Thursday, June 30, 2011


The garden has been looking absolutely spectacular of late. I can say that with immense joy and pride, although my own part in it has been, frankly, minimal. Our landlady crafted and nurtured a beautiful thing, and we just have to tend and help it along. Although we've done our part - we've been enjoying our lettuce that's been growing like a mad thing, and we're hopeful - so hopeful - that the tomatoes will fruit this year. We've been fairly self-sufficient with the lettuce thus far, although we need to learn the habits of repeat sowing so that you end up with fresh, sweet tasting lettuces throughout the summer, rather than growing it all at once and then it getting bitter from being left in the ground too long. Hmm. Still, it's been fabulous.

Monday, June 27, 2011

2011: The Midway Point

Well, I wasn't sure what I'd be doing right now, but I certainly didn't think that as of June 30, 2011, I would be married. ULP. At least it's to the person who I thought I would marry if I were to marry anyone - that wasn't a surprise, I suppose.

Nonetheless, it's time for my midpoint review of what I've liked in terms of the "arts" so far this year. I think it'll be useful for my end of year review, if nothing else.* So here we go:

  • Pala by Friendly Fires. This has barely been off my stereo since I got it. I really wasn't sure about it at first, but having seen them a couple of times live (see below in Gigs), the songs have grown on me beyond all measure and I'm loving this album. In fact, right now I listen to it far more than the first album which I still adore.
  • Space Is Only Noise by Nicolas Jaar. This album is, frankly, brilliant, although my favourite Jaar track appears only on an EP (Mi Mujer, if you're interested).
  • Stone Rollin' by Raphael Saadiq. Funk, rock, soul, everything all mixed in. I will always adore Raphael Saadiq for his work as part of Lucy Pearl (seriously, a RIDICULOUSLY underrated album), but this is the first piece of solo work that I've really loved.
  • LCD Soundsystem at MSG. Frankly, nothing will ever compete with this gig. Ever. Not even the Pixies at Primavera in 2004, and that was transcendental to me. Magic.
  • Friendly Fires at Bowery Ballroom. Tucked right at the front, a major dance party, it's so so so hard to beat Friendly Fires.
  • Sleigh Bells and CSS at Bowery Ballroom.
So there you go.

*TOH thinks it's ridiculous but, frankly, I don't care.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Something Good Can Happen To You

I'll be honest, it's been a pretty hairy work week. I've been tired and grumpy.

But yesterday, two rather wonderful things happened.

For the women and men who use Planned Parenthood in Indiana, thankfully the District Court slapped down Indiana's attempt to completely shut down federal funding. That Indiana was willing to prevent health care for thousands of people because of the tiny proportion of PP's services that are abortions is, sadly enough, pretty standard. But this was a well-reasoned decision and hopefully will stand. Doubtless Indiana will appeal to get to the Supreme Court but, for now, things are good.

But that got overshadowed by the thing that I really did not think would happen, even a few days ago: Gay marriage is legal in NY. Not civil unions, not domestic partnerships, but marriage. Both TOH and I welled up last night just watching the news, let alone the people who'd fought so hard for it. It's bloody brilliant. We are also taking full responsibility for it, by the way: we get married, and less than two months later, it gets signed into law and in less than three months, it will come into effect. Clearly they were waiting for seismic changes in the marriage landscape - if I can, with my general previous flagrant disregard for it, surely the gays aren't going to do it any damage.

Monday, June 20, 2011


This weekend we went to our first wedding post-having-had-one-ourselves. It was lovely - the couple was extremely happy, glowing, and clearly had a good time, which is what you'd want.

My one slight smear on the occasion was confronting one of the things that made me so recalcitrant about marriage in the first place. I was busy looking for a namecard with two names - mine and TOH's - when I discovered that, to be blunt, I no longer had a name. Our card was the equivalent of, for example, Emma Thompson being Mrs. Kenneth Branagh. My first name was his; I basically did not exist without him.

I was genuinely quite shocked at it, and also at how strongly I reacted to it. I was not a happy bunny. And the thing is, it won't be the last time something like this happens, and I have to work out a strategy to deal with it in a way that is constructive, and perhaps as an opportunity to point out to someone that this is not ok, and why (although, of course, not immediately in the middle of the wedding. that might be a bit tacky). But again today I got an invitation as Mrs. TOH, and I felt annoyed, and defensive about pointing out that this is not my name. I don't think it's particularly strident to be firm about this, but I am already weary of something that will, sadly, probably happen fairly often for the rest of my life.

TOH and I made a choice to get married, and we talked long and hard and frequently about why it was a difficult choice for me, in particular. I am grateful for that being a choice, of course (talks not going anywhere in Albany on NY's bill, and crap like this doesn't help). So grumble grumble, but hopefully something significant will happen in NY this week that will overshadow my grievances and make many people happy and legally secure in their relationships. That would be wonderful.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Poco a Poco

There's a lot of guff spouted about yoga's ability to teach you patience and the value of regular practice to achieve a goal.

And yet, and yet. This morning I achieved, for the first time ever, a full fixed firm pose.* This is the pose that I've had the most success in - as in, the pose in which I've made the most rapid improvement. The sense of exhilaration that went through me as I got my shoulders on the floor was, I'm sure, entirely un-yogic ("I am the Serenest"!), but it is a nice balance to my complete lack of, well, balance. Actually, that's not true. I'm slowly getting a little better at locking my legs for the balancing poses, and my balancing stick is mucho mejor now. Those are always humbling, but it's nice to get a bit of reward and see real progress.

Still, it'll be a while before I join these ranks.

* Sweet zeus, please ignore the hippie stuff. I just wanted you to see the pic of what it looks like if you're not, like, a total yogini.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Resolutions: May Update

Yikes, it's been quite the while since I rapped at ya about my resolutions. I've had a lot on my plate. Sort of.
  1. Shooting, Shooting, Shooting: Take the camera off auto-settings. I'm not going to lie, I've been seriously lazy about this. But I am getting a little better at judging, not lease deciding what I don't like with the auto settings and fiddling around to change the exposure. So I am slowly but surely learning a little more but, to be honest, not that much.
  2. Cooking, cooking, and more cooking. We've been doing pretty well on this - we did lots of slow cooking, but now the weather is better that's out of the picture. But last weekend we cooked sand shark (!) on the barbecue after marinading it in soy and ginger and honey, as well as trying out rum-laced versions of almond joy milkshakes (divine!). This is what happens when you don't update regularly - you completely forget what you've done. I firmly believe in those reports about the utter unreliability of witnesses' memory - I barely remember what I've done one week to next, let alone the last three months.
  3. Reading, reading and more reading. An achievement! I read VS Naipaul's A Bend in the River; somewhat coincidentally, the discomfort I felt at his descriptions of women have been somewhat backed up by his words about female authors, but I can't help thinking I should act along the lines advised in this post - accept the bad, learn from it and learn from the mastery of his prose. It was an extremely uncomfortable but fascinating read. And, somewhat coincidentally I am, for the first time, reading Sense and Sensibility, mostly inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates' amazing posts revelling in Austen's writing.
  4. Looking, looking and more looking - at exhibitions. Hmm, not so great on this, although we have used the Brooklyn Botanic Garden frequently and enjoyed the Cherry Blossom season, and also Rose Night recently (with a glorious sweet rose martini).
  5. Solving, solving, solving. Having gone through a very good patch, I've been utterly rubbish at this recently. Partly because I've been reading a lot more (was completely obsessed with this very silly book, in part because there's a lot of discussion of the history of alchemy and science, or so I tell myself), including - shock! - my book club book for the month. It's hard for me to strike a balance, really.
So there you go. Surely worth the wait.

Friday, June 03, 2011

To Do

Things I will attempt to achieve this weekend:
  • Play football
  • Ride my bike around Prospect Park
  • Go for a physical check up
  • Sort out wedding photos
  • Sort out paperwork / do spring cleaning on our masses of piles of paper scattered round the house
  • Update blog with photos and resolution progress
Easy peasy.