chicken soup with stars

Things I'm into right now:

1. Ella Fitzgerald; she's all I want to listen to. (Just look at her rocking that hat.)

2. Working away at my sweater-in-progress. It's only a baby right now; this will be the neck.

3. 80 degrees today, 76 tomorrow (thanks, weather.com)...ooh, I'm getting spoiled. Time to lie out like the sea lions at fisherman's wharf with my Ali. How happy are they?


brooklyn baby

I thought I'd never say it: though I left my heart in San Francisco, I think it might start living bicostally.

I feel like such a traitor. And it's true--for me nothing will ever come close to the cutty corners and reliably foggy skies of the city by the bay. But Brooklyn is a little flirt and I've got a big-time crush. It was the brownstones with pastel-painted doors that did it--or the mochi-topped Japanese frozen yogurt--or the guy selling pickles at the farmer's market who told me that if I could write him the story of a pickle craving in six words, he'd make it his slogan.

Even though I'm such a die-hard 415-er, I could really see myself being happy there. Park Slope has the same crafty-quirky vibe that I love about SF--gritty but artistic in a way that feels like home. Manhattan's too big for me, too busy, but Brooklyn felt like exactly the right pace: urban but out of the line of fire of the land across the bridge. I want to get an apartment with a little yellow door, eat homemade granola and Gorilla coffee in the mornings, write in the park in the afternoons, get Kiku take out for dinner (seven nights per week would be ideal.) There's nothing like just walking in a place like that, just watching. (I probably will never have a car. This is my contribution to the green movement.)

Friday night was Kiku, my love, with Beth and Peter, where I got the appropriately-named Park Slope roll and edamame with lemon.

When it got dark we walked along fifth avenue to Red Monster--it's the best time of the year when you can do that without freezing. Feels so strange, like coming out of hibernation. On Saturday Beth and I had muffins she made for breakfast and then walked over to the Brooklyn farmer's market.

We got organic apples and cheese from a seller who named all of his offerings after characters from Joyce novels. I'm down. Back in Park Slope we made mini cheese-on-sourdough-bread pizzas and I started to make a sweater. I'm kind of a grandma.

Today it is lovely outside--an 80 degree temperature and a hip hop performance, a combination I am really into. Last night I got a pretend tattoo in Arabic. It looks like this:



Sunday was a Manhattan day with Ali and JTI (I just like writing that.)

Fact: Dunkin' Donuts coffee is incredible. Now I understand why all of my east coast friends are obsessed with it. Tastes even better on the way to a crack-of-dawn (10:33 on Sunday) train to the city after four hours of sleep. We spread out on the back car (caboose?) with music and blueberry muffins and "Our Mutual Friend" for me (I am crawling along at a snail's pace.) (I like parentheses today.) With their gummy windows and cracked polyester seats in primary colors, Metro-North trains don't have the old-school romance of their infinitely cooler forefathers. Still, there's something distancing and quietly peaceful about the trip through the Hudson Valley, especially with Nora's "Very Very Old Mix For Baby, Volume 3" as its soundtrack (Jackson 5 on repeat). There's even an old, dilapidated castle, half-crumbled but still standing, somewhere around the one hour mark.

We went to the Met to look at paintings for an Art History essay. I thought about writing my entire essay in a text message and sending it to myself. This is because I have trouble writing notes in bullet points. Only complete sentences for me. I decided not to; AT&T's service is not trustworthy.

At the Met the have these little metallic clips that you're supposed to wear inside. They look like this.

Mine fell off, of course. I liked it, though, so Ali said I could have hers. However, I felt bad when I saw the container of recycled clips on my way out and left mine to be circulated.

Tomorrow it is back to Metro-North to visit Beth and Peter in Brooklyn. Plans include Kiku sushi (THE VERY BEST) and the Takashi Murakami exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. It's supposed to be rainy, but I don't mind. Brooklyn is one of my favorite places to be.



Q is a place I like to go.

(Side note--isn't Q the greatest letter? It's so self-sufficient, so able to stand alone--Q the lone wolf.)

I think it's rare to find a place in which the food and the atmosphere are equally satisfying. Case in point: my and Nora's favorite Geary sushi spot. The miniature california rolls and array of complimentary items (edamame, post-meal green tea ice cream, teriyaki salmon--they spoil us): perfection. The rickety wooden tables and abundance of loud, multigenerational, photo-taking families? Not so much. But being a fan of both homemade mac and cheese and found objects, I think Q gets it all right. Eating at one of Q's back tables feels like nestling into an untouched and bizarrely comforting corner of outer space. Starry strung lights in decidedly unnatural colors swoop low over the diners. Photos and little odd things are imprisoned beneath each table's paned glass surface; I'm always sad to see them go when my (inevitably too big) plate of food arrives. Mounted to the walls are all sorts of ambiguous urban and otherworldly objects--my favorite is a giant boulder-like thing that sticks straight out of the wall. (A meteor! A moon rock!)

On our last visit, Martina made the best choice--the amazing and gargantuanly-sized mac and cheese, which Elana and I nibbled on when Mart folded.

The winner:

Later, we crossed the street and tromped around in Park Life, which is the most incredible little curiosity shop. Among its offerings: a cardboard chihuahua; a pudgy miniature head stress ball; a Japanese-looking, bunny-shaped piggy ("piggy") bank; an assortment of brightly-colored, invented felt creatures (our favorite was shaped like a cream puff and wore a very surly expression); a make-your-own-dinosaur kit; and an object that looked exactly like a deflated basketball but was found to be, upon closer inspection, a porcelain bowl.

Put a hundred million dollas in here:

Behind the store at Park Life is a small gallery, and in the center of the gallery was, when we visited, a small wishing tree. I love the idea of this--sort of a participatory work of art, something so collectively created. On the leaves of the trees were hung what seemed like hundreds of written wishes, and we added our own to its arms. I felt almost guilty reading them--like eavesdropping on a thousand private conversations--which might have been part of the point.

I'm tired right now; was up till way way past my bedtime reading Dickens's "Our Mutual Friend", a book I thought I'd like but am having trouble getting through. It feels so staid and two-dimensional, and the female characters drive me insane. Anyway, I got a call from Dana, my East Coast wise one, with two hundreds pages left to go, which put off finishing Podsnappery until a few hours after midnight. (Still, definitely the right decision--Dana > Dickens any day.) Now I am about to make myself some soup (it's rainy here and soup seems to fit the mood) and grab another coffee on the way to class.