Friday, December 17, 2010

Wise words

You've got to face facts, act fast on your own

Preparation, perspiration, dynamite determination

Pack snacks, make tracks all alone.

Don't be cute. Time to scoot. Head out to your destination.

Chase the future, face the great unknown.

-Gobo Fraggle

Thursday, December 16, 2010

First snow

The first snow in Central Park. (I know, all of my posts are becoming tied to Central Park. But it's keeping me sane. I'm thinking of living there. Couldn't I just build a little tiny cottage, like the Sarah Lawrence Teahaus, and go about my business? I wouldn't bother anybody, promise.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dad gifts

Wow, golden autumn has come and gone. Central Park is now nearly empty in the mornings. I love it at this time, and my big sleeping bag coat makes me nearly invincible to the cold. I'm powering through a few stressful work weeks (at least I knew they were coming and could prepare), then I have a bunch of vacation time. Woo!

I'm braving rain today to finish up some holiday shopping. Every year, I get stuck on The Dad Gift. Does this happen to anyone else? I love Internet gift guides because they're fun to look at and inspiring, but they never quite hit the nail on the head for dad gifts—for my dad, anyway. What's with the cufflinks and wine? Is everyone else's dad James Bond? On the flip side, you have grill tools, power tools, etc. That's not quite right, either. (Being a maintenance professional, my dad has about 2 of every tool and I wouldn't know the right kind to get, anyway!) My dad falls somewhere between...a handy poet-raconteur who doesn't wear suits, drinks black coffee, and loves french vanilla ice cream. Anyone know where I can find the gift guide for that? :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Golden autumn

This blessed, golden season is bringing me back to my self again. It's rained less than usual. And it's been warmer than usual. Weather really can lift my mood.

I'm trying to snap out of a cycle of self-defeat. I keep shooting down possibilities before I try them, and keep convincing myself that I can't do things that maybe I *could* do. Just dealing with uncertainty is enough without this kind of thinking—the combination prevents the thrill of possibility from creeping up behind the uncertainty and just creates a scary void. I had lots of unstructured time today to just think, catch up on my to-do list, and exercise. It was glorious. I though a lot about how much I love learning things, and I'm craving a new learning experience in a big way.

Friday, November 5, 2010

View from a sick day

Well, it started about here:Lunchtime on Wednesday, after lots of editing in front of a screen. I started feeling a bit shaky and weird, and decided that I must just be overtired/hungry/computered-out. So I bundled up and decided to try for one of the last outdoor lunches of the season. I parked myself outside of Juilliard, had my sandwich, and felt no better. By 4pm, I had to leave work with various shakes and aches.

And it is ending here:
Sitting around on the couch, being completely useless. In the arsenal: microwaveable hot pack, honey throat drops, Puffs lotionized tissues, Sudafed (the real sh*t, that they make you sign for so they can make sure you're not running a meth lab), ibuprofen, eucalyptus salve, cold water with lemon, hot tea. Oh, and AppleTV, a fleece blanket, and a down blanket.

My fever's finally down, hence the blogging. So happy I'm starting to recover!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Caffeine's been getting me through these days. Thanks to an inherited countertop espresso doodad and a milk frother thingamagig, I've been whipping up some fancy cappuccinos and lattés. Anything made with warm milk tends to make me happy. These little white cups we got as wedding gifts make me happy, too.

And, after experimenting with various recipes from the Web, I learned that you can get the yumminess of a latté even if you haven't happened upon any equipment! I tried this "autumn spice" experiment one day when I wasn't getting the right consistency of milk out of my frother jug. I was craving the Starbucks pumpkin spice latté, but I liked this even better, since it didn't have the syrupy-sweetness. Give it a shot:

-One shot of espresso, or double-strength brewed coffee
-About one cup of milk
-Sugar (I use about 1/4 tsp., but sweeten to your taste)
-Nutmeg (optional; I don't love this 'cause it never seems to dissolve enough in the milk)

In a small pot on the stove, heat up the milk, sugar, and spices. Whisk continually, so you get a little bit of "foam" on top. (It won't be mega-foamy, like Starbucks, but it's yummy all the same.) Combine coffee and milk; top with whipped cream or a dash of cinnamon, if you like.

Stay warm, friends.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I am not so good at dealing with uncertainty. It's true. I always want to know what's next.

Whenever I have a tough moment, I always think about how I could just do something entirely different, and I depend on that to buoy me up until I can make a next step at whatever is causing the trouble or self-doubt. I never actually do these things, but they comfort me, and then I muster the courage to keep trying at the task at hand. (Last week, my life raft was this idea of spending my days in my grandfather's basement, learning woodcarving.)

It was tough getting to work earlier this week. I really, really wanted to stay in bed one morning and avoid all the nuttiness. But my brain said "Will you really feel better about things if you don't face them?" And one teensy little part of my brain said, "Yeah!" But most of it sighed and admitted, "No. You will just feel cowardly and small." So I made it, and snapped this shot of the Lincoln Center sunset after work—my little reward for getting through the day. And here I am on Thursday, still kicking. But...I found out today that I didn't get the new job I've been waiting to hear about. There was a lot riding on this opportunity, so my head is spinning a bit.

I want to know what's next, but I have to just take it slow. I'm going out to nature this weekend, so I'm sure that will help me clear my head.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tea season

Is there anything so glorious as tea season? OK, maybe this:
The rest of a grey New York Sunday is not half bad, either...
(View from the 10th floor of the Flatiron Building, thanks to a friend who has an office inside!)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Halloween is coming!

People, I have discovered that there is no better cure for feeling sad (which has been my state the past few days, sorry to say) than the anticipation of Halloween.

I love Halloween. I love picking a costume and hunting for/making the pieces and putting it all together. I am not a fan of costumes in a bag...I love putting together the whole costume too much, and have found that I can usually do costumes cheaper my way, too! (See: Chris's 2008 Mozart "pantaloons" made outta $5 white sweatpants and knee socks; 2009's Buffy the Vampire Slayer stake, whittled at home from a $3 wooden dowel.)

This year, I'm especially excited about my costume. I chose it ages ago, but have only just started finding the pieces. I'm going to go as Kaylee from the TV show "Firefly." This cheers me up even more than most costumes, because Kaylee is an incredibly cheery character. She's the mechanic on a spaceship and can fix anything. Even when sh** is hitting the fan,
Kaylee will dig in, fix the problem, and respond with a bright "Everything's shiny, cap'n."

(Plus, I love wearing my hair in pigtail knots like that. I do it when no one is home. It makes me look 12.)

So, if you happen to have some olive green coveralls and/or size 6 combat boots I can borrow, lemme know...!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Patch of earth

"Beth has lost it," you are saying. "Why is she posting a patch of dirt?"

Because, friends, I have changed my commute route again. For some reason, I have decided that it is vital for my feet to touch real earth at least once a day, no matter how manicured or shabby it may be. Because how can I stay grounded if I never touch the ground? I know it's crazy, but I've convinced myself that I absorb something elemental this way. This nutty current compulsion of mine takes me over this little patch in Central Park each morning. I do love it so.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Perfect picnic

Chris had to work the evening of July 4, but we still managed to have a perfect 4th by packing a picnic and hanging out in Central Park. Behold the elements of our perfect picnic:

Genius last-minute sandwich idea: Leftover grilled zucchini, sundried tomato, parmesan, garlic aioli
Last-minute salad idea (get the recipe here!)
Bright, juicy goodness.
Bubbles! (The kind allowed in the park, anyway.)
A patriotic spot next to the American flag.
Bethesda Fountain.
The famous boathouse.

We also had some biscuits and I ate a gigantic red, white, and blue popsicle. We visited our neighbors' barbecue later that night, and even caught a far-off glimpse of the Macy's fireworks display over the Manhattan skyline. What did you do for the 4th, U.S.-based friends?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hee hee!

I just recently went high-tech and got a smart phone. How much do I want to carry it around in this cheeky little case??
(A lot.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Little girl in Toy Story 3: "There's a secret ingredient. [whispers] It's jellybeans."

Can't say exactly why I love these little buggers so much, but I just love 'em. As a kid, they were sort of left to the bottom of the Easter basket, to be eaten only after all the flashy chocolates were consumed. Now, they always cheer me up with their colors. The name is hilarious. Plus, they're the perfect subway snack.

Once, Chris and I tried to win $10,000 by developing a jellybean flavor and a JellyBelly "recipe". Turns out our flavor (pomegranate) was already in development when we entered the idea (d'oh!). Our "mojito" recipe didn't win, either. Ah, well.

Recently, upon hearing the news about my grandmother's death, Chris and I went into the city to light candles at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Afterward, Chris brought me to Dylan's Candy Bar in search of a jellybean pick-me-up.

I had a terrible work day today, but some Mike & Ikes (another favorite, close cousins to jellybeans) kept me going. (Side note 1: They're hard to find in these parts, but boxes of these collect dust on the bottom shelves of our local Rite-Aid. I think I am the only New Yorker who seeks them out. Side note 2: Still no way of knowing which ones are Mikes and which ones are Ikes.)

[edit: Out of curiosity just looked up the "mojito" jellybean. That exists now, too! Bet that was also in development already. D'oh!]

Friday, May 28, 2010

I love carnations

I have been enjoying beautiful carnations in the kitchen for a couple of weeks now. On the weekends, I walk down to our corner store and buy a bunch in a single color. One bunch came with baby's breath, which looks corny in the bouquet, but terrific in my bud vase:
Anyway, carnations get a bad rap. They smell amazing, don't cost much, last forever, and are virtually indestructible. I just love them. When I was little, my dad used to get my mom a bouquet of red roses for Valentine's Day, and he'd bring me a bouquet of pink carnations.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What's a girl to do?

Attention cat owners: Is there *any* way to train a cat?

My adorable, gentle, and sweet "bunny-rabbit" greets strangers excitedly, purrs on our laps all the time, infinitely improves my moods and stress levels, and is generally a perfect pet. EXCEPT I cannot stop him from jumping on the counter. This horrifies houseguests and creates work for us (eternal wiping down and/or washing our arsenal of cutting boards—guaranteed cat-free prep surfaces). And, as I was reminded today, when he jumped on the counter and jetted across the HOT STOVE, it is NOT safe for the cat! (He was fine. Phew.)

He jumps on the counter mainly because he loves the sink. We tried getting him a kitty fountain, but he still likes the sink. We tried squirting him with a bottle, but he just deals with the water. "No" is a word that cats understand—and laugh at and ignore. I hear double-sided tape can deter cats from certain surfaces, but our cat loves to chew on tape (what a weirdo!). This "blender defender" seems a little extreme...anyone have any practical advice??

Thursday, May 13, 2010


1) Hot pink lipstick. A fair-skinned friend recently inspired me. She has a complexion like Alexis Bledel here, with the dark hair and ice-blue eyes. I opted for a more muted/less neon version than this. But still, LOVE.

2) Not paying the cable company one million dollars a month. My techie husband has set us up to get all of our media straight from the Interweb to our TV. There are a lot of remote controls right now. But so worth it.

3) Hiding your flatscreen TV. These people are geniuses and I wish I could have a custom cabinet build with one of these reversible bookshelf mechanisms. Maybe we will save enough now that we're not paying the cable company??

4) This video. This little girl turned my day around this morning. I, too, love my pajamas! And my stuff, and my mom and my dad and my whole house!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Vim and vinegar

I was laid up sick yesterday, but in a Sudafed-induced burst of energy, decided that I *had* to do something semi-productive, so I went on a kitchen-cleaning rampage. I decided today that I need to share with you all the beauty of vinegar, something I've slowly been discovering over the last year. It is cheap, easy to find, and a total multi-tasker.

Three Practical and Awesome Uses for Vinegar:

1) Unclogging drains. In New York, one is often worried about the condition of a building's old wiring or plumbing. Take it easy on your pipes next time your drains are clogged: Make a mini drain volcano with baking soda and vinegar. The bubbles jostle out the clog. Plus, it is wicked fun, like 3rd grade science fair. This has worked in our tub several times. Once the clog was so bad we had to resort to both chemicals and an auger. But in most normal situations, vinegar can probably take care of the problem.

2) Odor eater. I'm a pescetarian (ick, I really don't like that long word, but it's an accurate description of my diet). I tend not to make too much fish at home because I can't stand the smell that lingers in the kitchen. But leaving a bowl of plain white vinegar on your counter while you cook fish can help combat the smell! (And if any smell lingers afterwards, boiling some sugar, cinnamon, and cloves can tackle the rest.)

And my personal favorite...

3) Copper pot shiner. We are such lucky ducks and got 2 gorgeous copper pots as wedding gifts. They make me ridiculously happy, sitting there and casting their soft, warm gleam over the kitchen. Imagine my heartbreak as they began to tarnish! Alas, a quick Internet search revealed the solution: Salt and vinegar. Good on chips, great on copper. Shininess restored.

There you have it! I'm still sick today, but need to plow through my last orchestra concert of the season. Hoping the cold meds will see me through! Then back to my PJs and contemplating any number of the following matters: where to live, where to work, how Roger has not yet gone bald and whether there is a viable market for cat hair (if I had a dollar for every time I emptied the vacuum, I'd be a rich, rich lady).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The crash



Yep, that's the state of affairs here at our house right now. This is the crash. We're running on nothing but Red Bull and a dream. (Well, I can't drink that poisonous slime, so I'm running on its less-poisonous cousin, coffee. And we're running on at least four dreams at any given moment. But you get my point.) Crashing's no good, but sometimes quiet time is just the ticket. I think I'm gonna see if I can nudge myself in next to one of these guys and turn off the old brain for a bit!

(This was from yesterday, but no Blogger crashed when I tried to post. Apparently everything was crashing yesterday!)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Buffy: Does it ever get easy?

Giles: You mean life?
Buffy: Yeah. Does it get easy?
Giles: What do you want me to say?
Buffy: Lie to me.
Giles: Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.
Buffy: Liar.

Ah, Buffy. Thanks for being so kick-ass. I slayed some (figurative) vampires today. It wasn't easy, but it was awesome. Speaking of chicks who kick ass...
I have been listening to "Queens of Noise" nonstop and can't wait to see the movie The Runways!! It's a really simple song, but it's the attitude I can't get enough of.

I also can't get enough of this...

That's right, friends—I've gone electric! If anything is ever really annoying you, the best way to vent your frustrations is to crank up the volume on your electric guitar, turn on some weird-ass distortion, and make all the screamy sounds you wish you could make yourself. MAN is that theraputic!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Funny Face

HOW did it take me 26 years to see this film? Magazine editors? Greenwich Village used-book shops? Trip to Paris?Singing and dancing??

This is what our friend Sam calls "Beth catnip."

Another good film choice I made this week: The original Fame. I had never seen that either. Also enjoyed the snot out of that one.

But I *must* stop staying up so late to watch movies! I can't resist these days. I seem to need the separation from the day, and the day ends later than usual lately. We have this nifty device that allows us to stream Netflix rentals through the TV...this is bound to be the death of me!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Happy St. Patrick's Day! How appropriate that I finished Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn today. It's about a girl named Eilis who leaves her family in Enniscorthy, Ireland to find work in Brooklyn. It's set in a post-WWII era—the description of Eilis's boat journey to America will certainly stay with me for a while.

I have been reading this book in small doses because I was afraid of racing through it and having it be over. I finished the last page of this book on the train today and wanted to immediately start over.

(I was also thrilled last weekend to see the author chat a bit about Jane Austen in a film shown at the Morgan Library, the precursor to an exhibit showcasing Austen's letters, manuscripts, etc.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Stuff I don't do anymore

26 feels like a weird age. I feel like time is flying by. I started to think about stuff I haven't been doing these days:

1) Blog. Indeed, I have been remiss.

2) Clean my house. I was feeling like I was prioritizing a clean house a little *too* much, when I could be using the time to either do fun things and relax or take steps toward bigger goals. There is a certain amount of messiness I am OK with (and indeed, I want to maintain this, because I don't want to someday be *that* mom who freaks out over every little crumb or finger-paint accident). But with how little I've been truly "at home" these days, the apartment has been acting as a crash-pad—a very dusty one, at that! Today I finally snapped and had to start cleaning crazily. I really do feel the best when home feels like home—and when I get to be at home a lot!

3) Go to the gym. Work has been in explosion mode and I have made it to the gym about 2 or 3 times in the last month. I've been trying to jam in some Wii Fit when I can to make up for the lack of physical activity!

Whew. Planning on getting a lot done this week, and am going to use tonight to rest up. Then I'm off to see my family this weekend!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Computer skills

I think I need some computer skills so I can work in IT. Those guys are funny. Sighted: Poster of the "happy" bunny ("hey, you made me throw up a little"), bottle of Lemon Pledge, remote-controlled race cars, poster of Muppet hanging his head in front of a computer. Good times.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Party tricks

Chris and I were talking some time ago about whether we have party tricks. We decided that mine is randomly reciting snippets of poetry/Shakespeare. Also, I can cross my eyes, but that doesn't seem too interesting. Do you have a party trick?? Know anyone with a great one?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Goal explosion

A follow-up to my last post about planning for and thinking about the future...this is what's happening on my wall right now:
Everything makes more sense to me if I write it in crayon and tape it to the wall in front of my face. It's helping me make sense of everything and pin down how to get what I want (what, I can't just "have it all," just like that?!).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Being out of the city always gives me time and mental space to think. I love it. Can you tell I was happy during our long weekend in Vermont?

Last night I started working on my long-term career plan. I've been gaining more and more experience and clarity, and the thinking space in Vermont proved very productive. I'm excited and a trifle scared. But at the end of it, I will be making that face that I'm making in the snow-tubing photo!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Photo love

Wow, I feel famous! The lovely miss Amanda has posted some photos of me on her photo blog, The Walking Conch. Check out all of her amazing photos...I'm really digging these Philadelphia details.


My stand partner in orchestra is getting ready to welcome his third grandchild. The little girl is due to arrive next week! Her big-brother-to-be has things figured out. He wants to name her Lightning McQueen.

Family lore has it that I wanted to name my youngest brother Snow White. (Sorry, Steve.) Everyone's pretty glad I lost that argument, including me. Goodness, I love children.

[Edit: I just found out that Lightning McQueen is a character from Cars, one of the few Pixar films I haven't seen. While this is still awesome, I wish I still thought he had pulled that name from thin air!]

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Groundhog Anniversary

Happy Groundhog Day, everyone! This is a fun day for me because exactly 1 year ago today, Chris and I decided to get married at City Hall here in NYC, while in the midst of planning our October bash. At the time, I said Groundhog Day was appropriate because we were going to get married again (dorky joke if you've seen the Bill Murray film). It was the day Staten Island Chuck bit Michael Bloomberg.

And it was the day these photos were taken. I made a last-minute decision on my outfit and scored $10 rings for the ceremony the day before at the Cinderella Club on 34th Street. And my parents and one of my brothers spent a whirlwind day in NY!

As we were about to get on the subway, my dad said, "Shouldn't you have some flowers?" So we ran into a flower shop under the 7 train and told the confused woman I was getting married (now) and needed flowers! The $5 white daisies lasted for AGES.
There are 6 more weeks of winter ahead. Oh, well. February 2nd will always be extra-fun for me.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ballerina wannabe

Last week, no one was in the stretching room at the Y and I started making use of the barre as a secret ballerina. I was reminded of this ballet workout cassette tape I had as a kid, which came in a set with a tutu, hot pink leg warmers, and a pink plastic barre that my dad set up for me. I really liked doing ballet with that tape.

I started thinking...we have a Wii Fit at home. There must be a ballet workout game for that, right? There is, but it's got terrible reviews. Like most video games "for girls," someone banged this out thinking that little girls will enjoy the overall pinkness of it and that will be that. I think they're missing the boat on this one! Wii Fit seems tailor-made for a good ballet or dance game, and Wii Fit games can work so well for any age.

Seems like video game companies overall say it's tough to get girls and women into video games. I'm sure, by and large, female audiences prefer games with different themes then male audiences do ("be a vet" vs. "sniper fun" or "puzzles" over "cars with loud engines"). But female audiences aren't stupid and can recognize a sub-par game. The world within the game has to be just as cool, detailed, and complete as a game created in one of the standard genres.

Anyway, got sidetracked! I'm thinking of getting the New York City Ballet Workout on DVD. Then I can be a secret ballerina in the privacy of my home. :)


In the midst of all the awful news from Haiti, something good came across the wires today. My close co-worker's de-facto sister-in-law and niece live in Haiti and had not been heard from since the earthquake. Today, they were finally able to get in touch with their family here in the U.S.—they are both okay and coming to stay with their stateside family as soon as possible. Can't begin to describe the relief and joy on my friend's face today.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fashion dilemma

You guys, can you help with my fashion dilemma? What color shoes to wear with navy? Black or brown? In the summer, I wear red summery shoes with navy, but winter does not allow those options.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Girl crush: Carey Mulligan

Saw this amazingly talented and beauteous young lady in An Education last night. Her face is so expressive! She can move the tiniest facial muscles to convey emotion. During the movie, I tried to replicate one of her subtle expressions of joy and just found my face kinda twitching. (Good thing the movie theatre is dark!) I liked the movie, and it's getting a lot of positive press. Can't wait to see what she does next.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Love, humanity

Weird that going to the gym the past 2 days has made me love humanity. How can you not love a place where people—of all shapes, sizes, and ages—gather to stay healthy? The place is a celebration of life. Even though it kind of smells funny.

I'm also in the midst of reading The Zookeeper's Wife, a book about a couple of Polish zookeepers who helped over three hundred Jews escape from the Nazis during WWII. The style is much different than I expected (and I'm not really in love with it), but the stories have repeatedly bowled me over by describing the lengths to which people went to help those in trouble.

(The image, by the way, is my gym, as seen from the air!)

Sunday, January 17, 2010


2 dudes with shaggy hair and sorta large noses who are cracking me up these days:

1) Demetri Martin, self-described "palindrome enthusiast."
I'm really liking "Important Things," the jokes and drawings moreso than the sketches. Appreciate fellow human being who enjoys labeling things in an obvious fashion for fun (see: the phone in our study, Demetri's keyboard).

2) Topher Brink, as played by Fran Kranz on Dollhouse.
OK, so this show has always been mining dark territory, even moreso in recent episodes. He may invent technology that leads to the collapse of civilization, but neurotic Topher often cracks me the hell up.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sworn enemy: Halls subway ads

Has anyone else on the NYC side seen and hated these Halls ads as much as I do? I refuse to post them here because they're so hideous. Not to mention they convey bad medical advice conflicting directly with the MTA's own (wise but hideously designed) messaging: "Feeling under the weather? Don't get on the train." Can we have those cute little JetBlue ads back?

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Gratitude, triggered by a biscuit. For some reason, while biting into one of these sweet treats tonight, all of the "ifs" swimming around in my head just stopped. All at once, I felt so thankful for everything; felt lucky to have the support of my wonderful friends and husband, the chance to start working on a project I'm excited about, AppleTV with its ability to stream classical WGBH radio from Boston and remind me of my childhood. Thanks, Le Petit Ecolier.

Appetizing image came from here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Snack ball

Loving this little stocking stuffer I got—the Boon snack ball. Is it really meant as a Cheerio-holder for stroller-riding babies? Yes. Did I ask for it anyway? Yes. It's lightweight, BpA free, and looks kind of space-age. Enjoying a nice little trail mix from it now. :)