29 January 2010

Happy Chicken Egg Farm!

These photos (from California, when I was there on holiday) are long-in-coming, but I thought I should share them with you eventually... Recently, a friend of the family from my homeschool days began raising chickens in her backyard for eggs, and my family has become a very happy customer of hers. The eggs that we receive from Pam Franklin's fat Rhode Island Reds are petite, mauve-coloured little gems of rich, eggy goodness (best enjoyed soft-boiled, and on toast, of course! We all know the passion I possess for soft-cooking...)

I apologize that these photos aren't the best, but I think they do what I want them to:

(These eggs were still warm! I may or may not have swiped them from underneath one of the "girls." My mum was kind enough to hold them while I took pictures...)

28 January 2010


I woke up this morning to the most beautiful, peaceful snowfall I've ever seen.

(P.S. these are the adorable boots M. Benjamin gave me for our anniversary...)
There's something so centering and peace-making about a walk in the snow, as one of my favourite bloggers, Margie Oomen, is perfectly aware. Hopefully all of my readers back home in California will be able to experience this great peace second hand through these photographs...

I'm off to a conference with my professor and don, but expect a new piece on my poetry blog later on today, if all works out according to plan...

27 January 2010

A Hectic Week-End

As I sit now at my cozy little desk with my tea and a notebook, and the lovely Amiina playing delicate snow-music despite the sunshine, I cannot say that I could be more grateful for a quiet afternoon after such a hectic Manhattan week-end. I shall not go into great detail of each of my days, but I can say that I accomplished several "firsts" in New York this last week.

i. I went to my first East-Coast antiques show! Antiquing is an entirely different affair over here--the market trends are far different, the average age of the objets d'art is far older. There seems to be a much bigger market for folk art, curiosities, portraits (especially miniatures and silhouettes) and Americana over here. Also, the booths at the show were set up differently--much sparser and more decorative, as opposed to the full-to-bursting booths you see in San Francisco. No particular luck with finds, although we stumbled upon a fantastic dealer in art nouveau and arts and crafts glass and pottery that offered incredibly reasonable prices for works of greater quality than I've ever seen outside of Antiques Roadshow.

ii. Attended my first gallery-party thing in Tribeca, in a space that was part living arrangemet, part dance floor, and lots of splattered paint. The guy who owns it is apparently going to turn it into a gallery... we'll see, I suppose.

iii. My first-ever rock-opera puppet show, complete with puppet sex! Live band and puppets with ska-influenced music and silly drunken-puppet singing. Definitely a lot of fun... although I don't know quite what else to make of it!

Also, I want to record the delicious places I ate for future reference:

i. Stumptown Coffee and the adjoining Breslin Bar, where my sweetheart and I enjoyed some phenomenal espresso, a leek-and-goat-cheese tart, and an escarole salad with fresh pears and a light Gorgonzola dressing (great food, and a fun venue--both are attached to the lobby of the Ace Hotel in Midtown, with a funky '30's-modern space for eating, lounging, and free wi-fi)

ii. Cosmic Cantina--a cheap, vegetarian, organic burrito joint with four varieties of homemade organic tortillas (flour, whole-wheat flour, corn, and spelt) and kick-ass guacamole.

iii. Les Halles Brasserie, owned by Anthony Bourdain, a French brewery with good food, lovely help, a neat space. Moderately priced, with twenty-dollar steaks of every sort and a good "Paris-cafe" spread. The crème brulée was to die for...

Anyhow, that's my weekend in a nutshell. I may be taking a little day-trip in a few days to Montauk, if we get a snowstorm... M. Benjamin and I are dead-set on seeing a snowy beach! Meet you in Montauk, everyone....

22 January 2010

Oh, the Grand Romance!

Last night, Jamie and I went out to see the newly-released-in-the-US The Young Victoria, which was quite the cinematic feast for the eyes:
Although it was neither historically accurate nor a perfectly packaged film, I wanted to see it because:

1) I love the Victoria-Albert romance, in any way, shape, form...
2) Pretty dresses! Need I say more?
3) Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend--as pretty a couple as their characters.
4) Sweeping views of England... *sigh*

For my purposes, the film was quite enjoyable, despite it's ineffective plot arc and awkward ending. The acting (especially on Blunt's part) was fantastic, and the romance was realistic and lovely, and the art direction, including costumes, sets, cinematography, etc., was fantastic. And I can't lie--it felt pretty epic to walk back to campus in a pseudo-Edwardian outfit of a jumper, several petticoats, thick cotton holdup stockings, heeled boots, and muff. It's good to feel a little vintage once in a while. :)

Tomorrow, I go to New York to meet M. Benjamin at the Met for a little walk in the park, an antiques show at the Armory, used book shopping, and dinner. Wish me luck finding the epic poems I will need for this semester....

21 January 2010

As I Make Yet Another Cup of Tea...

Well, here I am back on the East Coast, enjoying my first real morning in my cozy little room in Bronxville. It is both lovely and strange to have returned to New York--strange mostly because it was colder in California when I left than it is in the East, which has disappointed me entirely (Who comes to New York in January and finds it warmer than their central-California home? Honestly, Jack Frost, where are your priorities?), and lovely because, the more time I spend here, the more I love the quiet quaintness of Eastern forests and peaceful independence of my own routine.

Tuesday, the day I arrived at JFK, was my and my Sweetheart's two-year anniversary, so we enjoyed our (final) long-distance reunion at Grand Central station, and a lovely dinner together. Two years after we met fatefully in Anaheim, we've finally been able to give up this wretched long-distance business to settle down within a half-hour of each other. He's already finding his experience at the School of Visual Arts to be both pleasurable and beneficial, and is enjoying Manhattan. It's so incredible to know that, from where I sit in Bronxville, I could enjoy his company with a mere train ride into the city...

On top of being so near my gentleman friend, it is ice to slip into my oh-so-beloved morning routine here. I awaken (or, more am awoken by roommate), open the blinds and the windows that look out on Mead Way, where the squirrels nest in the tall conifers, make tea (currently, Ahmad English Tea No. 1 with a little sugar and heavy cream), scoop some Greek yoghurt for breakfast and doll it up with honey, wheat germ, and whole flax seeds, check all my favourite blogs, call my mum, pour a bath and soak while reading Dorian Gray, dress in all the necessary layers to brave New York winters in a skirt, enjoy another cup of tea, and then off to class (or, lunch). I love to watch the squirrels and the nuthatches scrabbling around the tree trunks from my lovely perch on the wide windowsill. I love the quiet murmuring of the water about to boil in my mug.

Before I wax too terribly romantic about life here in the East, I shall depart to shop for a microwave egg boiler (such blasphemy, yes, but I make do with what I have!) and learn how to make toast on my radiator... And for those of you who love toast as much as I do, you should pop over to The Art of Toast to read all about the warm, crispy goodness!

05 January 2010

A Post-Holiday Bagel

I apologize for my absence from the blogosphere this holiday season, but I admit that being home keeps me busier than I'd bargained for. Last night, I returned from Quincy via the Sacramento airport to give M. Benjamin his big send-off to Manhattan. Today he begins his move into his room on Lexington Avenue, in a building managed by SVA, where he will be living for the rest of the semester. Oh, how immensely excited I am to be living a mere half-hour away from him! After living--at the shortest distance--four hours apart for nearly two years, it is a welcome relief to know that we can just eat dinner together. Not to mention that I am thrilled for him to begin his études at art school. He's been waiting for this for a long time, and it's been such a wonderful journey to attend with him.

Christmas here in the central valley fluctuated nearly daily between sleepy and hectic--a quiet Christmas day, followed by a successfully high-energy Yule party (an annual tradition amongst my friends here in California, with potluck-style baked goods, much dancing to pop music we would otherwise not be caught dead listening to, and a bonfire in the backyard), and then a trip north for a happy little dinner-and-wine walkabout in Meadow Valley to ring in the new year.

Today, with my Peach busily unpacking his bags on the other coast, I shall begin the task of making mittens for him and myself out of a giant thrifted men's sweater which shall look eons better as mittens than as a sweater. It's a great modified-stripes pattern in light grey, cerulean blue, mossy green, plum, and dark brownish-orange. Perhaps my first tutorial if they come out alright?

Also, I am reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, a favourite of Jamie's after she read it for a Lit class this semester. We've assessed that Dorian Gray : Jamie as Lolita : me (can't believe I just pulled that middle-school analogy format out of my head). These are two of our favourite books, respectively with characters we feel ultimately drawn to despite their obvious, unforgivable character flaws. I recommend them both if you want some intense poetic tragedy. Not to mention the clothing descriptions in both will simply knock your socks off. Lolita may be the source of my passions for petticoats, hair ribbons, and red lipstick (not to mention saddle oxfords...).

Well, much to do today, but many wishes to all for a fond recovery from the holidays. :) Pictures of Christmas goodies later on if the light gets better later on today, perhaps.