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  • I read a lot, and I have a lot of opinions, so I can't believe I haven't made a list like this before. If you are even a little bit like me or you want to get a peek into my psyche (you probs don't), these are the books to read.
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New York City

We’re all mad here

Posted on May 11th, 2012 by annakjarzab

I believe it was Bridget Jones who said, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.”

Maybe spectacularly to pieces is a bit of an exaggeration, but literally not a few days after my editor called to tell me she loves Tandem (cue huge sigh of relief here!), my roommate told me that she was moving to Atlanta. Then the monumental task of breaking my lease, finding a new apartment, and moving into that apartment lay before me. Moving in New York is basically an awful experience from soup to nuts. You really can’t start looking until about three weeks from the date you need to move in, and your options are…limited. Also, every one is a Shady McShaderson. Brokers are expensive and difficult to work with, apartments go in the blink of an eye, prices are high and apartments are tiny (you should see some of the places I looked at; the whole thing is absurd). I’ve done it twice before and it was a nightmare both times. I’m not looking forward to doing it again, and I’m feeling a little maddened by the enormity of the task.

So it’s been a little PANIC!! At the Disco in my headspace lately. At this point, the only thing keeping me moderately sane is the thought that Tandem, on which I have labored almost without ceasing for the last year and a half, is going to be a real book that you can read and hold in your hands by the fall of 2013!

Anyway, the good news is, it’s almost over. I move a week from Saturday, which is NOT A LOT OF TIME, but oh well. I’ve got an apartment now (a 5th floor walk-up, unfortch, but it’s a big studio with a great kitchen, close to many train lines including three express trains, and it’s alllllllll miiiiiiiiiine), the movers are hired, the super for my old apartment is showing my place to new potential renters, and it looks like it’s all going to be okay.

Below are some photos of my new place, if you’re interested. I’m sure those of you who live anywhere but New York are totally laughing right now at what I consider a “big studio”, but this is a town full of madness, and the real estate market is one of the best examples of that!

This one’s a bit fuzzy. That’s my broker in the upper left.

My new kitchen. It’s got a dishwasher and an actual fridge (you have no idea how many apartments I looked at with “efficiency” kitchens, aka mini-fridges).

Oh, God, in my head it looks so much bigger. Don’t worry, those are the only two windows in the entire apartment.

I’ve got another picture, but I don’t think you care to see the bathroom. I’ll take pictures after all my stuff is inside and arranged, so that you can see what it looks like when I’m all settled. As for now, trying not to freak out about how completely unpacked I am at this moment (like, I have NOT. PACKED. A. THING.) and telling myself it only looks small here because the pictures are tiny and from my iPhone. And that if it sucks and I hate it, it’s only for a year and then I’ll move to Brooklyn.

Seriously guys, New York sucks, don’t move here.

Things that are brand new!

Posted on May 10th, 2011 by annakjarzab

Okay, so big news–Eric was able to fix the comment tool! For now I’m still going to moderate, so if your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry. I’ll probably take it off moderation eventually, but since it’s a new tool I’m going to try it out like that for now. And you guys aren’t seeing what I’m seeing, but the back end of my website is all slick and shiny and updated. I logged in (after being locked out for a little while, as you may have noticed if you follow me on Twitter) and was literally like, “Whoaaaa.”

Other things that are new: the All Unquiet Things paperback! It went on sale today, and you can get it…well, you can definitely get it online in a bunch of places, but also I think at the chains? I’m not sure yet because I haven’t gone in to check, but you can probably get it at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books a Million…basically any place that stocked the hardcover. And the paperback has a new cover! Okay, so it’s only slightly new. The photograph of Carly no longer wraps around, and it has a lovely blurb on the front from Nancy Werlin, New York Times bestselling author of Impossible!

Otherwise the cover is the same. I can personally attest that the paperback looks great in person. My editor sent me one, which I then stupidly mailed directly to my parents (where they can add it to what my siblings derisively call the “shrine to Anna” in their office, where two hardcovers plus the galley of AUT are on display) before taking a picture, so I guess you’ll just have to imagine what it looks like. It basically looks like a paperback, but with the above cover on it. When I get my author copies I’ll give some away on Goodreads, to spread the love a little.

Third new thing: the anti-Kindle policy at Yankee Stadium. I’m going to the Yankees v. Royals game tonight and my friend Nikki emailed this morning to warn me not to bring my Kindle–last time she went to a game, she saw a man and his daughter prevented from entering the stadium because she had her Kindle in her bag. What am I supposed to read on the train now? J/k, of course I always carry a real flesh and blood book with me, I’m not a robot! But I have a bunch of fun manuscripts for work on my Kindle that I was hoping to get a jump start on. Boo, hiss, Yankee Stadium! I think they’re just being ornery. I really cannot think of a single reason why they wouldn’t allow you to bring a Kindle into the stadium. It does less than an iPhone! It literally does only one thing. Mysteries.

For those of you who actually read my Make It or Break It recaps, I’ll have one for you today or tomorrow. I will say this about MIOBI–if that’s really how they’re going to leave Damon and Emily forever (not sure if Chelsea Hobbs is returning post-having her actual baby), they did a really terrible job of wrapping up that storyline, because at this moment I totally hate Damon after loving him for two seasons. I’m sure that’s not what they want, so I’m hoping the couple will be back.

Spring in New York

Posted on April 9th, 2010 by annakjarzab

I’ve never been much of a romantic about New York. I don’t refer to it as my boyfriend, or get weak in the knees when I see the Empire State Building or anything like that. But there are times in this city where you just cannot deny how lovely something is, and how glad you are to be here at that moment. Like last night, for example. It was hot during the day, like in the 80s, which is crazy because it’s the first week of April THANK YOU GLOBAL WARMING. Anyway, Joanna is in town and we had dinner plans with our friend Abby, so I was walked from work to the West Village (maybe that sounds like it was a long walk? It isn’t. I work just over the Houston border in SoHo), veering off Hudson at Barrow and promptly getting lost because everything in this city is like a grid–above 14th Street. After that, things can get wonky at times. Which is ultimately fine, because I was early and happy to wander down side streets, past exquisite brownstones, the sun bathing the streets with a golden glow, the heat settling softly on my shoulders like a light sweater. I snapped this iPhone shot:

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The street was so serene and pretty. What you can’t see is the small blossoms being shaken from the trees by a stiff wind and wafting down around me. Quite picturesque, if you ask me, as was the adorable, delicious little restaurant where we ate dinner.

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The Little Owl is a restaurant that I’d never been to before, but which had been recommended to me several times in the past. It’s a bit wee inside, so if you’ve got a large party I wouldn’t exactly recommend it, but otherwise, if you’re just a couple of people looking for a delicious meal from a place with perfect service, friendly staff, and a lovely location, look no further.

Matryoshka Monday!

Posted on August 10th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Hey guys! It’s Monday, and according to the precedent I set two weeks ago, it’s time for your weekly matryoshka fix. This one comes from the comments of the last Matryoshka Monday post, actually, so thank you Jody for gifting me with this link to GadgetHer’s “25 NOT Your Traditional Grandma’s Russian Nesting Dolls”, which, aside from the sort of weird title there, is a collection of some freakin’ awesome matryoshki. You can find my favorite below, and MORE! MORE! MORE! by visiting the article.

linux-penguin-matryoshka-dolls

Penguins! Apparently these are Linux penguins, but I don’t know what that means. To me they are just cute.

star-wars-matryoshka-dolls

Live long and prosper! Oh, wait, that’s Star Trek right?

the-beatles-matryoshka-dolls

I grew up watching Yellow Submarine, so this struck a chord of nostalgia in my heart.

mobile-phone-evolution-matryoshka-dolls

This is LOL my favorite, I think. Not only do I appreciate the REALLY non-traditional interpretation, I just think it’s clever.

Maintenance

Posted on July 13th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Sigh. We had some ish on the site that carried over into the weekend, which was fairly annoying. First, the site was down and I couldn’t even access the WP dashboard. Then, when we checked into it, Dreamhost said:

I’ve checked into why you’ve been receiving these internal server errors, and it seems your scripts have been getting automatically killed by our Process Watcher due to your sites going over Memory limits on the shared server.

Huh? I don’t even know what that means. We didn’t exactly know how to fix it, so Eric uninstalled all the plugins, including the reCaptcha which normally filters out spam, so I got tons of spam this weekend on the site. Blerg. I’ve deleted it all, but sorry if you saw any comments about NSFW things gifted to me by the spambots this weekend–reCaptcha has been reinstalled and all appears to be well in the kingdom.

aHm, okay, back to business. Apologies to Deltay, to whom I have still not mailed the AUT prize pack because it requires me to go to the post office and I am lazy. But I will do that soon! I promise. If it makes you feel better, I bought a retro flip clock on eBay and I wasn’t there when it was delivered to my house, so now I have to go pick it up at the post office, although God knows when I’ll have time to do that, since I can go to the post office near my work to ship but can only pick the package up at the post office near my house, where I almost never am EVER, at least not during reasonable business hours. It’s cute though, huh? Let’s hope they haven’t sent it back to Hong Kong already.

Um, what else? Oh, I answered Jacqueline C.’s AUT contest question on The A Team today. The question was: Did All Unquiet Things turn out to be the book you thought it would be when you first set pen to paper? The answer is: not really. For more, click the link and read all about it.

I want you to be happy

Posted on May 3rd, 2009 by annakjarzab

Yesterday, my friend Carmen, who I’ve been close friends with for eight years now, got married to her boyfriend of five years, Tim. I’m dumb, because everything went so quickly I barely took any photos–Mel took frillions, I think, so I’ll be okay on this front, but I don’t remember posing for a photo with Carmen and Tim or anything. Le sigh. Oh well. I’ll never forget how gorgeous Carmen looked in her dress, or the way Tim looked when he saw her walking down the aisle. They’re a wonderful couple and they deserve all the best.

I haven’t been to a lot of weddings, but it’s my impression that lots of people, when choosing their readings, go for 1 Corinthians 13. You know, “Love is patient, love is kind…” I don’t blame them, because that’s a great passage, and perfect for weddings. But Carmen and Tim chose Philippians 4:4-9, which the Internet is telling me is different than what they read, but at the wedding yesterday it went something like this. “I want you to be happy; always happy in the Lord. I repeat: what I want is your happiness.” I just loved that. It really brings home to me the reason people enter into and stay in relationships for their entire lives, or rather what makes it possible for people to stay together forever. Because love is patient, and love is kind, but many times we as people are not patient or especially kind. What is important to remember about marriage is that when you make those vows you’re promising to live in service of the other person, to sometimes sacrifice your own happiness for theirs, and they in turn promise to do the same for you. Balance and compromise without resentment are the key to making relationships work, I think. I don’t know, I’m no expert, but it makes sense to me. Living in the service of someone else’s happiness–and having them live in the service of yours–seems both liberating and difficult to me. I’m sure Carmen and Tim will rise to the occasion admirably, as they’ve been doing for years unmarried.

The wedding was fun, although, like I said, a whirlwind. I think I might’ve stepped on broken glass (I didn’t get hurt or anything, but I do remember that) and slipped on the dance floor because someone spilled a drink. I knew I was going to fall–I predicted it when I was talking to my mom earlier that day. Oh well, it was towards the end of the night and it was dark and I don’t think anyone saw. I got a little maudlin towards the end, as one tends to do at weddings, so thanks to Jackie and Shannel for putting up with that!

People kept telling me how nice it was of me to come all the way from New York for a wedding and I was kind of taken aback, like, obviously I would. Carmen and Tim are a couple I championed from day 1, plus Carmen’s one of my best friends, there’s no way I wouldn’t come. I got to see a lot of people I literally haven’t set eyes on since graduation. I wonder if I can write off some of the travel as a research expense, because I talked to the best man, Mike, about his hometown, Rescue, CA, which inspired the setting of my third book, GR, as I mentioned before. It was knowing Mike in the first place that even brought the little town to my attention, and I’d always wanted to write about it, so here we go. This summer will be all about GR and MB (revisions, I’m sure, are forthcoming).

Being back at Santa Clara also made me think about college. High school isn’t the best years of your life, and certainly college doesn’t have to be. It would make me sad to think that people are going around loving college and then leaving it and never being that happy again and thinking that’s normal. But I will say that college can be a blast, and should be. For those teens just going off to college this coming fall, enjoy it. Have fun. Be smart and safe. Join organizations and meet tons and tons of people. Especially if you want to write. You should laugh a lot and accept that you’ll make some mistakes. Don’t take more eight AM classes than is absolutely necessary. Take a lot of pictures. Try to stay in touch but also know that some people fall off the face of the planet and that’s okay, too.

My thoughts are sort of scattered right now and coming out in bursts because I’m tired and I have to get on a plane back to New York in a few hours, but I’m so glad I came. I wish it hadn’t gone so fast and that I’d taken more pictures, but I’m happy to have seen everyone and to have celebrated Carmen and Tim’s marriage and I’m feeling a healthy amount of yearning for the life I left behind when I graduated. I’m happier now, but I sure was happy then.

ETA: I had the craziest dream last night! I was hanging out with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner in New York. It felt very realistic, which always sort of creeps me out, when dreams so closely approximate real life that it’s difficult to separate them from it. So weird!

California Dreamin’

Posted on April 28th, 2009 by annakjarzab

One of my weekly rituals here in New York is Wednesday night pub trivia. I’m not very good at it, but trivia has a really important place in my life here–it’s where I met most of my close friends in New York, and it’s at least one time a week when I can count on seeing most, if not all, of them. We’ve become tight with the bartenders, and the whole place feels so homey to me–it’s quite a touchstone for my life here.

Anyway, my friend Tony, who runs Wednesday trivia with his cohost Janet, started a new trivia night at a different bar and decided to have a rotating stable of cohosts, each delivering one round of questions per week. Last night, I was that cohost. I’ve been bugging Tony to let me cohost trivia for about nine months now, conveniently forgetting that I hate public speaking of all kinds and that I have trouble reading things aloud in front of people. I should be a joy to behold at readings and signings come January, you guys! So when Tony scheduled me, I was excited, until a few days ago, when I realized how anxious I was about all of it. Whoops.

But, you know, it’s good practice, and it went totally fine, although I did read too fast for a while as I am apt to do and there were only three teams who showed up this week. Ah well, can’t be perfect, and because there were only three teams my team won third place, so, silver lining. Tony did say that the questions I wrote were great and required almost no surgery from him, which was a nice compliment. Now I’m a little hooked on the experience and I! WANT! TO! DO! IT! AGAIN! Tony said I could in late July, so get excited for that, New Yorkers.

For fun I thought I’d post my questions (the theme of the round was California Dreamin’, although I was too afraid to say something so cheesy on stage so I just told them the theme of the round was California). I’ll put the answers in white below the questions. Let me know how many you get right!

1. Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill was founded in 1983 in San Diego after Ralph Rubio brought what local dish home from Baja California?
A: The fish taco.

2. Speaking of Baja California, the northernmost Mexican state is bordered by two bodies of water—the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Gulf of California to the east. What is the other name for the Gulf of California?
A: The Sea of Cortez

3. As of 2005, there are ten campuses in the University of California public university system, and they all share a school motto, Fiat lux. What does Fiat lux mean in English?
A: Let There Be Light

4. In San Jose, CA there stands a late Victorian mansion that features 160 rooms, 47 fireplaces, two ballrooms, cost an estimated $70 million in 2008 dollars, and requires 20,000 gallons of paint every time it is repainted. This house was built by the president of what gun manufacturing company’s eccentric widow?
A: Winchester

5. What other state besides California has elected a governor from the cast of Predator?
A: Minnesota

6. Because he’s so down with what the kids are doing these days, how did San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom announce his 2010 candidacy for Governor of California?
A: Via Twitter

7. The USC Trojan Marching Band was featured on a hit song that went up to #8 on the Billboard charts, and it’s still played at SC football games today. Give me the song and the band who released it.
A: Fleetwood Mac, “Tusk”

8. Los Angeles is a big sports city. Everyone knows that the Dodgers play baseball, the Lakers play basketball, and the Kings play hockey, but what sport did the Los Angeles Riptide play before they were shut down this year because of the financial crisis?
A: Lacrosse

9. What is the largest city in California not to be serviced by an Interstate freeway?
A: Fresno

10. What famous American model, credited with popularizing the naval piercing and currently married to actor/writer/director Ed Burns, was born in Walnut Creek, CA in 1969?
A: Christy Turlington

In praise of the internets

Posted on April 21st, 2009 by annakjarzab

I had a very productive night last night. FIRST, I watched one and a half episodes of Bones–major achievement! (Not at all.) Also, I cooked dinner, another one of my “lazy” meals (perhaps you are familiar with my Lazy Chicken Cacciatore, which I learned this weekend means “chicken for hunters” in Italian or whatever). Actually, this meal is only lazy if you consider the fact that I make it because I’m too lazy to go to Trader Joe’s, which is about twenty minutes from work in the opposite direction of my apartment. (So, forty minutes from my house.)

You see, Trader Joe’s has these amazing frozen pasta dishes that are low-cal and also delicious. My favorites are the mushroom linguine and the gnocchi, but because of the aforementioned farness of my local TJ’s I only go once in a while, stock up, and then when I run out I run out. I’ve run out. I ran out several months ago, in fact, and the last time I had a supply it was one I’d dragged back from Chicago because it was less annoying to bring frozen pasta from another city than it was to get it here in New York. Go figure.

Thus, I have to resort to reproducing these pasta dishes as best I can. I haven’t found a way to reproduce the mushroom fettucini, although believe me when I do figure it out I will tell you, but the gnocchi is really easy. First, I buy prepared gnocchi from the grocery store. Sometimes I get the frozen kind, sometimes I get the vacuum sealed kind, I haven’t found a noticeable difference except often the bags of frozen gnocchi (depending on which brand; I can’t remember what mine is called) yield more food.

First, I boil the gnocchi (this takes almost no time, because they cook almost instantly–you’ll know they’re done when they’re floating on the top, like ravioli) and drain it, then heat up a pan with a little bit of olive oil (maybe two tablespoons) and half of a forkful of minced garlic. (Again, I am lazy so I buy the kind in the jar. The garlic amount is for sure not hard and fast, because some people don’t like garlic as much as I do. Use what feels good to you.)

Once the garlic is nice and sizzly, I throw in the gnocchi and dump about a cup of pasta sauce on top (add more if it doesn’t seem like enough, and some will cook off). I use Brad’s Low-Fat Roasted Garlic pasta sauce because it’s my favorite (I also use it in the Lazy Chicken Cacciatore), but anything is probably good if it doesn’t have chunks of vegetables or meat in it. Then I throw maybe half of a handful of shaved or grated cheese (I’ve been using asiago recently, but parmesan works, and chunks of mozzarella would definitely work, mmmm) on top and mix the sauce, garlic, and cheese all the way in with the gnocchi. It takes about two minutes, and it’s scrumptious. I eat it with frozen vegetables sometimes (green beans or broccoli), but last night I had a salad with mesculin greens, cucumbers, grape tomatoes and balsamic vinegarette dressing (the spray kind).

Okay, so anyway, besides making dinner and watching Bones, I got some real work done last night. I got farther in my copyedits (I’m over halfway done now) and I even solved a little issue with the POWER OF WORDZ AND COMPROMIZEZ. Maybe I’ll tell you this story one day. I also wrote almost 2,000 words in GR, which I hadn’t touched in months. I was able to write because of research I did at the touch of a button online, which is pretty amazing.

As soon as I told my mother what GR was about, she suggested we go visit some ghost towns (California is lousy with them) on one of my trips home this summer. She sent me a link to a website that lists all the CA ghost towns*, and I think I’ve decided I want to go to El Dorado County–probably Coloma and Georgetown and maybe Placerville for the Gold Bug Mine–because that’s where GR is set.

I’m also toying with the idea of dragging the fam to Rescue (also in El Dorado County), because that’s the town GR is based on. Luckily for me, Rescue (which has a very anorexic Wikipedia page) has its own historical society, where I was able to get some documents describing the town’s people and past and a map of the historical sites that are still standing. El Dorado County also has its own historical museum in Placerville (another reason to make that a stop on the tour) and two websites devoted to its history. And that’s only the research for GR I did last night–I also used a great deal of research I’d already done on another Bay Area historical oddity, all of which I found on the web.

God I love the Internet.

*This website is a little weird, though, in that it lists my parents’ county as part of Southern California.

Trivial pursuits

Posted on April 16th, 2009 by annakjarzab

I may have mentioned this before (I feel like I mention a lot of things but don’t discuss them, probably because my brain is firing off in a million different directions at all times) but every week I do pub trivia with my favorite people in New York. I call them the Clown Posse. The problem is, we’re limited to 5 people per team, and none of my whining and wheedling has yet convinced Tony and Janet to let us break that rule. To be fair, I whine and wheedle at them often, about many things, so they’re right to ignore me.

The 5 person limit poses a problem because no matter what, as soon as we’re threatened with disqualification if we don’t split into two teams, the boys immediately decamp and form their own team and I’m left with my girl friends, who are smart and who I love, but we have an Achilles heel: the audio round. The audio round consists of ten 30 minute second* song clips for which you must identify the artist. Tony always runs the audio round, and he listens to probably every kind of music in the entire universe, most of which is entirely obscure to me. We ALWAYS do terribly on the audio round if the boys aren’t on our team. I’m not saying boys are naturally better with music, I’m just saying that my male friends are better than my female friends and I are.

Take last night, for example. We only got three right on the audio round. I don’t know if you remember high school, but 3/10=30%=FAIL. BUT. Last night was special. Last night, there were only like seven or eight teams. Last night, we got almost every other answer right outside of the audio round. Because we were on FIRE! So we ended up getting third place last night, and winning an extra special “art” prize for the doodles I did on the back of our answer sheets. $10 off our bar tab and some vinyl posters signed by radio personalities (?) from six years ago are all fine and dandy, but we were so proud of ourselves for winning a prize by ACTUALLY KNOWING STUFF without the boys and without doing well on the audio round.

We were so happy, we didn’t even want to go home.

*Thanks Shannel!

Easter

Posted on April 13th, 2009 by annakjarzab

One of the weirdest things about growing up has got to be not seeing my family for every holiday. When I was a kid, my entire extended family lived in the Chicago suburbs, so we would get together every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter for a big meal.

For the past few years, though, the only time I’ve seen my extended family and my immediate family together for holidays has been Christmas. Thanksgiving has turned into a holiday I spend with my friends; two years ago, one of my best friends, Kim, came to New York. I had just moved into the apartment I have now–I had just moved to New York in general, in fact–so I had no furniture besides a kitchen table/chairs. Literally no furniture. Still, it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had.

We cooked most of the food ourselves, including a valiant attempt at baking pumpkin pie, during which process we discovered my oven doesn’t work. Fabulous! I’ve lived in that apartment for a year and a half now and the oven still doesn’t work. Our super insists we just don’t know how to use it, which, no. By the way, our toilet? Will be fixed probably this week sometime. No rush guys! That was also the Thanksgiving where we opened cans by pounding a knife all around the edge with a hairbrush. It was a Very MacGyver Thanksgiving, to be sure.

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Anyway. As you can imagine, if I don’t spend Thanksgiving with my family anymore, it stands to reason I don’t spend Easter with them, either. Which is harder, because Easter is a religious holiday. Lots of our friends went out of town for Easter (damn Brett and Brendan, in IRELAND for ten days) or spent it with their families, so me, Nikki and Cambria decided to have our own holiday together. The night before, we went out for Cambria’s birthday, and let me recommend Josie’s West to you, because we had a really wonderful meal there. There’s a lot of variety on the menu, and I want to go back so I can try the turkey meatballs.

The next morning we woke up and hustled out of the apartment to attend Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was really cool of Nikki and Cambria to come with me, because neither are Catholic and I know that big holiday Masses can be overwhelming for people not used to the “moves”, as Dane Cook would say, or the responses or the music. Afterwards, we walked to the Apple store, and then decided to walk back to the girls’ new apartment (because we can do that! because they don’t live in Brooklyn or Harlem like me!) through the park.

New Yorkers and tourists alike, lest ye forget: the park is big. And…not flat in many places. There are portions of it that one might call a hike. Wearing plastic ballet flats with no arch support that you got on clearance at GAP Outlet and a windbreaker when it’s really pea coat weather isn’t exactly smart. Nevertheless, the walk was totally invigorating, and almost everything in Central Park is in bloom, so it’s a gorgeous sight to behold. It doesn’t feel like spring yet, but it sure looks like it. We came out at 79th St starving and couldn’t wait the 30 minutes at Cafe Lalo as planned, so we headed to EJ’s Luncheonette.

I had my first Diet Coke in forty plus days (not counting those few I had on Sundays, because them’s the rules!) and Nikki had her first bite of meat in the same amount of time. I’d like to say her giving up meat was harder than me giving up Diet Coke, but my addiction was pretty raging, and Nikki claims that it’d be harder for her to give up drinking Diet Coke than going temporarily vegetarian was, so I don’t know. She also didn’t invoke the no-Lent-on-Sundays loophole, so…who knows, right? I’m just proud of myself for actually sacrificing something this Lenten season, and I’m glad it’s over.

After lunch I went home and took quite a long nap, considering how I just said I don’t nap. That’s when I cornered my super in the lobby (not in my sleep, before I got upstairs) and he told me that “she” (my roommate) called about the toilet and he was getting someone to replace the handle next week. Okay…we’ll just wait! They’re lucky it’s still usable, because otherwise I’d be making an irate phone call to our management company today.

I went back to the girls’ apartment around 8:15 and we ordered Chinese food while I talked to my family. Then we watched Under the Tuscan Sun. I LOVE Under the Tuscan Sun. I used to own it, but I think I lent the DVD to my friend Nickie, who lives in Chicago, and I don’t think I’m ever getting it back. I should just rebuy it. Thank God Nikki has it. “I throw the flag!” still makes me laugh, and Pawel Szajda still makes me swoon. I wonder if that clown lives in the New York area.

I also watched The Jane Austen Book Club off and on this weekend. I really liked it the first time around. It came out the summer after grad school, when I was living with my grandmother, and I dragged my then-sixteen-year-old cousin out to Evanston to see it in the only theater it was playing at. I read the book back when I was at the Denver SPI and loved it; as far as I remember, the movie is a faithful adaptation. What I like about the story (in both the book and the movie) is that you go in thinking it’s going to be some fluffy chick lit where everybody’s life is a direct parallel to an Austen novel, but it’s not. The novels are just a device to get them all talking and thinking about what’s important to them and what matters in their lives. It’s smart and sincere, and there’s not enough of that these days.

So that was my Easter. Low-key, simple, fun. Nikki, Cambria and I exchanged Easter baskets last night and Cambria had gotten me a mint green nail polish (I think I mentioned that I’ve decided that’s my color for spring/summer), which was AWESOME. I expect this week will be a bit crazy, what with some last minute tax stuff I have to work out and the fact that AUT is back from copy edits and needs attending to. Copy edits truly frighten me, so I’ll be sure to check in frequently to tell you how that’s going.