I mentioned in my last post that I'm becoming more and more left wing. I do, of course, live in the USA, where the political spectrum skews so far right that I look like a raging communist in comparison, but even in little old NZ I think it'd be safe to say that I'm definitely a dirty hippie when it comes to politics.
This almost certainly has something to do with some of the most influential people I know - my parents. I'm a lot like them, which isn't surprising to anyone but me, because when I was younger I devoted a decent amount of time to vocally swearing to never be anything like their embarrassing selves. A wasted effort - I should have just kept quiet and enjoyed all the amazing things they gifted me and my brothers with.
Things like growing up in such a sensational environment. The house I grew up in wasn't fancy, but it was in a prime location, on a quiet road two minutes walk from a calm, tranquil beach (and fancy when you have three healthily destructive children seems unnecessarily punitive). One entire side of our house looked out over the water. Binoculars were kept on the kitchen windowsill, not for nefarious purposes, but so my father could get a closer look at any boats that may be sailing past. I wish I had a photo, but a Google image search brought nothing up except for a whole lot of photos of houses and landmarks that I recognize almost viscerally. I can do a photo of 'my' beach:
That could almost be me running down there. It's not, of course, because I don't do that and I'm pretty certain that's a man, or a woman with really long legs.
You will note some boats on the water, and that I mentioned boats up above also. Boats are kind of a big thing in my family. My dad is a boatbuilder, and his dad was a boatbuilder, and his dad was a boatbuilder...it goes way back, I think to before my father's family even settled in New Zealand. We had lots of boats when I was growing up, sometimes at the same time, but mostly not because my mum objected to having boats all over the place. I liked sailing okay, but I was never really into it, which I think made my dad a bit sad. My mum never used to love it, either, but they recently lived on a boat for a couple of years, so I'm guessing she adapted.
Sometimes I want to go back to my younger self and slap her, for not realizing what she had. I was taught to sail when before I was 10, and had the opportunity to sail whenever I wanted - and I didn't care. Now that I pretty much never get the chance to get on the water, it's something I'm mad keen on. Not that I can - I've forgotten almost all I ever learned, apart from some random things that will not serve me well at all if I ever find myself alone and in charge of a yacht.
What I can do, however, is dress the part. Nautical-styled fashion is one of my very favorite looks. Not so much this:
H1 is firm in his conviction that we're not getting a boat, no matter how much I nag and try to convince him that the city of New York would be more than happy for us to moor it on the East River. To be fair, he can't sail either, so even if we had a boat all we could do is sunbathe on it and pay the fines we would no doubt incur for keeping it moored on the East River. He is, however, tolerant of the fashion side, which is lucky because I own a variation on every single piece I posted above (or, in the case of the top and the necklace, the exact piece. In different colors). My reasoning is sane - I figure he will either come around to the idea of owning a boat one day (in which case I will already own appropriate clothing) or one day we will live closer to my parents, and I will be able to make my dad happy by not only going sailing with him, but dressing the part. It's a long game.
Most of the big awards shows have already happened. The BAFTAs, the Golden Globes, the Oscars...all of them are done for 2012.
In the blogging world, however, awards season is all the time, and now, thanks to the wonderful Bunny Eats Design, I'm the recipient of one of them.
I'm uncommonly proud of this. There's this whole great blogging world out there, of which I'm not really a part. I feel like I don't have the time to regularly read all the blogs I'd like to, and so it wouldn't be fair to involve myself too much - but given how many amazing blogs there are out there, I should devote more time to it. Anyway, awards are part of that blogging world, so this is a very pleasant surprise for me!
I actually received this over a month ago, but I have been very carefully thinking about how best to fulfill the requirements for this award:
1. Link back to the blog that gave them the award (this one was quite easy)
2. List seven things about themselves (a little more challenging, but seven's not that big a number)
3. Give the award to five others
I have spent a lot of time thinking about the third thing! There are so many brilliant blogs out there, but I wanted it to go to blogs that weren't too swish - ones run by people a bit like me, who hold down jobs and marriages and social lives and do it in their spare time. Doing all that requires a lot of versatility, after all.
So without further ado...
Seven things about me:
1. I'm a really bad photographer. Two years of classes did sweet f-a for me.
2. If I didn't have a words-based career, I'd be doing something in design. I've realized over the last few years that I'm actually quite good at it.
3. I'm really interested in pretty much everything. This is hard in job interviews, when I'm trying to sound focused.
4. I'm getting more and more left wing as I grow older. My parents are proud.
5. My favorite place is the beach. Almost any beach, at any time. I am a beachy person.
6. My favorite color is yellow, but I mostly wear blue.
7. I work really hard, but I never feel like I do enough. When I die, I will be one of those people who regrets not working harder (i.e. the type everybody says doesn't exist). I'm really hard on myself - far meaner to myself than I'd ever be to anyone else.
Five blogs that deserve this award:
1. The Parmesan Poet - Anaise is a recent addition to my blogroll. She's very good at cooking and very smart - smart enough to take a classical piece of literature, decant it, isolate its essence, then create recipes based upon that. It's awesome, and a little terrifying.
2. Mrs Pink Champagne - pure fluff, and I mean that in the most positive, fantastic way. Mrs Pink Champagne blogs about fashion mostly, with a decent helping of travel, home decor, and socializing. She has very similar tastes to me, and lives in the type of bubbly pink palace (in my head, at least) that I've always secretly wanted to inhabit.
3. Jo Beaufoix - I have next to nothing in common with this English mother and poet, but I feel like I connect with her anyway, because her pithy, generally amusing pieces on life in general are so well constructed.
4. The Preppy Princess - again, a meeting of tastes. The Preppy Princess blogs mainly about fashion - the sort of fashion I like to wear. I appreciate her longer posts when I have a few minutes more than usual, and her intelligent deconstruction of the stories behind the fashion.
5. Oh Sunnie Day! - another recent find, with short posts that provide me with a two minute distraction when I need one, and a focus on all things beach that helps me keep my sanity in the concrete city in which I live (see point 5 in the former list).
Thank you to Bunny Eats Design, and to the five blogs listed above - I know how much time, love, and care goes into this, and I'm so glad so many wonderful people do it! (Especially when I have a deadline, ha ha!)
I was in a sour mood last Thursday, sour like a lemon sour. It was cold and grey and miserable, then it warmed up enough to go straight from cold to unbearably muggy. It rained in the morning, right when I had to go out, and my hair went frizzy and messy. It was one of those days.
H1 and I had decided before he left for work that we'd go to the movies that night, after grabbing a quick dinner of sushi or something similar. Various unexpected delays, and a quick reading of the situation by my clever husband, led to the decision to forgo the movie and just head to dinner. But where?
We're not exactly short of dining options in our area, and despite enthusiastically trying a wide range out over the last nearly two years, we've hardly scratched the surface. For some reason, though, picking somewhere to have dinner on Thursday night proved to be troublesome. As we wandered the streets, discussing ideas and stopping to check menus at likely-looking places, I caught H1 up on the events of my day.
"I went to the doctor and that was fine..." I said as we crossed Third Avenue.
"My hair was great this morning and now it's awful because the rain messed it up..." as he frowned at a restaurant's description of their terrines.
"There were crazy people* everywhere today..."
He turned to me and smiled patiently at this point. "Rough day?"
I nodded sullenly, and he echoed my nod gravely. "Where do you want to eat?"
"Cask," I announced.
"Okay," H1 agreed. "We'll go to Cask."
Cask is one of our neighborhood favorites, a local so good we will return to it when we move out of this neighborhood. It's not expensive, but not cheap, and usually we'd save it for a night that wasn't a school night, and a time when H1 wasn't in training for a big cycle race, and cut loose a bit more than we usually do on a Thursday.
We were at Park by this stage, so we turned around and started to trek back down to Third. At Lex, H1 paused and looked north.
"We're only one block away from Penelope," he pointed out. "Do they do dinner?"
Penelope is another favorite, but one to which we've only ever been for brunch before. Inside, it's a cozy pale blue, with mismatched plates and glasses, and wooden tables with flowers painted on them. They make the best waffles ever, and all manner of crazy-inventive breakfasts, and because there's always a queue, they dole out unlimited coffee while you wait on the bench outside. It's also ridiculously cheap. There is not a bad word to be said about Penelope, and I would argue with anyone who tried until they gave in and agreed with me.
I was pretty sure they did, so we went to check, and sure enough. Not only did they do dinner, but they offered all sorts of amazing sounding things that H1 and I wanted to eat. I don't even remember us reaching a consensus - we just walked in and procured a table, as if by magical food telepathy**.
My day went solidly uphill from there, and thanks to the total deliciousness of my brie and apple sandwich and green salad, H1 even got to share some details of his. He ate a salad (aforementioned training - he's not really a salad person, usually) but it contained chicken and dried fruit and toasted coconut, and was warm, so he was happy - more than happy, really. I was too - time with my husband and a sandwich containing two of my favorite foods and more Dijon mustard than any sane person would really enjoy***?
We didn't drink anything but water, H1 because he's in training, me because discovering a new wine or enjoying an old favorite is not nearly as good when you're not sharing the experience, and we didn't eat dessert, because it was Thursday. In some places, ordering two mains and one side, with no drinks or dessert, would lead to lesser service. Not here. The service was perfect from sitting down to receiving and paying the piddly little bill.
I would recommend Penelope to all and sundry, but the queues are quite long enough as it is. All the same, it's a neighborhood favorite that nobody should be without, so if you happen across it, go. For those who don't live in Murray Hill, if you haven't found your Penelope yet, go looking and don't rest until you do so. Open your own if you need to. It's that good.
*This sounds kind of mean, but it's true. New York has more than its fair share of crazies, and they all come out the second it starts warming up. I don't know where they go over winter - Florida? The Bahamas? - but once the temperature hits 12°C or so, it's all on for another season.
**About the only mystical thing I could even begin to consider taking seriously.
***Any sane person but me! I could eat mustard by the spoonful. Somehow the waiter sensed that (magical food telepathy?) and my sandwich was mustardy enough to hurt my nose occasionally - i.e. perfect.