Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A boy with a smile

He's a really cute boy. He has a square jaw and a really nice smile. And his hair kind of falls over his eyes. He's got this cute Irish accent and a joke that makes me laugh.

And I wonder if I would flip my hair a little. If I would widen my eyes just a smidge more. If my smile would be a little wider, my laughter a little tinklier. I wonder if I'd stay on for just another drink with friends. If I'd try to sit next to him at the table. I wonder if I would touch his arm as we talked. I wonder if he'd buy me a drink. I wonder if I'd let him walk me home. I wonder if I'd pause just long enough by the building entrance. I wonder if I'd finger my keys for that extra couple of seconds.

All this I wonder as I say goodbye. As I decline that extra drink and tell them I have to get up early tomorrow. As I wave and enter the building without pausing. As I lock the door and take off my coat. As I slip into pajamas and start up my computer. As I type - I love you, goodnight.

All this I wonder and then smile a little smile. No. I won't be flipping my hair a little. I won't be smiling that extra-wide smile. I won't be exploring this possibility.

Because my guy - the one without the hair falling in his eyes, the one without the square jaw - that guy has a smile even nicer than this one. A smile that speaks to my heart.

And even as I wonder, even as my imagination flits over the possibilities, I know. I know I would rather be here alone, with a smile a little short of flirty and a pause a lot short of inviting, if it means I get to "be" with my guy. Even if it's just over Skype and phone calls. That guy. The one whose smile melts my heart.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside...

...that's really about it.

Also, I don't know about you, but this seems prettttttttttty familiar...: SAD

Friday, December 3, 2010

Celebrate Me Home

I love Christmas. As I emerged from the subway station at Steinway Street in Astoria last night, I heard the tinny sounds of old holiday standards crackling out of speakers attached to the lampposts; the tiny white lights were twinkling on snowflake-shaped decorations; the Salvation Army bell ringer clanged away begging for donations. It’s Christmas time in the city. It should’ve been so perfect.

But I had to go “home” to the apartment I have barely lived in for the past 2 months; the apartment I never really felt at home in anyway. And then I spent the night in an apartment that I have been sleeping in for two months but am not really fully welcomed into. “She can’t be here seven nights a week,” the roommate said. So I keep my things in one place. I sleep in another. I visit my parents in their temporary extended-stay living suite upstate while they deal with their transitional time, too. Every single Christmas decoration I own is in a storage facility in Rochester, in boxes piled 20 feet high, where they can’t be accessed until Spring. I have nowhere to decorate, or anything to decorate with. I don’t have a place where I can cuddle into at night in my flannel Christmas pajamas and wake up at in the morning to stumble out into the living room and sip hot chocolate and watch Rudolph. His place is not my place. My place is not my place. Their place is not my place. And for the last five years all I’ve been aching for is a home.

I’ll wake up Christmas morning this year in a hotel in Rochester. Our first year without a family home in Rochester, I cried at the thought of waking up in a hotel on Christmas and so my parents rented a house. But as the years have passed, and the reality of the situation becomes as familiar as a limp, I have tucked that sadness away until it turned into a tiny pit in the depths of my chest. And it hurts the most this time of year.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Out sick

I just wanted to stay inside my little cocoon of a blanket. Just a little opening for some air, but otherwise I just crept deeper and deeper into my bed. My neck hurts, I say to myself. From sitting awkwardly in long flights. My tummy growls, I say to myself. From eating too much rich food over Thanksgiving. I hug myself under the blanket and turn away from the truth.

Sure my neck hurts and my tummy could use a little break, but that wouldn't have been enough to keep me in bed otherwise. It's sadness. And loneliness. It's the fact that this weekend I got used to having his arm around me again. I got used to slipping my foot under his knee and my hand into his as we sat on the sofa. I got used to getting a hug out of the blue for no reason but that it just felt like a good time for a hug. I got used to having someone who thinks I'm funny around me all the time. I got used to having someone to talk to and cuddle with and really just hang out with all the time. I got used to being 'us' again.

And then I got back. I slipped into my cold bed and tucked my foot under my own knee. I wrapped my arms around myself and burrowed into my pillow for comfort. And I just couldn't make myself get out of bed today.

I know this from living far away from my family and my friends for a good portion of my life, but now it comes to me again. The powerful 'missing' that you don't even realize exists for most of the time you're apart, but that hits you with all of its force as soon as you get even a little taste of the companionship that could be. You stay away for weeks and months, and you get used to it bit by bit. And you still miss the other person, but you fill your life with work and people and books and activities until you don't leave too many free moments to think too deeply. But then you visit. And you re-live the joy of being together. And then you leave. And then you just can't get out of bed.

Time to shower and clean the apartment and head back to work tomorrow. A lonely heart doesn't warrant more than one sick day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Continuing with the alcohol and love theme...

A is a sweet, affectionate drunk. He isn't drunk all that often but when he is, he's adorable.

Case in point, last night at a friend's dinner party:

"I love the shit out of you."

(It's cuter than it sounds, I promise.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Feeling Good

I had always taken pride in the fact that I had never gotten seriously drunk. No real lapses in judgment, no wondering about what had happened the night before, and certainly no nights spent hugging the toilet...

until Friday.

I had taken a big, scary French exam that morning. I had met with two fun work contacts. I had seen my bff from high school for the first time in six months. With two very promising parties on the agenda, I was feeling pretty good. And it was going pretty good...

until we remember I'm a lightweight. One drink (any drink) usually gets me a bit silly. As was the case after my gin tonic at the first party. Silly and happy. At the second party, after a little bit of beer and a little bit of wine, A's coworker convinced me to take a shot. Of vodka. Which was bigger than it should've been. But I was feeling good! Down went the fiery stuff. I'm chatting, dancing, and then WHOOSH. Not feeling good. And he can tell.

Glass of water in one hand, arm around me, we're out the door. Apparently I mentioned to him that one of my friend's commented that we'd get married. We get to his house, more water. I sit on his bed and then I'm up, making my way for the bathroom. He sits on the edge of the tub throughout and gives me mouthwash when I'm done. Back in his room, he tucks me in, a trashcan on my side of the bed. In the morning, he lets me sleep in while he goes out to buy me bread. He makes me breakfast and naps with me on the couch.

I was humiliated, and he tried to make me laugh at myself. I apologized a dozen times, and he shook off each one.

He took care of me, and I love him for it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"We're lucky."
"I don't feel lucky."
"You don't feel lucky that you met me?!"
"No! I had to go through a lot of shit to get here. I had to meet and spend time with a lot of terrible women before I met you."
"All the more reason to feel lucky now."
"I don't feel lucky. It wasn't luck. I was supposed to end up with you."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Making plans to change the world while the world is changing us

There she was. In a teeny-tiny Viking costume. I shouldn’t have clicked on her name but I did. Now I had an almost-naked visual to go along with his handful of stories about her. It didn’t matter how many times he told me she didn’t support his career or believe in his talent or care about his happiness. All I could focus on was how she made a lot of money and how tan she was and how below that picture of her in her teeny-tiny Viking costume was a comment: “TC likes this.” My stomach rose up in protest.

“We don’t talk,” he had told me once. “She texted me a couple weeks ago to come get some of my stuff and I told her to throw it away. Trust me, I have no interest in keeping in touch with my ex’es.” I had heard this same speech before from E. and then found out a year later he was telling his own ex that he loved her the whole time. And now here was my first red flag from TC. I couldn’t let it go.

“Are you home?”

“No, what’s up?”

“Just wanted to ask you something.”


“It can wait, call me when you get home.”

“No, I hate that. What is it?”

I was trembling. I knew he would be so angry. Didn’t I trust him? Why would I snoop into his past? Why would I be digging on Facebook? How did I even know who she was anyway? But it didn’t matter. If I didn’t ask now it would bubble up inside of me, constantly marinating, churning, stewing until one night after a few drinks I’d scream out, “I know you’re still in touch with her! I saw her Facebook picture!”

I tried to explain as rationally as I could. “I clicked on your ex’s profile. I shouldn’t have, but I did and I saw this slutty picture of her that you liked. And it really bothered me.” He began his typically rational speech. They are not in touch. They had an amicable breakup a year and a half ago, and every once in awhile he gets a text from her saying hello. He saw the picture on Facebook of a cute girl in a tiny outfit and he clicked like. That was all. She texted him afterward to say she saw his comment and hoped everything was going well. “We had a good relationship. We broke up over my career, and we both knew it was the best idea. We’re different people now and I don’t really like the person she’s turned into. I don’t like how she treats me or who she’s become, and I’m not attracted her anymore; emotionally, physically, or sexually. At all. But I hope she’s happy.” I had nothing else to say.

When do I start to really believe in this? When do I start to feel secure in this, in us? When he says I’m different, how long until I actually hear it?

He called back half an hour later. I anticipated anger. You know, Lauren, this REALLY pisses me off! But instead I got a quiet voice.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” And I meant it.

Searching for Enid's world

I don't know where my life leads. I don't know what I want. I waffle. One day I want this. The next day I want that. And the third day...well it's a whole different story, isn't it? I had a plan - I had a plan.

Do you ever think about those books you read as a kid? The ten-year-olds and twelve-year-olds running off on one adventure or another. Living on deserted islands and eating tomato and ham sandwiches. Getting lost in mists and riding horses. Following smugglers into their caves and sailing out into the ocean. Sure there was a trusty dog to keep watch, but really, weren't they just kids with absentee parents who thought they could handle it all but just kept getting into scrapes?

But they ran off and they followed those smugglers and they were always brave and upstanding and did the right thing. And Timmy the dog was always loyal and always there. And they always made up and they always ended up on the train back to school, waving goodbye at their loving and gentle mother.

I had a plan. And then it went awry. And now I'm just walking into a cave hoping against hope there's a smuggler there so I can catch him and turn him in and do the right thing. And maybe ol' Timmy will keep watch for me in the back.

Because guess what. In those books? The kids who turned in the smuggler and did the right thing...they always got a flashy new boat. Always.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The New York Clock

New York functions on a different clock. I’m sure of it. One year here is a month somewhere else. 30 years old here means 23 in another city. Time speeds up, slows down, and stops altogether when in other parts of the world it is just a constant.

TC and I have been together for just over four months. We were “dating” for three of those months, and now we’re “officially” together. Boyfriend and girlfriend. Committed and in love. What I didn’t expect was that once he committed, he would be really committed. All typical-boy fear of words like ‘marriage’ and ‘babies’ and ‘living together’ went straight out the window.

He had a roommate issue last week because I’ve been spending too much time there without paying rent. “If he gives me crap about it, I’ll just move in with you,” he said. My immediate reaction was, Oh no, you won’t!

But why? It’s the timing. Four months isn’t long enough.


I just went to the engagement party of my brother and his fiancée who have been dating since January of this year. They are perfect together. My parents, who dated for three months before getting engaged, were in attendance.

New York has tainted my relationship-brain. “We have to date for at least a year before we move in together and then another year before we get engaged and then another year before we get married.”

But why?

The rational part of me says it’s all way too soon. And the stupid-in-love girl part of me is looking up one-bedrooms on Craig’s List.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Empty cocoon

My living room floor is a collage of photographs. Flowers, faces, fall scenes. They all stare up at me. I put them in one frame, then another. Hold them up, trying to get as far as possible from my own hand, to see them better. Put them up on the wall. Step back. Adjust. Step back. Adjust. No. Another one. Step back. Climb on the sofa and reach up high. Hop down and retreat to the other side. Adjust. Step back.

And finally they are all up. The frames only slightly askew.
My living room comes alive.
My bed is made, pristine and soft.
The dishes gleaming on the dish rack in the kitchen, the knife block announcing my love of cooking to any who may enquire.
I scrub away the slightest stains on the bathroom mirror. No specks.

And I walk from the kitchen to the bedroom to the living room. And I sit on the sofa. And I look at the pictures. And I look around. And I look at the pictures.

They keep me company this evening.


You know the awkward feeling the day after a fight? No? It's like, somehow after some heated words, you forget how to interact with a person you know intimately.

That would be me and A today.

Monday, November 8, 2010


"When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part." -- G.B. Shaw, Getting Married, 1908

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Just wanted to share this:

I passed the bar.

This day just got SUPER much better. Like, super. For real.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Burrow a hole

You know those days when you KNOW you should have just stayed in and called in sick even though you're not sick because it's a day when you are bound to make missteps and do stupid things and generally be a blundering mess? Those days when you wake up with some kind of foreboding, when everything in your house malfunctions in an effort to keep you at home, where it is safe and there is nothing stupid or silly or careless that you can say or do that will actually reach other people. Those days your hair doesn't stay put and your boots are more clickety-clackety than usual. Those days when you realize a mistake in your email as you click on send. Those days when you forget to attach attachments. Those days when you realize you have missed a deadline. Those days when you thought you hit snooze but actually you turned your alarm off. Those days when really, your best best would've been to keep your head down and burrow deeper and deeper into your bed? is one of those days.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oh, I wish...

I wish that when my food processor died, or when the heel broke off my boot, or when my camera malfunctioned, I could afford to replace it.
I wish instead of whispering behind closed doors my boss would ask me if I was happy.
I wish my hair would grow faster.
I wish TC would want to go to bed at a reasonable hour sometimes.

I am grateful to have TC, who only tells the truth but still manages to tell me I’m pretty when I’m in glasses and without makeup.
I am grateful to the stranger who mailed me my stolen wallet.
I am grateful that anyone at all reads my food blog, let alone the 50 daily dedicated fans.
I am grateful to my other boss, who buys me coffee, sends me job listings, and even gave me brand new leather boots.

Things in my life don’t always strike a perfect balance. But today as I started to write this, I ran out of things to list in the “I wish” column. And I realized that it’s nice sometimes when the scales are tipped.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sometimes "love" just doesn't seem to cover it all.

Who thought it was a smart idea to fit all of that emotion into one four-letter word?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Let's change the topic, shall we?

So what about you? Or should I not ask?
Oh you can ask all you want, I just don't know if I'll have an answer!
Oh, come on, no engagement or anything?
Ha, like I said, no answers!

You know your family's going to expect you to get engaged this winter, right?
What? No, no such expectation!
Oh come on, your sister got engaged at your cousin's wedding, now she's getting married - everyone's going to be looking at you! And you guys are awesome!
Ha, please, what about you? Your cousins are getting engaged one by one too!

So what about you guys? Isn't it time you guys got married or something?
Oh please, not you too!
Oh come on, your sister got engaged at my wedding, you think the family's going to let you off that easily?
Ha, let's talk about you guys having babies instead, shall we!

And so I brush them off. A joke, an evasion, a turn of topic. Always works. It's a tried and tested trick and the only way to respond to aunts who ask awkward questions, friends who want you to be happy and cousins who want to tease you.

But then I get a moment alone and I know that there's one person I need to answer if ever she asks that question. She'll see through my jokes. She'll latch on like a limpet. She'll turn the topic right back at me.

And I don't look in the mirror, because I'm not ready to answer yet.
Come to think of it...I'm not even ready to ask the question.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happiness hit her like a train on a track, coming toward her, stuck, still, no turning back

Three months ago it was, “If I ever get married…”
Two months ago it was, “If we ever get married…”
A week ago it was, “When we get married…”
And then last night.
I was sleeping lightly. I felt a hand on my arm. I rolled over to face him.
“I love you. So much.”
“I love you, too,” I muttered, fighting for coherent words in my swimming, sleepy brain.
“I haven’t been this happy in a really long time.” I finally opened my eyes. “I want to marry you.”
“You do?”

I’ve waited almost seven years for this.
It feels like it was worth it.