Thursday, March 27, 2008



J is sick. And not your normal, run-of-the-mill sick. Fever, cough, aches, pains, sore throat, phlegm, etc... It's obviously the plague. He's been out of work since Tuesday; luckily I have been working from home this week and have been able to act as nurse. Though I fear he is not getting much better; at least he has not gotten any worse. He barely wants to eat; and I have offered to watch Ravenous - a strange movie that he lurves - about a zillion times, and he just shakes his head sadly and stares at me with those lovely, glassy eyes. Sometimes he moans a little. The poor, poor dear.

This morning I ushered him to our doctor's office, fearing pneumomia. Alas, it is but an ordinary plague that will last at least another four days. I asked Doc if I was in the clear, to which she replied merrily: "No, you'll get sick later."

So. Awesome.

I am warding off the bug by reveling in my stupidity; also known as "studying" for the GMATs. I use the term "studying" loosely, as I have been reading the book and totally acing the "how-to" problems. Then I attempt to take a practice test, and my brain melts and I bang my head against the table and curse stupid geometry and Ms. Marano because I didn't understand in the tenth grade and I still don't fucking get it. I jot down all of the formulas I can remember and then I cry softly at the dining room table, and shout at my sick friend, "What is the formula for area of a rectangle?!?" And duh. If you don't know the area of a rectangle, you have no business going to graduate school.


Also - ladies? No advice on my wedding gown? Is this your way of telling me I am fucked? Or are you just tired of my infrequent posting and trying to make a statement?

I love you all. May you never see the horrors of this plague.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

In Need of Your Guidance, Ladies

I want to take a quick break from the political implications of my last post to go all shallow on your asses and ask the ladies out there a very important question:

How far in advance of your wedding date did your wedding gown arrive?

This morning I called the bridal shop for the second time. Remember, my mama and I ordered that damn gown in mid-December. A gown that, while lovely, needed to be sufficiently aesthetically-altered to make it appropriately HomeValley-esque. (i.e., No fucking sparkles.)


Today I learned that my gown is not going to be shipped to the bridal shop until the FOURTH of MAY.

Apparently the manufacturer is cutting the silly train and removing the sparkles, which was not the way I understood it. I was told that the shop-owner handled all of the alterations on-site. Why the lies? Why the lack of communication?

My wedding date, for all intents and purposes, is July 8th, as that is when we are high-tailing it out of the country. I'd like it if my dress made it onto the plane with me.

Bear in mind, I travel for a living. This makes my situation that much more difficult.

Is this normal? Am I cutting it to close? Is less than two months sufficient? I need your guidance, wise women of the Internet.

Thank you.

Monday, March 17, 2008

That Time In Istanbul

The truth is, I love thinking about Istanbul.

Just this morning, whilst I was power-walking about the hills of Manayunk, I let my mind drift back to Sultanahmet. Often I imagine what it would be like to live there, temporarily. I ponder the logistics of the move (would we stay in Sultanahmet, the heart of the old city? Or should we perhaps move to suburban Uskudar, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus?). I picture my family coming to visit, and ushering them through Aya Sofya, watching their eyes widen at the sheer magnitude of the site: the gorgeous, massive ancient structure.

Aya Sofya

My yoga instructor always urges the class to visit our "happy places" at the beginning of each "practice". Oftentimes, I find myself sitting, with J, in Sultanahmet Park, in between Aya and the Blue Mosque. Sitting and staring at the two buildings; at the perfectly manicured lawns; at the people walking by. I can't remember a time when I felt more at peace.

J and I at the park. The Blue Mosque is in the background.

Of course, the great irony is that when J and I ventured to Turkey last October, the country had just invaded Iraq. The Armenians were pressuring the U.S. government to pass a resolution claiming the Turks' killing of Armenians during World War I was the first genocide of the twentieth century. Our wedding travel agent, Nicole, had raised the prices for our up-to-this-point-set-in-stone packages. Our accommodations were less than stellar, and the moment we stepped out of our hotel to explore the country on that first afternoon, a military jet whirled just above our heads, nearly deafening us.

"Hmm," J said, clasping my hand in his. "That was a little unsettling."

And yet.

The city we experienced was so warm, so inviting. We trekked throughout the streets each day, from the Blue Mosque (where we were given an expensive lesson in Islam), to the Galata Bridge (where the stench of fish nearly killed us), to the gorgeous harem at Topkapi Palace, to the Grand Bazaar, arguably the world's oldest mall, where we admired carpet after carpet, and purchased 8995 pashminas and gorgeous Ottoman-style tiles, for good measure.

Learning to worship inside the Blue Mosque.

Inside the Grand Bazaar.

The cuisine was excellent; and we sampled different dishes each night. Part Greek, part Middle Eastern fare; the Turkish pizza was my absolute favorite. And after each delicious meal, we'd sip warm apple tea and marvel at our good fortune.

Most evenings, we'd find ourselves at the Cozy Pub, watching rugby with Englishmen or smoking a hookah with new friends Mehmet and Ahmet.

And then there was this one time.

We'd spent most of the afternoon walking the streets, shopping at the Grand Bazaar and sampling Turkish delight candies at the Spice Bazaar. As the sun was setting, we meandered through Sultanahmet Park, then found ourselves once again on the main strip in the old city, at the Cozy Pub. Ahmet worked the door, enthusiastically encouraging passers-by to come in and have a drink or a snack. Mehmet ran a small gift shop behind the pub, but was typically hanging out at the bar, chatting up the ladies. We called him Turkish Scott Baio, as he looked and acted like Mr. 45 and Single.

On this particular night, we sat at a small table outside, talking with Ahmet and Mehmet. An Australian jewelry and bag designer named Julie soon came into our circle, as did English couple Nick and Amanda. Amanda was a school teacher; Nick wrote books about mountain biking.

So we ate and we drank. For hours and hours. At one point, Mehmet and I ran to his shop to prepare a hookah, which we filled with apple "tobacco" and brought back to the rest of our group.

Man, did I have a love affair with that hookah. If you are ever in Istanbul (Or even Le Souk, in Manhattan) , please, please sample the apple tobacco.

Mehmet and me, and my beloved hookah.

The night wore on, and soon it was time to retreat back to Hotel Mina. Julie was staying on the same street, so we walked her back to her place and crept back to our room, turning on the television to take advantage of the late-night English programming.

It wasn't until the next morning, while I was in our miniature shower, that J noticed something was missing.

The Bag.

The Bag is where we keep our Valuable Stuff. It is a virtual man purse that never leaves J's side when we are out of the country. He protects the bag like a child. And as if we had lost our first-born, J was nearly hyperventilating.

"Stay calm," I tell him, as I dress quickly. "It's got to be at Cozy, and they are good people. They'll have it for us."

I suppose I only half believe this myself, but I am intent on keeping J calm. We dart out of the hotel and run to Cozy, a two-minute jog.

The bar is empty, but Amir, last night's waiter, is straightening up.

"Amir!" I shout. "Please: where is our Bag?"

I describe the bag to Amir, but he only stares at me blankly. I run to our outside table, desperate for The Bag to be there.

It is not.

"You must have it, Amir," I say. I describe the bag in detail and tell him it is full of Valuable Stuff.

Another staffer overhears this conversation, and opens a safe behind the bar.

"Is this it?" He asks, holding The Bag.

"Yes!" J and I cry. I hug Amir. J checks The Bag. Not a single item is out of place.

"Thank you thank you thank you," we repeat, as we skip outside. We both exhale.

"Turks," I say. "I knew they'd come through. They're good people."


This Blog Will Make You Skinny.

So, er, did anyone else DVR I Can Make You Thin on TLC?

I'm the only one then?

Obviously, my obsession with my physique intensifies, but honestly; I only aspire to be in the greatest shape of my life by July. Really, what's the harm?

So the other night when the show debuted, I hit the record button, figuring: Meh. This guy claims he can make me thin. Prove it.

(A brief disclaimer: I am not obese, nor even really particularly overweight. Things have just shifted, is all. I have put on about 10 pounds since I graduated college, and I am not particularly attached to those pounds, so they are free to leave. Also, I need to tone up. I am a bit, shall we say, squishy? I also need to eat healthier, because I love my heart, y'all. The end.)

So Paul McKenna is an English bloke who claims he can make us all tiny little things. It all comes down to 4 simple "golden" rules:
  1. When you feel hungry, eat.
  2. Eat what you want, not what you think you should eat.
  3. Eat consciously.
  4. When you are full, STOP.

The cynic in me wants to repudiate these commandments; but the truth is, I am liking that this chap told me to eat a burrito. (Because I desperately, desperately want one.)

McKenna is really about changing your attitude about food; i.e., don't deprive yourself, ever. Don't feel guilty, EVER. BUT, do stop when you are full. Also, make eating meditation. Don't watch TV or read during a meal. Chew each bite 20 times. Put down your fork and knife between each bite.

(Man, if you guys could only see J and I attack giant bowls of pasta loaded with parmesan with The Simpsons on Sunday nights. It's often a race to the finish line. For shame.)

So you know what? I am trying it. I am going to try to eat what I want when I want it, but savor every morsel and eat more slowly, paying careful attention to my belly, who hates me when I stuff her needlessly. I will report back.

In other news, I informed J yesterday over a bloody mary that I was definitely NOT drinking during the week anymore. He laughed - loudly - and then bet me that I couldn't do it. It's on.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Still Hemmi From The Block


I am still alive, and am really just writing to say that I will actually be writing actual prose next week, when things have calmed down considerably for me. Lots of stuff going on, but I think - though not completely sure just yet - that J and I now know where we will be living in a month (spoiler alert: right here), and what jobs we will have, and what graduate schools we will attend. For a hot second there, everything was a mess (in a delightful way) and we were writing out budgets and pros and cons lists and fixing closets and throwing out lots of junk and freaking out because we just got the most glorious granite counter tops. Were we ready to part from the granite so soon?

(And in the midst of all this, whilst still traveling and getting stuck in Syracuse last Friday night, I picked up a copy of Jodi Picoult's latest novel, Nineteen Minutes. And then I could. Not. Put. It. Down. Please someone: tell me you have read this book so we can all nerd up in this very forum and get down to the virtual book club I have secretly longed for! Pretty please?)

(And I also learned that Rent is closing on Broadway. As a former Renthead, this news did not sit well, and I have been hatching plans to get back to the Nederlander ever since.)

In closing: I'm back, baby. With lots of stories to tell and a renewed commitment to you, gentle readers.

Until Monday.