Friday, July 30, 2010

The Eleventh Date

The Time:  Saturday, July 24th,  12 30 pm
The Guy: Scott, the dashing daring dater from date 10
The Place: Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn
What Creative Time Says: Only a small fraction of the public collection is visible on these walls- the rest of the collection is in storage.

Alright, maybe not the most lyrical description in the universe from our friends at CT but no matter, Saturday was a hot one and I was ready to spend the afternoon in the cool cool A.C. of the Brooklyn Museum!

Scott, my new interest from the tortilla spectacular that was date ten, and I decided to meet at Greenmarket, one of Brooklyn’s best farmer’s market located just steps from the museum at Grand Army Plaza. We were both sticky with sweat by the time we met (thank god it was mutual, I seriously considered hopping in a fountain before I met up with him but I figured that may be harder to explain than just, uh,it was hot…) under the shaded tree while a performer danced along a giant marionette puppet.

There have been many an afternoon where I’ve feasted on the fresh riches available at the Greenmarket and Saturday was no different. From smelling fresh peaches to photographing rutabaga, popping blueberries into our mouths and sampling pickles from Rick's Picks (will one of you marry me? Please? It is my dream to be a pretty princess for a proper pickle prince), the market is a feast for the eyes, ears and, of course, mouth. 


Scott and I settled on a loaf mushroom ciabatta bread from Bread Alone and a heavenly tri-sampler of Lynnhaven goat cheese and found refuge in the shade by the Brooklyn Museum. We made friends with a very inquisitive four year old, discussed the delights of Prospect Heights (Scott’s a newbie, whereas half my friends from High School live in the area including this amazing blogger of the 'hood), and covered ourselves in flour from the freshly baked bread.

From there it was on to the museum! I think I cried a little bit inside when we entered the plated glass turning doors and were met with a delightful slap-in-the-face of roaring AC, like a really bad smell that overcomes you all at once, but this time in the best way possible. We greeted the Rodin sculptures (his garden in Paris is one of my favorites in the world) and entered the museum.

Today had a particularly fun challenge as my Key To The City Passport had been sucked into the giant black hole of my apartment-post-vacation and was nowhere to be found. Thus, we had no idea where the keyhole was! It was like a wonderful museum caper (Mixed Up Files anyone?) and Scott and I were partners in crime, searching out oil paintings of dead people, who would lead us to THE KEY.

I was hesitant to see what my next institutionalized experience would be like because in The Met, as you know, I struggled to see how the project intersected with a strict museum foundation. Brooklyn, however, in a somewhat more sweeping comparison, tends to be a tad wonkier, and friendlier, museum and borough (they have a whole room here for student art, and a feminist-centric wing to boot!) Adding the search made it a true joy.We spent the afternoon dashing through rooms only to be tugged by a painting, a photographer, or sculpture that caught our eye, was a jolly way to see the museum, as if every piece was a siren like distraction on our journey; Warhol battling with the Ancient Egyptians for our attention, trying to tempt us from the American Period Section. I could have spent the entire day imagining myself playing with Noah’s Ark wooden figurines in the meticulously curated 19th century drawing room, (not to mention laughing at the 1852 painting entitled, literally "The Reprimand: Ah you naughty fawn you have been eating the flowers again!") but our fate and destiny awaited!

Finally, upon reaching the very top floor, I found it: the two stern looking portraits sidling an unassuming door with one key hole. Martha and George’s eyes were cleverly averted away from the site, so as not to draw attention to the wonder but Scott and I were too schooled in this game and we POUNCED on our enemy with vigor and stealth. The door was ours to open, AH HA, and the Russian secrets (they're everywhere!!!) inside, involving diamond-bedecked dandelions and miniature stern-looking bears, twinkled in the concealed glow of a jewel-heist’s glass case.

The adventure ended with a trip through the future, a place where paintings and textiles, bicycles and old
forks, are chronogenically frozen (or at least put into really sick boxes) until they are needed again in the museum’s rotation. Scott and I flashed the secret currency signs to ensure safe passage of the priceless collection: all in a day’s work.

And….back to reality.

Can you tell I had fun? I most absolutely did. Scott is a very sweet, funny guy who clearly loves diving into life as much as I did. I realized at the end of the date, however, that I was possibly relying too much on the key, the journey, the adventure, to create the spark of a romantic connection between us. As much as I wished and wanted to say “ah ha! Found him! I can finally take a break from searching all of New York to line up a few dates!” I knew that it wasn’t really the case  and it's super hard to admit that to myself, but sometimes you've gotta suck it up and face facts.  If I held everything in a magnifying glass I would see that, as attractive and delightful as Scott is, we really didn’t have that much in common, aside from getting excited about everything in sight. (Scott, if you are reading this, you are totally kick ass in every way, promise! Darn sparks getting in the way!) I guess that’s the wonder of NYC though: you can share any moment with any one person and have it turn into a swashbuckling adventure, even if for the afternoon.

At some point though, you’ve got to step back into the sweltering heat, roll up your sleeves, and get sweaty once more. And the sun was certainly shining as I re-entered Manhattan. 

Eating Flowers,


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oh My God It's Been a Week

A week without blogging! Not that I assume you are all waiting on what is happening with my love life but apologies to the existence of this project nonetheless. Soon I will post about date eleven which took place last Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum with the delightful Scott and I've got another date lined up for the weekend to one of the key sites I am most excited about of all!

Other than that my last week was spent running into Western, MA to paddleboat by moonlight with high school friends, wishing everyone and their mother "congrats (endless exclamation point!)" on facebook for getting engaged, happening upon art gallery openings in Soho and CD releases in DUMBO, and even, finally, cleaning out my suitcase from CA (yes, I too realize this is insane as I got back almost two weeks ago).

So, in short, my lovelies, expect updates soon and have the most fabulous weekend of all time.



Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Pleasures of Being Single

                Tonight, while watching a dreadfully amazing TV show on Hulu (I have no TV and a 13 hour workday today called for some mind candy entertainment), something sparked in me the immense pleasure of being single (ok the "something" was a gay plot line involving a spring break cruise but it was still a spark!) I don't necessarily mean the love yourself love your time with yourself areas of being single (though those are meaningful in a very Eat, Pray Love sort of way) but the FUN, the candy cane swirl skippy and ironic Katy Perry California Gurl video times of being a single woman (yes, in Manhattan, but anywhere at all really).

              Being single means possibility. It means that every guy in your vicinity, be he subway pole sharer or skinny jean wearer, grabbing his luncheon of meat or passing by on the street, every one is the potential to be your next great love. Or, your next great date. Or your next great oh-my-god-that-guy-smiled-at-me-on-the-street-and-I-am-totally-stalking-him-on-Craigslist-missed-connections. Being single means flirtatious looks in a coffee shop and fantasizing about what the guy reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being really thinks about Milan Kundera (I preferred the book of laughter and forgetting myself). It means flipping off your shoes and diving headfirst into a cartwheel in central park hoping he'll notice and pointing out men at brunch before dissolving into giggles with your girlfriends. It means controlling your future because it's yours to shape or choosing to let go completely because life could bring you any possible surprise. Being single means first dates and first kisses, first text messages and phone calls. It's going through every single possible outfit in your closet until your bedroom floor embodies a child's kaleidoscope eye and curling your hair into the curly Q's you always wanted since you watched Shirley Temple at age 6. It's loving the moments without feeling guilty and being sunshiney-freely open to that passing dandelion tuft and this penny on the street and their very cute green eyes.

          Too often the stories of single women become plights of "finding the one," as if the entire point of being single is waiting for the next bus on the road to marriage is going to pick us up. I utterly admit to sometimes being exhausted with looking for the next big thing, the next man to know how I like my iced hazelnut coffee and to whom I don't have to explain the ins and outs of my work. (Admission, I emailed "George" again, I couldn't help it! I give up and admit I am really not so cool at this whole like thing).  Sometimes I fear I choose to become relationship-ized (new fun word! I just made it up!) with men who I ultimately know aren't for me because of just wanting something to work out. Society tells us that is our end goal after all and even the books about single women almost always end up with a male lead towards the end. Someone please make the indie-rocker chick flick movie I like the best that ends with a happy fulfilled single woman who states the fact proudly that she has no man(s)  without a "but" following implying the first half of the sentence needs some sort of qualification to make it ok. ie "I am single but  I learned how to rock climb", or, "I am single but at least I got this new cute puppy." No! Just, I am single. Period. Or even an exclamation point, or two.

           I think I forgot for a moment that this is what this quest is supposed to be about. Not finding a man but loving being single and the adventures and stories of those I meet on the way. Of unlocking keys and becoming giddy at dead fish and flirting (god it's just so darn fun to flirt, it just IS) with men and the city and life itself. It's not about loving a city or a person or yourself but loving life and catching every moment of it.

          And, we've got to admit, that's a heck of a lot easier sometimes when you're single. Period.

Punctually correct,


PS. This blog post is dedicated to my amazing friends, Sally and Kim, both of whom have far beyond fulfilled their requisite gchat-about-a-guy hours in the name of friendship.Though neither of them are single at the moment, I could not imagine New York without them. You both teach me how to find pure-spun joy in every, every, moment.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fingers Crossed

Hello my dear readers,

Today, this very day, I am asking something from all of YOU! That's right, I've been giving you mild entertainment as you take those "click breaks" during work and I'm asking for a little help in return. I'm hoping that somewhere out in the universe someone MIGHT have an extra ticket to the Moth Grand Slam this upcoming Wednesday at the Highline since I sat on my too long to buy one and my recent addiction to their podcast needs real life feeding.

Anyone? Anyone?

What I need to give something up?

Alright, Alright!

Below, please find my most favorite FREE things to do with your summer in NYC, enjoy! More will come if I score a ticket!



Floating Kaberette at Galapagos Art Space (Saturdays)

Hudson River Movies (Wednesday and Friday Nights)

Anything in the Garden at 6th Street and Ave B

Asssscat3000 Comedy (Sunday Nights) 

Bryant Park Movies (Monday Nights)

Moondance Dancing on the Hudson (Sunday Nights) 

Movies on the Elevated Acre

Broadway Stars Softball League

And, of course, all the ways to see Shakespeare:

In the Park                    On the Run                       In the Parking Lot

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Tenth Date

I am back from CA and ready to dive into the dating adventures of L.A. in New York, or, as this is more commonly known K2TCK2MH (yes, my friend actually typed all of that into a text message, I am now an acronym ;)) Admission: my computer always shuts down when I write these posts (need a new one so badly!) and I am running on 8 hours of sleep over the past two nights and have court at 7 30 (yes, 7 30!!!) am  but it's simply been too long since I've filled you in on my adventures. Let's hope I get this done before midnight as tonight I visited one of the sites I have been craving to check out from the start...Tortilleria Nixtamal!

The Time: Monday, July 19th, 6: 20pm 
The Group: My wonderful reader Melanie, her fiancee Bob and their very cute single friend Scott, 25.
The Place:  Tortilleria Nixtamal, 104-05 47th Ave., Queens, NY
What Creative Time Says: At home as well as in the world, some of the best rooms are not for the guests. 

 Tonight was my first date back in NY, my first date with a New Jersian, and my first date met through this very blog! Melanie, a super cute, fun, and bubbly girl, took me up on my offer to get a copy of my key if she set me up with a male friend and then doubled with us on the date. Though she currently lives in NJ she confessed a love exploring NY and described Scott in the following manner:

25, web analyzer, karaoke singer, marathon runner with a heart of gold and an endearing lisp.

Come on, who wouldn't want to go on a date with this guy?

Seriously, I should start a dating website where we all describe our friends ( In just one sentence we've got kind, employed, quirky, athletic and adventurous, how could I possibly say no?

Due to my 5pm meeting in Queens being canceled I was running early for once and decided to catch a bus (yes, a bus, I just love looking out the window!) to Flushing's Chinatown so I could try the "best" Zhenzhunaicha, or bubble tea as you laowai know it, as raved to me by a client at Taipan Bakery in Flushing. Ladies and gentlemen, I not only found the under-$2 hamburger, but the mecca of not-too-sweet-with-perfectly-textured-tapioca-balls bubble tea. Just elbow your way through all the old ladies and you're golden.

I zipped on the seven to Corona, listening all the while to RJD2 who I love and gets me in meeting new people mode and headed over to Tortilleria stopping on the way to smell fresh bread, taste piragua, and take in the sights of another world within NYC. TN, as I am now calling it, looks like a giant sunflower of color on an otherwise quiet residential street and when I walked inside I spotted not only a lime green wide-brimmed hat AND party pinatas, but also a giant wonderlike willa wonka machine perched in the window. I peered around the room, wondering what the key could possibly open, until Melanie and Bob walked into the restaurant.

You know when you see couples and you think, "Yup, peanut butter and jelly." ? That's kind of how it is with Melanie and Bob who just FIT.  Right away they were filling in each others sentences, teasing easily and cutting one another off to finish stories in perfect sync. They were easy to be around, and added to the fun, in total: the perfect couple to double date. Scott followed soon after and instantly you just know that this guy is up for anything. Maybe it's the pierced ears or intriguing scars, or maybe it's just his instantly warm yet mischievous smile but I knew right away how Melanie found someone to be roped into such a crazy adventure as a double blind date with some random girl on the internet.

Our confused waitress kept coming by until we finally told her that we had the key to the city. She smiled, somewhat exasperatedly, and asked us to wait a few minutes before another woman, clearly the boss, came over to our table. To this, Melanie and I cheered which threw her only further into confusion (what were these white girls doing cheering in her tortilla shop?), don't worry, our group totally won her over by the end.

Our fearless leader, the boss as she will be known, led us to the back of the store where a white door covered in blue scribblings, clearly marking from our ancient key-ancestors, awaited. Scott plunged in the key, turned the lock and lead us to....a supply closet! But wait, there's more!

You know me, I'd probably be excited with just a broom closet, but peek your head further into the space and you will find a set of dairs plunging ominously down into darkness. Follow the faint glow of what lies beyond and the subtle yet distinct smell of ground corn and you find an entire workshop beneath the restaurant's floor! Bags upon bags of stacked hard white corn placed before a labyrinth of slides, chutes, tubes and vats of boiling hot water making NYC's only nixtamalization  (real word!) machine!!!
We learned, we laughed, we almost had our skin burned off, and then, we MADE! Yes my friends, yours truly, little Mandarin speaking Gringa of NYC, was making her very own Tortillas out of freshly ground white corn from Illinois. I sucked at it, ok, we ALL sucked at it, they are tricky little buggers to perfect, but The Boss read all of our personalities in our own tortillas (multi-dimensional for Scott, whose Tortilla boasted a variety of textures, over-excited for me, as mine was, unsurprisingly, scorched). We signed our names on the now-squiggly worm blue door,  and we headed upstairs to order the real deal.

Over mouth watering Tamales and scrumptious tacos (the delicately fried fish with lots of squirts from the slice of lime was my favorite) we discussed how Melanie and Bob met (the internet!) and got engaged (in NY!), Scott's work adventures to Korea, his new found love of obstacle marathoning (or did it have a different name? My brain cells are dying the closer I get to midnight!) and our tattoos (we all have two, minus Bob, who has none). We finally won our waitress over with horrible jokes and never ending smiles and ended the night sharing a rather large 40 of classic Mexican beer. Soon the two hour limit I set for myself had long since passed and the lights were turning off at Tortilleria Nixtamal, it was time to head back to my lovely little borough.

The double date experience was really fun, and I'll definitely try it again. I'm psyched to see, however, how the new dynamic duo of Tortilla making super heroes, Scott and Lauren, do one on one. perhaps on another date with a key. After all, I've got 14 more to go and I can't resist a tattooed guy who can make such a slammin' tortilla.

It's one am (but my computer only crashed twice during this post!)  but I have to share that as I caught the E train home I opened my much-loved New York Magazine and found a whole section on Tortilleria in the magazine's annual cheap eats review. Living proof that love grows on love. 



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Photos Photos Everywhere..

...but no love of which to speak.

The amazing photographer, Piotr Redlinski (check out his work at , sent me a link to the photos he took on my 2-3 and 6th dates, respectively an experience I still can't believe I actually had. (Kudos still to the guys who braved that particular adventure with me, you only live life once right and who can turn down the NYTimes? Not me.)  The photos are, of course, bittersweet to look at, as you know nothing has worked out yet with the guys I have seen so far. My first instinct was to delete the link and run away from the thoughts of the dates. I'm trying to be more chill about these things (promise I am) and having photos to look over doesn't necessarily help.


Then I remembered what was, perhaps, the biggest mistake of my life. When I was dating my high school sweetheart, love of my teenage life and now fantastic chef-to-be (maybe) in NYC (seriously, have him over to cook you his homemade mac and cheese, you'll DIE), Jared, digital cameras had not yet been invented (or had not yet reached the masses at least) so the pictures we had were taken by his parents or snapshotted by the two of us when we could get our hands on a camera. My senior year in High School, after we had broken up, his new love (?) told me some upsetting news about the summer before I went to China. I tearfully pulled out our pictures and said "but, doesn't he look like he loved me there?"  "No," this unnamed girl told me, "it looks like he loves the camera." (Teenage girls are just so fun aren't they?)

You can guess what I did next, tore up practically every picture I had of the two of us into shreds of tree branches and disembodied eyes. It felt AMAZING at the time, exhilarating and liberating and naughty and wrong but I don't think there are few things I regret more than attempting to erase my past in that way. And there's a difference between letting go and forgetting there was once possibility in the air and that, I hope to never forget. It took me a long long time to get over Jared fully (he's one of my best friends now) but it would have been nice to always have the tangible reminders of the crazy Romeo and Juliet type love I once shared with him nearly a decade ago.

So, lesson of the day? Send all love letters, notes, pictures, etc to friends for safe keeping until you've reached the point of no-hurt-return and they can bring you smiles instead of tears. Oh, or just get a reporter to follow you on the dates so it will be kept in perpetuity until some fancier version of the internet comes along!



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How to Lose a Guy... Part Two

I wish I had my camera cord here so I could just post pictures to give you a visual journey of my day yesterday as it was one of the most visually stunning hikes I have taken in my entire life (running very close in line with Tiger Leaping Gorge in China which, if you visit China and miss this, you are missing out on one of the most spectacular experiences in the universe). Alas, the electronic device that brings what I saw to you all is stashed away in my Container Store shelves in NYC. For now, my words will have to do.

The morning started with a quick motorboat ride across Lower and Upper Echo Lakes just south of Lake Tahoe itself. There are few things that I find more simultaneously cleansing and exhilarating than a great, fast boat ride where I can lean over the front bow (or is it stern? clearly I'm not a boater), take out my hair and feel the wind whip as the scenery blurs along the side. I just love it more than I love a gigantic glass of iced tea and lemonade on a really really hot day.

My Dad and I were clearly the least prepared hikers making the journey, even the other day hikers had knapsacks and walking poles and since we didn't even realize we'd BE hiking until my dear friend Abby, with whom I co-ran Law Women in law school, told us this venture was a can't-miss for any visit to Tahoe. That is how you could find me in kid-size addidas sneakers (just bought for their cheapness as all I packed were flip flops, my one true clothing love aside from Tutu's) carrying a beach bag as we made the 3.5 mile hike to Aloha Lake. We got lost, my dad got a blister, and I added more red blotches to my already sunburned skin, but it was truly truly breathtaking.

You see, I'm obviously a city girl but I need a bit of country every now and then. I need to be reminded that beauty exists even without cultivation in the bouquets of wildflowers that bloom along country paths, to slide down snow in the middle of summer, and mostly to stare into the great untouched expanse that still exists in our over Macdonalized country. When we arrived at the Lake there was only one other group anywhere in eye or earsight and, after they left, it was if we were the two remaining survivors on this bizarre, glacial rock covered planet. Trees rose out of the water and the snow capped peaks melted into the pools by our feet. I lay on a rock and read Chuck Palahniuk's latest crazed venture into the human psyche and imagined prehistoric turquoise slinky creatures pulling me under the water as I swam to the opposite rock shore. It was awesome and magical and I am so glad they have not yet ruined it with a movie set.

This hike had a purpose, however, and I wasn't soon to forget it. I tend to venture off the paths, even if that path is the one thing protecting me from tumbling down a mobile rock/pebble wall into the awaiting lakes below, and soon I found the perfect spot; many many meters above my head stood an old twisted tree trunk, reaching forward, escaping from the live tree it was attached to, straining to point towards the lake from where I had come. I scrambled up the wall, waited upon the trunk and wrote the cheesy (but, I hope, cheesy in a good way like Fresh Mozzarella and not in a bad way like packaged Muenster) words:

Goodbye A, B, C, D, the mean parts of E, and all the others I have hurt or been hurt by in the process that is love.

A-E, of course, stand for the various men I could feel I needed to let go of. Either those for whom I had remnants of feeling but who I had been told would never let it return, those like George, for whom I kept questions that may never be answered, and those who had hurt me the most in this strange journey we call life. I tucked the paper under a rock perched under the tree, ensured it was secure, kissed it goodbye and traveled on.

Yes, this was a very Eat Pray Love moment for me but what is life if not a collection of little rituals we complete to make ourselves feel better (Aside from maybe brushing your teeth what does the rest really do) and I had gotten so stuck in a little funk about this I needed something big to shake it from my system. (In case you can't tell, I'm very into metaphorical change). I still feel sad for my losses and hurt I have created, but at least I now know it's out there in the world and not just buried in my heart.

Because sometimes past love, or even past possible but not yet attained love, can be a lot to carry by yourself. It's nice putting it somewhere for the time being.

Pictures when I return to NYC, which is in, countdown, three days!

A little lighter,


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How to Lose a Guy in One Vacation

Perhaps lose isn't the proper term as I mean to kick this guy out of my memory lane without passing go or collecting two hundred dollars. I want to leave him locked inside a lobster trap at the bottom of Booth Bay Harbor Maine, or perch him under a boulder here in the woods of Lake Tahoe, California. Not him, of course, but the memory of him and the possibility and excitement I shared around him.

I'm talking here about one of the guys previously dated on one of these dates who, for google's sake, we'll call George (fingers crossed I don't actually meet a George on the rest of these excursions!) It's my fault really that I ended up beginning to fall (we're not talking cliff diving here, just peeking over the edge, getting excited about what's below, and getting ready to strap on a bungee cord) when he clearly wasn't available but gosh darn it if I didn't feel I just had to give it a try! So there were key dates and dinner dates and hudson dates and dinner dates. I got so tripped over my feet thrilled at finding someone passionate about what they do I ignored the heavily punctuated fact that he ended his work tales with "this is why I can't be in a relationship. I'm too busy." I threw away his signs of past heartbreak, his current closed-for-dating-business signs prominently hanging outside himself (they were practically neon for goodness sakes). But still, I'm bummed he couldn't at least have told me over an email, a text, gosh ANYTHING but the radio silence I've received for the past three weeks.

I fully recognize it's heartbreakingly difficult to have to tell someone you're not that into them and I am not at all claiming I am good at it. There is absolutely no right way to go about it and you're going to feel uncomfortable and awkward and probably more than a little bad about yourself. I don't tend to date people I dislike (a good practice I recommend heartily) which means I am often letting down nice guys. But come ON people, if you get the butterflies and delight and skipping-hopscotch feeling delights that come with meeting someone you DO click with, you're going to have to put up with the icky, mud sandwich moments that come with the territory as well. You can't just walk away from someone without saying a single word. Where do people get off believing that is OK?

Decent or not I'm here in California thinking of George and just wanting to rid my head of him. For the record, he's a great guy and it's not that I think he's the scum of the earth, just disappointed of actions took or not taken. Let it also be known that, yes, we had only been on 4 or so dates and no, I'm not crazy and saying I lost the love of my life. I'm just a slightly more deflated-balloon (think Winnie the Pooh when he goes honey hunting) because not only did I feel we had a possibility but also that it was ended so passively, presumably meant to only keep me guessing (Will he call today? Maybe that email is from him? Yes this sounds pathetic but you've all done it too!) until three weeks go by and I must guess that yes, he's either been eaten alive by one of those rabid raccoons running around central park or, I probably won't see him again. I also just can't stand , and I'm talking can't stand like you hate the the mean girls who tease your new bracelet in High School, the way that this inevitably makes me a drop more cautious, a drop less trusting and a spoonful more weary. I like my optimism verymuchthankyou and it's frustrated when someone comes along and messes with the whole layout.

So? What to do when you wake up with a case of the blues over a guy and you want to kick yourself for even caring but yet you have to acknowledge where you're at or you'll just knock yourself down further? How about living out a fantasy? Perhaps one listed at the top of your blog post. Put on some hiking shoes, climb to a remote spot in Tahoe, write down his name and stick it under a bolder;leaving him in CA so you're rested and rejuvenated and ready for action when you come back to NY. Pictures of the spot will be posted when I return this evening.

So, maybe it will be a good day after all.

But I still want my Calvin and Hobbes book back!!!

Cheering up,


Sunday, July 11, 2010

The (practically) perfect man

I am writing this post from the apartment of the perfect man (and on his roommate's ipad which is tricky to use and does not allow me to spellcheck, just as a heads up.) I have found him here in california.
His name is Travis, he lives on 61st street in North Oakland CA with a charmingly composed roommate Mike. He is hilarious and kind, came to my rescue the moment I needed him, can talk about any subject for hours on end, plays foursquare brilliantly AND he may be the first man I have ever met to fully not care what anyone else thinks about him. When I'm with him I feel so at ease, have so much fun, and just become more enraptured with the world and the fabulous humans it can create. A weekend with Travis has been like picnicing on clouds ; beautiful and calming and so fantastical you feel like whooping in delightbefore biting into a watercress sandwich (because what other kind of sandwich would you take on a picnic to the sky?)

Two clarifications:

1) I didn't meet travis in california, I've known him since the fates brought us together in law school homeroom four years ago.
2) Travis likes men.

No this is a not a post of a single woman lamenting the fact that her perfect guy is gay (though I do find the object of my affection to be a delightful movie). Instead it's a realization of the fact that I do have someone, albeit someone who lives across the country with me, who emobodies so much of what I am looking for in the hetero variety. I tend to get anxious with friends and boyfriends alike about whether I am doing and saying the right thing much more so than with strangers ( yes, I know this is strange but I thank you for your concern, at least ut makes me a great FIRST date!) This obviously proves establishing relationships of any variety more taxing but with Travis our relationship just IS this wonderfully symbiotic union, I never have the same fears of losing him that so often plague my encounters with others. Travis and I, in fact, work almost too well as half our friends in law school were convinced we were dating, undoubtedly lowering both our odds of finding someone to whom we were actually atrracted.

Relationships are supposed to make us better. I want to be with someone who, instead of making me question the idea of attending a pig roast in a national park, dives right into judging a sauce contest with abandon and no napkins. People continuously ask me what my type is and while there are some features I seem unable to disentangle myself from, (brown haired hipsters who remain rather thin without ever attending the gym apparently is one) nothing is set is soap stone. Really you don't know squat until you're lost in the Bronx trying to find something to fill your hungry stomach. Which is why this project will hopefully lead to something meaningful, someone complimentary, and, maybe even some time that feels like picniking on a cloud.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Updates (In Verse!)

So many of you, myself included, are asking "so what has happened with all these guys whom you discuss so eloquently on your blog"? Well, my friends, I do believe it would be entirely unfair to lay out the ups and downs of each guy, as they were certainly not signing up for a dissection of their summer loves, just mine. Thus, as there have been nine dates nine different guys, I've composed the below poem for your enjoyment regarding each of their status in my love life. Long story short, I'm still looking. Apologies in advance for my dorkiness, putting things is verse just makes things more delightful.

Eight Little Men, in NYC
Eight little men in NYC
Eight chances at love
Eight chances at glee
Their only common denominator?

One man was a delightful,
Sweet, pondering, not a boast
Too bad he's set on living
In the opposite coast

Another had style
But there wasn't a spark
Though he was dapperly dressed
Inside Bryant Park

Another full of pizazz
And stories and lore
Took too long to make contact
I think him I did bore

One was not a man
But a dear loving friend
At least I know she'll remain
Until this story's end

Which leaves four little men in NYC
Four chances at love
Four chances at glee
Their only common denominator?

One was so handsome
And driven and smart
But worried me with his speed
Made me unsure of my heart

With one guy 'twas smooth sailing
He was quirky and fun
Though he fell for another
I wasn't his "one"

Another had promise
He was dashing and brave
I didn't feel the romance
Though it I badly did crave

And finally, my favorite
Full of sparkle and light
Disintegrated into thin air
With not even a fight.

Which leaves, one little woman in NYC
full of hope and wonder and even a key
What adventure is next?
Well, just wait and see.

I'm off to Cali tonight for one week but hopefully will have some fun posts while I am away. Stay cool in this heat all!

In Rhyme,


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Other Hobby

I'm counting down the days for my week-long vacation to California! Home of redwoods, my amazing sister Jessy, and Lake Tahoe! Assuming I have wireless access I'll still be posting but in the meantime can any of out there in internet world suggest some summer reading? One of my favorite activities, aside from exploring NYC and dating of course, is tumbling into a book that I cannot pull myself out of for hours. Though I read a great deal, it's been awhile since I've fallen in love in the literary sense. So you have a taste, here are some of my all-time favorites for summer time:

The more "serious": The Sparrow,,  The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Bel Canto, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell, The Handmaid's Tale, The World According to Garp, The Virgin Suicides, Memories  of My Melancholy Whores, The Things they Carried.

The less serious (and I refuse to be ashamed for loving these!) : The Time Traveler's Wife, Summer Sisters,My Sister's Keeper, The Nanny Diaries, The Devil Wears Prada.

The books that "everyone" loved and I did not:

The Life of Pi, The God of Small Things, The Kite Runner.



Monday, July 5, 2010

The Ninth Date

Friday night = date night for this busy blogger. That's how I found myself in a previously unexplored (for me) section of the Bronx at 8pm, with Michael Evans himself trying to sell me copies of his book "Son of a Snitch" and its many sequels. Cue date nine.

The Time: Friday, July 2nd, 8 15pm
The Place: Centro Cultural Rincon Criollo, Brook Ave between 156th and 157th, The Bronx
The Guy: Doug, 26, a "set up"
What Creative Time Says: Can the city come together around a single neighborhood garden?

My good friend Julia jumped on the dating bandwagon when I first began this whole project and said she had the perfect guy for me to go on a date with. "Hilarious, spontaneous, and hot!" she told me, and after a telephone conversation and numerous text messages we set the date. Doug had a choice between the community center and the Whitney and I was psyched when he chose the center, wanting a little extra adventure myself.

It was, if you can believe it, Doug's first visit into the Bronx and while I go frequently (for the court and the gardens), it was my first key site to this borough (I've now done all five, hurrah!). Of course, I was running late (future dates, I think we can say it's safe to assume I always WILL be now!) so Doug made friends with the above-mentioned author who would like me to remind you all that his books are available at Border's and And sometimes, if you're lucky, at a street corner outside the subway station of 149th street and third avenue.

The sun was beginning to set as we walked to our destination and while most of the street was lined with chain stores and discount dens, the glow of the setting sun lit up ancient architecture and side-street townhouses quite nicely. Music blasted from stoop gatherings and, when we asked a group where we could find "the gardens" they knew right away where to point us.

The "Centro" has been around for over thirty years (though the location has changed) and it's clear it's truly a community center in every sense of the word. Couples danced, children ran, and men gathered just to chat in the small yet wonderfully laid out space. A number of gardens dot the walkway in patchwork form and each keeps a meticulous display of produce from cabbage to corn, lavender to pear trees. Roosters and chickens crow (in the middle of the bronx!) and grape vines canopied the whole event. It truly was a bursting oasis of sound and color.

Yvette, whose husband owns the garden with the key, a delightful array of vegetables with an incredibly friendly scarecrow (date eleven?), and whose father started the whole center, was kind enough to give us a tour of the space, pointing out different types of vegetation and telling stories about their owners. We met her husband (they met in NYC!) and her father and a wonderfully talkative man named Tito who extolled the virtues of the neighborhood and invited Doug back for a big upcoming block party (and mother's day, father's day, and every other holiday imaginable, Doug made quite the impression!) The liveliness of the conversation (Tito punctuated his phrases with "puh puh puh") and the authentic, edged, way in which everyone spoke of their neighborhood was fantastic.

For our food quest we asked Tito where we could find the best food in the 'hood and he pointed us towards a place "on 167th, I don't know the name." He recommended we take a taxi but that's not what feet were made for so we began our mile long walk to the unnamed restaurant with delicious food. I'm not going to lie, the sights on this venture were not quite picturesque but had their own charms. We ran into the most fantastically haunted house I've ever seen in NY, witnessed trash-can sign battles over proper english and garbage delivery, made friends with a firefighter whose been in the neighborhood for decades and let us inside the station, and watched kids pop wheelies on their bikes. For conversation topics there was the fact that  Doug and I have both lived in China, he explained to me the ins and outs of business consulting (he's in law school but thinking of moving back to HK to pursue something I vaguely understood as buying companies to make them better), and the different sections of NYC (he lives in Harlem).

When we approached the intersection there was a version of KFC, dunkin donuts and the glowing Lechonera restaurant. The waitresses at first clearly were confused as to how we ended up there (I think everyone was, actually) but when I asked her to just bring us whatever was good she turned game and played along with our adventure. She brought us the most delicious steak dish I've had in a long time, not quite as tasty friend plantains, delicious chicken of which I made Doug eat the skin (it's the yummiest part!), and, the kicker, chilled red wine.

After dinner, on the way to the lower east side where Julia's boyfriend's band, The Wind Up, (shout out here to their rocking first song in the set) was playing at the legendary Arlene's Grocery, our Ipods made out on the subway. I use this term of phrase to mean that we played songs for each other from our ipods, trying to get a taste of the other's style of music. Sadly, my collection is depressingly sparse and all my "cool" tunes are from guys I've dated mix CD's, but I'd like to think I can hold my own. Doug had some awesome emo-hipster-punk-indie songs that we jammed to along the B line.

To be honest, I probably wouldn't have chosen Doug as a date on my own. I tend to go for more hipster than wall street. The truth is, however, that clearly something has gone wrong with my choices, or my matches or what have you, and thus, part of this exploration is to open myself up to guys who I may not pick for myself but who may just surprise me. Doug was everything Julia said, charming, funny, up for anything with an energy level that matched my own (especially once I got hungry, darn hypoglycemia). We had a great night together and hopefully can catch dinner again this week before I head off to CA to visit my sister for a week. It's like a rooster in the Bronx, you wouldn't go looking for it in the city because you'd never expect it to be there, but you never know, you could be delightfully surprised. Stay open, stay curious, that's my new motto! Plus, the man who runs the center had a key of his own, so I always know where to look in case I can't find my pair.



Friday, July 2, 2010

The Love

I wanted to share with you guys a post about love from almost exactly two years ago (June 25th, 2008!) which I wrote when I was living and working in China but was missing New York. Though it's two years later I still ponder many of the questions below. One of the things I've appreciated most about this blogging experience has been people sharing with me their similar experiences (I loved this piece at Zelda Lila, a new-to-me rocking feminist blog I will be checking) and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this as well.

On Love


I am beginning to realize that this blog is becoming less and less about lanlan in Beijing and more and more about lanlan trips over the big questions of life. And so it goes, allow me to continue in this vein.
I just finished reading The Time Traveler’s Wife for the third time. I was standing in Wangfujing, Beijing’s notorious shopping district, despondent at my inability to find a special type of alarm clock to send children I am working on a project with. I had been trekking around Beijing for the past week, peeking in Walmart’s, tourist shops, pharmacies and the like. One was finally shown to me and I was told it was not for sale, I could receive it only as a gift….if I spent over 1000 kuai in the store.

Sadly, I escalator-ed to the fourth floor of Xinhua bookstore, paved with five shelves of “imported books”, none of which are categorized in any meaningful sense. I had no idea what I was looking for, perhaps The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, recommended by a professor. My hands slid past old favorites, The Red Tent, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, Harry Potter boxed sets. My eyes stopped at the vision of two girls stocking feet next to a thermos and carefully folded clothes which had traveled through my mind when an old warmth mentioned reading it as well. The Time Traveler’s Wife it is. Again. 

I’ve tried to make the book last over these past few days, interspersing it with Babbit, a 20th century find. I cleverly didn’t let myself read it before 11pm, instead I’ve just been up until 2. Tonight, after returning from a UN themegroup meeting, I curled up and dived back into the glorious life of the Detambles.

Through the tears the last 100 or so pages inspire, wrought with their beauty and despair, I could not, of course, think of anything but love. Why do we cry at love stories? I wonder. Is it because they come to an end? Are we afraid to lose the love we know we will find? For some it is so. For me, I think I am more afraid that that love does not exist, or that it does and I won’t recognize it, or it won’t recognize me. Or that I had it in my dizzying delicious reckless swirl of life-threatening love I experienced at the age of 14. And that was my love.

I think that, ever since my parents got divorced, I am afraid of falling out of love. I am afraid that what was once my picture of what love was meant to be, my source of reality outside of the fiction of Disney and picture books, ended up just being another story I was told. When that adolescent love and I both met many years later, at 19 or 20, I remember the two of us hugging each other, holding onto that feeling which had once existed. He looked at me, sadly, in despair, knowing that our love was gone and where did it go and if it was gone was it real? (2010 update, he's one of my best friends today! and single in NYC!)

I am afraid of people falling out of love with me. That I will somehow provoke it and cause it, that it will be my fault. I put men through hell when they are first with me to see if they can take it, if they will be able to stand me at my worst, demanding, full of expectations, pushing hard. I’ve decided to have a new approach to this, in love, with friends, in work. Clearly my mind will never shut off and continue to imagine new scenarios and possibilities. I’ve taken to writing them down, to allow my imagination to exist and grow in a fictional world so I can more fully live in the present.

And what is my present? 

Like everyone, I am afraid of being hurt in love. And yet, then I am afraid not to be. I relish in heartache and hold onto the tears discarded from a love story like stuffed animals in my childhood. An ex-boyfriend once asked me if I would become jaded in New York. Surprisingly, that has not yet happened, instead, I feel more aware of New York and of life than I ever have before. The co-existing forces of rich and poor, the perfume of women walking in SOHO juxtaposed with garbage cans long past their pickup date. Music opening from a broadway stage intermingling with the loud honks of 7th avenue horns. I wonder if love works the same way, if the love I feel and have felt has allowed me to store it up inside of me, making each encounter that much more intense, each glimpse of love burning that much more bright. But I am unsure. Could pain work similarly? Do we feel it more acutely as we grow older or does it begin to wash over us and we become used to its flow, as the sand surely comes to expect the cool rush of wind over a wet receding tide. I fear the pain yet I fear it’s absence. For once I no longer feel hurt, that is the time I will no longer feel love. If we prepare ourselves for the worst it seems impossible that we could see the best. If we no longer feel the pain, I don’t see how we can experience the love.

So do I seek out pain to ensure myself that the nerve endings are still functional? Do I seek out love to find if it is real? Sometimes I feel as if I am looking everywhere, searching unlit coffee shops, friends of friends, the blank wooden tables of my lawschool and dusty offices of NGO’s. Peeking around corners, wondering if this is it, if this could be it, and wondering what it could be. Some say I am boy crazy, I keep lost loves, old stories, emails, exchanges, tucked into my soul as they are in my laptop. I think perhaps I am love crazy, waiting in excited, dizzying, breathtaking anticipation, for what could be.



Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Key to the Center of the Universe

One of the most exciting things that has happened in this experience so far has being getting to meet Paul Ramirez Jonas, the ultra-inspiring man behind the curtain of the genius that is Key to the City. Paul is, perhaps, one of the most genuine people I have ever met. I literally dove into his hug when I saw him for the first time in front of the Key to the City Kiosk in Times Square*** on Sunday, the last day keys were being given out. (Sorry readers, he is very happily married, my mom wanted me to ask....!) We sat and chatted about art, interaction, and, of course, love as I pestered him if he had any single friends as fantastically creative and inspiring as himself. Paul's vision for the world is so innocent yet provocative, so delightful yet daring, I think I can say that along with NYC, I am officially in love with his work.

It was also really exciting fun to watch couples walk down the astro-turf sloping ramp, joyful with keys in hand. This couple met in NYC but refused to tell me where they met....hmmm, one can only imagine the delightful story shared by two secret NY lovers, or, at least, NY lovers of secretes...

And then, as I was walking to the subway, a Chinese couple  (and yes I know they were Chinese! I speak Mandarin!) was doing a marriage photo shoot in the middle of Times Square.

              I <3 NY.

**P.S. I've gotten a lot of requests from people asking me for copies of my key(s) (I have two, this is all about finding who gets the second remember!) and while I want everyone to enjoy the wonder of the project, I can't run all over the city arranging key swaps. SO if you can set me up with a single friend and come on a double date with us (I want to try a double date site!) then I'll let you borrow mine to copy. Deal? Deal!