Monthly Archives: March 2015

#tbt: march 26th, 2005 post-party postmortem

Oh, the days at Casa Mar Vista…

So, 2005: I was twenty-six.  I lived in a West LA house with two housemates, with a dozen friends in the immediate area of the Westside.  I had mostly settled into Los Angeles, and had cut back on drinking and related silliness.  I say cut back, not cut out entirely, because I apparently still managed to wear bunny ears at our A-B-C-D Birthday / Easter Party.

So the next day wasn’t pretty, but it could have been uglier, as described in this recap

abrupt transition into spring

Spring keeps making tentative forays into Brooklyn and disappearing. Three weeks ago it was 50F/12C; this week it was back to freezing. The snow melted, layer by layer, in the middle of the month, only to pile back up on the 20th, the “first day of spring”. At least the throwback to winter didn’t include an Arctic blast: one month ago it was 4F.  I found myself unable to translate that into Celsius for my mother: it doesn’t go below -5 most winters in Victoria or Vancouver and i havent figured out how to put my phone on metric yet. (I refuse give up Celsius, “zed” and the word “chesterfield”.)

Spring is such a relief though. Like most Pacific Northwest citizens, I still have seasonal affective disorder, which, like all Northwesterners, I self medicate with a lot of coffee. When the clocks go forward and the sun comes out, my first instinct is to ditch my jacket and make up an excuse to go outside.  In Vancouver, the first day like this would be the day when everyone would wear shorts and start playing Frisbee. The sheer joy at spring makes up for the long, dark, rainy winter in BC. In Los Angeles, the lack of winter meant there was no cause for celebration of spring. I spent seven springs in LA, but LA was always so green, so surprisingly lush, that outside of a few rainy days, spring didn’t make a difference like it does to the world outside SoCal.

It seemed spring came early to Cascadia this year though: all my friends in the Seattle/Vancouver area have been gleefully posting photos of cherry blossoms and Kits Beach, blooming flowers and sunshine over Puget Sound. The conifer trees that seem so dark and forbidding in winter now just show as an deep green contrast to the blue of the waterways. And every Facebook post from the Northwest is immediately followed by a string of angry comments from everyone Back East.

Still. Despite feeling sometimes like its never going to end, a feeling intensified by snowstorms in March, winter in NYC isn’t that bad. I don’t have to drive in it, and even the subway delays are better than being stuck on icy roads, or driving in a blizzard. And it isn’t THAT cold. I’m geared for even the worst chills here thanks to my sister’s Canada Goose coat hookup and the Sorel snow boots my mom gave me for Hanukkah last year. It isnt Toronto cold, or Chicago cold. But NYC attracts the dramatic, me included. There is a lot of hand flinging and overemphatic sighing and general OMG THE SLUSH LAGOON MONSTERS throughout the season.

The winters feel so long to me because I’m used to that spring in February thing. I remember being maybe the size Ben is now and looking at all the flowers in the yard around my home in February: the snowdrops and the crocuses. By March, there should be flowers everywhere, leaves on trees, cherry blossoms in drifts. In my memory of February, the rain stops for whole afternoons at a time, and I can go outside to play. So when winter keeps going, and the extreme cold is still present, it’s just…wrong. Even after seven years without seasons, my internal seasonal clock is still synched to Victoria, BC, and therefore, winter is taking too long.

Last Friday, the winter made a horrible recurrence, and it even threatened to affect my evening. It was the first legal day of spring, and yet it was snowing: a full on sticky snow. I was scheduled to go out that evening with my friends, and the snow threw a wrench in our planning. What if it snowed the promised five inches and destroyed everyone’s cute shoes?? It’s fortunate that no snow can keep us from our appointed rounds to Bootie. The snow last Friday was winter – postcard beautiful, sticking to trees perfectly, framing every landmark with the kind of aesthetics that don’t even require Instagram filters to look picture perfect. But as I looked out on it from my meeting above Bryant Park, I could no longer see the classic beauty of New York with fresh winter snow. Instead, all I could see was my suede boots being trashed and the threat of my rainboots instead. That says a lot about how heartily sick of winter I was last week: so much so that I couldn’t appreciate the winter scene at Grand Army Plaza, a scene so perfect in its black and white lines at night that my Uber driver did snap a photo in his iPhone while stopped at a stoplight.

Today, I think it is actually spring though. Not a teaser, not a trailer, not a spoiler alert, but spring. The sun has been coming out longer each day, and each day has the illusion of being longer thanks to daylight savings. And the air has that soft quality that comes with spring in northern regions. Two weeks ago there were still piles of decaying filthy snow on the ground, but now they’re reduced to a few scraps of snow in outer boroughs. Iwatched every day as Central Park went from a solid white blanket to patchwork, and now is back to green grass and bare trees. The last scraps of snow are almost gone, and only a few patches of ice, remnants from the first storms in January, remain on the ground.

So tomorrow will be a better, warmer day. The trees and flowers will bloom. It will be those few beautiful months before everyone switches over to OMG HUMIDITY MONSTERS.

so this whole “blog” thing…

I used to be very comfortable sharing my story with the world, in a form of a blog.  After all, my life ten years ago was the same story as everyone around me: a constant stream of Age-Appropriate Adventures that made for outstanding blogging material.  I surfed through a couple dozen old entries earlier this week, for very little reason at all, and realized that I had a lot to work with, all of it age-appropriate enough to be almost anonymous.

Then I became a wife, mother, career person.  Now I can add “community leader” to that through my Scout involvement.  And my blog started to wither from neglect.  I have written less in the last two years than I used to in a month.

I realize, re-reading all those entries, that I have let Facebook updates and Twitter quips replace my blog entries.  As a result, I really miss writing about my experience in the world.  I haven’t decided whether I am comfortable sharing everything, but I do miss chronicling it.  Part of the appeal of short form social media is that it is subtle and superficial, but I miss long form writing.  And I miss having pages of memories to read through when I feel like visiting my past.

So maybe there is something here, something I should be bringing back from the past.  There is something about the challenge of describing an experience, of selecting the right words, the right language, that I really liked.  And now I wonder if I let it go because I wasn’t quite sure about what to say or what context to say it in: for some time, I have been uncertain about my identity and about what words to describe myself with.  I think I was unable to properly contextualize experience without understanding the perspective I was writing about it from.

Now, I’m feeling more secure about who I am, and about how everything I’ve experienced and everything I’ve done, all adds up to, well, me.  I am just sometimes very uncertain about describing all those things because I don’t want to show every angle of me to anyone who can access the Interwebs.  It is the threat of saying too much, of saying something wrong, of saying something inappropriate.  The Internet is a different place than it was in 2000 when I started writing consistently on Livejournal, and yet, I have left all those entries up because they are my past.

It is the line in “Losing My Religion”: oh no I said too much, I haven’t said enough.

It is seeing the gap in entries for the past five years, the occasional superficial post, concentrated at a level so generic as to be innocuous, and comparing that against the rich tapestry of memories (some happy, some sad, some joyful, some shameful) that I have for the decade before.

Perhaps this habit of writing and chronicling should come back.  Perhaps I just need more confidence that I will not be judged or consequenced for it.

seven year anniversary :: copper

This weekend, Paul and I celebrated our wedding anniversary.  We have been married now for seven years, together in total for nine. This year, we chose to celebrate on two successive nights and include Ben on the first evening, at dinner.  We went to Saul at the Brooklyn Museum, which is right by our new home, for the last night of Restaurant Week.  And then Saturday, we went out dancing until far too late, and left Ben sleeping at home under the care of Aunt Z.

Dinner at Saul was good – not extraordinary, but certainly enjoyable.  The dishes were good, but all had that slightly refrigerated taste that comes from a lot of advance mass prep.  I’m not sure how to describe it: it’s sort of the taste you get when you know a lot of your dish was prepped in advance and more assembled than cooked to order.  But it was still a very nice restaurant, in a beautiful museum, with good food.  And Ben LOVED it.


I was especially proud when he ordered flawlessly off the prix fixe menu: “For my appetizer, I would like the crudo of big eye tuna.  For my entree, I would like the seared branzino over winter vegetables.   For my dessert, I would like the poached pear”  (We asked if he just wanted to try the octopus appetizer he had been looking forward to, but he was more interested in the prix fixe menu so he could eat more fish).  And he certainly enjoyed his dinner: he ate every scrap of the tuna crudo, all the fish and most of the vegetables from the branzino (the vegetables were cooked in fish stock so he liked them too)…but then turned down the poached pear because it had “too much cinnamon”.  Chef Saul, the tiny restaurant critic has spoken, and he thinks you overspiced the poaching mix.

Saturday, Paul and I cleaned ourselves up and headed out to Manhattan.  We started with the Depeche Mode Fan Club night at Slake in Midtown, which was pretty much exactly as described: fifty extreme Depeche Mode fans in one room, and another larger space that, when we arrived, was hosting a live performance by local gloom wave artist Jennie Vee .  We had checked out Jennie Vee’s music before leaving, so we could decide whether or not to actually show up for her whole set.  Then we got distracted debating the sub-genres of shoegaze, which resulted in a highly music geeky back and forth:

ME: How is it she lists every goth band except the Cocteau Twins as influences?
PAUL: Well, what genre is she supposed to be?
ME: Her stuff is hashtagged as #nugaze
ME: Yes, it is!  Ulrich Schnauss is nugaze!  It’s like shoegaze but with more synths!

We agreed that we weren’t going leave early enough for Ms. Vee’s set – but she and her band were still on stage when we arrived.  So we went back and forth between the band and the Depeche Mode room while the Depeche Mode playing DJ got “Songs of Faith And Devotion” out of her system.  I LOVE that album, and it’s actually my favorite Depeche Mode album, but when I’m already dragging, I do prefer to be bouncing around to faster paced songs than “In Your Room”.  And I was interested when Jennie Vee started cover of “Lips Like Sugar” (very appropriate for an 80s inspired room), but as Classic Dark Tracks Re-Done By Female Singers go, it was interesting, but not a complete revamp like when Snake River Conspiracy did “Lovesong”.  Hence the wandering back and forth.

But shortly afterwards, the tempo of the evening picked up.  The 80s room went into Full Top 40 Mode (“Video Killed The Radio Star”) and the Depeche Mode room moved off into a mix of tracks from other eras (“Dream On”, “Precious”, “Everything Counts”) that moved a little faster.  So the tempo picked up, and I started moving more and waking back up.  I do love Depeche Mode, and being in a roomful of people who knew that you always wave your hands to the instrumental bridge of “Never Let Me Down Again” was a lot of fun.

Still, eventually, being at a Depeche Mode only dance party was losing its novelty for me.   I was tempted to drag Paul over to the 80s room and pretend we were at the high school reunion dance in Grosse Point Blank, but the DJ there was stuck on “Take On Me” and “Don’t You Want Me”, not Tones On Tail’s “Go”, or Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Cities In Dust”.  So we migrated a half mile over to the Windfall Lounge, which is apparently the only venue in town willing to host goth nights since the Bowery Poetry Club was gentrified out of existence.  I wanted to keep dancing at Necropolis.

The problem was that as much as I wanted to keep dancing once we arrived and checked our coats, I started threatening to fall asleep while actually still dancing to a Nitzer Ebb track.  This made me sad, because I love going out to goth club nights with Paul.  Where else are they going to play all the songs we have danced to together for the past nine years?  Even if the DJ’s on the stage aren’t playing exactly the songs we know, they are playing songs from those genres and sub-genres that make up our shared music base.  One of us will catch a song from hearing it in a club, on a mix, on Dark Wave.  It gives us a chance to keep growing the list of songs on the soundtrack of our nights out together.

But still, I had had a long day, and was tired, so we had to leave.  We came home on the Q, which was miraculously on time.  I kept myself awake by forcing Paul to listen to my recanting of the plot of “The Last American Vampire”, to which he interrupted every plot point by just saying, “No.  Stop.  That DID NOT HAPPEN.  No one wrote that.  Please tell me that wasn’t in an actual published book,” which then led to us discussing why every piece of historical fiction always has protagonists becoming best friends with historically pivotal characters until we got back to our stop…and then complaining about the cold was the only topic of conversation I was interested in.

We sent Auntie Z back home to Harlem, and passed out exhausted at 5am Daylight Savings time: the 2am hour had vanished and we were up far, far later than we should have been.  And today has been rough, just because we have learned that we can EITHER stay out late OR drink, but not BOTH. So for next year’s Pottery anniversary, now we know: load up on caffeine and make the night happen that way.

on this date in the past:

2007: faith & devotion: the marriage proposal
008: post-wedding recovery
014: six year symbol: iron


Tonight is an Otter night.

I wear pants to Scout meetings, but my work black jeans had crossed the line from loose to unflatteringly big, so I pulled down a pair of H & M gray dress pants that date to 2007…

…and then zipped them comfortably (Obviously, I don’t care that they’re flares from eight seasons ago)

And then, I admit, I cried a little.  I don’t think I’ve fit into these pants comfortably since a brief period in 2010. 

For those of you not in NYC who havent had to hear about my Adventures in Gym Time lately, I invested in a trainer for the first time ever. I finally accepted that if I was able to get to a goal size (not weight, size) on my own, I’d have done it already. So I started working with a trainer twice a week and going back to the gym two or three additional days. 

Then something happened that I’ve never experienced before.  As I got stronger, I started to see training not as an obstacle to weight loss, but as a series of accomplishments. Like being able to run a mile, or hold poses in a yoga class, both of which were new to me. Or even just regaining strength I had a decade ago, like being able to kill it in Spin class. Suddenly exercise went from a never ending road of calorie burning to being a path marked with goals and next steps. And I LOVE goals and next steps! 

This changed everything. Suddenly it wasn’t about getting through time on the treadmill but running on it for a mile without stopping, and then doing it a little faster the next time.  It was about doing Insanity class with fewer modifications.  It was about my trainer being able to give me harder and harder work and being able to make it through, even when I thought I couldn’t.

And now, I go to spin class and I no longer think about the fat I’m burning, but I think about how I am going to speed over the Manhattan Bridge this summer, and how instead of being focused on how hard the climb is, I’ll be able to look at the East River and think how much I love living in New York City.  No commute has felt as much like flying to me as my ride over the Manhattan Bridge since I used to drive over the Lions Gate in 2003. 

Today, I’m actually listening to Tiesto and dreaming of that day in spring when I’ll be able to ride to work again.  (I listen to Tiesto podcasts for my bike commute, and then pull my favorite tracks into play lists on Rhapsody.  My 25 year old, club going Vancouver self tends to take over when I bike.)  Despite the snow today, it will be spring in a few weeks, and I can’t wait to challenge myself on the commute with all these newly developed quad muscles. Maybe this year, I can leave Brooklyn earlier and have the time and strength to loop Central Park before work!

But for now, every day is a new day of “what can I do with this new, stronger body?”  Like being able to climb a zillion stairs at the 53rd street B train stop, wearing heavy snow boots, without being totally winded.  Or picking up my fifty pound son without him having to do a running jump into my arms. Or fitting into pants i havent worn in eight years.

And that goal skirt I mentioned last week on Facebook – an animal print pencil skirt – zips fine too. It’s a little too snug, but it FITS WITHOUT SPANX.

I’m going to spend this weekend putting out all my size 14 jeans for donation and trying on all the clothes I set aside in what I call the Thin Box. I can’t wait
for that. I can’t wait for spring.