Category Archives: friends

A slice of January

Most people probably agree that the cold months following Christmas and New Year’s can be a little bit of a letdown. But there are always good little moments. Here are some of mine so far in 2010.

One long weekend I finished up the Santa puzzle my mom gave me for Christmas in 2008. It was a lot of fun… a really good cozy winter activity. I think it looked better put together than it did in the picture on the box.

During our holiday visit to the farm, Ezra’s sister Abby introduced us to Bananagrams. It’s so completely up my alley–a word game, sort of like Scrabble and Boggle put together, but better (well, definitely better than Scrabble anyway). So on that long weekend I mentioned we gave Bananagrams to Amy and Doug for Christmas. Of course, we played several rounds.

Amy’s fabulous creation with the Bananagrams tiles… not a part of the actual game

And, of course, we had to get it for ourselves shortly after that.

I’m still going through my Christmas postcards. I promise to share more about them soon (take that as a “coming attractions” or a warning, as you wish).

(Feels like) a long weekend in New York

It’s been a long and very good weekend.  Ez and I spent Friday and Saturday in New York.  On Friday Ez worked and I wandered around, checking out Tinsel Trading Company and spending a couple of happy hours browsing (and eventually buying) at The Strand.

Spotted after lunch

On Saturday Ez was kind enough to walk with me to the vegetarian cafe S’Nice in the West Village, where I know they have delicious steel-cut oatmeal with all the trimmings.  There I ate said oatmeal with dried fruit and honey and enjoyed one of the tastiest glasses of apricot-orange tea ever.  We went to The Strand again because Ez needed to get his fix (he didn’t really have to twist my arm to get me to spend more time there), and then Ez took me to the Chelsea Market, where the New York Lux office will soon be moving.  It’s quite a nifty building.  I’ll have to upload a picture or two.

I fell in love with this spot at the Chelsea Market.

Then we met up with Ezra’s old friend Jen Williams in the Cooper Union area (Jen went to Cooper Union and now teaches there).  I’d never met her before, though I’d heard a lot about her.  She seems pretty great, and we had a really nice time chatting with her, wandering around the Lower East Side, popping into a small gallery to check out her friend’s show, and just basically hanging out.  For dinner, the three of us went to the tasty Pan-Asian vegetarian (and largely vegan) restaurant Wild Ginger (it’s just as good as Ez and I remember).  We’re hoping it won’t be another 10+ years before we see Jen again.

And oh, hey, the Steelers won their NFL record sixth Super Bowl (that’s about 14% of all Super Bowl games that have been played).  And the game was actually exciting.  I am not a big NFL person, but we’re Steelers people in this house.  (And, incidentally, it was a day of more pleasant sports news, as PSU men’s basketball upset ninth-ranked Michigan State, the Celtics won again, and Rafael Nadal beat Federer to win his first Australian Open title.)

Every time I go to New York I want to spend more time there.  I like its energy and pervading spirit of creating new things.  I think it improves my health to be around that vibe more often!

The Calamity, a book review with which some of you will disagree

A few days ago I finished Special Topics in Calamity Physics. It was a strange book for me, because it was a page-turner (at least, some of it was), but the writing style annoyed me, and overall I ended up really disappointed.

I didn’t believe any of the characters. There’s little in the story that I could relate to my own life–and I don’t just mean in terms of things that happen, because lots of things happen in lots of books that have nothing to do with my life. I feel like the author tried too hard to describe everything so that she didn’t leave room to fill in anything–at least, nothing superficial. Somehow, even after all of that, I felt like the characters lacked any sort of depth. With all the glowing reviews at the front of the book, I would have guessed that the main character would be appealing. She’s not. I found her annoying, not very believable, and pretty stupid for how smart she’s supposed to be. I kept trying to give a lot of characters a pass, because they’re supposed to be smarty-pants high schoolers, but it just doesn’t work. And the adults don’t act like adults, either. The things they say and do with the young people are just totally implausible. Okay, maybe one or two oddball characters would act strangely with kids, but all of them? It just doesn’t work.

And the similes!! No, the LISTS of similes. It was painful.

Shortly before I finished the book, I was talking to Amy, who read and enjoyed the book–though she had some issues with it, too. We were talking about bad similes in books, and she said something about a book she’d read (not this one, or so she thought, anyway) having a ridiculous simile that compared someone’s eyes to olives. Well, lo and behold, toward the end of Special Topics, the narrator compares someone’s eyes to olives. I guess maybe in this case it’s supposed to be funny. It isn’t the worst bit of the book, though. It isn’t even so much that all the similes are bad, it’s that there are too many of them… The author couldn’t just pick a few of the most poetic and spot-on ones or find some other way of describing things.

And all the endless referencing and faux referencing… it isn’t clever, it’s annoying. I hate all that b.s..

For all of the supposed unpredictability of the book, I feel like I totally nailed the ending long before it happened.

It isn’t a painful read in that somehow most of the time it flows (except in the part where the main character is supposedly figuring everything out–which to me felt too convenient and very boring), but her writing is often painful in other ways. There’s something self-congratulatory about it that’s really off-putting. I can’t recommend it. Read Donna Tartt or something instead.

Some pictures of Savannah

Our visit to Savannah was great–very relaxing. We even went to the beach! I don’t have much time to write about it here as we’re off to see the Flemings in Virginia later on today, but I can share a few pictures to give you a feel for the trip.

Adorable baby birdie sitting on the wheel of a baby buggy

Monday morning in Savannah

The Jepson Art Museum

Nora and Jim at the Jepson on Mother’s Day. Note Nora’s sunburn from the previous day’s beach outing. She’s on the phone with her mom here.

Nora and Ezra on the path to the water at Tybee Beach (Jim had to work that day)

Scrumpy dinner courtesy of chef Jim Lewis

And the weekend goes out with a bang

I bring you glad tidings from the Terri sports world, as the Celtics, the Penguins, and the Red Sox all won big today.

I bring you glad tidings from the baby world, wherein Nora and Jim found out a few days ago that they are having a little boy, and wherein John and Sonya have just told us that they are due to have their first on Christmas Day.

And I bring you glad tidings from the kitchen, wherein Ez and I conjured up ridiculously delicious-smelling goat cheese enchiladas with red chile mole. Picture to come.

A few things to share

So I haven’t felt very blog-worthy lately, as I suppose is apparent.

A few possibly blogworthy notes:

  • My parents visited about a week ago. I was excited to see them as they don’t get up here very often. I felt a bit as though I bored them, but some of the best bits are always just sitting and chatting over a cup of tea or sharing a book. I was pretty glum when they left.
  • I finally signed up for a photo class. I’m a little nervous, but it should be good. If nothing else, I won’t have to wonder anymore if I should take a solid basic photo class or not.
  • Ez and I are going down to Savannah later this week to visit with Nora and Jim (and their kitties). I see Nora so rarely and I’ve never been to Savannah. I’m looking forward to hanging out and getting a bit of a summer preview with beach, berries, and bumbling around.
  • I found Jeff Sher’s blog, The Animated Life, on NYT online. I’m usually pretty late to the party on these things, but in case you aren’t familiar with his work, go here to see his latest, “All the Wrong Reasons.”