Tuesday, August 7, 2012

RuPaul & chickpea sa-lahd.

Eighteen months after finding myself in Brooklyn with a job at a reputable supportive housing non-profit, I am saying farewell to downtown Brooklyn and moving on.  It's time for a new network and new experiences and, I'm almost sad to say, a new part of town.  Instead of spending most of my time in Brooklyn, my new office is on the Upper West Side... and with school starting in just a few weeks, I will now be spending more time outside this borough than in it.  Until now I was one of the few people I have met since moving to New York that not only lived in Brooklyn, but worked here too.  Trading my glorious "commute" (read: a 15-20 minute walk, or 10 minute bike ride) for an hour on the subway will be an adjustment, but I'm getting excited at the prospect of uninterrupted time to read and listen to music.  Optimism, people.

Although there were ways in which my job made me unhappy and frustrated, I was very lucky to find employment when I did-- especially because, I hope, the negatives have only served to make me more patient and tolerant.  I loved getting to interact with people every day.  Both my coworkers and the tenants of the apartment building made each day into a story to tell.

Neomie was the rent administrator at the office and sat at the desk to my left.  She is of Indian descent but came to New York from Trinidad about ten years ago.  She is a gem of a person-- warm, motherly, hilarious, not to mention a fantastic cook.  I will miss our chats and neverending inside jokes, saving each other from the tenants' lengthy TMI-filled conversations with a quick (fake) phone conference, and her infinite wisdom.  I will miss her curry chicken, and the breakfast potatoes she makes on birthdays, and her chickpea salad (pronounced sa-lahd).  Fortunately I will be able to think of her by throwing garlic, cilantro, carrot, and chickpeas in a bowl with a squeeze of lime juice.  I hope to master her curry chicken recipe after she hands it off to me on my last day tomorrow.

As for her lilting Trinidadian accent and advice on womanly matters and men, I will have to rely on either memory or text messages.  But, in the meantime, at least I will have her chickpea salad recipe.

Neomie's Chickpea Sa-lahd

1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 carrot, shredded
1/4 onion, diced
A handful of chadon beni, or cilantro
Lime juice

Mix all ingredients together, preferably in the kitchen of your workplace.  Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lime juice.  Serve alongside your favorite chicken recipe.  Then, after talking about the latest in office gossip, RuPaul's Drag Race (even if you've never seen it), and the men in your life, get back to work.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

not exactly according to plan.

As much as I love the internet, smartphones, all those other modern (in)conveniences-- I've always been a sucker for the pen and paper datebook.
From the moment my tiny all-girl high school issued each of us freshmen a bright yellow spiral-bound homework book stamped with the school seal, I've been keeping track of my days via "hard" calendar.
In college, I moved on to Quo Vadis planners, and even convinced my boyfriend at the time to buy one... only to pronounce my utter dismay at his lack of inked pages (he was a business student, after all).
I geeked out over planners, I'll admit.  And choosing one at the beginning of each year was what you might call A Process.  Do I really need a page per day?  Will I remember to tear off these perforated corners every day?  Should I just get a refill and use the same pleather cover?  Then the chosen calendar would arrive by mail and I would begin to fill its pages with homework assignments, paper deadlines, social "events" (KEGGER @ WEST CAMPUS!), and, on occasion, something with a bit more substance.
Because I am now an Adult, I've moved onto Moleskine notebooks (this is Brooklyn, after all).  When deciding between weekly versus daily pages back in December of last year, Kevin helpfully suggested a daily planner, as it might encourage me to jot down bits and pieces more often.  You see, I had planned to Write More in the new year, in an attempt to supplement the paperwork-filled days at my job with some creativity.
I wish I could say I have piles of draft posts just waiting to be published, but that would be a lie.  Judging by the date of the previous entry on this here blog, I have not done so well on the whole Writing More Thing.

I have, however, done quite well otherwise this year.  Brooklyn has really started to feel like a home.  I single-handedly installed my air conditioner in my third-storey window (I know!) when the oppressive city heat became too much to bear.  I turned 25 and decided it is a very good age to be.  I drank skippy with my college roommates, savored Dad's first mojito of the summer, tasted wine in Long Island with my best friend and our beaus, did picklebacks in a basement at a Cape Cod lake house, and shared probably far too many bottles of wine with Kevin over weekday meals.  I perfected my Caesar salad, and cooked roast chicken and mediterranean meatballs, blood orange olive oil cake and rhubarb crumb bars, sriracha-doused shrimp and fish tacos, and lots and lots of fried eggs.  On a few too many Sundays, I bought the Times and left unread sections all over my bedroom floor until I forced myself to get through them all.  I visited friends in DC and Philadelphia, and over Memorial Day weekend, I spent a night roaming the streets of San Juan with Betsy.

The coincidence and pure good fortune that afforded a reunion with B came to mind again when I checked her magnificent blog for updates and spotted some familiar scenes.  There they were: gorgeous photographs, and a link... to my blog.  My much-neglected, achingly-out-of-date blog.

So thanks, to Kevin for the daily Moleskine that provided the space to draft this post while hanging out in Park Slope tonight, and to B, for the gentle nudge.
There are good things to come.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Now that's my kind of Friday night.  Fancy dipping sauce* and all.

*2 parts wasabi mayonnaise, 1 part ketchup.  Stir well.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

still in style.

I sometimes wonder if anyone notices the girl with the mustard yellow winter headband warming her ears, loaded down with handbag and gym bag and grocery bag, basking in the warmth of the subway platform (which 5 short months ago was unbearable until the doors of the F train opened, blasting the lucky ones with cool air).  I wonder if they catch her casting sidelong glances at them as they wait for a train, and if they know that she's already stitched a narrative of their past in sixty seconds, all lost loves and long voyages and small in-between moments held together with twine.  I wonder if they've done the same for her.

But most of all, do they notice her reading material?  Do they realize it's no longer Sunday?

Monday, January 2, 2012

it just keeps getting better.

Christmas was really nice this year.
It's hard to go wrong with New York at Christmastime, coming home to family & cats, a delicious dinner, and spending time in front of the fireplace every night, but for some reason, this year just really topped them all.  Kevin and I enjoyed soaking up all the city had to offer (and the inevitable crowds that go with it).  Gifts given and received were the most thoughtful yet, and from a dinner party on Christmas Eve Eve to leftovers days after Christmas, each meal had everybody in the kitchen and tasted better than the one before.  I was surprised actually; this time last year, I had just come home from South Africa and couldn't have imagined a nicer Christmas-- but this year really took the cake (and pie, and salted pistachio-white chocolate bark).
There was hot apple cider at the Columbus Circle market, the Rockefeller tree, watching skaters in Central Park, fat happy cats with ribbons round their necks, and oysters on Christmas Eve, and bottles of vino, and Skype chats with family across the sea, and wrapping paper, and pearls, and beautiful cookbooks, and ginger-lemon crème brûlée, and long walks, and morning lie-ins, and pomegranate seeds, and shopping trips, and a whole lot of laughter.

I'm resigned to making 2012 the year of self-improvement in all aspects, but I really can't complain about life now.  I feel so lucky to have made the move to Brooklyn, especially last night when my roommates and I hosted a hair of the dog potluck to ring in the new year.  Our apartment was cozy and warm, looked beautiful in the last light of the dried-out Christmas tree, and was full of friends old and new, sharing food and drinks.  This year ended on the really high note it's been carrying all along.

Cheers to 2012.