Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Bounty

Look what Santa got me:

A whole pile of some of the harder to find Governor General's books. Santa must read my blog. This should keep me in books for awhile.

Santa also brought us some really fab posters. When I say "us" I mean he brought H. some fab posters, including this exceptionally awesome old Ukrainian movie poster from the 60s:


It's a movie that was made from some obscure Dostoevsky short story. It's a great poster, and perfect for H. who is a die-hard "Dosters" enthusiast. So, we'll get it professionally framed soon.

Christmas morning when H. and Santa were trying to figure out which Dosters story this was, I said something about having read Dosters because I have read Anna Karenina. Whoops! That was Tolstoy! (I just heard my Dad cringe and my husband file for divorce!) Why did I just admit that on the internet? I don't know. Probably to embarrass my husband. Anyway, I did read Crime and Punishment, so I've read Dosters for real. AND Tolstoy!

H. and I both got a good haul of books as gifts, and now our decreasing bookshelf space has truly become and absence of bookshelf space. H. likes to put his books into towers. Towers that teeter dangerously over the cat. So, we must visit the artisinal bookshelf maker, Ikea, to get some more, asap. I will not have my cat crushed under the weight of some dusty old tome. I'm not sure if I would say I'm "coveting" those Billy bookcases, but I'll label this post as a covet anyway.

Friday, December 3, 2010

24/72

I've moved on, slowly, to #24 - Elizabeth and After by Matt Cohen (1999). Even though I enjoyed my last book, it took me forever to get through it, though I'm not sure why. And it's taken me ages to update my silly blog, because I'm tired when I get home and don't feel like I have much to say.

Anyhou.

H. knows that I obsessively read Apartment Therapy, because I send him house tours that I love daily. While browsing through this tour I was inspired by an amazing couch/cushion combo. I love this:


That's pretty much exactly what I want to do with the pink chair we got at the junk shop. I'm not sure that fabric will go with the Most Expensive Curtains in the World that we bought for that room, but I'm also not sure I care.



No surprise that the owner of that lovely home is co-founder and creative director of Mod Green Pod, where that fab fabric came from. I will put this re-upholstery wish on my long list of expensive projects (which mostly includes custom framing projects). In the new year, when Christmas is behind us, I'm hoping to move on some of these things. I have a giant old map that was given to us as a wedding present a year and a half ago that's waiting to be framed in some beautiful manner. And then maybe we'll find someone to make our pink chair awesome.

Speaking of Apartment Therapy, they've been posting daily contests for various beautiful things (and on their related blogs for kitchen stuff, kid stuff, techno stuff and recycled stuff) and I have entered EVERY SINGLE ONE. I've never been so devoted to entering contests! I hope I win something. Last year I won a beautiful gold necklace from a jewellery store in Manhattan where H. and I went to try on wedding bands. I felt bad about it, because we didn't end up buying our bands there because they were too expensive - but I still love the necklace! I think that's the only thing I've ever won.


I found this blog through Galletcat today:
http://thebookspy.blogspot.com/
This person seems to spend a lot of time along the R and N lines, which are my trains! I hope I get spotted one day. It's kind of like a bookish Sartorialist  (and god knows I'll never be spotted by The Sartorialist).

Lastly, because I can't post anything without mentioning the cat - I don't think Izzy appreciated the Thanksgiving Dinner cat food. He hardly ate it! He wanted our turkey dinner. He's also taken an unhealthy interest in mango sorbet.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkeys

I returned this morning from San Diego at 4:40am. Is this a a good excuse for recent silence?

I've moved on to 24/72 - Earth and High Heaven by Gwethalyn Graham (1944).


And I'm getting ready for a Thanksgiving weekend in Pennsylvania. I already bought the cat's dinner:


It has turkey, gravy, blueberries, cranberries, sweet potatoes and more! I hope he appreciates it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

23/72 - I haven't forgotten

I finished Man Descending weeks ago.


I'm now on 23/72 - Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan (1945). I had to buy an old, old copy off Amazon marketplace because Amazon told me this was out of print. Then I learned it is still in print in McClelland & Stewart's New Canadian Library. But that's only in Canada. BUT STILL. My used copy is a hardcover, and I don't like reading hardcovers. And it is also a 60 year old hardcover, and I feel like it might crumble any minute since a 60 year old hardcover doesn't travel in my purse very well.

Can I say something about the New Canadian Library? I really don't like the redesigned covers. I know these books have never had very nice covers, but seriously M&S (or Random House) - you can do better. Is it impossible to make these look cool? Is Canadian literature antonymous with hipness? Take a page from Penguin - especially the Penguin Deluxe Classics and most especially the Penguin Hardcover Classics. I guess, generally, M&S covers aren't usually very nice. And I'm sorry, McClelland & Stewart - I love your books! And anyway, I also work in publishing, and I happen to work for a publisher that also has less-than-stellar covers, so I'm no better than you. But let's do better! For real: sometimes I think about buying books *just* for the nice cover. No joke. I don't judge them by their cover, but I love the cover and want to buy it and not read it. Maybe if the New Canadian Library looked better they would sell better? I mean, really, how many of those books are only in print because students are forced to read them in school?

Anyway. Ok. And just because:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

new stuff!!!!!

We were in Atlanta last week for work, so I haven't had much to say, except about how damn cute my cat is. And that Atlanta is kind of boring. The Marriott Marquis there is hypnotizing on the inside though.


I'm still watching some houses, hoping that some fairy-godmother will gift me lots of money for a down-payment, but it seems unlikely. I also keep meaning to buy lottery tickets but then forgetting.

But I've had some small satisfactions this week. I bought a couple awesome furnitures, a chair:

And a side table/record holder:



Actually, this photo of the side table really doesn't do it justice. It's very cute, and even I was surprised at how much I liked it (I bought it sight-unseen off the internet).

The chair! How many chairs does anyone need, you wonder? I like chairs. I like them a lot. One day when I buy my house it will be filled with unique side chairs.

Buying things and stuff is so very, very satisfying.

This morning H. and I went to Ikea. H. had this *crazy* idea that I would go crazy and fill our cart with Ikea crap. I don't know where he would get an idea like this - its like he doesn't even know me! Anyway, he's lucky that I forgot my glasses and had to pee because I could hardly even bother to look at anything in the "marketplace" section. We went for two things: curtains and a frame. And we got them. Pretty simple.

Curtains:


Frame (poster bought seperately):


We had some really dark brown blackout curtains in the bedroom before. I enjoyed them because they made my afternoon naps so much more delightful. H. hated them from about a year before we moved into the apartment. They were very dark, and very brown. And they made the bedroom look very seventies. These Ikea ones are quite a delight, and they make the room look so much better!

Finally, a note to my fellow Ikea patrons:

Dear World, Especially World with Young Children,

Must you bring your young children to Ikea? Must they run around like maniacs unattended because you are deciding which $5.99 Vajayjayst├ąd would look great in your den? Can't you stop them from jumping up and down on the white couch in the As-is section? Maybe I wanted to buy that wchite couch, and now it has tint footprints on it. Isn't there a ball room to lock them in? Ikea is no place for children. Hire a babysitter. Buy them a $1 stuffed bear and they will forgive you.

Thanks,

Crabby

Friday, October 22, 2010

head-spinning, eye popping, steam-eared coveting

I nearly worked myself into a coveting frenzy yesterday. I mean for real frenzy. My stomach is still trying to recover from excitement and disappointment for the ultimate covet: a house.

H. and I are not about to buy a house. For one thing, we can't decide where to live. For a second thing, we're not ready for a down payment. Regardless, I check real estate websites like porn. I save houses I like, I get alerts for similar houses, and yet I'm not planning on seriously looking for two years. But yesterday in my browsing I came across a 150-year old dump an hour north of the city that was currently in foreclosure and could have been mine for a low downpayment of about $10,000. Holy vajayjay. Truly: it is a dump. But it is a 150 year-old dump with wide-plank wood floors (that need to be refinished) and 4 fireplaces (chimney probably has creatures). Potential! I emailed it to H. thinking he would make fun of me and ignore me as he usually does, but he was interested! And he said we would talk about it tonight! And we could go to the open house on Saturday!

So, my mind went into overdrive. I imagined myself renting a floor sanding machine, refinishing the floors, painting, making the dump into an awesome castle.

Nevermind that to do all these imaginary DIY projects I would have to frequent Home Depot. And nevermind that we would have to have a car to get to a Home Depot. And nevermind that I've never done anything more DIY than assembling Ikea furniture. In my head I was going to refinish those floors, put new drywall up, paint the outside white with a bright yellow door, and perhaps install some built-in bookcases. It cannot be that hard!

So, I wrote to the agent to confirm the times of the open house, and got his dream-crushing response that they had just accepted an offer. My beautiful dump with potential will realize its awesome dream with someone else. And today I'm growing to accept that my tragic dumpy castle is gone, but I haven't quite stopped dreaming of things I would fill it with. Like this $5,000 octopus:
 And I'll never stop dreaming of the wide-plank wood floors. Anyway.

23/72 - Guy Vanderhaeghe's Man Descending (1982).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

fix it

I was very wicked last week. I didn't save money - I bought things. Several things. Clothes and things. I didn't pack my lunch - I bought it every day. I ate frozen pizzas and cake and a ten-day old cupcake. TEN DAYS OLD. It was in my fridge, and H. was out of town, and I was bored, and I looked at that ten day old cupcake and thought 'should I eat this? Will this kill me?' and then I decided to eat it. Even though it was ten-days old. And it was ok. Maybe a bit fridge-tasting. And I'm here to tell the tale.

But anyway, I should get back on track of all the things I started this blog for (saving money, packing my lunch, eating organic, etc.) and stop distracting myself and you with my Governor General's list. So, I'll get on that. But first, I'm on 22/72 - Forms of Devotion by Diane Schoemperlen (1998). It has pictures.


Whale Music made me laugh, but by the end I got sick of it. I do keep intending to read up on Brian Wilson now, which I could do right now, I suppose.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

moving right along

When a book is only 115 pages, it gets read quickly. Bear was dirty. Dirty in a bear way.

So, here I am at 21/72. Whale Music by Paul Quarrington (1989).


Somebody on Amazon claims he read that Brian Wilson said, "Whale Music is the best book about the Beach Boys that I have read." I doubt this is true (if I can't find the original interview on the internet), but I would like to believe it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

a small bounty

Picked up a few books in Toronto.


I finished Night Below Station Street last week. It was depressing. I was already anxious about the trip - specifically about leaving the kitten for a week with a stranger and coming home and finding he didn't love me anymore - so I found that book hard to read because it made me constantly uncomfortable.

Now I'm on 20/72 - Bear by Marian Engel (1976). An infamous book that Wikipedia describes as "a tale of erotic love between a librarian and a bear." Cool.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

moving on

19/72 is on! David Adams Richards' Nights Below Station Street (1988).


I'm glad that I re-read The Handmaid's Tale - it means soooooo much more to read it as a 31-year old in 2010 than it did as a 15-year old in 1994. Whoa.

Next week we're off to Toront for a little conferencing/visiting/Canadian Thanksgivinging, and I hope to come back with armfuls of Governor General books to last me through to my next trip home at Christmas. I've already ordered a couple from Amazon.ca that should be waiting in my parents' house, and I also hope to find a few spare moments to comb through some used bookstores and try to find some of the older stuff.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

an endorsement for those who have claws

I bought this Scratch Lounge thing online, and I recommend it to all who have clawed beasties in their house. As soon as I put in down, Izzy was all over it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

my chair secret

First of all, say hi to my little friend.


There's a junk shop in my neighborhood where I've scored two awesome chairs for cheap. This place is kind of like Craigslist incarnate - most of it is junk, but there are a few awesome finds. No adult services though. It's furniture stacked on furniture, tchotches galore and some of the most god-awful lamps you've ever imagined. I drag H. into this shop anytime we are near, because - as it is with all good junk shops - you have to visit frequently to find anything good. And you have to jump on the things you like when you see them - I've missed out on a funky chair (an exact replica I later saw on Craigslist for over $100) and also an old working radio cabinet.

Exhibit A: found by H. when we first moved in:


This chair has a great shape and it is so comfy. Even the cat loves it.

Exhibit B: found today:


These were $25 each. In my fantasy of craftiness, I would make the second chair some fantastic re-upholstery project a la Design*Sponge. In reality this will probably never happen. And I do like it's pinkness, and its velvetiness. It needs a shampoo though.

I love junk, and real junk stores - which are hard to come by in New York.

Lastly, here's a photo of Izzy enjoying some tv. He is watching House.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

18/72, or: I should think of better titles for my posts

I ordered my next book off Amazon last week, along with another book that I've been eyeballing. Amazon has been holding my intended #18 hostage until the other book is ready to ship, which seems to be taking forever, so I had to run down to Barnes & Noble at lunch today after I finished The Mistress of Nothing on the subway this morning.

B&N hardly ever has any of the books on my list, which I learned a few weeks ago, but they do have a hearty collection of Margaret Atwood, of course. So here I am with a new #18; The Handmaid's Tale (1985).


I've read this book before - about fifteen years ago. For a long time I didn't like Margaret Atwood, with the exception of Alias Grace, which is an awesome book. I was easily annoyed about how pedantic her books are, and felt like she wanted me to be ashamed of my inability to worry about these things on my own. But in the last few years I've changed my stance on her. She does not write a bad book. Even the sciencey/fictiony ones that I didn't think I would enjoy, like Oryx and Crake, are really, really good. I'm very much looking forward to Year of the Flood now that it is out in paperback. That's for another time though.

Anyway. I'm tired from too much fun, and the season premiere of 30 Rock is on so bye-bye.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

17/72 and other facts

I finished Clara Callan last night. I thoroughly enjoyed it - there's an aspect of reading a novel of letters and diary entries that appeals to my nature as a snoop. And so, now I move on to 17/72, The Mistress of Nothing (2009) by Kate Pullinger. This isn't even out in the US until January 2011, according to Amazon, so I had to get my mule of things Canadian to bring it down (thanks, Aleks - sorry about the no-curtains thing!)


I'll have to wait a week or two to start this one though, because I have another book to read for the non-Canadian book club of more than one.

My mule of things Canadian has also helped me expand my collection of awesome things that will need to be framed by ordering this fab poster from THIS etsy shop. I'm really excited to put this up in our guest room.


My next photo is a shameless way to show off how cute Izzy is, under the guise of showing off our new guest room curtains!


At risk of letting this silly blog sound like it is getting off track of the original idea of saving money, packing my lunch, eating organic, etc. I might mention what we've been enjoying for lunch recently. The last few weeks we've been bring lunches of a variety of small snakcs - almonds, carrots, hummus, fruits, yogurt and the like. This has made us very satisfied. For me, it means there's something for me to eat at 10am when I'm hungry, then again at lunch when I'm hungry again, and then again at 3pm when I'm hungry. Truthfully, the 3pm "hunger" is more likely boredom, but whatevs. It's also easy to throw these things in a bag when I'm rushing in the mornings.

Finally, I found this on my computer and thought I should share. It harkens back to my first year of university, the art of the incomperable J-net. It's a story that should be told. Let's call in An Ode to the 'Shwa.




Monday, August 30, 2010

another mouth to feed

As mentioned the other day, something has been brewing. Meet Isambard (Izzy).


He's very shy, and is currently napping/hiding under the couch. There's a lot of very slow movements going on around here.

I finished Such a Long Journey. I had to push myself through it. Not that it was bad, I just couldn't concentrate or focus or get pulled into it.

So, now I'm on 16/72 Clara Callan (2001) by Richard B. Wright. So far, so good. It has a fabulous cover - well done, Harper Perennial.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

15/72

Elle was an incredibly fast read. I wasn't even prepared for it, and realised 3/4 the way through that it was nearly over, and that I hadn't bought my next book from the list yet.

I went down to the Barnes & Noble in Union Square with a list of recent books on the list, thinking they would at least have one of the books. Title after title (even the ones published by big US publishers like Picador, tsk tsk) weren't in stock. In that huge B&N! The one they did have - and that one became #15. I had been dreading this one somewhat. I tried to read Rohinton Mistry's Family Matters once upon a time, and could not get into it at all. But now I've got #15 - Mistry's Such a Long Journey.


A few thoughts on Elle: I thought it was fab. It's the kind of book I really enjoy reading - a historical novel full of myth and humor. And maybe some dirty parts.

Friday, August 6, 2010

14/72

Last night I finished The Origin of Species, and solely for the benefit of Elissa I'll share a few comments on it.

I started off feeling negatively towards it (even before Elissa said she didn't like it), simply because it's not normally the kind of story I like to read. I fought off my own early judgements and tried to keep an open mind.

It's hard to get into a story when you don't like the protagonist. Maybe not always, maybe not when the protagonist is funny, but I didn't find Alex (or anybody in this book) funny. It's probably unfair and unreal to have been reminded of Mordecai Richler while reading this (I'm not sure exactly why I did - Montreal probably), but I kept thinking about how funny Richler's unlikeable people are, and missing that in this book.

There were a lot of times where I could identify with Alex - mostly at the worst times, like the most socially-awkward times. That probably also accounts for some of the discomfort I had with him - seeing bits of yourself in someone you don't like.

I think it was a really weird choice to win the Governor General's award. It wasn't badly written in any way, but it wasn't particularly fabously well-written, either. I didn't find it moving, and I didn't feel convinced by the transformation of Alex by the end. Not that I didn't think it was believable, it was just that I still didn't like him at the end, and I felt that his breakthrough was so slight.

And then, I thought at times it was trying to be some kind of anti-CanLit model - poking fun at CanLit when Alex teaches it as a boring course, or goes on about Margaret Atwood and her book Suvival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature. As though by recognizing these things it was disassociating itself with the stereotype. At the same, the book is also ultra-Canadian in details - there's even an ongoing imagined dialogue with Peter Gzowski. So much so that I thought, as I read on the subway, that people might peek over my shoulder and wonder how on earth I came to be reading something Canadian. Yes, I did think that. It made me wonder if the GG choice was political - as if they chose it because it was the anti-CanLit. Which is not to say that I think the award winners particularly exemplify the stereotype of "CanLit" - not at all. I dunno, I haven't read enough of the winners to finish this thought or make any accusations. Maybe if I get the energy I'll whip out Survival and properly think about The Origin of Species against Atwood's themes - because we all know that is the bible of the Rules of literature in Canada. That was an intentional capital R rules!

All in all, I didn't hate it. I didn't like it. I was glad when it was over, but I didn't hate my time with it. I'm a bit baffled by the overwhelming celebration by critics (and the cover blurb from Roddy Doyle - really did he think it was that funny?), but it is very interesting to note that all the reader reviews on Amazon (.com, haven't checked .ca) have been "meh" 3-star reviews.

Next on my list is Elle by Douglas Glover (2003), but only after I finish another, non-Canadian book for a book club of more than one.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

canadian book club of one

It has been too hot to write.

We don't have air conditioning, so I have to sit very still so that I don't sweat too much. H. and I plot to go places with air conditioning so we don't have to be in the apartment. We go to movies, or we spend as much time as possible at the Museum of Natural History.


It's also too hot to cook, or even eat. But last week's lunch was a gyro-style chicken wrap (gyro-style because of the feta and tzatziki).


And this week is a wintery casserole with potatoes and kale. What?? A request from H, who also requested Irish Stew.

I've also moved on to my next Governor General award-winner, Nino Ricci's The Origin of Species (2008).


None of this is fabulously interesting. It's a run-down of the things that I do, for the benefit of nobody. So, to make this more amusing for you, let me tell you about a dream I had last night.

In the dream I realised that the world was infested with ghosts. I often dream about ghosts, and when I get scared in dreams I start praying. But not in this dream, because I discovered that if you take a photo of a ghost, it would die! So I walked the street killing ghosts with my camera and saving the world. And before I would snap their photo I would yell "Hey Bitches!".Every time.

H's birthday is in a couple weeks, so I've been surfing the web looking for the perfect gifts. I have a short-list, including one or two things that maybe would be more for me than for him. Does coveting for others count as coveting?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

a new challenge, in relation to nothing, a bore to most

Most people who know me know that I really enjoy reading Canadian books. My American friends are confused, because outside of Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje, they didn't know there are Canadian authors*. My Canadian friends are confused, because having been forced to read The Stone Angel in high school, they're traumatized by Canadian literature. But I liked The Stone Angel, and I like Margaret Laurence in general. And recently while I was re-reading The Diviners, I started thinking about the Governor General's literary award for fiction (which The Diviners won back in '74), and I started to play with the idea of reading all of the winners of the GG award - going back to the first in 1936. Why? I don't know. It's hard to decide on what to read next.


I'm aware that this new challenge will take years, and it will be hard to find some of these books. But it will be fun to try, so why not. Occasionally it will be boring and/or terrible.

I've read a few already, and I probably won't re-read them first this, so off the list are:

Gabrielle Roy, The Tin Flute (1947)
Mordechai Richler, St Urbain's Horseman (1971)
Robertson Davies, The Manticore (1972)
Margaret Laurence's The Diviners (1974)
Timothy Findley, The Wars (1977)
Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (1985) - though I might re-read this one
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient (1992)
Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries (1993)
Jane Urquhart, The Underpainter (1997)
Michael Ondaatje, Anil's Ghost (2000)
Miriam Toews, A Complicated Kindness (2004)
Michael Ondaatje, Divisadero (2007)

Full list of winners here

So, 12 down and 60 to go. Or, 59.5. Right now I'm reading Peter Behrens' The Law of Dreams (2006).


I don't know that I plan on reviewing or talking about these books, because having completed a degree in literature, I never really want to write about it in detail again. Well, maybe eventually, but not right now. For now, let this just be a checklist.

* - As an amusing nothing, I had a professor in one of my CanLit classes in university once say that to qualify to be a Canadian author all you have to do is write on a napkin while flying over the country.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

can I tell you something nasty?

Something really gross that will make you squirm.

To get home from my new job, I take the R train one stop to Union Square and then change to the N. I go to the very last car on the N train, because one time when I was in that car I ran into H. coming home, and since then I always hope to run into him again. So, I stand and wait for the N at the end of the platform, and at the end of the platform is a mystery door. A few days ago while staring blankly at that door I spotted a nasty rat pop out from underneath! Yuck. But a rat in the subway is hardly a special occasion in NYC, so I didn't really think much of it, but made a mental note to not stand too close to the Rat Door.

A few days later I was back on the platform staring at that door, and out popped 2 rats. Ew. Two rats in one place! Rats sure like that Rat Door.

Yesterday evening as I made my commute I decided to spend the entire time I waited on the platform staring at the Rat Door. Oh. My. God. Guess how many rats popped out of that nasty door of hell?!?! FIVE. FIVE RATS. I have never seen that many subway rats in one place, and on the platform! My previous record was four rats on one platform.

Rats have a place in the world: and that place is on the subway tracks. I have no problem with them when they know their place, but when they're on the platform I find them quite offensive.

Tonight, I took my place on the platform and watched that door. 3 rats out, 2 rats in. They might have been the same rats, I can't identify them. As I stared and squirmed, and inched away without taking my eyes off the door, a subway janitor passed me with a trolley full of garbage bags and headed for Rat Door. Oh. My. God. That is a subway garbage room: a rat dining hall. I became worried that when he opened that door a parade of well-fed nasty vermin would come spilling out, rubbing their full bellies and picking their teeth with a toothpick.


I stepped back a few more feet and watched. The subway janitor even looked apprehensive about approaching the Rat Door. Shivers. He pushed the door open, looked suspiciousli inside - without goin g in - and threw his garbage bags in there. The subway janitor wouldn't even go in that room. I wouldn't go in that room unless I had some air-tight space-suit on. Ugh.

Why do I stand near that door and watch it when I know what nasty lies behind it? I don't know. Probably for the same reason that my favorite book about NYC, and possibly my favorite non-fiction book ever, is the wildly disgusting Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants, by Robert Sullivan.

 Shiver me timbers.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

the troublesome N and other adventures

It wasn't like the credenza was the end. I've just been a bit lazy about writing.

Now, where to start? Since I last wrote, I left my former job, and then had a week of being a housewife. You'd think I would have taken the time to write during that week of unemployment, but I was so busy watching hours and hours of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Busy times, see. I also found time to do some laundry, make a fancy mushroomtastic lasagna, spend a day with an old friend and change my name.

If you're ever in a position where you may want to change your name, my advice is DON'T. What a ridiculous experience. Or, I should say - if you live in New York City and you're getting married and thinking about taking your husband's last name, but maybe you're still a bit unsure? Just do it when you get your marriage license. There's a box you tick to change your name on the day you get married. This is the easier and cheaper way to do it. I didn't do that, and now I'm about $200 poorer and have lost hours of my life.

First of all, you have to go to the courts to change it. And when they say "courts", they mean you will sit in a court for hours while actual court cases are happening and wait for a judge to approve your name change. But it doesn't even start there. The first day I went (this is in Brooklyn, by the way, since I read its faster if you do it in Brooklyn), I arrived at the clerk's office about 3pm with all my papers downloaded directly from the weird robo-program the city has set up, all notarized, money in hand. Turns out that, even though the clerk is open until 5pm, you can only change your name until 2pm. Blah. But more annoying, the animated characters on the city's website who tell you how to change your name don't mention that if you're taking your spouse's name you have to have his consent, and that consent has to be notarized too. Also, you have to bring a bill to show your address, and make copies of all your forms. So, the website doesn't even tell you fully what you need. Double blah. So, a few days later I went back, notarized forms, money and copies in hand. I filed my papers with the clerk, and was sent down to another floor to pay the cashier, and back up to the clerk to stamp some things, and then I was sent to court. Now, I had arrived at 9am, as soon as they opened, filed everything and paid within 20 minutes, and arrived in the court by 9:30, only to learn that the judge doesn't arrive in court until 10:30. So, even though the name changes are done between 9am and 5pm, there is no point in arriving before 10:30 because the judge doesn't get on the bench until 10:30! So, I sat and waited in a court full of people and lawyers for an hour until the judge arrived. But all those other people in the court had been called to court for real court cases. The roll call told me there were 32 cases that day (though not everyone had showed up) and I sat through 3 hours of cases waiting for the judge to approve my name change. And she did. And it wasn't over. After she approved my name change, I had to go back to the clerk's desk and file my papers again. And it still wasn't over. My name change wasn't official until I published my change of name in a paper, received an affadavit of publication from the newspaper, and went back to the desk to file that. So, my change of name was published a week later in the Brooklyn Eagle (which I had to pay for), and I finally, officially, had a name name this past Friday. If I had checked off that stupid box when I got my marriage license I wouldn't have had to do anything, and it would have been free. But now I have a new name!

With a new name is a new signature. Have you ever thought about this? The signature you've always had is no longer your name. I've been practicing the new signature, and the new last name starts with N. The troublesome N. I can't make it look smooth and natural. Every time I sign my new name I have to very slowly write the last name because it hasn't become natural to me. It's getting better though.

In other news, I started a new job yesterday. New name, new job. That is all. Is that a good excuse for two weeks of silence?
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