Dreaming a little dream for '08

Me: Maybe I'll meet my future boyfriend in England.
Eliza: In the English countryside.
Me: In a cottage.
Eliza: And he'll be English but live in Brooklyn.
Me: And he'll work at Etsy and offer me an irresistible job.
Eliza: And he'll speak French.
Me: And his Dad will work for Moet and Chandon and get us free champagne all the time.
Eliza: Good one! And he will have a dog.
Me: And he will have a house in a warm place like Greece.
Eliza: I can't wait to meet this guy.
Me: Yeah, me neither.

Taking off for the Motherland in a few minutes for a 9-day visit with other Saxon souls.

Happy 2008 people! May all the dreams you dream when you're bored at work come true.


And then the three wisemen came to see the baby Jesus.

And with them, they brought a gigantic cat.


I'm tired of sharing a bed.

I spent a lot of the weekend scrunched in the backseat of our Camry with the sister and brother alongside. All those warm and fuzzy feelings about having everyone home for the holidays disappear rather quickly when someone's elbow is wedged up your ass for 3 hours straight.

Last night we all went to see Charlie Wilson's War, which was really fantastic and interesting. Philip Seymour Hoffman, man. That dude is on fire right now and he deserves some good stuff for his role in this film. Tom Hanks was great too, but I did think that Julia Roberts was kind of excessive. Also, who separates their eyelashes with a SAFETY PIN? Go see the movie and try not to flinch. Do it!


Avoiding the foaming of the mouth

We're walking home from a restaurant in Brooklyn last night and we hear a cat meowing in the nearby bushes. We kneel down and start making noises to get it to come to us.

Steve: Psss, psss... come here.
Kate: Why can't we see it anywhere?
Me: Yeah, why won't it come?
S: Maybe it has rabies.
K: That's ok, I'm vaccinated for that.
S: Yeah, I'll be vaccinated in a couple of weeks.

So... yeah. I'm the only sibling who can't pet a rabid cat.


Oh, the sweet, sweet Internet

You know, once in a while I discover something technological that completely blows my mind. This need not be complicated, friends. Often I am highly impressed by something as simple as IMing through gmail. Matt, a good friend from Muhlenberg who does all our tech stuff for NIFW, sent me an email the other day with songs attached. Songs! In an email! What ever happened to cassettes?

Well this weekend, Sarah Mclo introduced me to a little thing called "Podcasts." I am sure that if you live in the world, you know about this. I like to think that I am a present being on this planet and yet I had no idea such goodness was happening for free. I just spent hours perusing the Podcast center on my iTunes and I can now say with certainty that I could commute from Brooklyn to Amsterdam and back everyday and still have Podcasts to listen to. There is so much knowledge! Just waiting there! For free!

So far I am receiving daily health tips (oh yeah, THIS is a great idea, considering...), NY Times updates, NPR shows, and book reviews. Just a moment ago I stumbled upon DAILY LANGUAGE LESSONS. I will admit that I was tempted to download Italian, Mandarin and Polish because they're available (and come on! did I mention the free-ness??), but I limited myself to Spanish Intermediate conversation.

Because now I'm having disk space problems.


Ms. Togo returns home as an alien

First meal back at Friendly's
"Oh yeah, we have a lot of [somewhat politically incorrect racial remark] in our village."
"Wait, is that wrong to say in this country?"

Interacting with the Environmentalist brother
"Then in the afternoon, I usually burn my trash."
"BURN your trash??"
"Yeah. I mean, we don't have any other options."

Driving around Ytown
"Oh my GOD, is that a giant Hummer?!?!"
"Um... that's actually a firetruck."



Best NIFW issue ever. Go forth and watch a documentary trailer about love!


Sometimes I listen to this saved voice message twice in a row just to keep the laughter going

"I'm not sure if I just read your email correctly because my EYES STARTED BLEEDING, but I think that it said [jerk's name] is engaged. Jesus fucking Christ. I don't even know how to respond to that. Why are they all getting married? Why? Why? I don't even know. Thank god I'm going to a holiday party with a lot of booze. It's been a long week, Jen. I miss you. Give me a call. Bye!"

Hilarious and true: from the lovely Leigh.


And by broadcasting, I meant 'stealing the finnicky Internet from our neighbors"

Hi folks. Sorry about the lack. Unfortunately the Internet-stealing situation is as stable as the Middle East. We're going to be rectifying that very soon... namely in the way of purchasing our own Internet like good Americans.

I have good stuff for you today, Internet. Because the weather gods smiled down and dumped a pile of wintry mix on us, I spent the day at home. Snow Days are the most fantastic type of free vacation days; they are somewhat unexpected and sort of force you to stay inside and eat cereal on your couch while watching Project Runway for hours. So while basking in the SD glory, I hung curtains and have pictures for you!

A couple of highlights: the leafy lamp is from West Elm, the linen curtains are from Urban Outfitters, the little bottle lamp with lights inside is a gift from the lovely Evelyn, above my bed hangs a map of (you guessed it) Paris, and the framed print aside of the closet is a gorgeous piece of art that Tejal made for me called "The Tree of Life."

The apartment is really coming together and we got to share our newness with Anne and Katherine when they came by last weekend for our annual Secret Santa. Before they arrived, we bought a tree on the street from a French-Canadian woman and decorated it with the ornaments Sarah has acquired over the past 26 Xmases. It's funny to see another's decorations; it feels like looking in someone else's underwear drawer.

There are only 11 shopping days 'til Xmas and I'm still giftless for the fam. A particular challenge this year is shopping for the sister- what does one buy for someone who lives in Togo and has a very limited amount of space in her suitcase for the trip back? Or the brother. What does one need when he's headed to Kenya in 6 weeks with limited space in his backpack?

As for the parents, maybe being the only offspring left on the continent will be gift enough.


Now broadcasting from BROOKLYN

Tonight on my way in the building, I crossed the street and bought a pear for dessert from the fruit market that sits on our corner. This? This is a novelty, my friends. Buying fruit by the piece! Not worrying about it rotting by buying it in advance, but rather plucking it straight from the vine (or from the crate as it may be)... Brooklyn fruit happiness knows no boundaries.

The Move happened this past weekend and for four days I kept waking up thinking "HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO CROSS THE BRONX TODAY?" I made quite a few trips from Ytown to BK this weekend; some in my car, and others in my rented cargo van (which at one point I drove in a bike lane going the wrong way down a one-way busy Manhattan street. That heart attack shaved a good 5 years off the old life!)

I now live among four beautiful green walls and am posting from under my new duvet. Reading by the light of a new leafy West Elm lamp. Listening to Goldrick clean one room over. Listening to the lawyers dimly talk to each other through the other wall. These sounds, muted yet present, are what I like best about living in a city. I am sure there will eventually be a post about how the charming life sounds from next door have become unbearable, but for now I like the company.


The Mixing of the Paint!

Well, well, well. What a naive life I've been leading.

Today I went to a paint store after work to buy a can of the infamous green paint. "Here you go," I said to the paint store employee, handing him my perfectly green chip. "I would like a can of this color paint. Do you have it in stock?"

What proceeded was a conversation in which I realized that I have been living my whole life imagining that all paint stores carry buckets of COLORED paint. Like, I would be able to buy a can of "Brookfield Gardens" paint which is sitting on the shelf next to the "Paradise Island" and a little ways off from "Sheffield Green."

AU CONTRAIRE, MON AMI. The guy gave me the whole birds and bees talk (where do paint colors come from??) and even let me press the mixing button. Blue and yellow and some red poured in from something that looked very much like a soft ice cream machine. We stuck it in the mixer for five minutes et voila! Green!

The whole experience probably lasted 20 minutes at the most, but I left the store with a lighter step. This specific good mood was so familiar but it took me almost my whole commute home until I figured out what had specifically charmed me about the experience. The situation in the paint store was exactly the sort of thing that happened everyday in Paris. I was always stumbling into something new or different and learning by doing was a constant theme last year.

I miss that.


34th Street, Baltimore

peace lights
Originally uploaded by jenepting
Matt and Mer took me to Hampden this weekend, where we saw a quadrillion lights on one short block. Matt has a sweet car and they live in an adorable little house; sometimes when I think back to what I've been doing over the past 5 years, I wonder if I too could have a BMW + townhouse to my name.

But then, as Matt said, I've had adventures... and then some.


December's here, tra la la

I'll write more about my lovely weekend in Baltimore/DC/Virginia soon, but for now you can tide yourselves over with these photos of me, Matt, and Mer. I'll post mine tomorrow.

New NIFW is up in all its glory.

Also, how much do you want a "No Is for Wimps" thong? Or a dog tee-shirt? Check out holiday gift ideas for one and all on our new cafepress shop!