Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Best and the Worst of the Holidays

Ok...nothing too groundbreaking to share here, but why does the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas always have to suck so incredibly bad?!

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE the holidays. It's truly my favorite time of year for many reasons. It's my birthday. The cheery disposition everyone exudes. It's an excuse to wear fair isle sweaters. You can sip egg nog on an animal skin rug next to a fire with no judgement. Presents. Vacation. Home cooked food.

My problem is the time between the major holidays as it relates to work. Who out there can possibly have any motivation? I don't know about you all, but I just got back from five days away and have exactly three weeks left until I get the rest of the year off. I'm not exactly focused.

(Hence my blogging on company time.)


Only 14 days, 1 hour, 9 mintues and 27 seconds to go until I fly back to the snowy playground I call home. I can't wait to loaf around for two full weeks with my professional brain in the permanent "off" position.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I’ve mentioned that I have a love/hate relationship with my neighborhood. Aside from the obvious gentrification and the constant construction, I also have a plethora of corner hoodlums. One lovely thing I must endure just because I'm a girl are un-welcome comments from said corner hoodlums.

Come on ladies, we all know what I'm talking about.

At any time of day...in the morning when I’m makeup-less and bed-head ridden, after-work and in the wee hours of the morning when my face has clearly started to melt, the crazies on my block are relentless. Sometimes I stay calm and keep walking, pretending that I never heard anything, and sometimes I turn the volume up on my iPod.

Tonight wasn’t sometimes. Tonight I was bothered.

I ran out to grab a bottle of wine to "assist" in my holiday weekend packing process. As I was crossing back over the street on my way home, a corner crazy on a bike started to slow down behind me as I turned the corner.

I was walking fast, but he purposely slowed to make sure I could hear his comments. I planned to ignore as usual, but then he spoke:

“If you were four pounds lighter do you know what I’d do?”

I kept walking. Wondering why he chose four. Not three. Not five. Four.

“If you were four pounds lighter, I’d follow you around the world.”

"Oh goodie," I thought. "Now that'd be such a treat!"

He was still slowly following me so I stopped abruptly. “Keep going!” I yelled while giving him a good, long, fully annoyed stare.

“I was just stopping for some sushi anyway,” he said as he pulled his crap bike up next to a smallish, Japanese restaurant.

Although impressed at his correct observation, I kept walking away. As I walked off, he yelled out his final coup de grace. “Fine! I’d only follow you if you were FIVE pounds lighter!”

I gave a chuckle to myself at his completely crazy declaration, but I couldn’t help to be put off by this.

Its one thing for me to want to lose weight (which, let’s face it, all women want), but it’s quite another for some crazy dude to confirm that wish in a drunken tirade.

So now, as I pack for my nice long weekend, I’m contemplating one of the following:
1) Say fuck it, and drink the entire bottle of Syrah just to prove a point
2) Put the bottle down and refrain from consuming incremental calories to tomorrow’s food fest

I’m leaning toward option #1.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I’m not a spa person

I love a good massage every now and then, especially if it comes in the form of a gift certificate, however my trip to Elizabeth Arden yesterday showed me that while I can enjoy a full-spa experience, I'm partial to a quality day of retail therapy...

I had to put a gift cert to use before it expired and yesterday was my day. I went home early the night before and planned my Sunday out carefully to ensure I could savor every waking moment of my relaxation experience.

Elizabeth Arden Red Doors Spa is a bit of a New York landmark. It’s located on Fifth Avenue and represents everything a spa should be. A zen-like interior with dark woods, pale flowers, cascading water and strange music emanating from a carefully hidden sound system.

I walked in and changed into my robe and slippers and was promptly whisked away to receive an hour long Swedish massage. My entire body got a full kneading, but for some reason I left feeling unsatiated. The only nice part was the use of hot stones...novel concept! Regardless, I'm convinced that the tiny woman who gave me my massage paled in comparison to all the more satisfying massages I’ve received from ex-boyfriends. Who knows, but my back still hurts.

Whatever. It was free.

After my massage, I had to go to a different floor to receive my facial. I had been looking forward to this because I’d never had a facial before. I figured...”I’m at Elizabeth Arden, might as well go for broke and try it.” As I was drinking my hot tea, a tiny (and entirely too pretty) Russian gal named Tanya walked up to me and took me into a treatment room.

Over the next hour my face was cleansed, moisturized, exfoliated, masked, extracted and massaged. It was nice, but similarly to my massage, I wasn’t impressed. After it was all over I felt no different than I do on a quality Sunday night of self-pampering - only I’d have a glass of wine in hand to boot.

As I was walking out to change, any relaxation I had achieved was killed when tiny Tanya tried to sell me product. Definitely time to go.

I left Elizabeth Arden and walked out into the hustle and bustle of holiday 5th Avenue foot traffic and was quickly reminded why I like to live above 96th Street.

All in all, it was nice, but perhaps the whole spa thing isn’t my thing? Frankly, it didn’t hold a torch to the eucalyptus-oil-infused, white-tiled steam room at my gym. It’s much less hoity and I can relax looking like I rolled out of bed (or off the treadmill). Definitely more my speed.

So, from now on my "spa-experience" will consist of my usual mani/pedi followed by sharing a bottle of vino with gal-pals over hot crostini and an assortment of cheese...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Simply Brilliant

I saw this in the NYT today and couldn't resist a post...this just might have saved the plight of my closet...wait for it...

The Shoe Wheel!

Up to 30 pairs of shoes can be stored in is puppy, which tucks into a closet and then rolls out easily. Whoever came up with this deserves a medal.

Save your shoes today at rakkudesigns.com!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Thoughts on Waiting

For the moment, let’s flash back in time about 18 months...

I was dating the German and things were heading south. He had just returned from a three-month trip in the South Pacific, and had just taken a job in Germany. So much for giving the U.S. and US a chance.

In that trying time, all I remember doing was waiting around. Waiting around for just one email, just one text message or just one phone call. It made me feel insecure, pathetic and embarrassed. I was a walking cliché of a girl trying to convince herself that her relationship was worth the wait.

Fast forward to present time...

Now, I don’t wait around for anyone. It’s one precious lesson I learned from dating the German. I’ve stopped trying to convince myself that being unreliable is a quality I can adapt to. Case in point, his recent overture for “coffee or so.”

After recieving the German’s invitation, I had to ponder whether or not I would accept. I decided that I would be up for it, but under the conditions that I could secretly keep the upper hand. So I responded...

Sxxx –

Yeah, sure. I guess I could meet up for a bit. Let me know when you’re thinking. I have some plans this weekend so I’ll see what works...

He responded by saying Saturday or Sunday afternoon would be best. I agreed and told him to let me know. I left the decision making up to him, while I went on my merry way.

As I mentioned, I’m so glad I wasn’t waiting around because we never met up. We never met up because he didn’t make the time. All I got was a cryptic text message on Saturday saying “still in meetings...”


I was telling my girlfriends this weekend that I now know the purpose in having seen him in the marathon - it was to show myself that I’m over him completely. Had I gotten his email invitation as a surprise, I might have reacted differently to the situation. I might have weaned on my judgment and allowed him ‘in’ just enough to bring back those feelings of insecurity and embarrassment for allowing him to have control. I would have allowed him to disappointment me yet again. Well, I knew this time not to wait for him and I’m proud of myself for that.

Fast forward to my next relationship...

I still won’t be waiting, unless I find someone that wants to wait for me too.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Email Bombed...Again

Eleven months as I said. Eleven months had passed since I last saw him. Then there was the marathon.

Now...t’s been two and a half days since I last heard from him. Yesserie Bob. After the email break up, the heartache, the healing and the post-card bomb, the ex-boyfriend has re-emerged onto the scene once again.

Apparently, he found out somehow that I saw him (likely through a friend of a friend of a friend), because on Wednesday night I got another email from the German. On the bright side, this time he wasn't breaking up with me - on the contrary...

Hi Elle –

I heard you saw me running in the marathon. I’m in town this weekend for work. Would you like to meet for a coffee or so?

A coffee “or so?!” Can someone out there tell me what “or so” means?

I’ve told a few friends about this invitation, and haven’t received any strong reactions either way on whether or not I should go.

On one hand, what’s the point? What will we talk about? After all, a year has passed and I’m a changed person. I wouldn’t ever date him again, as I’ve said, so how much could we possibly talk about?

On the other hand, I have to admit I am curious. The main reason why we broke up aside from sheer distance was that there was no quality communication. I had many issues with how our relationship was faring and I felt I was always honest about how I felt. Anytime I brought it up, he would shut down. To this day I still don’t know why he broke things off. So yes, I’m curious. What does he have to say NOW that is so important to extend an invitation?

To go or not to go? That is the question…

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Noise Violations

Living in a four-floor walk up on the upper west side in Manhattan comes with its pros and cons…


  • Ridiculously cheap & rent-controlled
  • Proximity to not one, but two fabulous parks
  • 20 minute subway ride to work
  • Cost of having a social life is increased due to copious cab fares on weekends
  • Ridiculously cheap & rent-controlled apartment comes with “character” (i.e., ancient heating system, bedroom window that faces a brick wall)
  • The concept of a “doorman” is the homeless guy that hangs out on stoop collecting rogue socks from the sidewalk
Yes. It’s an adventure that I’ve come to love and hate. Last night, I think my delicate balance of pro v. con came to a tipping point, and as a result, I’m now the crabbiest woman alive…

The thing about rent-controlled apartment buildings in this city is that secretly the building owner cannot wait until the building inhabitants can be evicted. Up until the storied eviction date, the landlord will put minimal renovations into the place to keep costs down…just enough to keep the tenants in a state of contentment (because in New York strange insects can be tolerated for a rent below $1,000).

Once said tenants can be evicted, the building owner can gut the place, jack up the rent and lease the shiny-new space to a lovely family with two screaming children and three lhasa apsos that have the pleasure of yapping incessantly.

All of us New Yorkers know how irritating construction can be. One apartment in or near your building is quite enough. Well, try this on for size…the entire building next to mine (yes, the one in the same brick wall I get to stare at day in and day out) has been gutted. Large, friendly neighborhood Dominican family, gone. Enter team of men stocked with every power tool in the book.

Last night they proceeded to use those power tools well into the wee hours of my precious sleeping time. 2AM to be exact. The friendly folks over at 311 were beginning to call me with updates. For hours I tried to tune out the pounding of hammers, the buzzing of the power saws, the clang of metal chunks dropping from the apartment windows - shortly followed by a strange man yelling, “HEY! I live down here!”

For the love…

The only thing I could think to do was to try and plug my ears somehow. In my delirium I thought…does stuffing my sheets in my ears work? Nope, too thick. Cotton balls? Nope, not dense enough. Putting a pillow over my head? Nope, too suffocating.

Just when I thought I was ready to start counting sheep I figured it out. Surprisingly enough, I was so damn tired that I managed to fall asleep with my fingers jammed into my ears. Not exactly comfy, especially after a thirteen hour day, but nonetheless effective.

Today, I’m a walking scowl. Construction crews, clients and whiny co-workers beware. It’s no wonder New Yorkers are known for being irritable…

Monday, November 06, 2006

Run & Hide

I woke up yesterday morning and flipped on the TV to see the starting gun of the New York Marathon go off promptly followed by Frank Sinatra’s "New York New York" playing over the loud speakers. For a split second I smiled and thought, “oh, wouldn’t it be great to run in a marathon.” After all, the New York Marathon is an annual event that entices the masses to take on one of the most difficult physical challenges a person can handle. This city loves the Marathon and even the most loafish person can be inspired.

I paused for a moment and then quickly returned to reality where I was still snuggled under the covers in my bed. – enjoying my immobility.

Despite my own sentiments toward running 26.2 miles, I managed to get out to the sidelines to cheer on a few friends. We found a great spot at mile 24 in central park, and had our signs all ready for when we spotted our pals in the mass of people. They ran by looking fabulously energetic, almost as if they had only ran a couple of miles rather than 24. After they passed, my friends and I continued to cheer others on, enjoying the greatest form of people watching I can think of.

As we clapped for those who were excited to be on the last leg of the race (or ready to collapse), I looked out over the curved road and mass of people wondering who else might be taking on the challenge. As I was scanning the faces, I saw something that I’m not sure any girl will ever be ready for.

Almost in slow motion, the wall of people oddly opened up and there he was, running right in front of me – my ex boyfriend.

It had been almost eleven months to the day of when I last saw him in person. Since he lives in Germany, he’s been easy to avoid. After all this time, I had a split second to decide on what to do. Do I be a good sport and cheer him on? Do I do nothing? Do I casually say hi?

Nope. I did none of the above. I did what any smart woman would do...I hid behind my gal-pal standing next to me praying that he would pass without seeing me. I HID! Talk about an instinctual reaction. I mean, this is a man who was in my life for a long time, reeking havoc on my emotions for the better part of two years. There he was...and I hid.

I consider myself a pretty confident person. Made more secure no thanks to that relationship. But hiding? In hindsight it seems like a silly reaction considering the circumstances. I know ten times over that I would never date him again, however I do know that he changed me and my outlook on many things. So what was I hiding from?

Regardless of my reaction to seeing him, I have to wonder what is the cosmic reason for my ex-sighting? Is it validation? Is it a test of will? I can't say I know why just yet, but I have always thought everything happens for a reason.

So, just like in When Harry Met Sally...it happened. In a world of 6 billion people, a city of 8 million, and a race of 37,000 - it is just my luck that I would see the one person who has successfully un-nerved me in the past two years.