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Monday, July 30, 2007


This weekend, my parents called me from California and left a message on my cell.

My mom was saying, ‘Oh, hi honey, it’s 8:30 here, very early. We’re driving along and (blah, blah, blah…). Anyway, we wanted to call and wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!’

I could hear my father, who was driving, chime out in the background a little out of sync, ‘Happy Birthday!’

It was absolutely adorable and kept me laughing for about 20 minutes. I was in tears when I told Mark about it. He laughed a belly laugh and then called his mom to tell her.

The thing is, it wasn’t my birthday. They were a fully month early.


Photo by Melissann. For more great images, click here.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Checking In, Checking Out

Lately I have abandoned writing. Life has been an insane swirl of FedEx races, cab rides home, meetings with developers, diva encounters and attempts to save the stray cats near Mark’s house.

If I had more time, I could make each experience an interesting read, but there ain't no time. I can feel the beginnings of burn-out.

Walking along, thoughts zip through my head, and just like that they are gone (not my head, the thoughts), vanished, forgotten. People at work give me concerned looks, saying ‘you look really, really tired’ and edge away. These are not good signs. After Monday, the load willl lighten a little. Thank goodness.

Anyway, I’ll leave off by mentioning one of my favorite shows of late, Confessions of a Matchmaker. It airs on the A&E channel at 11pm on Sundays and 3am on Mondays, and is yet another reason to get DVR.

The show takes place in Buffalo and is narrated by a spunky matchmaker named Patti, who counsels her clients before sending them out on blind dates. There are women with impossible lists of what they want in a mate, self-absorbed guys with horrible manners, and those in denial of their bad hair or sexuality. Each client has a glaringly obvious habit or strategy that prevents him from finding a partner.

The show is a hoot to watch. Mark will yell out in disbelief, ‘Who ARE these people?’ several times an episode. I'm impressed by Patti, who cuts through each client's issues and gives them honest, direct advice. I'm also impressed by these clients who might not have anticipated that their issues and dating lives would be so visible. Eek.

Here's a more detailed review of the show.

Photo by La Casa a Pois. For more great images, click here.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Out on the Street

$15.01. That’s what we found this morning on the sidewalk.

We’d been shuffling along when I called out, ‘Dog doody!’ Mark looked down to avoid a disaster and found a five and ten dollar bill folded together on the sidewalk. Someone must have come home drunk, pulling the money out by accident while getting his keys. He was probably still sleeping while we celebrated at the neighborhood cafe.

The sidewalks in Greenpoint are obstacle courses, usually filled with not so nice things. The paving is heaved up in places and littered with glass, trash and piles of dog poop. Mark says there should be a campaign promoting doody karma. He experienced gum karma in his youth - every time he threw gum on the street, he wound up stepping in another wad of gum a few days later. The myth could be circulated about dog owners who fail to pick up their dog poop, since public responsibility and fines don't work.

The sidewalks in Park Slope, where I live, are pristine. Maybe it’s because more people own their homes, and they have little gardens front yards. Maybe it's because the dog owners own homes too, and they're concerned about property values. Or maybe the dog owners know about doody karma.

After the near miss and rare find this morning, we’ll be walking the streets with our heads down, from now on. You never know what you might find.

Photo by Noam Galai. For more great images, click here.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Secret

Lately, it’s been insanity at work. I've been swamped with conference calls and budget meetings, while impossible deadlines are looming for the two luxury condominium buildings and the 4,500 sf residence that I'm heading. I am woefully behind on all three, and my desk is under several huge piles of paper. It's been stressful.

Tonight, I came home and ranted to Mark about everything. We were both tired and stressed , so we ordered in (cheeseburger, fries, gooey Philly cheesesteak). When dinner finally arrived, the fries weren’t well done enough. Well, that was the last straw. We looked at each other and ranted about the state of the world.

By chance, the next movie in the Netflicks queue had arrived, 'The Secret', which I'd heard about from various people. Perfect timing.

I highly recommend the movie, despite the initial cheesiness. At first you get the sense that all everyone wants is a million bucks, or that the movie creators think that that’s what everyone wants. At heart, though, the message is simple – if money is your focus, so be it. If well done fries are your concern, that’s okay, too. In the end, however you channel your thoughts shapes your life experience.

It's the message shared by another movie I loved, What the Bleep Do We Know, which came out several years ago. 'Bleep' depicted a cheesy storyline with Marlee Matlin, alongside interviews with molecular biologists, physicists and spiritual leaders. I think 'Bleep' was more engaging in presentation, with more anecdotes supporting the power of the mind. But I'm glad I saw 'The Secret'.

While Mark went to bed, I sat up thinking. I felt energized and content. I understood that I wasn’t powerless, and that my situation is quite simple. I reviewed all that I have in my life right now: my family, my partner, my home, my friends, my home. I am really lucky.

All this reminds me of a friend who went through several tortured break-ups with the same person. At one point, a huge fight coincided with her seeing a show about birth defects. ’Isn’t it amazing that we’re born perfect?’ she said. ‘So many things can go wrong, but we come out with ten fingers and toes. We are so lucky.’

At that moment, my friend moved beyond her romantic crisis, in seeing her good fortune. She no longer defined herself as the woman without her boyfriend, and she no longer saw her situation as imperfect. This shift in self-image gave her the strength to move on. (Incidentally, she later married the ex-boyfriend).

Anyhow, I'm going to keep these thoughts in mind. Who knows where it will lead - maybe someplace, maybe no place. But I doubt that anything bad could come of positive thinking.

Photo by Circulating. For more great images, click here.


Monday, July 16, 2007


I visited Hong Kong with my mom several years ago, staying with friends of hers in Kowloon. We slept in the living room and woke up early to watch rows of little old ladies practicing T’ai Chi, below.

The housing complex where they lived was something like the Jetsons – a crowd of huge concrete towers next to a public park. The towers were connected with everything you’d ever need on the ground floor - stores, elementary school, post office, restaurants that were open 24/7. Completely self-sufficient, it was a city dweller’s dream.

Recently, I came across an array of pictures of Hong Kong. They are astonishing, not for anything but their monotony – rows upon rows of windows, segments of identical buildings that seem without top or bottom.

The whole thing reminds me of the Romantics and their Theory of the Sublime. Around 1800, painters depicted exaggerated cliffs and chasms, which were considered beautiful because the human brain couldn’t comprehend their natural hugeness. Contemplating such vastness was wrapped up in the contemplation of God.

These days, the infinite no longer signifies the otherworldly or spiritual. Infinity is matter of fact. More is simply more. It’s no longer that big a deal. We have Google, we have gps devices – now we’ll never again be without information or directions.

Lately in New York, all I notice are building cranes and billboard ads for new condo complexes. I can’t help but wonder whether Hong Kong is in the future.

Google can provide us the probability of this happening. It can't tell us the future. Yet.

Photo by Repubblica.it. For more great images, click here.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Paris in New York

After brunch today, we drove to Carroll Gardens to watch the petanque tournament (pronounced pay-tonk) in honor of Bastille Day.

We bumped along the BQE, Mark's Mom in the passenger's seat and me, squished in the back of the Mini. I kept my eyes on the horizon and pledged to brush up on my yoga, provided that I could get out of the car.

We arrived to find parts of Smith Street blocked off from traffic and covered in sand. Rows of makeshift courts were made in front of the cafes and shops, outlined with rough timbers. It was not even noon, but the place was hopping – New Yorkers old and young were playing petanque under the bright sun, a game similar to curling and bocce.

Folks were heaving heavy metal balls down the courts, knocking others out of the way and kicking up sand. The player who got his or her ball closest to the little colored ball tossed out at the beginning of each game, won.

Competition was serious. Contestants wore numbers and followed the round robin diagram that was mapped out on a board. Some players wore tshirts specially designed for the day.

We hung out near the stalls for beer and water, the camera crews, and people brunching under umbrellas. Alas, the games could not compete with the sun and humidity. After twenty minutes, we’d had enough petanque to last us til next year.

[They got the date wrong in all the PR. For photos from this year's event, click here].

Photo by Calvo. For more great images, click here.



Tammy, at Mom Knows Everything (thanks, Tammy!) tagged me with a meme. I searched what a 'meme' is and of course, found too much information.

I am tagging 5 other New York sites, which hopefully know more about memes than I do.

1. New York Hack

2. Subway Blogger

3. New York Daily Photo

4. A Home in the City

5. I M Bitter

[Edit: Whoops! Thanks, I.M. for the reminder. D'oh!]

The meme question was

'If you had the opportunity to do a 1-year internship in a company or field completely unrelated to your current career or specialty, what would be your top 5 choices?'

Hm....I guess...

1. Chef - I'm addicted to Top Chef, and Bill Buford's descriptions of his kitchen experiences. I'd love to intern at one of those high end restaurants, though I'm not nearly macho enough.

2. Veterinarian - Love animals. Love em.

3. Couture Sewist - I worked briefly for a fashion designer long ago and found it incredibly tedious and stressful...but working at a couture house looks amazing (from the outside).

4. Voice-Over Actress - Make a bajillion dollars because only I can be the voice for a leading company or character? Sure!!

5. Artist/Boutique Owner - My dream job has always been to be the vision behind a little place, like John Derian or Jonathan Adler. What a nice life!

Photo by Karlmartini. For more great images, click here.