Sunday, April 26, 2009

First dinner in the new apartment:

Take-out Indian from Seva, the place up the block from us that marks what's vegan on the menu. Yeah, we like that place. Bhindi masala (sauteed okra and tomatoes) with jasmine rice, vegetable samosa, vegetable pakora. Tap water from the two mugs we could dig up; shared the one fork we could find. Sat on the hardwood parquet floor of our dining room, on cushions of the couch that hadn't gotten moved here yet. A satisfying meal in the midst of a very long day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Actual email sent to my entire office today:

To all Citrix users:

The Citrix Program Neighborhood will contain an icon that is labeled:

So please do not click it when the Program Neighborhood opens up.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I owe you some sunshine.

Well, my new apartment is full of it - soaked in that wonderful natural light that I so cherish. It fills the space, with its high ceilings and wood floors and freshly painted walls, just inviting us in. There's even a skylight in the stairwell.

We did a good little chunk of moving today, thanks to the assistance of our friends Leslie and Walton (and their Land Rover). We took over three loads, which represented everything we'd thus far managed to pack, some clothes, and a few very small pieces of furniture. I'll count it as a productive day, even if we do still have much left to do.

The gods of parking were with us today - seriously, it was miraculous. About half an hour after our friends had texted to say they were on their way, I noticed that there was an open parking space right in front of our building. This does not happen. So when Jon was going out to smoke a cigarette, I told him to stand in it - just in case they happened to pull up in that few-minute window. And they did! Such luck just continued all six times we had to park - it was almost as good as having Monica the Magical Parking Charm in the car. Thank you parking gods!

Afterward we took them out to lunch at our favorite Japanese place in the neighborhood, which also happens to be on our new street. Ain't that convenient? It's also just around the corner from our favorite Indian place in the neighborhood - the one that MARKS VEGAN ITEMS ON THE MENU. Seriously. They use the word vegan. (Not remarkable for Manhattan, VERY remarkable for Queens.) Yes, we're pleased with our new location.

Then... we went and got walkie-talkies! How excited am I about these new toys? OMG so excited. See, the new place is big, and I'll be working in the back of the house and Jon will be in front, and our little old lady landlord who never leaves the house probably wouldn't appreciate our screaming at the top of our lungs to each other all the live long day... thus we justify the purchase of the best toy ever! Yes!!! More on this later, you can rest assured.

After all that I was totally wiped out and had to nap for several hours, and truth be told I haven't really recovered. I'm not sure what it is that my body is going through, but I'm beginning to suspect it's more than just prolonged stress or fatigue. So hard to say with all that's going on right now, combined with all the factors that are usually plaguing my body. Aargh.

Anyway, there ya go - a little bit of happiness and good news. Progress on moving, help from and yummy lunch with good friends, and new toys! Not to mention the PERFECT SPRING DAY that provided the best moving weather evah. All in all, a day to mark in the "plus" column.

* * *

p.s. - Jim! We love you for trying to make it out! No worries that we were done before you were finished with class. Next time we promise to not start until you get there and make you carry all the heaviest stuff. :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

To the bone.

Raw. Stripped bare. That is how I feel. That is what I am.

It's not actually all that bleak. It's not at all a new feeling. It's a place I land somewhat regularly, a place life spits me out to. In essence, this happens.

It's been building for weeks, or rather it's been wearing away for as long, or maybe longer. Work stress took its toll on my body, which has been staging various major and minor revolts. My relationship is still rocky, to be sure, which puts just a bit more of an edge on everything. And there are other factors, but we're getting to that. This week the whole of it has come to a head in several different ways.

On Monday, I had a small breakdown when Jonathan was not responding to me on i.m. It turned out that he was not responding to me because he wasn't actually logged in; some glitch in the system was showing him present when he was not. But my reaction showed me just how fragile I am at the moment, and just how easy it is to send me spinning out of control when it comes to the idea of him being upset with me or ignoring me. My threshold there is effectively zero - which is bad particularly because he himself is having a very stressful time and cannot always perfectly meet my needs. Shockingly enough, try as he might he too is human. Go figure.

You've heard about Tuesday, so I won't go into it. You've also been hearing about the workload in general, which isn't budging in the least, so I won't go into that either.

I've mentioned that the migraines have come back, but I haven't really explained. The story is that I've been on Topamax, a drug taken to prevent migraines, for close to two years now. That happened because I was getting bad ones three to four times a week - and that's really not a situation that allows a person to keep working or even getting out of bed every day. I tried Imitrex and something else similar and had horrible reactions, so Topamax it was.

Well, I've been on a very low dose - 50 mg - and thus far it's worked very well... until the past month or two. They're starting to creep in again, to the point where at least once or twice a week, I'm dizzy, disoriented, having difficulty concentrating, nauseous, light-sensitive, and even getting to the point of full blown head pain. Again, just not a situation conducive to functioning. So I called my doctor and, huge surprise, he's decided that we need to up the dosage of my medication.

I'm only going up to 100 mg, which is still a low dose for this drug. But to say I'm not happy about it is an understatement. It's an anti-convulsant, and no one understands why it helps migraines. That doesn't give me warm fuzzy feelings. I don't like fucking with my nervous system, and I don't like taking drugs that function through mysterious pathways. But what's my other option? To be blindsided on any given day by a condition that renders me various shades of useless. Great choice, huh?

So that's Huge Stressor #2, #1 of course being the ever-present / newly worsening work situation. I'll go ahead and vote "I'm effing moving!" as #3. And #4? Well that one just came today.

And it involves the fam.

I know you're shocked.

So I'm at work, in the midst of another 10 hour day, and I get this message from my mom. (On my work phone. You know. Because that's appropriate.) She explains to me that "that thing" my dad has been afraid of at his job actually is happening, contrary to the information he received a week or two ago that it was not happening, and could I just call sometime this week and make him feel better about it? Because, you know, as the child it's obviously my responsibility to comfort my parent in his time of strife. Never mind that my own life is such a goddamn train wreck that I'm crying hysterically every night.

But this is our dynamic. From the earliest times we can remember, my sister and I have taken a parenting role to those two adults that birthed us - far more often, really, than such support has flowed the other way. "Don't tell your father - it might upset him" and "be strong for your mother" were practically our family mottoes the entire time I was growing up. When I was little, I actually thought I was being bad when I got sick. Who was strong for us? For a long time, no one. Eventually, and with immense pain, we learned to be strong for ourselves, and then later, for each other. We're still waiting to see if mom and pop are ever going to pitch in, but let's just say that, well into our thirties, we're not holding our breath.

So that's my life right now. Wake up too early after not enough sleep, arrive at work to an empty dark office and an absurd workload to try to get some things done before The Noise starts, deal all day with an office full of people who resent my need for quiet and simply my presence in what they see as "their" space, add two tasks to my list for every one that I get to cross off, wonder if the day will bring a migraine or bad indigestion or the crazy tinglings of peripheral neuropathy, feel guilty for not being my parents' rock of love and support, and then go home and try to pack.

I've reached that dry, sarcastic, bitter point where everything is just a dark unfunny joke. Scotch and cigarettes are a good companion to this mood, and I truly wish I still drank or smoked.


There is no other word.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Apparently, my place in the world as a social leper actually *is* set in stone.

You know those people who are always just the light of the party? The people who just make everything fun no matter what or where or who or why? The girl who everyone says, "man, this party is lame... where's so-and-so? She would make it awesome!" Well, I am the opposite of that girl.

I'm the girl that makes people say, "Well, we were all having a good time, until she got here."

You think I'm exaggerating. That's fair enough; I am prone to exaggeration, particularly when writing blog posts. But seriously. I'm not kidding. I think that exact phrase has been uttered about me, and well more than once.

Granted, it's not usually actual parties where this happens, although yeah, sometimes it's actual parties. More often it's those pseudo-social situations that we're constantly thrown into: school and work.

Does it really happen that often? you're thinking. I'll put it this way. I started trying to count incidents - not the little ones, but only the big ones which resulted in yelling or even ended friendships - and I had to stop after ten. It was too depressing to continue.

Why does it happen so much? Is this girl just a total bitch? Well... that might be part of it. But really, I'm not a bitch. I don't think I'm better than anybody. I try to be people's friend. I try to be sociable. But something about me, the way I work, my OCD tendencies / perfectionism, something, creates this situation where I'm - OK, there's really no other way to say this - just doing a lot more work than the people around me. And that always leads to trouble.

I've mentioned that work has been completely crazy lately. Well, it's not getting any better - and it's making my migraines worse, woo! So already I'm in a situation where I have far more work than one person can be expected to do (this is bad enough that my bosses actually acknowledge it's true), and my body is limiting my capacity to do it. OK. Let's add on, now, the fact that I basically sit in a hallway. It's an enclave in a hallway, but really, I'm right there out in the open, in front of a printer and scanner and beside filing cabinets, all of which are used by at least eight other people.

In and of itself, that seating arrangement would be bad enough, yes? Well here's the really fun part. I sit behind a secretary who's worked for the firm for 17 years. I love her; she's great. And because she's great she's very, very popular. So popular, in fact, that throughout the day congregations form around her desk. These can be made up of as few as two or as many as seven or eight people, telling stories and laughing and checking out things on the internet and just having a grand old time.

Enter the Party Destroyer - ME! Little old me, crammed back in front of the printer, trying desperately to get the interrogatory requests drafted so that I can get back to entering the deposition testimony into the goddamn case chart that was supposed to be finished last week so that I can get back to working on the 90 exhibit lists (literally) that have to be served at the end of next week.

Can I concentrate with eight people standing 10 feet from my desk acting like they're already at happy hour? No, not really. Have I asked them to disperse because it's making it hard to do my work at least 5 times over the past several months? Yes I have. Have I had several to many conversations with that very popular secretary about the situation? Yes, I've done that as well. Does that stop this situation from occurring several times every single day? No it doesn't. Have I tried using earplugs, listening to music, or simply trying to tune them out? Yes I have. Has it done any damn good at all? No, not a shred.

As you may have guessed, one of these little incidents occurred today. Well, really, like four of them occurred today, but it was the last one that finally broke me. I went in to work today with a migraine trying to dance its way into my skull, me doing my best to keep it at a manageable level while staring at a computer screen, sitting under raging flourescent lighting. At that point in the afternoon I wanted to curl into a ball and at least cry, but there was still work to do. And I was trying to do it. But every time the throbbing in my head allowed me to have a cognizant thought, it was immediately swiped away by the carrying on of the three paralegals and two attorneys (yeah) who were then accumulated at the front of my little alcove.

Could I have spoken up, yet again, to let them know I had work to do and they were making it impossible? Sure. But jesus. It's a ridiculously awkward position to be in, day in and day out. It's embarassing and makes me feel like a jerk every single time. And, you know, I always have work to do. How do I tell them that every single time they're standing there chatting, they're fucking up my world? If you can tell me a gracious way to have that conversation, you just let me know.

So what did happen? Well, I'm social friends with one of the attorneys that I work for. (She is a workaholic like me, and therefore does not shun me like others do.) It happened to be her I was trying to get something done for at that moment, and she and I both happened to be on chat. So I sent her a message, something to the effect of not being able to concentrate with all these people talking in front of my desk. It's something we've talked about before; she uses the printer behind me and so is well acquainted with the clusters that accumulate. She told me to tell them to go away. The logical response, sure. I responded with something about how it's just a really awkward situation; what I didn't mention is how I just wasn't emotionally or physically up to dealing with it.

Well, she took matters into her own hands. She came over, broke up the crowd, and spoke to a couple of them where I couldn't see or hear what was happening. A couple of minutes later she wrote to me, saying "there, now they hate you and not me."

If only.

It was a good effort on her part, and I appreciate that she was trying to help, but effectively now I've told teacher. They all hate me - enough to where one of them came to tell me that it was 'not appreciated' before leaving for the day. (It was a good bit more elaborate than that, but I can't remember what all he said because I was crying when he said it.)

Jesus fuck. Seriously. "Social Leper" might as well be carved into my forehead. Particularly upsetting, since with these particular people I've gone out of my way since coming back to the office in October to make nice and be as much a part of the group as I have time for. I know I'm sitting in their public space - it's effectively like I'm the girl sleeping on the living room couch. But I didn't choose it, and there's nowhere else for me to go. The firm has seriously outgrown the offices we're in; there literally isn't another desk.

But here's the thing. How completely unfair is this? Why should I have to explain to people, grown adult people with jobs at a law firm, almost all of whom SIT IN OFFICES WITH DOORS AND NOT IN THE FUCKING HALLWAY, and none of whom work anything approaching the hours that I work, that, hey, it's not OK to stand around in the hallway and socialize for 20 minutes to a half hour at a time, multiple times a day, loudly enough that it interferes with other people's work? I shouldn't have to, of course.

There's nothing I can do. No escape. I work hard, everyone hates me for it, the end. It has been this way since grade school. Group project? All that means is I do all the work, get an A for the three or four others who were in the group and did nothing, and then get teased and taunted by them for the rest of the year for being a "geek". Why does nothing ever change?

Alright, so I am the Grand Annihilator of Fun. At least now that they already hate me I can stop holding back when they're annoying the piss out of me and just say something about it every time. What's the difference? They're obviously never going to like me anyway - my efforts to be included were met with lukewarm politeness, and now it's all shot to shit. The damage is done.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A great vegetarian event!... in New Orleans?


The bad news: Cafe Bamboo, discussed below, is now closed. :( The good news: there is now so much awesome vegan food around New Orleans that it's mind-blowing! We have an all-vegan Korean place, for instance. I have a whole blog dedicated to being vegan in New Orleans - it's called New Orleans in Green. If you're looking for vegan options in Nola, it should really help you out. Oh, also, the Veggie Fest is still going strong! ;)

* * * * *

New Orleans is a city with a rich and deep rooted culture, much of which revolves around food. We've got po boy sandwiches - the classic is roast beef, followed closely by fried shrimp. And there is of course the muffuletta: an ENORMOUS deli meat sandwich on a round seed bun with a huge pile of olive salad and cheese on top. There's the crawfish etouffee, the shrimp remoulade, the andouille sausage. And then there are all the hodgepodge dishes, like seafood gumbo and jambalaya, which frequently feature shrimp, crawfish, chicken, sausage, or any combination thereof. Red beans and rice? Of course you've gotta cook it with sausage. (Don't you?) Dirty rice? Guess what makes it dirty? If you're not from the dirty dirty you'll never guess in a million years, so I'll just tell you that it's chicken liver.

Given this food environment, need I tell you that it's just a smidge difficult being vegetarian (or, god forbid, VEGAN) in the Crescent City? It can be done, to be sure, particularly with the plethora of Japanese, Middle Eastern, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurants that have opened there in the past 10 years. But it definitely flies in the face of the local cuisine - or, at least, so it would seem. There are many who may not believe that you can make a damn fine vegan gumbo - but it's true! And it must be tasted to believed. But since historically there have been no vegetarian restaurants in the whole city, most people never get the chance to find it out.

Well, all that may be changing. I've just discovered that there is now an all vegetarian restaurant in New Orleans! As cruel cruel fate would have it, Cafe Bamboo opened its doors THE DAY I LEFT THE CITY from my last visit. Ironic, no? But I'll hold no grudges, given the caveat that it stays open long enough for me to go and try it out! I, of course, hope that it stays open forever and is ridiculously prosperous.

It's right there at the bottom of Esplanade where it hits the river and Decatur / St. Peters, at the far southeastern edge of the Quarter... yes, it's at the Dragon's Den! (I'm not too clear on whether or not the Dragon's Den itself, as an establishment, still exists, so if someone could clear me up on that one I'd appreciate it. That place for me goes back to my earliest days in that city. Last I checked it was there, and had a goth night, called "The Den". But I digress.) Cafe Bamboo's menu seems to be somewhat similar to the fare offered by New York's dynamic duo, Red Bamboo and Vegetarian Paradise 2 (VP2 for short), both on the same block of West 4th Street down in NYUville. The similarity of the names and menus does make me ever so slightly suspicious that the same owners may have a hand in it, but that would be just fine with me. The menu does get these brownie points: they notate what isn't vegan! And it looks delish.

So not only does this place exist and everything, which seriously is a major feat, but it will also be playing host to the first annual NOLA Veggie Fest! Yes, that's right. You read correctly. Not only does The City that Care Forgot now have it's very own vegetarian restaurant, but now it's going to have a major event to promote the veg way. On Sunday, May 17, the good people of New Orleans will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a vegetarian education extravaganza! When I heard about this event, I was at first elated and then immediately brokenhearted - there's no way I'll be able to attend. But I'll be there in spirit! And I'll also be nagging all of you about it until then! Woo!

Features of the event include:
*free food samples
*cooking demonstrations
*raffle prizes (a few of which will be donated by yours truly, and hopefully by some of the other members of the Vegan Etsy team)
*a free subscription to VegNews Magazine for the first 50 attendees!

Admission is a mere $5, and proceeds go to the Humane Society of Louisiana. See? Just by showing up you're already contributing to your community... and putting yourself in the way of prizes! It's really win-win. If you're in the N.O. area, I really hope you will make an appearance. What are you waiting for? Put it in your day planner (or slingshot) already! None of this pencil stuff neither - I want it in there in ink. Do or do not do, there is no try, dern it. Tell them I sent you - and then tell me all about it!

Friday, April 10, 2009

What a bunch of pigs.

Today's entry on Marion Nestle's blog struck me as so important that I am now going to reproduce the entire thing here. Says the brilliant Dr. Nestle:

My e-mail inbox is flooded with copies of an op-ed from today’s New York Times arguing that pigs running around outside have “higher rates” of Salmonella, toxoplasma, and, most alarming, trichina than pigs raised in factory farms. The writer, James McWilliams, is a prize-winning historian at Texas State San Marcos whose forthcoming book is about the dangers of the locavore movement to the future of food.

I put “higher rates” in quotation marks because that is not what the study measured. The study on which McWilliams based his op-ed is published in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. The investigators actually measured “seropositivity” (antibodies) in the pigs’ blood. But the presence of antibodies does not necessarily mean that the animals - or their meat - are infected. It means that the free-range pigs were exposed to the organisms at some point and developed immunity to them. The industrial pigs were not exposed and did not develop immunity to these microorganisms. But you would never know that from reading the op-ed. How come?

Guess who paid for the study? The National Pork Board, of course.

The Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins has much to say about all this. My point, as always, is that sponsored studies are invariably designed in ways that produce results favorable to the sponsor. In this case, the sponsor represents industrial pork producers.

People, this is an illustration of one of my mottoes: consider your sources!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

In work world, April = balls.

Work is completely fucking insane right now, and has been for like two weeks. It is now at a point where I have to choose between being physically exhausted and sometimes sick from trying to work too many hours and being more stressed out because things that really, really needed to happen didn't get done. So, so beyond OK.

Actual email I had to send out today (names have been changed to protect the innocent / fool people who might be able to fire me):

Below are the seven deposition transcripts I was not able to locate out of everything we served p&l's for. 5 of them are from (that dude) so we may be able to attain them from him. But given everything else we're expected to push out today, it's not something I think I should be spending time on. I am going to send what we do have today; perhaps we can collect the few left and get them sent by Monday.

As for printing out all of the summary judgment documents, B is plugging away. But it is an absolutely enormous task, and honestly not one that can realistically be expected to be accomplished in one business day - not with AR calling B every 10 minutes needing yet another piece of info, printers that jam every tenth page (literally), other people needing to print, and very few people available to help. I haven't even gotten to start helping yet because I've been collecting transcripts and trying to help S prepare for her dep tomorrow, so it's just been B and R. A was going to help after court, but I understand she now has another assignment. L is wrapped up in her trial, as is J.

Bossman, you know I'm not prone to complaining about a large task, but I simply have to express this - asking us after 5pm last night to have this done and sent out fed ex today is unrealistic and has caused an extremely stressful situation. Particularly as it comes on the heels of a week plus of similar demands. I know it's foolish to call things "unfair", so I'll simply say that this is not conducive to a positive or productive (or even acceptable) work atmosphere. I know you all do what you can to manage our workload, but sometimes the size of a task and the limits of our resources just aren't taken into account.
Working for the man. Beats working in a coal mine, I suppose. And it sure beats not working, in the monetary department at least. But it also sure as hell beats the crap out of anyone who tries to do it right.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

So, how am I doing with this crazy juice thing?

I'll tell you, it's been a difficult week for body and soul. But not because of food. Because of work, and because we decided to rent a new apartment. Put a 55 hour work week together with the stress of breaking a lease and starting to pack, and you're bound to produce a certain amount of anxiety.

Tonight I'm all wound up. I should already be in bed, but the more I think about getting in bed the more anxious I become about going to work tomorrow. It's a crappy way to feel. But, then, not as crappy as, say, "laid off" must feel, so I suppose I should count my blessings.

As far as food goes, I didn't do too bad over the past week. Did I stick to my plan 100%? No. But I did alright. I ate a whole lot of food most days - partly because of the stress and partly because I'm just used to overeating, so that's something I really need to work on. I did manage to actually have juice for three of my five weekday meals - one carrot orange celery, one carrot celery beet, and one orange spinach celery. That last one was surprisingly tasty, and an amazingly vivid green color!

Of the two midday meals that ended up being something else, one was an awesome salad with mixed greens, smoked tofu, hearts of palm, and beets. The other was, well, um, a big ol' honkin bagel with tofu cream cheese. Both of those events were due to crazy work days during which I didn't stop and force myself to eat until like 3pm. And as far as the bagel goes, it's not totally off limits - after all, it did come from Ess-a-Bagel. Whole grain, freshly made from simple ingredients, and there were vegetables on it... OK, it's a stretch. But I could have done worse. And some days a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

I'm thinking the coming week will be better. I hope. I've got everything set for the week - muesli for the morning, yogurt for the 11am, raw nuts for the 5pm. I've just got to force myself to get out of the office 'round 1pm and get that juice. And, you know, to not get anything else.

I did weigh myself this morning - 174.8 down from last week's 176.8 Does it mean anything? Hard to say. It seems that I easily fluctuate 2 to 3 pounds daily. I'll be more interested to see if that "loss" is maintained or even increased next week.

In the category of really good news, my foot is definitely better. So if I ever get the time, I can think about doing some serious walking again. Also the weather is starting to act like real spring - warmer! Windy with frequent rain, but still, warmer! So here's hoping that I can add some physical activity into the mix soon.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Friday, April 3, 2009


We vegans, in general, love animals. Of course, my man will argue that we just really hate vegetables, but I don't think that's it at all. I'm going with the liking animals thing. And when this guy is out there, is it any wonder that we're fascinated - sometimes to the point of reverence?

I think not.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The ingredients in girl scout cookies.

Samoas, to be specific.
Sugar, vegetable oil (palm, partially hydrogenated palm kernel, soybean and/or cottonseed with TBHQ to preserve freshness), enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate [vitamin B1], riboflavin [vitamin B2], folic acid), corn syrup, coconut, sweetened condensed milk (condensed milk, sugar), sorbitol, contains two percent or less of cocoa, glycerin, invert sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, cornstarch, salt, caramelized sugar, dextrose, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, carrageenan, leavening (baking soda, monocalcium phosphate).
Interesting, I think, that while they contain partially hydrogenated oils they list the trans-fat content as 0. I actually have the low-down on this: they made the cookies smaller and reduced the serving size so that they no longer had to list the trans-fat content, rather than actually eliminating it. Also interesting that I count no less than six ingredients that are actually sugar... and that sugar is more prominent than flour in these cookies.

The side of this box of cookies states that "Girl Scouts of the USA is the premier leadership development organization for girls where young women discovery their potential, conenct with others, and take action in their communities and the world." Really? What, exactly, are they learning by being asked to sell overpriced, overprocessed junk food to a population already plagued with health problems caused by poor eating habits and and a food supply that is increacingly divergent from food in its natural state?

Does it anger anyone else that a group whose intention is to benefit children has little girls peddling this crap? Yes, they taste good. But so do cookies with real, pronouncable ingredients instead of space-age chemicals. Hell, so does fruit. There must be some other way to raise funds for this, such a "premier leadership development organization". Can't they be just a lil bit more innovative? I think they can.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Better homes and gardens. No really, gardens!

So... we found an apartment! And it's huge, and beautiful, and huge. Did I mention huge? Yes, we're staying in Queens. Our same neighborhood, even. We'll still have easy access to the restaurants, grocery stores, and subway stations that we know and love. But we'll be in a brand new space! I've never had this kind of move before. I'm kind of psyched about it.

It's the second floor of a two-story two-family - and you know what that means. NO MORE ABOVE-US NEIGHBORS! No more karaoke until all hours of the night! No more children running stampedes in circles above us, leading us to wonder if things will soon begin to rattle off of our bookshelves! But anyway. The owner, a little old lady with not much English, lives below. It's OK; we're quiet. And anyway, she'll love us forever after the first time we bake her cookies.

So, wanna see pictures? I'm thinking yes.

This is the long narrow room that runs along the front of the apartment, with large picture windows looking out onto the tree-lined street. It faces west, so we shouldn't have terrible hotness problems in the summer, and maybe we'll get some good sunset views. We are alternately calling this room the sitting room, the reading room, and the library. Our plan is to have bookshelves at each end and big comfy chairs in the middle... somehow. It's also where I will plant a gianormous x-mas tree with plenty of sparkly lights when the time comes.

This here is the dining room - the room I was standing in to take this picture is the living room which is of about equal size. That long front room is behind me. I tole ya, this place is HUGE. How much do you love the radiator cover?

How AMAZING are these floors? I'm totally a sucker for old hardwood floors! And really, who doesn't love genuine parquet? This is the boarder between the reading room and the living room.

The kitchen is fairly big, and has a nice open layout, but I might be most excited about this part - a pantry! I've never had a pantry before, and I'm pretty damn psyched about it.

Here's the room that will be our bedroom - it's all the way in the back of the apartment and faces the backyard, so it should be super quiet. As you can see, it has standard wood floors - I like those too. I'm slightly sad that this room (and the other small bedroom in the back, which will be my studio) don't have the crown molding that's up front, but so it goes. Yes, there's another bedroom. Also, up front, there's a small office / huge walk in closet type space that Jonathan will use for his computer-based pursuits.

Translation? Tons of shared space, plus personal space. All for the same that we're paying now for this apartment plus my studio, which I truthfully only get over to about once a week. It's a travesty to be spending so much on a space that gets used so little; I'll definitely spend more time in an in-house studio.

Oh, and I promised gardens! Well, the front yard is full of bulbs; many have sprouted long green leaves at this point in the season, and one crocus is even blooming! The backyard we don't really have access to, but we have a full view of it from the bedroom and my studio. In it is a fig tree and a grape arbor! Yeah, our landlord is totally a little old Greek lady. Of course right now everything is still dead from winter, but any minute now it will start leafing out...

So yes, we're happy. Moving is hard, and expensive, but this should lead to some very good changes for us. It will be a long couple of months, for sure. And we're going to have to buy some furniture! But in the end, I think we'll be in a much better position - both to follow our own pursuits, and to enjoy each other. That's the hope anyway.

As always, keep your fingers crossed for me. And for us.