Sunday, September 26, 2010

From Scratch

Hazelnut Coffeemate? Chock Full O'Nuts? Olive bread from scratch? Sweet potatoes? Trader Joe's red wine? Blue cheese dressing?

Whose sophisticated palate do these belong to? Why heavens, not me. But let's imagine it was me, and I was traveling across the country to meet my cyber-husband and if - say, just by hypothesis - he was to stock his kitchen with said goodies? Might I be impressed? Perhaps. Not that I'm staying with him of course. That would be ludicrous and trollopy (mom & dad). But if I did and if he did, then that would be very nice. Hypothetically. In an imaginary scenario. Of course.

And if such a cyber-husband were to, oh say cook me dinner at 9pm with a tomato sauce from scratch with (kosher) sausage and feta cheese (A.'s middle name) and not allow me in the kitchen, where I usually am in charge of imperative tasks like chopping a million vegetables or setting the table, that would be very lovely indeed.

It would. Wouldn't it?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Jackpot Question

To be fair, Jersey isn't all evil. Nor are my parents. Well, maybe half and half. For one thing, I joined a nearby gym through the end of October. They literally play three songs: that cute little Eminem ditty about lighting his girlfriend/wife on fire and her solo about liking it; the techno ballad featuring a young fellow whose girlfriend has gone away for the night and he's oh so lonely, and the piece de resistance, the one about a nightclub that's terrifically naughty and where upon entering people go wild almost immediately and tear off all their clothes at night. I don't know the name of them, but I do know that last one is pretty similar to what goes on around Chez Parental Unit. First it's some dinner.

Recently my dad has taken to sitting on a large rubber ball at the table. Unfortunately, while sitting on it, his head barely grazes the table and he must stretch his arms up and out to reach the table to cut meat and generally to eat and see the television (Jeopardy!). It would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic, since he now has chronic pain, nearly constant.

No. Wait. It's still funny.

At 7:30 there is pure silence, because after all it's the Jackpot Question. If I'm not spent, it's onto a little House Hunters with my mom. How many episodes are there? Millions? There's the original, there's Property Virgins, and there's the International version. In fact, while visiting B. in Bay Ridge (the beautiful, elegant B., I might add), and perusing the pad she shares with her husband, I found myself falling into House Hunters speak. "I love the open concept, and I love the crown molding, and the fact that he has his man-cave and you have your more airy work space. The windows are large and I like the flow. What I'm wondering about is the lobby and the proximity to a park and the train."

After say 4 hours of House Hunters, chatting with MLAM/Some Guy and Aggy pets, there's sleep. And that's my big night in Jersey.

But wait, there is another potential suitor: Dom from the gym. He waltzed over, introduced himself. He's about 65-70 years old. He asked me some basic stats including my profession, to which he responded, "Me? I'm bi-polar!" He giggled and walked back to his other petite Italian friends who were all wearing...tanktops and you guess it, that necklace! The little, sperm squiggle to keep away the evil eye. The Corno! No, they weren't, but they should have been, because they are amazing:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Caffeine & Books

These will save me. I am sure of it. Visited Menlo Park Mall to return a Kiehls product then popped into Sephora. As a 35 year old woman, I doubt I can pull off glittery lotion but for some unknown reason doused myself in it. Lathered on several other products: shimmery pots of gray and tan eye shadow, Easter pink lip gloss. Upon leaving there, sat in B'n N for hours and read one of those books about French versus American women. The basic message seems to be to flirt more, especially in front of your husband.

Sipped at a $4 pumpkin spice latte from Starbuck's. Listened to terrific re-mixes of songs like Gold-Digger and Total Eclipse of the Heart.

But I have my health! And both my legs!

So looking forward to a Greenpoint jaunt with A. tomorrow. And it helped to catch up with D. on the phone, a PDX friend and NJ transplant. And there's sure to be...

More caffeine, more books. Wine, cheese, chocolate, running, dates, movies, walks with A.

Mimosa Moms

Aggy and I have been on the East Coast for about three weeks so far and a lot of people have asked why. Why did we move here? Didn’t we love Portland? Lots of people in NJ especially ask me this question. Why come back? People love Portland.

We did. And we do. We always will.

In Portland we went on a walk every morning at Tabor, that was more of a hike, really. Almost each and every morning A. scampered by lush fir trees, fields, hills, and my least favorite, overgrown blackberry bushes. There were birds, other random animals - once an owl who simply sat on a fence until A. noticed him and woofed - other dogs and humans. In NJ this doesn’t exist, at least not where my parents live. In NJ we’re surrounded by new construction, traffic, neighbors who don’t speak to my parents, and Dunkin’ Donuts.

But most of all I liked how people treated us. In Portland, A. and I were a big hit. We had a lot of friends who adored both of us, and who truly loved A. Here, we seem to be a problem and a bother. Aggy is too growly and her enjoyment of walking up on people’s lawns is a behavioral issue. Plus, the introduction to her cousin, L., though it went pretty well, resulted at her being screamed at in the face.

In Portland we were not treated like this. Here, A.’s personality is not really appreciated, and thereby, my training/approach towards her is suddenly a problem as well. I have a newfound appreciation to all our many friends, neighbors, and even strangers on the street who adored her. THANK YOU!

What naysayers here fail to consider is that this is a huge adjustment for both of us. Also, not one person here has set a moment aside to brainstorm ideas or apply any problem-solving techniques toward a solution. Nothing productive or helpful has been offered – only critiques and screams. I have to wonder: why did I come out here?

This only solidifies my theories of place vs. personality, a theme on this blog – I think. And that is that different regions of the country have specific cultures and my personality meshes better in some spots better than others. In other words, I don’t have that East Coast mean-spirited, rude, pushy, gonna-get-mine quality. But hey maybe that’s just me.

On a more positive note, I feel confident that A. and I will find ourselves our own home. We’re certainly not going to stay any place we are unwanted. It’s just that a large part of our move here was to be closer to family and it’s turning out that it’s not all that wonderful. So, we just don’t know where that next home might be yet, Brooklyn? Back in Portland? LA? Who knows?

The month of October will be a telling one.

In 10 days I fly out to Chicago then LA. This will be a fun trip and it’s not overlooked that my parents will take excellent care of Aggy, I’m sure. And I’m very grateful for this.

I am looking forward to seeing K. and meeting her kids - I’m really excited about this. We went to college together and the last time I saw her she was pregnant with Kid #1. Now there are two. One funny thing she told me recently was that she was looking forward to one of her kids starting school because it’s hard to balance two all day. While some moms were saying goodbye to their precious babies on that first day of school, they had tears in their eyes, meanwhile others were discussing mimosa options. I won’t name who did what, but I foresee an orange juice cocktail in my near future.

PS: MLAM and I continue to talk at length. (Did you think I’d leave you out?) He was wondering aloud when I’d write about how my two dates a week had been whittled down to one or with just one? But I think that’ll need to wait until we meet in person. I mean, it’s not like I’m dating up a storm while living at my parents’ place anyway. Hello?

For now I live in the future. I exchanged many fun texts with A. and A., two friends in LA who I haven’t seen in a long time. Also, I enjoy asking MLAM questions like what will happen in LA? Where will we go? What will we do?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Getting Lost

Aside from a heat wave, a case of poison ivy that only itches when I blink, and living with my parents, life is pretty good.

My dad enjoys putting away the sugar bowl when I'm still using it for my morning coffee, and also knocking while opening my old bedroom door and tossing my sandals in - lest I leave them in the kitchen. But hey, I've got central air, free rent, all the decaf coffee I can handle, help with the furry white monster and my car has arrived from Portland. I immediately removed A.'s little wicker basket of toys. She selected one of her old knuckle bones and has been busy working on it for the last hour. I think my parents enjoy having their messy, slovenly daughter back in their roost again, albeit temporarily - someone to correct, instruct, and fetch things from the basement.

Yesterday I visited Brooklyn by myself. I had already seen my brother and Y. and was doted upon properly with more grilled vegetables than ever and lots of fun, attention, and warmth. It was time to explore on my own. Was it the 95 degrees? Was it too much alone time? It just didn't feel like Brooklyn was the right place for me, and i had assumed I would. A Jamaican fellow talked my ear off at Prospect Park, and then I made my way around Park Slope, hopping into the AC of Starbuck's and Barnes 'N Noble.

As I wandered Brooklyn it felt foreign, cramped, and yet everything was too far. It ain't no Portland. But as I was meeting E. at Arturo's back in The City for dinner later, I figured I'd head back early and walk around the West Village. Immediately I felt more at home. Walking down 7th Ave, getting lost (of course) and winding up near Hudson, the wide streets, not my old neighborhood (LES) but streets I was more familiar with.

I discovered a (new to me) place called Roasting Plant Coffee, as BB said, I don't want to feel like I've been beamed into The Jetsons, I just want a coffee. It was strange to see a computerized monitor listing coffee options, tiny, white leather booths, and almost all men (this being gayville). Still, I tucked into some tiny, dark streets for shade and out of curiosity, passed Cherry Lane Theatre and a restaurant called 50 Commerce that looked so beautiful from the outside, with its antique panes of leaded glass that I assumed inside was a world of terribly sophisticated diners, munching on pigeon and various animals' cheeks - maybe I would pop inside with E. later and drink a vodka gimlet? But I knew better: never would I be able to find it again, not the street nor the restaurant. And when i googled it I found the website cheesy: "A Contemporary American Restaurant in a Historic Space."

Barf. I mean imagine my dismay and disappointment.

Meeting E. was a wonderful reprieve. She makes me laugh and I have known her since I was 21. At Arturo's there was someone playing the piano, we got our favorite front booth and the pizza was perfect. At the bar were Italian men twice our age. The anti-hipster choice. Afterwards we went to a very unhip Caliente Cab Co. For a mere $14 you too can drink a flavored margarita! We opted for non-frozen basic $8 choice and had a memorable, very silly conversation. I realized E. was the first friend I have seen so far this visit. And damn, I needed that!

But back in Jersey, reality sets in: my dad is in pain most days and I try to cheer him up. I encourage him to get a medical marijuana card. After all, he requested pot in Portland, why not try it? I suggest yoga, music, movies, and while he appears interested, it's not the immediate solution he needs.

Meanwhile A. chews her bone. My mom flees to ten grocery stores, then the library.

I continue long, lingering phone conversation with Some Guy in LA. We do not sext; it's all rather innocent though it feels like 40 hours of foreplay to me and frankly, I'm ready for the main event. In my mind, I spend copious amounts of time planning my September trip to LA. I have a feeling I will really like it there and then what?

What then? As my old roommate and I used to say as we threw ourselves down on our NYC couch with much drama: What will become of me?