Monday, July 31, 2006

Post Card Bomb

So you’ve all heard me mention my ex-boyfriend, The German, a few times. In case you need a refresher, he’s the guy who broke up with me via email. Yeah, well, he’s reared his foreign prose once again in the form of a 4x6 piece of cardboard shipped in from Alaska. That’s right, my friends, he post card bombed me from the Arctic.

I bet you’re wondering what he thought was so important to tell me after five months, right? Well, here you go...

Hi Elle,
Greetings from Alaska! It’s so beautiful out here and so far sunny all the time. We met some bears today and are camping now in Denali. Hope to talk to you soon… Sxxx
Wow… Bears… I mean, what do I even say to that?!? Could he have been any more lame?!

Clearly there will be no response to this bombing. I just love that he’s put all the power into my hands by simply showing that he’s still pining for me. Even months after the break up, it’s just as satisfying as giving him the good-bye “hair flip”…aka: validation that I’m still fabulous. Gotta love it.

I must say that getting The German's postcard was unnerving for a split second, so unnerving that I knew I had to dispose of said card as soon as humanly possible (i.e., as soon as I’d shown it to all my friends, analyzed it to death and reaffirmed my utter magnificence). So I did what any creative-minded gal would do…While sitting at a fantastic piano bar last Friday night, we realized we had no paper on which to make a song request…out came Alaska, a big black marker and a wad of singles. What song did we request?? Of course, New York State of Mind. Perfect.

I have no idea what prompted him to contact me again, and frankly I don’t care. But we can all learn a very valuable lesson from The German: NEVER, ever attempt to contact an ex long after a break up…it’ll just make you look like an ass.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Neighborhood Invasion

Remember the scene in Sex and the City when Samantha goes ape-shit over Pottery Barn invading her chic downtown neighborhood? Yeah…well, I’m starting to understand how she really felt...

When I first moved into my upper-UWS neighborhood, it was one of those New York City areas that was considered “up and coming.” To paint a picture for you, three years ago, I wouldn’t have dared to walk alone above 96th street after midnight. All of the mom-n-pop bodegas, dry cleaning shops and framing stores would have been shuttered and dark, and the hordes of hoodlums would come out to play in their drug-induced hallucinations. In other words, not a place for a little Midwestern gal to be out and about.

These days, I have no problem walking from 96th street to my apartment a few blocks North. I’m glad that I can feel perfectly safe in my ‘hood, however despite the positive changes, I now include myself in a group of New Yorkers that turn up their noses to neighborhood gentrification…after all, we have to draw the line somewhere.

It all began a couple of years ago when I noticed that a high-rise, luxe building was going in on a nearby corner. Nice building, I thought…but then there was another, and another. Up they went, kicking out one of my favorite newsstands, a fantastic bagel shop and my preferred market to buy fresh veggies and fruit. All thanks to Columbia University hoarding more land for it’s plot to take over the Trump Organization. The high-rise construction sites solidly dotted upper Broadway, then came the Bank of America branches (SIGH) and a Garden of Eden (GASP!)…it’s only a matter of time before Jamba Juice invades.

On the bright side of all of this, many new restaurants came to the neighborhood. Thankfully they weren’t Olive Garden’s or another McDonald’s. In fact, one new restaurant recently replaced the nasty and decrepit Chicken Fest on the corner by my apt (my roommate and I had bets going on how long it would last). Now we’ve still got fried chicken joint, but it’s a reviewed and recommended eatery according the New York Magazine.

So, the last couple of years have been a mix of love and hate over the recent changes, but my mixed feelings over gentrification stopped dead in its tracks a couple of months ago when I returned from my trip to London. I walked across the street to see “Coming Soon…AMERICAN APPAREL.”

That was effing it. American Apparel?! I mean, not only is it the first chain clothing store to join in on the invasion, but really…American Apparel?! A store like that belongs downtown with the coked-out NYU kids, not with the sweat pant-wearing, tenured professors and their dogs on the UWS. What’s next? BeBe?! Don’t get me wrong…I happen to love shopping, but there is already a full stretch of shops on Broadway just a few blocks south of 96th, not to mention some fantastic boutiques over on Amsterdam and Broadway.

My point is, I like my neighborhood’s character and the fact it is the one area of the city where it feels like an escape from the hustle and bustle. It’s still original. There are wider sidewalks and I can wear my crappy sweats to the Dag’ around the corner and not be chased out with sticks.

New York is and will always be an ever-changing city, but perhaps developers can try a little harder at making sure New York keeps some of it’s character. The last thing I want is for the UWS to go from being the "launch pad to the suburbs" to actually being…the suburbs.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bugging Out

I love living in New York, but the one thing no one ever wants or really expects is to live in New York with bugs

I’ve dealt with nasty home invaders before. In fact, all the shit holes I’ve lived in before my present apartment had mice problems. But I have to say, mice are easier to deal with than bugs. At least you can find the opening where they come in and plug it up…even if it requires removing your dishwasher from the wall to find the damn hole. Mice aside, bugs are currently plaguing me, and I’m now freaked out and unable to sleep for fear they’ll be crawling all over me.

Take last night for instance…I was sleeping serenely in my lovely air conditioning, when I woke up around 4:30am only to find a bug had bitten me squarely on my right ass cheek. WTF. It’s quite possibly the worst place for a bug bite. After all, PR chicks are not prone to scratching their asses in public. It’s a problem. Is a strange species of nocturnal bugs infesting my sleeping quarters?! I mean, they certainly aren’t around the other 17 hours of the day…

My other buggy encounter was with a giant, (ick) roach that decided to crawl up our shower drain and sit on my bathroom floor, looking like it was ready to pounce on my toe and take a chomp out of it for dinner. I likely would have missed it if it hadn’t been for my roommate’s shriek a few evenings ago at the sight of this giant thing. I ran in to see what it was and she was perched on the toilet seat doing a balancing act like I’ve never seen. Ever since, a long-handled wooden spoon has been a fixture on the bathroom counter…because my hand isn’t going near that thing if it happens to rear it’s ugly antennae again…and I’m praying there was only one.

On the bright side, I’m glad that my present insect situation isn’t one that is multiplying in my apartment walls, but I’m sorry…bugs belong outside, not in my bed or on my bathroom floor!

Until I can find the source of the dirty little culprits, I have a feeling that a prescription of Ambien is in my future…

Monday, July 24, 2006

Reviewing A Year-In-The-Life

Details about my love life and career usually wouldn’t be uttered in the same sentence together. You know what they say…don’t bring your personal life to work. Well, over the past year I think I kinda did, and it turns out…I’m actually a better person for it. Who knew two entirely separate trains of thought could be so similar?!

It all started with my annual review form. Last week, as I was filling it out, I went back and checked out last year’s form. Something that my managers said I needed to work on a year ago was “confidence and leadership.” I was taken aback for a split second because one of the strongest areas on my current review form was just that…confident decision-making and team leadership. It’s clear that I’ve come a long way this year, but to fathom that I was ever that lacking in confidence is just hard to imagine now.

Then over this past weekend I was cooling down after a jog and was thinking about my most recent relationships. Before the German, there was the Republican. Now before you all get up in a tizzy over the fact that I dated across party lines, I’ll say this - he was just a good shag and that’s it. But the fact is I was a total pushover during that time in my life. I recall wanting to say many things to him (mainly about him being such a egotistical prick), but I never brought any of it up. I was completely chickenshit.

I found myself thinking about how things would be now if I ever ran into him again, especially after having gone through everything with the German. I had to laugh at my notion of what the meeting would be like. He would no longer have the definitive upper hand and his smooth, charming ways would be lost on me. In my daydream – he wouldn’t know left from right and my self-assurance would likely freak him out.

So here are two mini thoughts, seemingly secluded to two very different areas of my life. As I connected the dots from my job to men and back again, I had to ponder...
Has my career growth, ability to lead and make decisions had an impact on how I engage in personal relationships? Or have my relationships taught me life lessons and self-assurance that I’ve brought into work each day?

It’s likely a criss-crossing of the two…regardless I believe I hit a turning point somewhere in the year and didn’t even know it. My annual review is coming up and I’m looking forward to seeing what I’ll have to "work on" over the next year…given my recent revelation, it just might have a lot to do with how my personal life will pan out.

I’ve never been one to bring my work home with me, but I might have to start…

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I’m not a morning person. I never have been. I think back to Sunday mornings as a teenager when my Dad would try and get me out of bed to go to Church. It would come down to about 15 minutes before we had to leave when he would threaten to take my car away. Only then would I reluctantly peel myself out of bed.

My mornings these days are slightly parallel…sans ominous parental figure. I set the alarm for 6am, thinking the night before that I’d be getting up to go for a run (yeah right). I’ll hit snooze until 7:30am, and then begin my morning ritual of stumbling to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee.

This morning I did something blasphemous…I “made” coffee but forgot to put the coffee grounds into the filter. Result: hot water. I don’t think I’ve ever done this and it’s made me wonder: am I going mad?

Coffee is my morning touchstone to reality. I used to drink a whole 12-cup pot before work…that is until I realized I might have a slight problem with caffeine. I’ve since downgraded to a 4-cupper and seem quite satiated. Coffee is what gets me going on the weekdays and makes my mornings complete on the weekends. It’s more than a morning jolt, rather it’s the emotive feeling I get from drinking it. It’s calming.

So this morning’s absent-minded blunder, as you can imagine, set my day off to a telling start. Instead of getting huffy about it and letting it throw my morning off (like I normally might), I decided to embrace it. So I made a proper pot of joe…and was late to work.

I figure I might be going crazy, however drinking my morning coffee is a surefire way to ensure that I’m less crazy than I would be without it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Coastie Encounter

I spent the majority of my Sunday afternoon at a roof deck pool at a good friend of mine’s apartment building. A great perk to have on a ninety degree, sunny day! As we were lounging in our deck chairs, we had the privilege of sitting near a gaggle of girls that brought me back to the good ol’ college days when us Midwesterners would quietly sit back and enjoy the antics of a group we endearingly called “coasties.” These sun-goddess gals were of top coasty breeding…and you could cut the pretentiousness with a knife.

The term “coasty” has an actual
definition. I’ve been familiar with it since the day I walked onto my Big Ten campus. Back then they traveled in packs wearing Herve bags, black puffy North Face jackets, Tiffany’s sterling silver chain-link bracelets, and New Balance hiking shoes…circa 1999.

The pool deck on Sunday was a modern day equivalent with Pucci bikinis, oversized Dior sunglasses, sparkly tunics, fake tits and blonde highlights. Whether it’s 1999 or 2006, they’re all the same: 18-24 years old with an alternate sense of reality from the one I’m familiar with.

While I paged through my Elle magazine and questioned the upcoming fall fashion trends of ankle boots, plaid tartans and the return of grunge, my gal pal and I shared few snickers on the sly at the conversational topics of choice from this group. I guess I just can't relate to their lifestyle and it's my way of dealing with the difference, but my opinion there is more to life than bottle service and mooching off of one's parents.

For the benefit of fellow eastern seaboard residents, I hope these costies take the ‘tudes down a notch and just chill out...isn't all the showiness exhausting anyway?!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

No More Wining

If this isn’t motivation to get you to recycle more than I don’t know what is…

According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, areas suitable for growing premium wine grapes could be reduced by 50 percent -- and possibly as much as 81 percent -- by the end of this century.

Take a moment for that to sink in.

A world with less wine...


Start separating your alumninum from paper people. I’ll begin by color-coding my glass bottles…pinot bottles here, sauvignon blanc bottles there…

Climate Change Could Sour Wineries (

Monday, July 10, 2006

Online Poll: Who’s Obsessed with the Food Network?

I’m fully willing to admit…I’m obessed.

Watching random shows on the Food Network has replaced my habit of watching old movies on TBS and TNT. Goodbye Molly Ringwald, hello Giada!

I’ve always been sort of a foodie. It all began as a child when my mom taught Food 101 at the local high school. She may have outgrown teaching that class, but the talent she learned and applied at home has helped me develop a pure appreciation for the gastronomic arts.

Yes, I love going out and experimenting with all the lovely NYC restaurant choices that New York has to offer. Italian, Vietnamese, French…oh my! Truly, the world is your oyster here. Especially with so many restaurants owned and operated by the world’s most talented chefs. The only problem is that it can hurt one’s pocketbook more than you’d expect.

So lately, I’ve been trying to cook more using professional inspiration. I’ve got a knack for cooking (thanks mom). So after catching episodes of Emeril Live, Barefoot Contessa and Everyday Italian, I try and think up something new to try…

Given all the talk of summer (and my disappointment at not being able to have a charcoal grill on my non-existent patio), I made a small purchase - likely the best of the summer - a brand new, non-stick grill pan. I think I’m in love.

…marinating, slicing, seasoning, grilling. To be honest, cooking is one small slice of pleasant solitude that I’ve come to enjoy. I’ve been a bit down in the dumps lately, but I’ve realized it’s time to pull myself out of it and enjoy the summer. BBQ’d chicken, grilled veggies, cocktail shrimp and a Corona Light with lime is all I need to send me back to a breezy, lakefront from my childhood. Who knew a grill pan could lead so such contented nostalgia?

Now if only I had a kitchen that wasn’t so damn small…

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Battle of the Alleyway

My neighborhood is an endearing mix of people. When I first moved in I was interested to see the multitude of flags on my street, proudly proclaiming who was Dominican, who was Mexican and who was Puerto Rican. I would laugh when I would go for a run and the men had pulled their lazy boys into the parking spaces along with a TV connected to a cable running over the garden level dumpsters…all in the name of soccer.

Over the years I’ve come to love my street, even with its eccentricities. However, one thing I will never embrace is the group of guys who hang out on the stoop next to mine and whisper lewd things to the women on my street as they walk by.

Well, today I won a small battle against these oafs.

It was around 5pm this evening while I was doing some much needed housekeeping when I noticed the faint scent of weed creep into my bedroom window. I climbed onto my bed so I could get a peak at who was smoking it up in the alley way between my building and the next. Sure enough it was the harassing hoodlums.

Now, I’m not one to yell profanity out the window, unless of course dire circumstances ensure and I have no choice. This time was not dire; however I did have a brilliant plan with a prediction.

I promptly dropped my Swiffer and plugged in my iPod. Click, click, click and presto chango I’ve got the Dixie Chicks’ latest (and highly brilliant) album blaring out of every window in my apartment.

I gave them 10 minutes (given their hazy and duped state) to vacate the alleyway.

It took 5. Muhahahahaha!

I then went on with my cleaning in peace and freshness…sans weed. Now…how to get them to shut the hell up?!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Life Unrest

A blogger going absent for a few weeks doesn’t necessarily mean that they have no valid thoughts to share on life anymore, in my world it simply means I’ve had too many thoughts flying around in my little head to warrant sorting it all out in a coherent fashion.

My mind has literally been-a-mush since I returned from my prolonged Midwest trip. I know part of it can be attributed to me missing the parts of a life there that I could never have here…namely, a constant state of pure sanity. The rest of my strife, however, is a combination of things that I have no possible way to begin explaining…

…but I’ll give it a whirl anyway…

Am I dissatisfied with my profession? Maybe…after all, I create air. Yes, I create nothing of tangible quality. Air = Sway public opinion. Drive purchase intent. Increase brand awareness…in other words…nothing that will really matter in the end. I’m definitely not saving lives here. Maybe I just need a new project to get rejuved? Maybe I need a new environment? I have no idea what I need...

Am I done with being a workaholic? Absofuckinglutely! New York breeds workaholics and in my profession…it’s tantamount to life. Well, I’m sick of it. I’m of the cloth that believes one should work to live, not live to work. It’s really upsetting when the role models in my industry are not reaping the benefits of years of loyal service. Instead they never work out, rarely see their friends, are at work until midnight and never seem satisfied with the work they do. Not exactly something to look up to, especially when I create air for a living.

Am I over New York? Perhaps. I’m sick of the rat race. I’m sick of feeling like I will never catch up to the cost of living. I’m sick of feeling like the cheap skate. I’m sick of knowing I’ll never own anything of value if I stay here. I’m sick of the perverts that hang out on my stoop in the summer and harass me day in and day out. I’m sick of my roommate. I’m sick of pigeons fucking on top of my air conditioner every morning at 5am. I’m sick of rude people on the subway. I'm sick of being sick of things.

Am I annoyed with the scene? Sometimes. I know I’ll likely never meet a potential man if I stay here. I hate pretentious nightclubs and the cost (to my ego and pocketbook) of going there. I hate going through the motions when I know I hate feeling hungover and broke the next day. I’d rather sit at home or in a cozy lounge with a few friends and just chat with a nice glass of red, and then wake up to a cup of coffee and the morning paper. Is New York is getting too high strung for me or am I becoming contentedly anti-social?

I don’t even know how to piece this all together, but I do know that I have a lot of thinking to do over the summer. I do know one thing...I hope I'll have some answers soon because a state of unknown is a frustrating place for me to be. I hate the unknown.