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December 30, 2008


I have lots of ambivalence about New York City. On the one hand, I love to visit - the city has so much to offer in terms of art, culture, food and diversity of people.  But the city is also gritty, cold, expensive and crowded. And when I say cold, I mean emotionally cold. New York is a city that doesn't care. How can it? With 7 plus million people crammed onto a small island, if it cared, the order that keeps it functional would break down.

I spent part of the holidays enjoying the fruits of the city - a visit to a gallery on the 13th floor of a building on the lower West Side which held paintings done by an artists who had stayed at the family summer place I hold dear, a delightful dinner of Korean BBQ in K-Town on 32nd between 5th and 6th, where, for one long block, everything is Korean.

But on another visit to the city, I joined the throngs on Broadway in SoHo and marveled at exactly how many people could be on the same street at the same time - the dense pack of humanity. And how many people would decide to fill the cafes on a cold, but not unseasonably so day as my friend C and I wandered around looking for a place to stop, sip and chat.  There are moments when I do love the mix of people that you get in the city, particularly on the subway. On one ride, I shared a car with a Russian mob princess, an elderly Chinese couple, a 7 person strong Midwestern tourist family, a weepy overweight mid-20s woman on her way to yoga, a family of African-American women, a family of Africans, a young Hispanic man tucked deep into his hoody and jacket. Unlike where I live, where the subway has a more segregated feel, in NYC, everyone takes it, everywhere. I love that about New York.

But as much as I like people, I find the kinds of crowds that a new york street can offer to be exhausting. I long for a few more trees, a little more space, a larger slice of the sun visible in a bigger chunk of the sky.  I know many people who can't imagine living anywhere else - who feel that the city is the center of their universe. But me, I still prefer a visit over a residential commitment to the city.

December 30, 2008 at 01:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 22, 2008

But then again, maybe I just need a new wallet...

I have an eminently mockable wallet. A so called "George Costanza" wallet. A gift long ago to replace a small leather wallet stained with flecks of purple ink that I bought from a street vendor in Geneva when I was sixteen, this wallet has seen better days.

Most of its problems arise from the fact that it has spent the majority of its days stuffed to the gills - receipts, loyalty cards, business cards of doctors with the phone numbers of the nearest pharmacy scrawled on the back, old university ids, membership cards, scuffed up copies of my business card.  Receipts are the bulk of the stuffing material, poking out messily from the top of the long pocket intended for cash.

But I've discovered recently as I've tried to streamline my wallet, that once you've overstuffed the leather for an extended period of time (in the case, upwards of 10 years) the leather starts to stretch out, and so when you take enough stuff out, other things that you want to keep in rattle around and even fall out.

So just now I extracted a months worth of receipts from the thing and now there's all this loose leather by the cash pocket, sort of like the fleshy dangling folds of a spayed cat's belly.

So if you're ever wondering why I keep my wallet as stuffed as I do, it's actually a practical matter - I have to keep the wallet packed with random stuff to keep the important stuff in.

December 22, 2008 at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 16, 2008

I should just change the name to Litany of Complaint

That's what it feels like these days - my life and this blog (what's left of it, sigh.) seem to be consumed with one injury or ailment after another. It's like I've become 74 overnight, with nothing left to talk about except my aches, pains and doctor visits.

I don't want to be that person - both a person who has all these issues and a person who does nothing but talk about them.

And yet, pain has a way of consuming you, of boreing down into your mind until it pushes everything else out. Not that I'm feeling quite that level of pain, but when it hurts, it is hard to really think about anything else.

I like to walk - to work, to the gym, to the store, to do holiday shopping. But right now, there's something going on with my right foot that means that every few days, it hurts like hell to walk. All the pleasure in walking and running is gone. Thankfully, it doesn't hurt when I'm sitting and not putting weight on it, so there's some relief. But I'm not a person who just sits around and enjoys it.

I'm not really sure what kicked off the foot pain (really, pain in my heel and on the side of my heel). Might be old running shoes. Might be the omnipresent black boots I wear, or maybe the clogs. Might be my recent return to yoga and too much downward dog and warrior poses. Who the hell knows? It's probably the beginnings of plantar fasciitis. I just want it to stop and to stop being mysterious. I want to be strong and healthy and easy in my body, not limping through life wondering what will be the next thing on my body to break. If not a joint or limb, maybe my stomach, my kidneys or some other organ I don't even think of now, while it's functioning properly.

Maybe everyone deals with these things on a minor level and just learns to deal with them? Or maybe I really am dealing with more in the way of injuries and aches than your average bear? I have no idea really. I just know that since I crossed the threshold of 30, my muscles and tendons really have seemed to become almost brittle, with a greater tendency to injury and pain at what seem to be ridiculously low thresholds. I hate feeling weak and fragile. There's really nothing I hate more. (I also hate that I just now initially misspelled "weak." Apparently my brain is going as well.)

December 16, 2008 at 05:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 15, 2008

Long-acting sugar coma

Yesterday, I hosted my annual cookie party. Last year was a blast, but also overwhelming; cramming 40 people into my not-so-spacious apartment got claustrophobia at times. So this year, I kept it a bit smaller, and was helped by a greater number of people who were out of town or already full - up on holiday parties. Still, there were probably all-told around 25 or 30 people in my apartment over the course of four hours, and the vast majority of them came with cookies.

I love cookies. Love them. Buttery, sugary three-bite nibbles covering the spectrum of sweet flavors - jammy, minty, chocolatey, marshmellowy, gingery goodness.

But I think I reached my cookie limit. I think today I actually have a cookie hangover. I drank no alcohol, but woke up with a throbbing headache (which might have also partly been cause by the hotdog I consumed post-party at 9:47pm as a "protein nightcap.")

Today, cookies repulse me - which shocks me both in the strength of my aversion and that I could ever get to the place where I felt negatively towards cookies at all. All I want is a plain salad and water. I feel like I need to go into cookie detox.  I didn't even actually eat that many - thought as with drinks, I suspect I did eat a fairly large quantity with out really knowing it, just spread out over many hours, so I didn't feel the effects until later. The slow buzz...

Thankfully, the office vultures did their work, and once placed on the free food counter in the kitchen, left me with clean tupperware carcasses picked of all their cookie meat.

Still, I have four more mid-sized tupperware full of cookies at home to contend with, not to mention a kitchen floor sticky with dried mulled cider.  Maybe they freeze well?

December 15, 2008 at 05:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack