In lieu of proper post this week since I’m working, a glimpse at what that looks like at the moment:
Archive for the ‘miscellany’ Category
Thursday, February 27th, 2014
Thursday, February 13th, 2014
We spent the last few days in Vermont, somehow managing to arrive there in post-snow winter wonderland with perfect chilly sunshine and get home just before this winter wonderstorm descended upon NYC.
We were in Burlington for a few days and then Stowe, and in between we stopped at the Ben & Jerry’s factory, because of course we did. We visited the Flavor Graveyard and everything.
I’d never been to Northern Vermont before and I really loved it, though I should have taken more photos.
Friday, January 31st, 2014
I was born in the Year of the Horse and I’ve heard a few Chinese astrological sources say that your own year isn’t supposed to be that fabulous but so far I’m rather liking this pony year.
Recovering well from the wisdom tooth extraction, received good news on several fronts, and I have a new tiny pony to wear around my neck. I’m looking forward to seeing what the year brings.
Happy Lunar New Year!
Monday, January 27th, 2014
I am getting my wisdom teeth removed this morning. I may be unreachable for the next while because I plan on being medicated and sleeping a lot but I will do my best to catch up once I’m coherent again.
I spent most of the weekend making soup. I like soups and I am getting better at making them. Potato leek is always one of my go-to soups because it doesn’t have that many ingredients. (I add an onion to mine and basically that’s it: little bit of oil onion leeks potatoes broth boil blend season eat.)
And we also recreated a soup we invented mostly unintentionally while in Florida. It was an attempt to do something with all the random things we had on hand and it turned out so well that I made it again to have while I can’t nom solid foods. It’s delicious again so that first attempt apparently wasn’t a fluke and it does appear to be a good and proper soup.
So here, have a sort of recipe for a soup that doesn’t have a name. I should give it a name. Butternut Squash Golden Beet Yummy Soup? Hrm. I’ll come up with something eventually. In the meantime…
Peel and cube one butternut squash. Peel and cube one bunch of golden beets. Toss all the cubes in olive oil (or other oil of your preference) and salt and pepper, spread on baking sheet and roast at 400. After about 30 minutes, add a cubed apple to the mix and continue roasting for another 15-30 minutes until golden brown and soft.
Meanwhile, slice an onion. Put a little oil in the bottom of the soup pot and toss the onion in and let it cook until almost caramelized or so. Add a tablespoon or two of chopped ginger near the end.
Add the roasted squash beets & apple to the soup pot and just cover with broth of your choosing. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes or so. Blend the heck out of it with an immersion blender which is super useful for soups or in batches in a regular blender.
Season to taste (I added a bunch of turmeric to this batch and it’s lovely) and serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of bee pollen or drizzle of honey.
This would be so much better if I had a pretty picture of the soup right here. My apologies. If I have one later in the week I’ll add it, currently the soup is in containers in the refrigerator and very orange but not particularly pretty.
I’m glad I actually really enjoy food that doesn’t involve chewing, but I still hope tooth pulling recovery mode doesn’t last too terribly long.
Monday, January 20th, 2014
I shall be on fairly strict internet hiatus this week, my apologies for late twitter replies or anything of that ilk. Actually turning off the wifi and all that so I can get some things done.
I’ll be back to regularly scheduled low-volume internet on Friday.
This Thursday January 23rd I will be speaking to/chatting with the Smith College Club of NYC. It is, at the moment, my only scheduled appearance for 2014. More info at the link.
In the meantime, here are a few photos I meant to post in December from the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens in Florida, which was gorgeous and wonder-filled.
Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
- I read Stoner by John Williams over the weekend. I was gifted it over the holidays and it is exquisite. Such a lovely, lovely book.
- I also got this Giada cookbook for the holidays and while I haven’t tried any of the proper recipes in it yet I have become mildly obsessed with putting olive oil and sea salt on my oatmeal.
- I have to have my wisdom teeth removed at the end of the month but apparently I only have three of them so that’s… something, I guess? I will be making lots of soup beforehand.
- My new-to-me, on-heavy-rotation January music includes Le Loup and Austra.
- I am currently out of yerba mate and so my morning tea routine is all confusing and not routine. I have more mate on order. Today’s tea was guayusa with coconut sugar.
- Considering I have started and erased this last unnumbered thing four times because I felt ending on tea just didn’t have a proper sense of completion, I’m going to stop typing and just post this now.
Monday, January 6th, 2014
I thought 2013 was going to be the year of calming down from the emotional roller coaster and getting myself back on track and writing again. Instead the roller coaster threw me for a few more loops and left me sitting with my head between my knees trying not to vomit more than I would have preferred.
I am feeling better now, but I am really, really tired of high highs and low lows.
When I was writing a lot, before, I was sad. The kind of sad that you swallow and push down and try to pretend it’s not there and you get really, really good at hiding it. To the point where no one believes that you could possibly be unhappy.
I wrote to escape. I lived in my head because I couldn’t feel the sad as much in there.
And over the last couple of years the sad has been going away. I like the life I have outside my head now.
I need to learn how to write now that I’m happy. I like spending time in my head but I don’t have outside things pushing me back in the way I used to.
I’m getting to know myself again, and I need to figure out how this me writes now, in 2014. I took baby steps toward figuring it out last year, and hopefully I can how I approach my head and learn to live there properly again, enough to make the stuff in there book-shaped.
It also means I need to have a low-volume internet year.
I know, it seems to be trendy to be taking social media hiatuses and unplugging and whatnot, but I really, really need it this year. So…
A few notes for 2014:
Regarding the blog
I have been habitually posting twice a week, in the highly organized categories of “flax-golden tales” and “other stuff.” The flaxies will continue as scheduled, the other stuff may turn into more photos and little bits of things rather than long writing-heavy posts. Not that I’ve been good about long writing-heavy posts lately, but I’m going to make a point of it this year.
I may also do a site overhaul/redesign mid-year. Pondering.
Regarding Twitter & Tumblr
I will still be Tweeting, maybe a little less than I am. I try to respond to @ replies as much as I can. I am convinced that Twitter eats them sometimes, as well as Direct Messages.
I am currently avoiding Tumblr almost entirely because I live in fear of Sherlock spoilers but I will continue to mostly re-tumbl things I like. I might not keep up with it as frequently as I’ve been trying to. I still haven’t gotten the hang of tagging things.
I will probably be keeping up the same volume of Instagramming.
I very nearly Instagrammed our salted caramel ice cream sundae (with popcorn on it!) at abc kitchen last night but it was too marvelous not to consume immediately.
Nothing has changed since this post. I am finally, finally caught up with my personal/professional email as in things that go to my personal address but the website email is a sad neglected thing that I believe has an autoreply on it that thinks it’s still May. My apologies. Someday I will have a good and proper system for email. Today is not that day. Hopefully I’ll sort it out around that mid-year possible site overhaul.
If you need to contact me for important reasons and you do not have my personal email address please contact InkWell or one of the Random House contacts listed in the sidebar of the blog.
Regarding book blurbs
If you are an editor/agent/etc and have sent me an advance copy of anything for blurbing in the last calendar year I am sorry if I have not gotten back to you. The pile seen in this photo is now nearly three times as high. The bookish time-bomb-ness of them makes me anxious and I’m afraid the vast, vast majority hit their quoting expiration dates and silently detonated before I could give them proper attention.
(For reference: I read 40 books last year, total. It took me all of December just to get through The Goldfinch and no I still don’t know what I thought of it. It would take me more than a year, probably more than two, to read everything in the please-blurb pile right now.)
I don’t know how I’m going to manage in the future but I need to be writing this year, especially the first half of this year. I am sorry I have not been able to be properly communicative about things that are sent to me unsolicited but I’m not sure I can be better about it in the future. I don’t want to put out a blanket “don’t send me things” because I never know what will stand out and capture my attention. I like books. I wish I could stop time so I could read them all. If anyone figures out how to do that, please let me know.
I am still trying to figure all this out. How to be a proper author. How to be me. How to be me on the internet. How to be nice to myself. How to keep my hair from going all hobbit-y. How not to get overwhelmed. How to write a novel again.
I am trying. I appreciate your patience and attention. Thank you for reading, always.
Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
This is my Rob Brezsny horoscope for this end of December, beginning of January:
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Big rivers don’t travel in straight lines. Their
paths are curvy and complicated, with periodic turns and bends. In some
places they flow faster and in others they’re slower. Their depth and
width may vary along the way, too. Your own destiny is like one of those
big rivers, Cancerian. In some years, it meanders for long stretches,
slowing down as it wanders along a crooked course. It may even get
shallower and narrower for a while. But I expect that in 2014, you will be
moving more rapidly than usual. You will be traveling a more direct route,
and you will be both wide and deep.
2013 was a meandering, crooked year. It was shallower than I had expected in some ways and rockier than I would have preferred but here we come to the end of it, stronger and wiser.
We spent last New Year’s Eve in this then brand-new apartment, surrounded by cardboard boxes. Now instead of boxes there are books and teal chairs and two very well-stocked bars. We are doing fancy long rambling dinner, there has already been cheese baked with brandy and honey, grilled hearts of romaine and king crab legs. There are short ribs in the oven braising in red wine, prosecco gelee with raspberries chilling in refrigerator and non-gelee prosecco with St. Germain being sipped from coupes.
(Pause here for blood orange sorbet.)
(We decided if we weren’t going to go out, we might as well have as delicious a night in as possible.)
Looking at last year’s post about wanting time to rest and read and write and I did quite well on two out of three and not too terribly on the third all told. I needed the rest, I think. I know.
I’d like to have something book-shaped by the end of 2014. That’s not a resolution, because I’d have liked the same thing for this year and last year for that matter, but things don’t always go the way we’d like.
I don’t have anything new book-shaped yet but I do have sparkling wine and I’m really happy, right here and right now and maybe I needed to get to really happy sparkling wine phase first.
Stars in my hair again. My stars are getting older and wiser, too. And they’re showing it, glass glitter oxidation. Dark around the edges.
I have other stars that are brighter, having been kept safely sealed in a bag but I like these ones. They’re well-travelled and well-worn and I have the whole bunch of them in my hair this year. (There are seven, total, the others are hidden on the other side.)
Later tonight there will be tarot readings and midnight kisses.
I am looking forward to 2014, especially if it is indeed more direct than meandering. I think I’m ready for it. I wasn’t before, even when I thought I was. Hindsight.
Didn’t have an obvious song of the year for 2013. Had to sit and think about it and as I pondered I realized I habitually put the same album on whenever I felt lost for what to listen to, and it was always just right.
2014. Wide and deep. I’ll drink to that.
Monday, December 16th, 2013
As of the end of this month we’ll have lived in NYC for one year. It is still strange to me to live in New York. I like it more than I thought I would, though I don’t think I will ever get truly used to it, no matter how long we stay.
The buzz of the people isn’t as overwhelming as it was at first. The sidewalks don’t seem as crowded. I don’t feel quite as lost once below the helpfully numbered gridded streets in Manhattan, though I still need to rely on my phone to help me navigate.
We will be here for at least another year, so I feel like this was the practice year of falling out of the cardboard boxes and acclimating to the wonderment. I’m ready for another tour through the seasons.
Here are a few of my favorite things about New York, punctuated with some of my favorite city photos from this year.
Central Park. I know, it’s an easy choice but it’s also a marvel, to literally be in the middle of the city but to feel as if you’re somewhere else entirely.
The High Line. My other favorite oasis in the city, that feels like a river more than a park, you get swept along the lovely changing flow of it as you wander up or down. I love how it changes with the seasons, too. During the winter it had these lovely bare branches that faded from yellow to red that were just gorgeous.
The Morgan Library & Museum. I didn’t even know about this beautiful space before we stumbled upon it and I’m so glad we did. Saw a wonderful exhibit of surrealist drawings earlier in the year, looking forward to seeing their current Edgar Allen Poe exhibit, too.
The McKittrick Hotel. Also known as the home of Sleep No More, (which I only actually saw once this year, we went for the Valentine’s Day Dance) the space itself has expanded to include Gallow Green, one of my favorite rooftops in the city, plus multiple live music spaces and now it even has a restaurant. I keep expecting the whole thing to just vanish into thin air one day, but for now I’m glad it’s there.
Over the course of the year I have become convinced that the block of 10th Ave between 15th & 16th is food heaven, it already had Morimoto & Chelsea Market and as if I needed confirmation for this belief, it is now home to the NYC incarnation of one of my Boston favorites, Toro.
But if I have to pick a single favorite restaurant in NYC, the one that I keep going back to over and over that’s always stellar that is also on that block, it is Colicchio & Sons. We end up in the tap room more often than the main dining room but they’re both absolutely wonderful. I went twice in one week in November because I had to have the roasted apple chowder again. Love the space, love the food, love the service. Wish they’d bring back the gluten-free bacon waffles for brunch, because I miss them, but I also love that the menu is constantly changing.
I feel like I have only scratched the surface of the cocktail bar options in the city and I have so many more to try but of the ones I’ve been to my favorite so far is Milk & Honey. Maybe it’s the hidden location, maybe it’s the space itself which is dark and deco and everything I love about a proper cocktail hideaway: quiet and atmospheric and sexy. But really it’s the cocktails themselves, since they don’t have a menu and you just tell them what you like and they run with it which makes everything surprising and magical. It is one of my very favorite places in the city. I kind of don’t want to tell you about it, that’s how much I love it.
I could go on and on but those are the major favorites. I’m sure next year’s version of the NYC favorites will have new discoveries and that’s one of the things I love about New York, there’s so much of it to explore.