The Cheapest Possible Form of Therapy

Sometimes (and not often, because I try pretty intensely to be tuned in to how great the current situation is) a particular day might tilt the wrong way, and a mood of general crab-osity might descend in this general area.

It might be in relation to something normal, like bad grades, or something that makes no sense to anyone but yours truly (like someone referring to their sandwich as a “sammy.” What? No. It’s not even short for sandwich. That would be a sandy, which actually sounds a lot like an experience I had this one time when we decided lunch on the beach in windy mid-winter was a great idea. It wasn’t.)

In such circumstances, a person might turn to the internets for solace…to try to self-medicate with humor. Sometimes Pinterest comes to the rescue…

…but the relief can be shallow and short-lived. Should you find yourself so adrift, I would strongly advise that you stop scrolling and instead turn to that utmost of physiologically healing stimuli…

[Babies Laughing at Ripping Paper]

It might seem overly simplistic, but I bet you ten thousand dollars* that any bad mood plaguing you can be banished by watching little guys lose it over the sound of shredding documents.

Maybe I should do my future doc review at Hope’s house…

*This bet funded and approved by Mitt Romney.

Please Do Not Fold Your Answers

I am proud to introduce the world to Mittens Romney,* also known as Legal Pun, also also known as the greatest new pub trivia team in town.

 

Trivia was a pretty regular thing once Andrew moved to Boston, but we had kind of let it slide recently. Two weeks ago we all decided to randomly start up again, and just totally rocked the Casbah that was Stump Trivia. Second place, baby! They had a full house that night, so it was actually kind of an accomplishment. And we weren’t sneezing at the $20 gift card prize either. Instead, we were dorkily planning our crushing first place victory for this week.

Aaaaand we didn’t even place. Oops. Who knew the pivotal candy bar in the Goonies was a Baby Ruth? No rational person would try to befriend a scary looking dude with a Baby Ruth…they’re terrible. When your life hinges on deliciousness, always go for the Snickers. This would be my strategy, at least.

This irrefutable logic aside, I’m pretty sure we’ve assembled the perfect team here. It’s evenly split, gender-wise. Jenny and I are decently good at pop culture, M and Paul read the Economist like its their (collective) job and therefore have great recall of war, business issues and geography, and Catie and Andrew just…know an awful lot of random facts. It would be frightening if it weren’t so incredibly helpful.

"What is the best way to spend Wednesday nights in Boston?"

You have until the end of this song to answer!

 *Andrew is in charge of our name, which changes weekly. It usually emerges from current news articles that appeal to his love of the absurd; see Mittens Romney, or, as Andrew explained it to us, “what at least 15% of an American poll audience guessed was the Republican candidate’s full name.” Oh, America.

 

The One Where We Finally Get Ourselves on a Bolt Bus

M had promised to take me to New York for my birthday, but then finals were looming, and the city was being all wicked expensive during the Christmas season (rude), so we put it off.

And so it happened that, just a few days ago, I happened to find myself sitting across from this handsome dude at The Stage, introducing him to the concept of Matzo ball soup.

He enjoyed the concept very much, but kindly requested that I not take pictures of him mid-chew. So much work, this marriage.

We were staying with a friend from M’s summer at the USAO, who was pretty much the best hostess on record. Seriously. If you looked up “superlative host” in the dictionary, you would see a picture of Michelle going across town to stay with her boyfriend so we could have the entire apartment to ourselves. They’re coming to Boston in a month, and I’m already feeling lame about only having an air mattress to offer them. (My secret weapon will be happy hour at Marliave. Who’s thinking about an air mattress when they are delightfully tipsy on Boston Tea Parties* and dollar oysters?)

Since we were staying at her apartment, we spent a lot of time in the subway stop for Columbia University. Not trying to be biased or anything, but it’s most def the prettiest one. Look at that blue tile! Semi-Grecian swirls! Really wishing I had taken art history in college!

We ate at Prune on our first night in the city, and that was the only disappointment of the trip. Not because the restaurant wasn’t great, because it was! It just turns out that lots of drinks plus way too much bone marrow equals sick me. However, by the next morning I had totally rallied in time to embrace my inner Jew yet again. Bagels and lox! Never has such a beautifully perfect food been created. And Murray’s in Chelsea is THE place to admire it up close and personal.

I am not exaggerating when I say I wanted to order everything in this establishment. Bagel crates stacked almost to the ceiling: cinnamon raisin, onion, salt, everything. 17 kinds of cream cheese. It’s a good thing we don’t live nearby.

Or is it?

After consuming our weight in smoked fish, we trudged through the snow to the Guggenheim. Such a cool building.

The exhibit while we were there was Maurizio Cattelan, who apparently is kind of a prankster and displayed his life’s work by stringing up all his sculptures and hanging them from the ceiling.

M and I liked Cattelan’s work a lot more than we anticipated. They’re pretty simple, bold pieces, and I liked the immediate, visceral reaction they evoked. Especially this one:

And this one, which we thought was just a chill elephant decked out in the easiest Halloween costume…but Conrad informed us was instead a KKK elephant.

I didn’t know. I would never have patted his trunk had I known.

This little girl was just the greatest. She was perched on the floor in the Kandinsky exhibit with her sketchbook, so seriously copying the artwork. She was just shadin’ away with her colored pencils, and you could tell from her look of concentration that she saw no reason why her finished product couldn’t match the one on the wall perfectly.

New life mission: get back some of that innate confidence.

Museums make you hungry and exhausted, and then you have to get burgers. (It’s the law). We went to Shake Shack to put the old “In-N-Out versus SS” test to rest. (SS= Shake Shack, not the Gestapo. Let’s be clear, cheeseburgers win over fascism every time.)

Verdict = come on. Seriously? I mean, Shake Shack, your custard is very nice. But my tiny imaginary chihuahua ate one of your burgers and then asked when we were having lunch. You straight cannot charge eight dollars for that little guy.

 Good thing we had (somewhat) fortified ourselves, though, cause then we stood in line at ye old TKTS and got tickets to…MEMPHIS!!!

Do you like gospel music? Soul music? There is only one correct answer to such a question, and as soon as you say it (“YES!”) then I will tell you to get yourself over to this 2010 Tony Award-winner with great speed. (Also, go to Lantern’s Keep in the Iroquois Hotel for drinks first. That’s a very important step.)

Oh man. It was so great. It was GREAT. And the greatest thing about it was that M now truly enjoys going to see shows (even musicals) just as much as I do. And it is so much fun to look over at your partner during an amazing experience like that and be able to tell that they’re loving it as much as you are.

 

The one event of which I have no pictures is our dinner at Hudson Clearwater. It was epic and totally worth taking documentary evidence, but the busboys were so gay-beautiful, and the waitress was so skinny and eyeliner-y, and I felt altogether too nerdy to pull out my iPhone and starting snapping away. However. Some cabbage-y slaw thing, an amazing duck dish and an apple-and-salted-caramel dessert were all filed into the mental vault marked “Please Sir, May I Have Some More?”

The next morning we made our way over to the West Village for brunch at Home. They had $5 dollar brunch drinks, which is clearly the price point at which you become financially irresponsible by not ordering one. So I got a bloody mary (which I always feel like I should like, being such a lover of savory things) and this time I really did like it. Very successful brunch, is what I’m trying to say here.

Afterward, we wandered around an elevated park called the Highline, which was constructed out of an abandoned railway platform…

Apparently these benches slide around (when there isn't a bunch of snow blocking their tracks) and you can configure them into chaise-y couches for you and your beloveds.

…and said goodbye to our wonderful hosts and their absurdly cool city. Before we left, though, we had to make a pit-stop at this place I heard makes a decent cookie.

I can’t even talk about it. We got chocolate-chip with walnuts, and dark chocolate. They were enormous, gooey in the middle, and made out of heaven. We brought one home and now it’s gone, and… seriously, I can’t talk about it anymore.

M’s final shot of the city, the beautiful trees on Columbia’s campus lit up for the winter. Does he have an eye, or what? So, so beautiful.

I love you, New York. See you in three weeks!

*Tequila, Earl Grey Tea and Ginger beer. Check it out. You’re quite welcome.

Vistas

These photos are exactly why we wanted to live here. To soak up the brick/ivy/beautiful door knocker East Coast charm that felt completely foreign three years ago, but now feels like home. It feels so natural now to wear heavy coats down the same streets we walked up four months ago in sundresses and shorts. Seasons now make sense, and it no longer feels like a betrayal when I slip on the slushy gutter snow. I should have worn my boots. I know that…I live here.

And living here is walking, always walking. Our home is so central that taking the T anywhere but to school seems like a waste. It’s not so cold yet that the weather feels like a personal affront, so I walk through the park, past the ribbon-clad ducklings, wondering if now might be a good time to take a running slide across the frozen water…

Please note a certain photo-bombing hand pitching a snowball at an indignant squirrel.

Pretty much a 100% decision rate against said pond-sliding. When you’re shivering and wet, it’s much harder to appreciate the holiday lights that are still up.

The reigning theory is that they stay up until it doesn’t feel like winter outside, but this is probably an artifact of our California-hardwired brains. Boston pulls itself out of winter sometime around June. I am personally fine with 6 months of sparkly night-lights, but those who foot the electric bill might disagree.

Eat yo salad, no dessert

Last night, still firmly on my couch four minutes past when ballet was scheduled to start (remember how planning is not at the top of the life skills chart?), I decided my living room was a totally appropriate place to mount a fitness quest.

Such a thing was possible because, when I asked myself, “Do you have tools? Can you fix this right now?”…

 

…the answer was affirmative. Behold the totally hip tools of fitness.

You do not use jars of marinara as weights while grooving to a Jane Fonda video? Oh.

It was a totally fine situation, except that: (a) my step-touches are perhaps a touch too loud for our downstairs neighbors, and (b) sweaty palms + glass jars = constantly impending disaster. They never actually flew out of my hands and decorated our walls with Jackson Pollack-esque tomato stains, but you worry about these things. Or, I do.

Salon time

Once upon a time, a dear friend of mine wandered around Boston’s North End and found the most perfect coffee shop in all the world. Their java warms your soul during the city’s horrible winter, and their giant cookies (especially when you ask the super chill staff to heat them up) are a lot like getting a hug. On the mouth? I never said the cookies weren’t awkward, I just said they were delicious.

Boston Common Coffee Company, you are straight up one of the things I will miss most about Boston when we leave. Is that weird, to miss a coffee shop? Especially pre-emptively?

I can’t help it. I am addicted to everything in this photo,* including the Economist that M is reading. Dude, learning is the GREATEST! Did you know how bat-shit crazy Kim Jong Il was? He once kidnapped a South Korean dictator so he could fulfill his dream of making a movie. That is delusion on a very seriously impressive scale. And this magazine is just full of stuff like that, week after week. I think I just never realized before how much “knowing what’s going on in the world” is essentially “watching a giant soap opera.” I mean, let’s be real…my understanding of any economic issues is still pretty impressionistic (“subprime is bad? We are in a lot of debt?”) but everything else is just there for the taking.

*Except maybe the pen.

Lilac Wine

For your listening pleasure: 

Dancer auditions for the ballet company’s spring show are coming up and I am SO pumped. We just got pictures back from the Fall show, and seeing my beautiful dancers makes me just itch to get started again. These girls are so talented.

This piece was so meditative, and I want to swing back this time toward something more fun and entertaining. SO torn right now between “Late in the Evening” by Paul Simon (samba-salsa-dance break) and Mark Ronson’s remix of Amy Winehouse doing “Valerie” (jive-y soul). Please can I just choreograph full-time instead of finishing this 80 page paper? K thanks.

Remote Support

I’m pretty sure one of the hardest things about being an adult (however highly debatable that label may be) is that your friends are so dispersed. People you could access instantly in high school or college have pursued their own dreams/mates/jobs all across the US (and beyond) and you have to plan trips to go see them.

Everyone is technically “far away” while we’re in Boston, but some of my closest homeslices are going to be at a distance even once we’re “home” for good. I was talking to one (my beloved Baller-ina) the other day, and it made me so wistful for the days when I could get her, some frozen yogurt, and myself all in the same spot with 10 minutes and a text message. She’s having a semi-moment right now, and I just powerfully wanted to be physically present to do whatever I could to make her happy. Instead, we talked about everything on ye olde telephone for about an hour.

This is how talking to you makes me feel, 100% of the time. Gatchagatchagatcha!!

Still. Distance between friends is not the most spectacular invention, but just knowing that someone is holding you in their mind and sending you good vibrations does help. Enough? I hope so.

That being said…can we get a bullet train up in here?

You might see a little too much of me if they do build one!

Deliberation

Problem: Things like the Christmas-decorated duck parade above are now evoking the following thought process:

1. How cute! It’s like “Make Way for Ducklings” in real life!

2. I love that book! I can’t wait to read it to our baby!

That second step is occurring with increasingly disturbing frequency. It also does not help when M looks at all passing babies and goes “Aw! The little guy!” (Pro tip: it is “the little guy!” regardless of the child’s gender. It also applies to small creatures of any kind [dogs, never cats, what are you even thinking?] and regular sized humans when they are being particularly adorable.)

However, time spent taking care of infants decreases his ability to do this:

So…we got time.

What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

So, we finally had the party I’ve been wanting to throw so badly since forever… a NYE bash with the nearest and dearest-est. It would be safe to say there was a LOT of prep work…

zomg, the cupcakes.

But I think it turned out really well!

Some really attractive people showed up on our doorstep…

…and drank champagne with raspberries while they cavorted with Smash’s amazing photobooth props…

Thanks for making that booth! I kind of love you. Clearly.

So, we got THUG…

How this has become a NYE tradition eludes me, but I love it.

…had a sibling dance party…

When did you get so awesome?

Mongrel's homies cheering his victory.

…got to bond with new friends…

He didn't look this shocked the whole time.

…who went great distances to surprise beautiful people…

I know! You were so surprised!

…played beer pong (in my parents’ house. With my little brother. Still processing this one)…

…and then played charades until D-Spice fell asleep…

…and even after that happened, actually. Watching him go from REM cycle to fully engaged silent actor in 5 seconds was maybe the funniest thing I’ve seen in…forever?

But he never got to play telephone this year!!

And eventually it degenerated into every wonderful sleepover ever…a vicious tickle fight.

Pretty sure that was the best New Year’s Eve on record, at least for me. 2012, the bar has been set pretty high! Can’t wait to see what else you have in store.