Monday, December 23, 2013

Goodbyes and cookie making

It seems this winter is a transitional time for many around here. One of my first Crossfit friends had her last workout on Friday (moving to Cleveland), the same day that one of the members of my book club had her last day (moving to Nashville). Another girl I work with, who I've been friends with for pretty much the whole time I've worked at the company (which scarily enough will be six years soon), is moving on to a marketing company. We, and a couple of other coworkers (now mostly former coworkers) have been getting together to make Christmas cookies every December for the past four years. It's traditions like these that I'm particularly thankful for in periods of transition. New York is a very transient city, or perhaps all cities are when you're in your 20s, but while good friends come and go, it's nice to have things (such as cookies) that you can count on.

Here then, is a short recap of Christmas cookie makings past:

2010. The inaugural cookie making. We drank too much wine, and spilled frosting everywhere, but Kate still continues to invite us back. 

2011. This strangely was without wine. Also, I still have that reindeer sweater and wore it to another Christmas party this weekend, so there's that. 

2012. We didn't plan to organize in matching pairs like that, but clearly our decorating party is reaching new levels of synergy. Also, the only cookie decorating photo in existence showcasing all of us. 

2013. The party this year. Sadly, only one of these girls still works with me as of January 1st. 

Still 2013. Couldn't help but post a few of our creations. After  four years, we're getting a little better at this. 

So this was just a short post because I imagine many are celebrating things (Christmas/time off work/what have you) instead of reading blogs. Also, I probably won't be updating again in 2013 because I too will be doing such things. See you in 2014 then, those of you reading this. And may you have happiness for all of the holidays in between!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Snow and holiday cheer and rock music

We had our first proper snowstorm here this weekend. Where "proper" is defined as "lasting longer than just the duration of my walk to and from the gym and then stopping the instant I'm warm and inside and just want to watch some snow, damnit!" As a bonus, it even stuck for a little bit, thus transforming my neighborhood into a winter wonderland for an hour or so before people messed it up. As such, I spent a nice portion of the weekend indoors, drinking tea, and contemplating how to write 2,000 words on the basics of using a thesaurus. Nevertheless, not to be defeated by temperatures in the 20s, I did do the following things:

1) On Friday, we went to see American Hustle (amazing acting, inconsistent script, ran a little long), and afterward, since it didn't really seem that cold, we thought it would be a good time to check out the Christmas hoopla on 5th Ave. I have a love/hate relationship with these timeless traditions. On the one hand, there has not been a year since I've lived here that I've missed seeing the tree at Rockefeller Center or the windows at Bergdorf's. That said, every year, I spend most of the time there complaining about the crowds. Turns out the (seemingly obvious) key is to go on a cold Friday night after all the stores on 5th Ave are closed. I mean sure it was still crowded, but not nearly as maddeningly so. 

Next to Rockefeller Center itself, the tree actually seems quite small. 
This year the theme of the Bergdorf Goodman holiday windows was, in fact, holidays themselves. I think they called it "Holidays on Ice." Anyway, they were predictably well done, but my favorite was the April Fool's one (see below).
It looks like the photo is upside down, right? Not so! they actually hung a bunch of glass animals from the ceiling. Well done, Bergdorfs. It almost makes me want to buy a $2,000 coat from you. Almost. 
 2) Saturday, aside from brunch with a friend, was a day best spend inside. However, on a venture out, I did get this stunning photo of Sam outside our apartment.

Sam. Outside our apartment. 
Saturday night, a friend of my parents had given us tickets to go see Queens of the Stone Age at Barclay's Center. I felt kind of bad because I had never actually heard of them, and a friend on facebook who was an actual fan was upset because the roads were too icy to get there. It hardly seemed fair, so we braved the storm and the delayed train times to head to Brooklyn, despite remarking that you'd really have to be a diehard fan to be willing to do such a thing. Nevertheless, it was fun! I don't know that I'm entirely a fan of the band, but they did have a cool sound. Also, the opening band, whose name I never actually heard, was pretty awesome.

I'd never been to Barclay's Center, but it was very nice. Tons of food and drink options from local Brooklyn businesses. It almost makes me want to go to a basketball game sometime.
Queens of the Stone Age in all their glory. 
 3) Okay, there is no third thing. I really did spend all of Sunday lounging and making bolognese sauce. But, hey, here's a picture from my walk to the gym this morning!
The beautiful ConEd power station at sunrise. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Scenes from a Samsung Galaxy S3 (Holiday edition)

When I first got my phone, I indulged in a little lazy blogging by just posting a bunch of photos that were on my phone for a few weeks. Naturally, the novelty has worn off the new toy, as happens with all gadgets eventually I suppose because someone must be buying all these new iPhone updates. Anyway, one thing the novelty will never wear off of is lazy writing. Why take the time to come up with a true (or in my cause, usually somewhat tenuous) narrative to tie together random events when I can allow the random events to do that for themselves? In expertly captured image form, no less! 

I flipped through all of the things I took pictures of in the last week or so and included a random sample. Well that's inaccurate. If it were a random sampling, most of these would be blurry, accidental pictures of my face, or pictures of my cat. Instead there's only one picture of my cat (...and one picture of somebody's else's cat), so I can assure you the photo choices were anything but random. 

My favorite of the Dinah pictures currently on my phone. Not her most flattering angle, perhaps, but then this is my blog, not hers. 

The sun sets triumphantly over the 30th Ave subway stop. Times being what they are, this probably occurred at 4:45. 

Cabbage expertly squeezed of its moisture. Look at all that cabbage water! This did eventually become (according to Sam) excellent sauerkraut. 

The farmer's market on a winter's day. 

Stopping for warmth inside the W Hotel. Sam's head needed additional warmth, so he borrowed my hat and made that face. 

Decorating 101. Notice how the wreath oh-so-casually hides my door number lest Internet stalkers hunt me down. This sadly might prevent UPS from finding me though. 

This looks like a staged photo, but I really did magically capture my niece mid tree trimming. 

Still life with Martha Stewart. One day I too will host brunches this classy. 

A snowy eve in Prospect Park. It's blurry because it's snowy, not because I'm a poor phonetographer.

Sam's friend owns a wine shop and built this winter village window display. The train doesn't actually run, and I don't think it will rival the NYBG train show anytime soon, but I took a picture of it, so now I'm posting it because it matches the holiday tableau I'm crafting here. 

The second Christmas tree in this post and the second one that isn't mine.  Cute cat though. 
Hope you enjoyed these visual treats courtesy of my phone. It's fun to occasionally post these things, because otherwise they just languish on my phone until I eventually forget why I took them.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A little Thanksgiving post

I do enjoy writing my yearly Thanksgiving post because my Thanksgivings are pretty reliable. There's a reason it's my favorite holiday. I spent it with my wonderful family (who I've become only more thankful for through the years as I've encountered other people's families who don't all get along quite so oddly well), unapologetic food binging, and laid back good times. Another thing I should be thankful for but realized I've taken for granted over the years is the quality of turkey to which I am accustomed. During our Monday morning what-did-you-do-over-Thanksgiving chat circle at the gym (it's things like this which probably cause people to call Crossfit a cult), several people summed up their Thanksgiving as "spent time with family; turkey was dry." While dry turkey certainly isn't a Thanksgiving-ruining issue, provided enough extra gravy is nearby, it does make me grateful for both turkey bags and for my dad who can tease great flavor out of an otherwise bland bird.

Anyway, I think it's fairly safe to say that my entire blog readership was present this weekend (I'm joking of course, I know that Beth reads this too. Hey, Beth!), but I'm going to post a few pictures anyway. After all, you might have been there, but you could still want to see evidence of it.

My sister, me, and a mug. 

Sam and I and my grandfather. Santa hats were brought out, but don't worry, not until after Thanksgiving. 

With my grandmother, and in the absence of Santa hats. 

The bird prepares to make its debut

This house in Fort Worth was designed by my great grandfather. It recently sold for $1.4 million. For those who are interested, I also found this article that talks about the extensive grounds in the back that we didn't get to see. 
We went to the Kimbell Art Museum to see their new building. This isn't the new building, but I liked this picture because the colorful foliage in the corner keeps making me think the photographer's thumb brushed the lens.  
I was thankful to be down in Arlington yet again, especially with such ease of air travel. While the trip always feels far too short, I'm glad to know I'll at least some of the same folks in a little less than a month for our post Christmas celebrations!