Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rest time.

The presents are wrapped, the tree is sparkling, the snow has fallen and routes have been planned. It is time to go for the holidays. We leave tomorrow morning for family in the north. We're staying with my Mum and spending Christmas day at my Grandparents. I still can't call it my Gran's, even though.
Today, instead of packing we walked by a river. We leaned over stable walls as snow fluff fell around us and plumes of horse breath warmed our noses. For a moment I believed we were living in a Christmas card.
I made my first snow angel today. The Boy and I made our first snowman together. I think this means that we're married.
I'm going now, for a day, a few days, maybe more. Maybe a week.
May you have a week of love and family and friendship and snow that tickles your nose and lands on your eyelashes, obscuring your vision, just for a moment, as you gaze upwards at the heavens and dream your dreams.

. Ralph and Alice, by Violetcreme

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New York - Amber and Fernando

I've had some really fantastic advice over the last few weeks about our trip to New York, (not least the inimitable Amber's .... Any apartment anywhere will be fucking amazing because you are in new York fucking city and it is the coolest city in the world. You've gotta love Amber.)

But I really had to share this email that Ellie, aka Miss Domm sent me, because I love love love it. It is her friend Fernando's top list of Things To Do In New York and I thought you might love it too....

Best Bowl of Eel
St Mark's is one of my favorite streets in Manhattan. It's where midtown starts to turn into downtown, midway between NYU and Tompkins Square Park. There's all kinds of quirky shops there: karaoke bars, head shops, comic book stores. The best reason to go is Kenka, which is a Japanese restaurant that serves great traditional cuisine (no sushi, though) and the cheapest pitcher of beer in town. Kenka's sign isn't in English, though, so to find the restaurant you have to look for the statue of the bear/raccoon god with the red eyes next to the candy floss machine. I'm serious. Once you're drunk and full of boiled eel, take your candy floss and go down to the West end of the street to have some shots at The Continental, the best bar in the neighborhood. They will probably be projecting a Dennis Hopper movie onto the back wall.

Best Middle Eastern Food
For me this is a tie between two places: Yaffa Cafe and Moustache's. Yaffa is on St Mark's near Kenka and has a lot of seating including an outdoor patio (but if they're going in the winter that doesn't help much). Moustache's is on the West side in the Village and has the best pita bread on the planet. Moustache's is really tiny so if you want a seat on a weekend night it pays to get there early.

Best Famous Museum in a City Full of Famous Museums
There's tons of famous museums in New York but you honestly can't do justice to all of them - if you can only pick one I recommend the Met. They just renovated their Greek & Roman sculpture galleries and their Islamic art wing was being renovated when I left - I think it might be done now. You can combine it easily with a walk through Central Park and a visit to other neighboring museums like The Guggenheim.

Best Not-Famous Museum in a City Full of Famous Museums
PS1 in Long Island City is a contemporary art museum that is housed in the former Queens Public School 1. It's a great space and the exhibits change regularly - it's always really challenging art and a great time.

Best Not-Famous Museum in a City Full of Famous Museums (if you don't like contemporary art)
The Neue Gallerie (on the Upper East Side over by the Gug) is run by The Ronald Lauder Foundation. It is full of Klimts. Like dozens and dozens. If you like Klimt, you have to go there. It's also quite small and you can do the whole gallery in an hour or two.

Best Sushi (in the world)
Ginger on 1st Ave and 10th Street is the best sushi place on the planet Earth and everyone should go there once. There is no more inventive sushi menu anywhere. I don't often get homesick for New York but when I do it's Ginger that I'm thinking about usually.

Best Neighborhood to Avoid
The Meatpacking District. It's full of far too many pretentious-likes and you'll pay $20 for a warm glass of Schlitz. It my humble opinion, this is not worth your time.

Best Bar
The Back Room on the Lower East Side has no sign outside, you just need to walk on the West side of Norfolk Street until you see a huge black guy standing by himself outside of an abandoned-looking building. That's the bouncer - ask him if you can go into The Back Room. The Back Room is set up like a speakeasy and they serve cocktails in teacups. It is totally great. Dress nice.

Best Plants or What-have-you
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is really lovely and if you go out during the day you can spend the evening going to cool Brooklyn bars like Matchless and Pete's Candy Store and hobnob with the hipsters.

Best Reason to go to Staten Island
This is a trick. There is no reason to go to Staten Island.

. image by Jen_Mo

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Girl dislikes Tuesdays

I don't really like Tuesdays. I do kind of like Mondays though, there's only so much weekend I can take before I start feeling guilty about all that work I'm not doing. But by Tuesdays I'm bored of working again and ready for it to be the weekend. But the great misery of a Tuesday is that the weekend is So Far Away.

So I put on my happy playlist and ever since watching Celia and Joe's honeymoon slideshow (over and over and over again) this song has been at the top of my happy list... It kind of works.

Updates on the Christmas/cookies/cows situation:

Cows: I'm so relieved that y'all moo at cows too. Some of you asked who these weirdos who don't moo at cows are and let's just say peoplewithnogoddamnimagination and leave it at that.

Bertha: you most certainly can have a picture, once she's a little less nekkid. A situation that is getting no closer to being remedied, despite your plentiful suggestions. For those who pointed out that garlands and things that wrap are the way to go I would like to make it clear that Bertha is Very Fat and any garland I made would have to be 9 meters long just to go ffrom top to bottom in a fairly mean little spiral. NINE METERS people. You obviouly missed the part in my request (or maybe I missed it) where I point out how bloody lazy I am and request that your suggestions require next to no time or effort. To which I tried making some origami decorations last night. Yeah, origami's an asshole. Celia warned me and she says she would never lie to me but it's just folding paper right? Any idiot who can make a paper frog can make a paper tree decoration, right? And I can do it while watching One Tree Hill, right? Wrong.

Origami = asshole. And so Bertha remains unclothed.

Cookies: well there's little to say here 'xcept they're all gone. Maybe I'll share some recipes and photos with you later though.

* points if you can tell me which lovely lady blogger I nicked the title from. Without clicking the link darlings, without.

the littlest update...

Thank you so much everyone who's bought a box set from my little shop or who has posted about said box sets on their blogs, I loves you.

I just wanted to let you know that they are almost all gone. There are two Palace of Illusions, two Sepias and one Island Green left. After that no more until the new year, when I hope to get some brand new sets of images printed up as well as the ones that have been for sale over the last few weeks.

Monday, December 14, 2009

cookies, christmas, cows

Hello poor neglected blog.

I think that two posts in one week might be a new low for me. Yay for achievements.

I'm completely bewildered by it being eleven days until Christmas. ELEVEN DAYS PEOPLE. How did that happen? Despite buying our very first Christmas tree yesterday (and watching Elf, which we both found more than a little disturbing. Anyone else?) I don't feel that festive. I think I need to get down to making some decorations for our poor, slightly naked tree. She is sitting in our living room atop a table (rabbits + trees = frenzied trips to bunny A&E. And a nibbled tree) covered in lights but very little else. Which looks great in the dark when the lights are on, but during the day? We've pretty much just got a tree in our living room. A huge tree. Enormous. Well, not that tall actually, about five and a half feet, seven once you take the table into account. But I kid you not, that tree is at least five feet across. It's almost completely spherical.

I have paper and fabric and glue (idontlikeglue) but no ideas. HELP ME. What can I make?

(I really just want to go and buy these but I feel bad enough after spending So Much Money on the tree and we'd need roughly 100 of them to make Big Bertha (that's what she's called, our tree) look like anything other than someone who picked out a very nice pair of earrings in the morning but forgot to put any clothes on)

And for no other reason than because I like it, a picture of a cow.

Actually, now that I remember. I was at a cookie exchange on Saturday (Best Idea Ever) and the subject of cows came up. In particular the subject of mooing at cows. Now apparently not everyone does this. Neither, apparently, do very many people bark at dogs, baa at sheep or quack at ducks. Who knew?

And with that I will wish you a happy Monday.

. Belted Galloway by Grass Doe

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

yellow shoes...

"Later, I saw these beautiful, yellow maryjanes and decided to treat myself. The sales girl looked at me like I was crazy as I stood there in front of the mirror, giantly pregnant and teetering in 3 1/2 in heels. “They’ll be fun to wear after baby comes?” she said with a smile. “After? They’ll be fun to wear now.” I said back.

I gave up sushi, raw cookie dough, and red wine when I got pregnant - but I’m not giving up my pretty shoes, thankyouverymuch."

Words and photo from Stay Forever Sunday

I have a confession to make. I tend to stop reading your blogs when you get pregnant

There are some exceptions of course and Stay Forever Sunday is one of them. I love a pregnant blogger that retains the wit, style and intelligence they possessed before pregnancy and who doesn't feel the need to update me on their stomach growth weekly (with pictures!), enlighten me as to what foods are making them vomit today and ohsweetmotherofgod show me every last ikea purchase for their spare room turned nursery. Unless it's a room I'm going to want to live in baby or not, I'm going to struggle to care. Sorry.

I don't really know what my point is here. I think it's just that I want those shoes. In which case I should have probably just said that rather than invoking the wrath of The Baby Blogger. What can I say. I'm feeling a little esb today.

Monday, December 07, 2009

New York - art

I know a lot of you already suggested various galleries in my Tourist Stuff post (which leads me to believe that I'm not making my footnotes big enough, but whatever) but as darling P said

I don't count museums as tourist attractions because art is for everyone

(which is exactly why they get a separate post). So, tell me do. What are your favourite galleries/ art places in New York?

Big ones with Rembrandts and small ones with weird shit. Fancy ones with entrance fees and dingy ones down side streets. Traditional ones with paintings and and not so traditional ones with more weird shit. I will visit any of them. Alone it must be said. Boy does not like lingering and I do not like feeling rushed.

. richter / turner by Jen Bandini (aka escapetonewyork)

(Again. I tried looking for other New York pictures, honestly. But hers are the best.)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

sweet mother of baby rabbits...

Sharon Montrose is killing me with teeny weeny ickle baby bubby wabbits...

She currently has a promotion on, a buy three get one free sort of a thing. Which is perfect as THERE ARE THREE MORE BUNNEEEEEEEEZ.....

I love this one best though. He looks so worried. In fact his expression is not dissimilar to the one I've been wearing for about a fortnight now. I call it my IthinktheskymightbefallingistheskyfallingIthinkitsfalling face.

. image by Sharon Montrose. Info via East Side Bride. Who's more of a porcupine girl herself (surprised? Didn't think so.)

Friday, December 04, 2009

New York - a little Friday crazy

Just because not everyone clicked through (yes, I know these things). And for those who did, I thought it was imperative that you see The Crazy in a little more detail.

This is my favourite picture of me and my husband that has ever been taken. May 2005, Empire State Building, New York City.

Big huge thank yous to everyone who has emailed me with New York suggestions. I love them all and I'm sorry if I haven't replied to thank you properly yet, I'm kind of treading water just now and not an awful lot but getting through the days is getting done. Sigh. Soon though my chickens, soon.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

New York - tourist stuff

If you were going to do one tourist thing* in New York, what would it be?**

When Boy and I went to NYC back in foreverago, we had no money. We had enough for food (cheap food) and our beds at the YMCA and next to nothing extra. But we were in New York for the first time and we were young and silly and we felt that we just had to do something New Yorky. Given our lack of funds we had to pick our tourist attractions wisely. Which we didn't. We went to the Empire State Building and it was a lot like being poked in the eye with a sharp stick. Repeatedly.

On the plus side we did get to take this picture, which almost makes it worth it.

* no galleries. I have a gallery/art post coming.

** anyone who tells me that they're too cool to partake in tourist attractions gets poked with the aforementioned pointy stick

. the circle line, by Jen Bandini. Read her review of it here.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

December 1st...

Every few months a small brown envelope drops through my letterbox and something lurches in my chest. Something like sadness, something like regret, something an awful lot like loss. I know what those envelopes mean. Their size, their deceptive lightness, the small piece of sellotape across the back that stops their news from sneaking out before it reaches its intended. I know that when I open it the words 'we regret to inform you... passed away... hospice... many of you knew her... for those that would like to attend... details will follow.' will escape from that envelope and permeate my heart, like a malignant cloud, and will follow me wherever I may go to try to excape.

Most of the time the names don't mean much to me, just another client of the charity I used to work for. Sometimes they ring a bell, a story I heard, an anecdote shared comes back to me. And twice those names have belonged to the mothers of children I used to work with, mothers who would open the door to me weekly and allow me to take their daughters by the hand and spend an afternoon with them in the cinema, at the zoo, in toy shops while they took the small chance they were given to have a rest. Daughters who are now parentless.

If an envelope were to drop through my door every time someone, somewhere dies from Aids I would receive over 5000 a day. If an envelope dropped through my door for every child everywhere that was orphaned to aids I would be the proud owner of over 20 million envelopes. As it is I just have my own small collection. Around a dozen names in my desk drawer, lost to a disease that is entirely preventable.

December 1st. World Aids Day. If nothing else, remember.