of the coolest women on the planet. I want to be her sometimes. Or at least dress like her. Check out the link and tell me I’m not alone on this one: http://goldfrapp.com/photos/
Then it occurred to me that they hadn’t released an album in forever, so I decided to see if they had plans on getting around to that anytime soon. Thankfully, they are. “Tales of Us” will be released in September, which will be a fabulous way to mellow into fall. Yay!
July 21, 2013 § 2 Comments
I grew up in a rather traditional Italian-American family (surprise!), where Sundays were kind of a big deal. Every week, tomato sauce, meatballs, sausages and other delicious things were prepped before my last Lucky Charm was eaten. And my Grandparents always came over for Sunday Dinner, which was often eaten in the middle of the afternoon and kind of stretched out until the early evening. That was “Sunday” to me. I never questioned it. It was just how it was and it was pretty nice.
When I went to college, there was no “Sunday Dinner” so-to-speak. But I did notice that early in my freshman year, my then-boyfriend and I always went to a very late lunch (seriously, like 3pm) at the same Chinese restaurant every Sunday, where I ordered the same exact thing, week after week, pretty much until we broke up. I suppose I had replaced one Sunday ritual with another.
Once out of college and living on my own, I found myself inviting my friends over for dinners on Sundays, rationalizing that if we didn’t get together, we were essentially tossing away part of our weekends. Another ritual. But that one was hard to sustain on account of Life Events, and everyone eventually becoming too busy to make it stick. And honestly, I didn’t feel like I’d “lost” anything. This was life and things change. Right?
But this past winter I was at a dinner party being thrown by a fellow Italian-American woman and as the evening went on, I was surprised to find myself confessing to her that I actually missed those more special Sundays. And her reply was simple: “You just have to make new rituals.”
Hmmm…that sounded too easy. And while I haven’t yet figured out how to create a Sunday of my childhood, I have noticed that Mr. H and I do have a few Sunday rituals which vary, but still count. One of these is lunch or an early dinner at Almond, which has an outpost by our house at the beach.
There is always a warm welcome to be had here, as well as a delicious mac-and-cheese and something called the B.A.L.T., which is a BLT with avocado and some kind of heavenly spread to which I am thoroughly addicted. They also have that fabulous Scalamandre Zebra wallpaper that I adore, but have nowhere to use…
There is also the Sunday Flower Run which not only keeps the house cheery during the workweek, but can also result in an excellent education in the various varieties and care of the things we pick. (The Watering Orchids session was one of the most useful in my Floral Life.)
And when we are in the city, trips to Larder to make sure we have a treat or two to help us through the week is a pretty regular thing…
As are walks with A+O, especially when we are at the beach, where things are a little slower and we can take it all in…
And watch A-dog flip out over the horses…
And O-dog judge the quality of the plantings…
And then there are days when I simply crave the scent of garlic, tomato and basil in the house. Those are the days, like this one, that I pull myself off the sofa and just make a simple tomato sauce with some pasta and call it a Sunday. Sometimes those are the best rituals of all.
(Photos, including one of this evening’s early pasta dinner: Some Cozy Night and Mr. H)
July 17, 2013 § Leave a comment
Well, the last few days have been sort of like a Double Stuffed Oreo of Unexpected Activities, Unpleasantness (and not just the smell of the streets), and Too Much To Do. Yes, I know. I always seem to have Too Much To Do, but for some reason, it just keeps happening. And yesterday as I was leaving the house for the office, with A+O in tow and in very high suede sandals that were a must with the outfit I was wearing, I noticed that the boxwood at the top of the steps looked really, really dry. Even though I checked the soil on Sunday and it seemed fine. Mild Panic ensued, as I feel extremely responsible for anything that needs to be kept alive at my house.
Now, as I mentioned, I had two terriers attached to my wrist, a tote filled with legal and other work documents — but strangely enough not my wallet, which added to the day’s stress upon discovery — and was wearing extremely lovely but vertiginous heels. And yet, before locking the door, I seriously contemplated watering the boxwood. Did I mention that I needed to be in midtown in like five seconds? Well, I did. Yet still I contemplated. And then I remembered that it was too late in the morning to water* and ran off to work.
The day flew by and my poor boxwood never crossed my mind, especially since I pretty much spent the day running around town sans wallet, to, among other engagements that require credit cards and identification, a doctor’s appointment. (I did manage to get my insurance company to email a temporary card to me. The wonders of The Modern World!) And when finally I arrived home that evening, at the top of the steps stood my boxwood in all its dehydrated glory. Luckily, I was sans-dogs and now in flats — I am always prepared — and I lugged myself up the steps and into the house and then watered the darn thing. Needless to say, I felt much better. A few moments later the revelation hit me:
I cannot do everything.
I know we all say that to ourselves all the time. Or I do, at least. All the time. “I can’t do everything!” But I realized at that moment that what I really mean by this is “I can’t do everything this very moment but I will totally do everything as soon as I can.” Does this seems like a good plan for life to you? Me neither.
But how to eliminate the implied end of my “I cannot do everything” statement? Well, I suppose really letting it sink in is the first step. And for heavens sake, I studied management for like a billion years, so I should be able to apply some of that training, right? A quick review of my overall “getting things done” behavior reveals that I do “outsource” plenty and I excel at prioritizing courtesy of the giant GANTT chart** in my head. BUT…I still wind up managing it all. Not because there isn’t necessarily anyone to share the tasks with, but more often because I don’t ask for enough help. Remember when I said I was working on that in January? Well, so far, FAIL. But hey, there are still almost six months to go, so maybe I’ll call for a re-set and see what happens. In the meantime, I have to water my boxwood again. (No, I am not kidding.)
Wish me luck!
* It is actually bad to water during the warmest parts of the day.
(Photo of my near-death boxwood: Some Cozy Night)
July 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
So, this weekend was a bit of a wash weather and migraine-wise, but that didn’t keep us down entirely. First, Mr. H made it a point to capture this…
I know hydrangea are kind of the flower out here, but I never tire of them. Especially when I can never be quite so sure how blue they are going to get in a given season. I think this one is just the prettiest mix of blue, pink and purple. Love.
Now, note the small rain drops on the leaves. It did, in fact, rain quite a bit yesterday. And with my need to stay as close to home (and my ice packs and bed) as possible, Mr. H and I tried to come up with activities that would be satisfying without leaving the house. Naturally, in a sort of random way, we got on the subject of bread baking. Except for quick breads, neither of us had ever baked a loaf. It always seemed like a big bother, and so it never happened.
But a few weeks ago over dinner with friends, I was assured that the 18-Hour Bread recipe really delivered on taste without the need for much “dough work” on the baker’s part. So, we found ourselves thinking “Hey, we are here, let’s give it a shot”. Except it got better! During my search for the 18-Hour version, I actually found another modified version by Mark Bittman that only has 5 hours of rising time!! Five hours plus 45 minutes for baking!! We could be eating bread at dinner!! So the plan was set into (the least possible) motion…
Here are the details, which took us about ten minutes of actual labor:
Alas, we were total sloths this weekend and ordered a pizza for dinner, but we DID make the bread and had some fresh out of the oven. (Yes, I will be on the treadmill later today, probably for the rest of the day.) While a little flat on account of my loaf pan being too large, it was insanely delicious:
And even better with jam and good butter this morning. So I have got to call this the most fruitful Weekend of Laziness we’ve had all summer — and suggest you try same.
(Photos: Mr. H)
July 11, 2013 § Leave a comment
For the last twenty years or so, there have been two views of lower Manhattan for me (and the rest of us): Before 9/11 and After. The World Trade Center was something I took for granted for many years, and then its absence simply made me terribly sad.
For last year, I’ve been watching Freedom Tower grow from a distance. But it always seemed a little abstract to me, until last night…
I rarely walk this far down Thompson Street, and wasn’t thinking about the view I would see when I looked up. But there it was, and it was kind of shocking. It was so close and therefore so real. That building I’d seen rising in the distance was no longer “some thing that was happening”: It became my third view of this particular part of the skyline. And while I will never forget the other views and memories associated with them, it is somewhat reassuring to have a new chapter.
(Photo: Some Cozy Night)
July 5, 2013 § 2 Comments
At last, after three-plus years of ridiculous amounts of work, we debuted our Major Project on Monday and today Mr. H and I were finally able to hit the beach in peace. As I was hanging out this afternoon, I found my mind wandering towards things “I could be doing”…and then remembered that it was really ok to do nothing. Which is what I did. Nothing, that is. And it was great.*
Holiday weekends — and life in general — can put a lot of pressure on a person to have THE MOST AMAZING TIME. But I think the best way to combat this is to try to decide if a given activity (or thing or whatever) is going to make you happy, or whether it is just the idea of it that is beguiling. A lot of times for me, it is the latter. So I try to keep myself in check when I can — total Development Area for me — and make sure that I am doing my best to decide what I am doing in my down time, rather than getting caught up in what I “should” or “could” be doing. A rather freeing concept if you run with it.
*And what better song have floating in my head now than one of my favorite of Fiona Apple’s, “Waltz (better than fine)”, which pretty much covers the topic entirely. If you haven’t heard it, a sample can be found here: https://itunes.apple.com/album/waltz-better-than-fine/id153432152?i=153432346&ign-mpt=uo%3D5
(Photo of my Turkish Beach Towel: Some Cozy Night)
July 3, 2013 § 4 Comments
I happen to be sitting in the waiting area of the service department for my car. As the minutes have turned into hours, I remembered that I have other maintenance items of note:
Christophe Robin’s Rose Conditioner
You may remember that I have been using his shampoo and wheat germ hair mask for a few months now. With success on that end, I decided to go a little deeper and started using this excellent conditioner when I don’t have time for a mask. What can I say? It smells heavenly — and not too strong — and nicely hydrates the hair. And have I mentioned the use of conditioner as shampoo for a light wash? It works especially well when you just want to touch up and not dry our your locks or to give your bangs a little extra shine. Like!
Kate Somerville Moisturizer and Eye Cream
While I have been using Sonya Dakar’s line for a decade with great happiness, I was kind of looking for a change. Since the Kate Somerville Glycolic Polisher is so great on my skin, I thought I would give these two products a whirl. So far, pretty good, but it takes a little time for my skin to get completely acclimated. But, overall, I am digging it! (And still devoted to the Rodin oil and Dakar Retinol treatment.)
Kiehl’s Eye Makeup Remover
I’ve been using this for years and don’t think that I have ever revealed my love of this product. Gentle and effective. Perfect.
And now back to my other regularly scheduled maintenance…
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)