Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Spidey Went Bliiiiind!

Sorry, Adam is currently playing Spider-Man (yes, with a hyphen, ahem *copyeditor*) 3 on the Wii and apparently either Spidey went blind or Manhattan finally fell into the pits of Hell. Or it's a computer glitch. Whichever.

So, it's been a really wild and wooly few weeks here in the Big Apple. Back in the middle of April, Adam and I enjoyed a very lovely Passover evening (Adam spent the day at the Comic-con, as you can see by the amusing photos on our website). I bought many of the ingredients at the farmer's market in Union Square, including the carrots and parsnips for the matzos ball soup, and potatoes for the mashed potatoes. So the only carrots available were these gargantuan suckers which I assumed would be bitter, but I bought them anyway, three of them. I peeled two at home and quickly realized that one would be enough for the soup, so I decided to just eat the other one for a snack.

Let me tell you, that was the best carrot I have ever eaten in my entire life. Anyone who tells you a carrot is just a carrot, has never tasted a carrot like this. It wasn't crunchy, it was crispy. It was sweet as honey, it was absolutely divine. I wholeheartedly advise all of you to visit farmer's markets in your area as often as possible. It will revolutionize your thinking about food.

I spent the last weekend of April in Philadelphia for Jessi's bridal shower. We all had a great time, and everyone told me how "sophisticated" and "cosmopolitan" I looked. Hoo-ray. Wait until they see me gnawing on a carrot the size of a pipe wrench. That's what I call "sophisticated."

Jessi looked beautiful and happy, and I can't wait for the wedding at the end of this month. I'm making her the coolest gift ever, and I can't wait to see her open it. A lot of my old friends will be coming to the wedding, too, so I just know what a memorable weekend that will be! Weddings are really reunions in disguise.

This past weekend was very productive, indeed. Friday night we had a visit by our old/new friends Jen and Garrett, UMBC Theatre chums of ours that we literally hadn't seen in five years. I came upon Jen's old university website by accident, found her e-mail, sent her a quick message not even expecting her to write back, got a message back from her within the hour, found out she LIVES IN BROOKLYN LESS THAN THREE MILES AWAY FROM US WITH HER FIANCEE GARRETT, and BOOM, three days later we're having a birthday dinner with them in Williamsburg and we've got new friends. New/old friends. Now we see them all the time. They are fabulous. We played Wii and Cranium at our place and drank beer and laughed and laaaaughhhed. This was following another the weekened before with them and a bunch of others at a karaoke club in midtown...Adam and I performed a wicked rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" that really got the party going...

Anyway, I digress. They are truly wonderful. Saturday we shopped 'till we dropped, and Sunday was at home (a little bit closer to the end of my thesis and a few notes learned from Bach's cello suite #1) until that evening when we went to Carroll Garden's to a place called Zaytoons where we ate the most intensely orgasmic meal of Middle Eastern cuisine ever in creation. I had falafel and babaganoush, Adam had lamb shawarma and hummus...and violins were playing on fluffy clouds with angels singing...what? Oh, yeah. Sorry. So, it was really good. Really, really good. It was the kind of meal that makes you take a deep breath, look around you, and feel truly lucky to be alive. Because the sun is shining brightly, and the falafel was just so crunchy...

Peace, y'all.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Know...I Know...

I'm a terrible person. I have completely neglected this blog for over a month now. Hold on and let me ritualistically flog myself in shame.



Okay. So, things have been dandy since Adam's surgery a month ago, and I'm very pleased to say that he is completely healed (was, really, a couple weeks after the fact, much quicker than I). Things have been great at work for both of us, and life has been generally normal. Hence, perhaps, the lack of blog posts.

My folks came up for a long awaited visit at the beginning of this month, highlights of which included an always fantastic breakfast at Eisenberg's, an Israeli dinner in Brooklyn, brunch and such things and a lovely homemade dinner of mixed fingerling potatoes, whole artichokes, and broiled cod with a fresh tomato, garlic and herb topping. Delicious!!! It was great weather, and we all had a really great time.

The weather has been steadily improving, which is so incredibly refreshing when living in the city. You are out on your feet quite a lot here, which means you have a very close relationship with the environment. Warm breezes are a life-giving blessing. Because it's spring, I've started an indoor herb garden in my kitchen (a hanging pot with oregano, parsley and catnip) and some outdoor pots for lettuce. I'm planning to get some tomatoes going in May.

Did you know that you can make tea out of fresh catnip? Not just for kitty anymore! I read about this, and proceeded to cook some up for Adam and I a couple weeks ago. We drank it (minty and calming, like Chamomile, it's supposed to help you sleep and soothe respiratory ailments) and about 10 minutes later I was half-collapsed on the bed and drooling and Adam was feeling drunk. The wonders of catnip! Either it was really potent or we are part cat.

This weekend Adam will attend the New York Comicon with my coworker's fiance and meet Stan Lee and millions of comic books nerds, and I will purchase lingerie for a friend's bridal shower, go fill up a bag with green things at the Farmer's Market, and make Passover dinner. Sadly, I won't be spending it with family this year, but we have great plans for this summer so I can't be too sad.

I can now play "Simple Gifts" on my cello, mostly well. I am learning "It's Only Love" by The Beatles, too. It doesn't sound like a tortured cow anymore. Well, not often anyway.

Back in Maryland, I started with four guppies in my fish tank. When we moved, I gave away about ten babies. Now I have about forty. The miracle of nature.

So, strangely, that's pretty much all the news for now. Maybe it's that we feel like New Yorkers now, so things aren't so crazy like they were before. We're not like, "OH! BUILDINGS!" or "AH! THE SUBWAY!" anymore. But, don't get me wrong, we still love it. I guess it's just that we feel at home now. And that's nice.

More later! Peace.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Appendicitis, Part Deux

The events of this past week either prove that Adam and I are destined to be together, or that God has a very, very dry sense of humor. Or both.

Wednesday night, Adam came home feeling a bit sore and queasy, but honestly, for a teacher that's nothing new. So we went to sleep, and at about 4:30 in the morning I wake up and Adam is shuddering and groaning next to me. "What? What's wrong?" I say.

"My stomach...my whole stomach hurts."

"Your whole stomach? Are you sure?"

"Well, mostly on the lower right hand side."

"Oh....no....get up, we have to go to the hospital." So, completely disbelieving that all this is really happening, we calmly get dressed and pack a bag with books and iPods, and I quickly locate a hospital in Manhattan that fits my approval. Beth Israel Hospital on the lower east side.

After being up for about 10 minutes, Adam says, "You know, I'm feeling better...maybe I'm OK?"

"Does it still hurt when you press on that spot?"

Presses. "Ugh. Yes."

"Then we're going!" So, we walk down the street and take the subway (yes, we took the subway to the hospital) into Manhattan. Once it drops us off we walk into the emergency room and are quickly ushered in in record time. Within 20 minutes Adam has had his vitals taken, his blood drawn and a urine sample done, and is lying in a bed with IV fluids. Pretty astounding. A host of fabulously attractive doctors and nurses attend to us, and immediately verify what we'd been thinking all along: Adam probably has appendicitis. They have to do a Catscan to see if they'll need to operate or not though, so they start loading him up on this contrast fluid. What was most surprising to them was the minor amounts of pain Adam was in and the total lack of other symptoms (vomiting, nausea, dizziness, all of which I was lucky enough to experience with my appendicitis) he has. Maybe he won't need surgery, we thought.

After two hours or so of waiting and listening to the melodic sounds of a woman dry-heaving on the bed next to us, he gets the test and almost instantly we're informed that Adam's appendix needs to come out of there, stat. As per usual, Adam blinks and says "OK" and I spontaneously burst into tears. It was going to be a long day.

Now, the irony of both of us receiving emergency appendectomies within the same year doesn't escape us for a moment. After all, not only does this not happen very often, but it's not at all contagious. We immediately started joking around about our matching scars and how we have to do everything together, and it occurs to me how much better Adam is faring than I did. It's not surprising, really, he's a much more resilient sort, but it's amazing how people's bodies react so differently to the same thing.

So, a couple doctors (young guy and young woman) come by later to use an ultrasound to check him for internal bleeding. They're examining him, and he's got his shirt up to his neck and they start commenting on how "textbook" Adam's organs are. "You've got great anatomy," the guy says.

After only about one beat, Adam replies, "That's what all the ladies say." The woman doctor's stares at Adam and starts laughing.

"That is so something he would say!" she says, pointing at the male doctor. Adam is blushing at this point, sort of in disbelief that he would say such a thing in the emergency room while half naked in front of a strange and attractive female doctor. Well, desperate times call for desperate humor. Later, Adam would make eyes at one of the other dreamy doctors in the ER, who seemed to take a shine to him and kept shaking his hand goodbye.

At about 2:00, they transfer Adam to the prep room in the OR. I follow, lugging our bags and trying not to freak out. It was quite difficult, considering the heartfelt "If I don't make it, just be happy" entreaty Adam gave me before that and the removal of his wedding band to my finger until after the surgery. Horrible, horrible, and horrible. After a grueling hour or so, as Adam's cheery constitution begins to wilt, mostly from starvation and exhaustion, they finally take him in. I spend the next two hours in the waiting room, trying to avoid thinking negative thoughts. Finally, the surgeon comes out to inform me that it all went fine. After another half hour, I head up to the recovery room for the worst part of the entire day (I think I can safely say that for both of us).

Adam was there, looking pale, sweaty and barely conscious. He was deliriously asking for pain medication, and when I told the bitchy nurse who was there she barked at me: "I'm already getting it!" Mild mannered as I am, I swear I almost throttled the woman. She was so rude! And I was so stricken! So I stood there helplessly for a few minutes and then she kicked me out. "Come back in an hour!" she spat. I swallowed my anger and left.

When I came back later Adam looked better, but still in a lot of pain. Luckily, he was going to be taken to a room soon. His happiest moment at this point was probably the ingestion of the nasty hospital tea that they gave him. It was the first thing in his throat (other than medicine) for about 24 hours. My happiest moment, by far, was when I pushed his wedding band back onto his finger. The worst was over. Finally, finally, around 7:30 p.m., we went up to his room. When he was safely installed there, I kissed him goodnight and stepped out into the cold. But the night wasn't over for either of us. Nope.

After I stepped into the subway station after a cab ride, something occurred to me: Do I have house keys? As I replayed our exit that morning in my mind, I suddenly knew, no, I don't have house keys. Adam locked the door. They're in his jacket pocket. Then, another thought came into my mind. The thought was this: Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.

It was now 9 p.m. I was screwed. My only hope was the landlady, who had spare keys. If she was home, awake and interested in answering the phone, I was saved. If not...well, let's not think about that. I reached our street and stood on the doorstep, calling. Cell phone? No. Home phone? Nothing. Ok....ok....buzzer then.




Silence. The wind was blowing and I was getting colder by the second. She wasn't going to answer, I thought. Ok, one more time.


I stood there, and stared out down the street. It was hopeless, and I was sort of paralyzed with no idea of what to do next. And then, like a miracle:


"ROSA! This is Michelle! IhadtotakeAdamtotheemergencyroomthismorningandhe'sinthehospitalandthekeysarethereand Can you let me in????"


Relief. She headed down a few minutes later and I filled her in, feeling absolutely terrible about getting her up. She sat on the ledge in the entranceway, and said, "Man, you were lucky to wake me! I felt like I was in a dead sleep...I've had this flu..." And I felt even worse. Strangely enough though, when I gave her a gift bag of OJ, tea and chicken soup, she told me that she was thankful that I got her up because she had been in such a strange, deep sleep. "You might have saved my life!" she said. Well, maybe everything does happen for a reason...

Adam's night was, as you can imagine, worse than mine. As it often happens after major surgery, the normal processes of the body become quite mixed up. Possibly one of the most important things one must do after surgery is pee. Peeing is king. If you do not pee, you cannot be released into the world. It's a mandatory gesture of good health. So, all night, Adam was struggling with the complicated act of peeing. Unfortunately, it hurt quite a lot and was virtually impossible. Evenutally, (after a dose of percoset), he decided that the solution to this problem was to stand up. So he did. And after about two seconds, and the realization that he had been lying down for the past 24 hours and was on hardcore painkillers and had three knife wounds in his belly, he swooned and sat down again before hitting the call button and passing out cold. Luckily, there was no harm done, and Adam's male nurse Steven scolded him tenderly after Adam regained consciousness. A very tumultuous evening indeed.

The next day, after spending a couple hours at work, I went back to the hospital to take Adam home. After a arduous journey, we finally arrived home. Thank goodness!!!

We spent a very lovely weekend with my friend Dar who came in from Long Island, and Adam has rested and is feeling better. He will probably take most of the week off to recover, and I'm looking forward to a relaxing week myself. When his bandages come off, I'll be sure to post a photo of our lovely matching scars for you all to see.

Appendix's...who needs 'em?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How Long is 27 Years?

Today is my birthday. 27 years ago, this morning, I was born into the world and started breathing the air and learning to live. First there was eating and sleeping, then walking and talking, followed by reading, drawing, laughing, crying, worrying, dreaming, et cetera, et cetera.

Oh, and loving, of course. There was always loving.

Life is strange. Whenever something monumental happens to you, you always look back on your old self like some other person, living some other life. But, if the change was good, you thank that person for making those decisions, often quite blindly, that created the you and the life you’re living now. In some ways, they are the mothers of the new you, the ones who endured the pain and the unknown to give birth to fresh life, to the possibility of better things. Their sacrifice made your joy possible.

So, um, thanks old me. It was all worth it.

Anyway, as my friends at UMBC were quick to inform me, it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. I will attempt to cram all that New Yorky goodness into this post.

Ben and Natalie’s Visit
Our buddies Ben and Nat drove up in the new Natmobile at the end of January to spend the long weekend with us, and what a weekend it was! We enjoyed many lovely meals, including some pho in Chinatown, some sushi in Greenwich Village, and some Ben’s Specialty Thai Chicken at home. Adam and Ben jammed on their guitars, and we drank and played Mario Party as per usual. Since it was Nat’s birthday, we also picked up some delicious cookies and cakes at a bakery in Greenwich. Since it was bloody freezing that weekend, we stayed inside a lot and just hung out. Another lovely visit from our Maryland lovers. We hope they’ll be back soon!

The Race, and That Almost-Vomiting Feeling
So on February 3rd (otherwise known as Superbowl Sunday), Adam and I ran our first race with the New York Roadrunners: The 4-mile Gridiron Classic. We had joined this club in hopes of forcing ourselves to keep fit, and also because we have several friends who are members and have talked it up a lot. So, Adam and I went to the gym (well, me, mostly, but I’m not bragging, as you’ll soon see…) and practiced and trained. And then it was upon us, and there was nothing to do but double knot our shoelaces and pray.

We were up in Central Park by 8:30 for the 9 a.m. race, and it was cold. I was somewhat bundled, wearing yoga pants, a long sleeve t-shirt under a sweatshirt, a hat, and gloves, but I was still freezing. It wasn’t until later that I would regret the thick layers. As we stood in the crowd, we watched as what seemed like thousands of runners poured into the park like a great tide of fitness, bare legs and arms scoffing at the cold. Meanwhile, I stretched and tried to appear confident. The truth is, I am a slow runner. And I mean, really slow. Blind, deformed tortoises crawling through a river of molasses would have a leg up on me. I. Am. Slow.

So you get my point. Plus, I just don’t have a lot of stamina. I was never an athlete, so I don’t have that handy muscle memory to be like, “Oh, yeah, I remember this. Okay.” No. My muscles experience running and act like Puritans being forced to experience television. Exercising? More like exorcising. Anyway, there I was and boom, the race begins.

At first, everything was great. I had my iPod on, I was pumped, I was feeling good. Then, maybe about a quarter of a mile later, I start getting tired. And I mean really tired. I slow down. Sixty-five­ year old retirees with false teeth pass me with apparent ease. I start getting panicky which only makes things worse. Adam, who is loping along like a gazelle, tries to keep me upbeat. “Come on!” he says. “You can do it! Keep going!” So I keep going. Throughout the four miles, I felt many emotions: determination, worry, fear, despair, elation, a deep-seated hatred for hills, shame, pride, and finally, that almost-vomiting feeling, which came upon me as I crossed the finish line at top speed. What happened was, Adam--who, angel as he is, stayed with me the whole time despite the fact that he could have easily left me in the dust—wanted to keep me running (not walking) till the end once the finish line came into sight. I kept going, but those last 100 yards were the end of me. I blurted out, “I…can’t…go…any…more…” and he yelled, “ONE LAST PUSH!” And so I pushed. I sprinted, actually, those last 100 yards to the finish line. And once I did, I came to a grinding halt. And then, I wanted to barf. The need filled my being, and paralyzed me on the spot. Adam had to drag me to a nearby bench and force a cup of water into my hand before the feeling passed. And slowly, I came to the realization that we had done it. And, amazingly enough, in only 49 minutes, which is a great time for me. After gorging ourselves on hot chocolate, bagels and apples, and talking to our speedy runner friends, we headed home, where I proceeded to collapse onto the couch and remain there on a heating pad for the majority of the afternoon.

Can you believe we’re doing another one in a couple of weeks? I guess I love to suffer.

In the weeks to follow, we’ve done some other assorted things like attend an amazing gallery opening for one of GW’s illustrators, where I met up with many of my colleagues and lots of authors and illustrators, too. It was a wonderful evening, and it was so much fun introducing Adam to people and giving him a peek into that world that I’m becoming a part of. I love it more than ever!

We also had the opportunity to see The Lion King on Broadway, which Adam had seen years ago, but I never have! It was an absolutely breathtaking show, and we had amazing seats in the center orchestra. Worth every penny! And afterwards, we walked out of the theatre and straight into a freak blizzard that blew into Manhattan like a hurricane. It was surreal being in Times Square and having these huge white flakes blowing sideways into your face and covering you up in three moments. We warmed ourselves up in a nearby diner on sandwiches and coffee before heading home.

Birthday Weekend
This weekend was spent in Maryland with family, and we enjoyed the company (and the food, of course) immensely. Mom got to introduce us to the new cat, Mookie, with great pride. He’s a lug and she is thrilled. Adam spent a great deal of time playing a game called God of War, which seemed to entertain my parents for hours. I was annoyed at the over-the-top gore and unnecessary sex scenes at first, but it got better as the game went on, and became sort of funny, sitting there watching Adam play video games with my parents. Lots of fun. The kids are enormous, and smart as ever. It’s so odd watching them grow up so fast. Nikki and I got in a lot of baby talk, and while we were at her house she led me into the storage room so I could survey the things that would be mine, i.e. maternity clothes for all seasons, a crib, assorted child rearing equipment, and crates of clothes separated by age. It was amazing and scary seeing all of that and knowing that those things are now tangible for me, are just around the corner in the great scheme of things. Having a sister so much older than I was separated us for most of our lives, we were always close, but we never really were at the same place at the same time. It’s only natural, being nine years apart. But somehow in that moment, when she opened the door and pointed out the baby clothes and we discussed the measurements of the crib and the necessity of interrogating your OBGYN, those nine years seemed finally to melt away and become a thing of the past. A mother is a mother, after all.

While we were there my Dad happened to inquire about all of my old friends, and what they were doing now. This was because my old buddy Nick was coming to visit that evening, who I hadn’t seen in many months. I filled him in on everyone, friends living on all corners of the country, getting PhD’s, working in high places, getting married, all those things. And at the end of it, he said, “Well, it seems that all of them are doing really well, aren’t they?” And I thought about it and well, yeah, they were all doing well. “I had really smart friends,” I said. And I smiled. I had really great friends. It made me feel good to think about them all, like balloons, connected to me by these long, billowy strings that made my heart feel light as air. Buoyant, you know? And there I was, with my family who was connected to me too, with even tighter knots. And when you think of your life that way, with these long strings connecting you to all the people you love who keep you afloat, it’s hard to ever feel alone.

Thanks for another great year of life, everyone. Until next time…

Monday, January 14, 2008

Heavenly Brooklyn Eats.

Adam and I enjoyed a really wonderful weekend, and now I'm back at work looking back on it all. I thought I would get some of this down before the morning really starts. So, Friday after work Adam met me in Greenwich (I drank a very good raspberry stout in a nearby bar while I waited for his arrival) and ate some delicious Greek food. We got home and I sort of crashed because of a killer headache. The next morning we got up and ate a delicious breakfast of two eggs over easy, a chunk of La Vache Qui Rie cheese (otherwise known to Americans as Laughing Cow cheese), and a slice of fresh French bread with proscuttio on it. Mmmm. Then we struck out on a Brooklyn walk suggested by Time Out New York called "The Other 5th Avenue." Basically, you start out near us on Brooklyn's own 5th avenue and walk about 6 miles to the end of it at the southwestern tip of Brooklyn. We didn't quite get that far, (we only walked about 3.5 miles of it) but it was really a GREAT trip.

You start out in prime Park Slope, one of the nicest neighborhoods Brooklyn has to offer. Boutiques, dozens of restaurants and bars line the streets offering basically any food or goods you could ask for. We stopped for brunch at a Peruvian restaurant where, for a mere $9.95, we ate the most amazing food in the universe. (Aside from home-cooked meals, of course.) With this deal, you got bottomless coffee or tea, a cocktail of your choice and a meal. Adam chose tea, a passionfruit and champagne cocktail, and a pita sandwich with turkey and avocado, topped with a fried egg. I chose a mojito, and roasted chicken with saffron rice and black beans, a small salad and fried plantains. Now, it doesn't sound like much, but this food was so delicious that it made me cry. It really, really did. I started getting all choked up eating this wonderous chicken, and began professing my undying love and appreciation to Adam whilst sniffling and chewing in complete ecstacy. I kid you not. It was really good. You can see some pics of it on our photosite.

We walked some more and saw lots of fascinating things, until we reached the Greenwood Cemetery, possibly the largest cemetery in creation. You may thing, ew, why would you want to go to a cemetery? But seriously, this place is amazing. Created in 1838, its rolling hills and wooded glades take up over 470 acres in southern Brooklyn. Its every nook is covered with huge statuary, mausoleums, and other amazing structures that you have to see to believe. Adam and I actually want to go back and explore the place more, its really a wonderful place to get away from the noise of the city and be lost among the trees and winding stone paths. Pictures are also available of this.

We made our way home after that, and took only a quick stop to feed the cats before leaving again for Hell's Kitchen to meet Charles for dinner. We ended up noshing on some Ethiopian fare, which, if you've never had it before, comes in an enormous plate for the entire table, and the bits of food you order are placed on top of a sourdough tasting bread called Injera. You need no utensils, because you use the flat Injera (they give you lots of extra) to scoop up the food and eat it. Very spicy and tasty. After that, we had some cupcakes at Amy's Bakery nearby, where I got a crazy sugar high and started talking about the dangers of being run over by bikers and crushed by elevator doors. Lots of fun. We also visited Charles' apartment, and he took us up on the roof to admire the view of midtown Manhattan.

Sunday was much more laid back, full of running at the gym, food buying and cooking, cleaning house and writing theses. A really, really nice weekend. And next weekend we're getting a visit from none other than The Ben, The Nat and The Dave! Get ready y'all!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Two Etudes

Okay, so as you know I've been practicing cello for about 4 weeks now, with a week skipped for the holidays. My Mom requested a video presentation of how I'm doing so far, so last night I did just that and posted it on YouTube. Now, keep in mind, it is by no means fantastic. It's sorta out of tune and awkward, but I'm damn pleased with being able to play something even resembling a song after only 4 weeks. Check it out!

Meech On Cello.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Hello, 2008.

It is truly amazing and somewhat disturbing how quickly time passes. And how smoothly two people can trade in one life for another, wildly different one without feeling strange and alien in it. On our way to the small New Year's Eve gathering that we attended in the Lower East Side, Adam asked me, "Can you believe that we live here now?"

I looked around me, at the motley crew of people walking along the streets, at the cracked sidewalk, at the spotted bananas being sold out of a cart in front of racks holding Brooklyn t-shirts and Yankee caps, at the green globes in front of us that heralded the entrance to the subway, looked at them with a certain familiar fondness, and said, "Yes. No." I breathed the cold night air. I felt the road under my feet as I walked. "Yes."

It's weird. You change your life in a big way like that, and you end up changing yourself in a big way, too. But you don't really feel it until it's already done. There are things I take as normal now that probably would have made me screw up my face in disgust/horror/confusion/annoyance back then, and things that I have now that make me so happy that I can't really imagine not having it anymore. Perspectives, standards, expectations...sometimes they're as constant as the wind.

The holidays were fun, relaxing, and reflective, in a way. This would be our first year starting out as New Yorkers. Back when we were thinking about moving here, rolling it around experimentally in our mouths to see how it tasted, we figured, well, if it doesn't work out after a year, we can always come back. If you don't like the taste, you can spit it out, no problem, no harm done. At least you gave it a shot. This was our fallback. This made things less scary, less permanent. But now...we got a taste of New York and in a show of complete reckless abandon, we swallowed. We let New York in. And now it's part of us. And that is both totally comforting and scary as hell. We're going to have a home here, give birth here, raise kids here, make memories here, lots of them. How crazy and impossible and wonderful, isn't it? That's New York for you.

So here's the play-by-play of our holiday break, hijinks and all.

Christmas in Pittsburgh
Our flight to PA was shockingly unremarkable (aside from the fact that Adam and I got up at 3:30 in the morning). I expected delays and long lines and was pleasantly surprised by a painless check-in and a prompt and comfortable flight on JetBlue. I was singing their praises by the time we landed. (Tune in for our less fortunate trip back to New York...) Mom and Pop Corpora were waiting for us in the airport and we were whisked back to the house in their environmentally-friendly Prius, where we passed out for a couple hours rest. That night we shared a lovely dinner with Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Denny, as well as Grandma Rihn, Lorraine and Joe. Afterwards, Adam, Grandma, Dad and I drove up to Zelienople to see Aunt Diane and Uncle Bill. While Uncle Bill and Adam discussed mutual funds and stock investments, the rest of us drank white wine and ate crackers and hummus.

Christmas Eve was quite relaxing, and we ended the day by attending mass at North American Martyrs Church. It was a very nice service, and the priest, Father Tom (former trucker and football lover) and his father came to dinner to eat Mom's seven fishes (which were: tuna dip, fried calamari, fried smeltz, shrimp cakes, bakala salad, crab raviolis, and baked salmon). Father Tom greeted me with his usual "Shalom! Mazel tov!" and the night began. Everything was delicious. Mom laughed at me when I started snooping around the gifts.

Perhaps the most memorable part of the day was when I made soup. I decided it would be nice for me to contribute to the food so I thought I would make one of my favorite soups, Spinach Marscapone Soup. It's a mild, delicious and warming soup, and quite green. Easy to make, too. Not too many ingredients. All was going well until the final step...blending. I poured the softened veggie mix into the blender, put my hand on top and switched the knob to ON. Now, usually, switching the machine to ON does not actually cause it to start blending, that happens when you push MIX or STIR and so on. Well, this blender had different ideas.

It exploded, pretty much. I yelped as hot spinach erupted out of the blender onto my hair, face, pajamas, feet, eyeglasses, and, worst of all, all over a large portion of the kitchen. I spluttered and gasped and was positively mortified. Here I was, trying to prove my culinary prowess, and suddenly I am covered in spinach. Mom took it all in stride and helped me mop up the place, and went to give that blender the what-for...after which the blender maliciously exploded all over her, too. And the kitchen. Again.

At this point, I started to giggle. It was sort of funny, after all. What better soup to explode all over the kitchen than a green one? We mopped it up again, tried it again with drastically less soup, and it was fine. It actually turned out to be pretty delicious, after all. Thank goodness. That night, Dad and I built a mighty fire in the fireplace which I happily roasted myself beside. Mmm.

Christmas morning! We all woke up around 9 and waited for Lorraine and Joe to arrive in their pajamas. They came in at 10 on the dot, and we started opening gifts. I got a gorgeous hand-knit neckerchief from South Africa (Dad just went there on business a couple months ago) and stuff to start my first bonsai garden! Two books about raising bonsai, a set of professional Japanese tools, a little ornamental man, and money for my first tree. I read a lot of the books already and am planning to purchase one in spring, to avoid the tricky dormancy season. Adam was led on a clever scavenger hunt around the house until he found his gift, an acoustic guitar! He was thrilled. Now we both have a new instrument to learn.

So, it was great. The family visited throughout the day. The next night we went with Devi and her cousin Narsa (sister and cousin of Adam's old friend and neighbor Jayaram) to Lorraine and Joe's apartment for a little holiday bash. Narsa's awesome Dad gave me a book from Strand, and told us how much he missed living in New York. It turned out to be an incredible book, I'll need to write about it in the book blog. Anyway, Lorraine and Joe's was fun, full of an incredible variety of people. And that was pretty much our trip.

Coming home was quite a hairy process. First of all, our plane was about 30 minutes late. That turned into 45 minutes late. When we boarded the plane, we taxied around a bit until the pilot said, "Bad news everyone, we're not going to take off for another HOUR." Gaahhhh.....happily, it was only actually another 20 minutes before we took off. We got to New York and then circled around it for about 30 minutes, finally landing at 9:30. We managed to get out of the airport with our luggage around 10:00, then took the airtrain to the subway...hoping to be home around 11. Boy, didn't we think ourselves lucky when the subway was making local stops? There we were, standing in front of the doors as the train stopped at our station, having visions of home, and...the doors didn't open. The train left. So did all of my hopes and dreams. Sigh. We ended up walking from the next stop over, about 5 or 6 blocks, until we got home and our arms fell off. They really did. But at least we were home.

Relaxation and New Year's
This is a super-long post. Oh, well. At least I'm thorough. So Adam and I supremely enjoyed the following days, lazing about and doing stuff we liked. I managed to start my thesis (gasp!) and I'm currently at 8 pages, which to me is virtually a miracle. We shopped and ate stuff and started running at the gym. Fantastically wonderful things, all. New Year's was to be spent in the company of Vicki, Gwen and friends on the Lower East Side, starting at an Italian ristorante and then to a British-styled bar called the Telephone Bar. It was a lovely evening. We all wore silly hats and drank a lot of wine. I had a really great Belgian white ale that everyone else hated. We made honky sounds on noisemakers. We counted down to the New Year with a ka-zillion other people. I got a photo of the last second of 2007. Check it, and all the other new photos out on our photosite. Happy New Year everyone.

Everything else has been lovely since then. I made some great food this weekend, including a brilliantly good Indian Carrot Soup. It may be my new favorite. Oh, and I have my very first callous on my finger. I am truly a musician now.

Send some love!