Monthly Archives: January 2011

2010 in review: the first half

I’m a week and a half late with a “reflections on 2010” post, but I decided to write one anyway. at the very least it’s good for my memory, and I never said I wasn’t sentimental.

it was a good and challenging year, full of big changes and even bigger surprises in terms of my feelings about those changes. it was a year with some heartbreaks and also some seriously good time.

to recap the first and (definitely much more fun) half…


saints football was good.
it was carnival again.
and I took a fun (but tiring, cold, and foot-hurting) business trip to the city I now live in that included a marathon music showcase, the improv everywhere pants-less subway ride and 16 hours in the same pair of boots.
I baked a failed king cake (still sore about that).
I had a party the night of krewe de vieux (my beloved and dearly departed teacup apartment was one block from the parade route… can you hear my wistful brokenhearted brooklyn sobs from where you are?!)



saints players in their victory parade

a truly fantastic and fun time.
then it was mardi gras! and a particularly good one at that, FULL of parades, biking, champagne, zulu coconuts and brilliant costumes.




another good one. (spring of 2010 was pretty awesome.)
my beloved and adored sister came to visit me. we had a fantastic time! we biked to the st patty’s day parade, which was a blast (and we caught beaucoup cabbage), we played with kitties, we drank fancy cocktails and too much rosé, we went to the UCM museum with E.

fierce competition with the UCM’s vintage arcade games

also, E and I somehow ended up hitting the louisiana crawfish festival and it was so fun! we ate copious amounts of crawfish, rode carnival rides (which he is not really a fan of, incidentally), saw a (very old school carny) live collection two-headed reptiles, played carnival games and took photos.



mardi gras indians at the first weekend of jazzfest

another good one.

I hosted a party and had fun at it. (may not sound like much but it was sort of a grownup and less-antisocial-and-introvertedthan-usual move for me). huzzah!

E and I took a wonderful vacation to florida. we ate, swam, relaxed, lit sparklers on the beach, saw dolphins from our balcony and had a great time. I read. he fished.

the gulf


we also took a really great day trip to fontainebleau state park where we observed and photographed lots of plants and wildlife on a beautiful breezy day:



first and foremost, I had the pleasure of traveling to washington state (where I had never really been before, if you can believe it!) to cheer on my aforementioned fantastic and brilliant sister as she graduated from college! I got to see family, and do all kinds of fun graduation-y stuff with K. good times.
my nearest and dearest pal, F, moved away from NOLA… ouch! sob! major.bummer. but alleviated slightly by the knowledge that we’d reunite on the eastern seaboard.

oh, and Nemo caught, killed and presented me with his first mouse:

(not that it was nearly as notable or important as the aforementioned may highlights. and yes, I photographed it.)



was one month ’til moving day and was decidedly less “light” than previous months… it’s when things started to get real. but, I have an excellently honed procrastination meets denial meets indulgence complex, so I did still manage to have some fun.

the moon over lake pontchartrain

I tagged along on an impromptu night sailing trip on lake pontchartrain on the boat of a friend of a friend (I’m not picky when there’s sailboats involved), which was lovely despite some light rain.

E and I had the good fortune to venture to a lake house in Mississippi with my amazing pal S, her hubby, and our cute friend A. it was a wonderfully fun time and included lakeside rambling, canoeing, swimming, blueberry picking, a bunk bed, and an unfortunate incident involving E’s car, fried chicken and a swarm of ants (an incident he gentlemanly allowed me to sit out, despite it being my fault. what a guy!).

E and I also spent a night in a fancy suite at the uber fancy roosevelt hotel, which  was like a dream.
all in all, a pretty good month, despite the occasional crying jags, copious amount of packing tape, and bidding adieu to my wonderful writer’s group.


the sand, part two: critters

along the beach in baja, I saw many little animals (and the remains of some others).

there were a lot of sea urchins in the tide pools that were visible when the tide went out daily at around 4pm:

tidepooling is one of my very favorite things to do

tiny hermit crab



mudskipper, waiting for the tide to come back in


multi-armed starfish


there were flocks of the most wonderful pelicans


we saw many, many dead fish on the beach in various states of “undress.” I suspect many were caught by fisherman, filleted, and tossed overboard for the birds, who brought them to land. some looked as though they’d been cleaned by other fish and birds.

there were also many spiky pufferfish washed up on certain parts of the beach, though I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures. they were crazy looking! nothing seems to eat them (for obvious reasons) so their puffed, thorny bodies just sit in the sand and look all kinds of creepy.


this one looks like it should be in a cartoon.


perhaps a cousin of the above skeleton?


I like his fancy pectoral fin


the fish above was particularly odd looking, as its meat was all removed, skin still on. very buffalo bill. E tells me it is a type of sheephead. it had interesting pointy little teeth.



yes, I might be a weird nature dweeb. this is one of my hobbies. there was talk of whale sharks, killer whales, manta rays and sea lions, but unfortunately they were not visible from the beach. and in a way, thank goodness… because if I saw a whale shark I think I would just about die on the spot (due to, you know, magic and wonder, not fear. they don’t even have teeth!)

the sand, part one

I had the good fortune to travel to a somewhat remote part of mexico over the christmas holiday. I had a lovely, restful time with M&J and the siblings: hammocks were swung in, margaritas were imbibed, magazines were read, kiteboarders were watched and occasionally given silly nicknames (such as princess peach and the green goblin), beaucoup shells/rocks/beach-glass were collected, sun was savored, horses were ridden, board games were played, swims were taken, salsa and hot sauce were eaten with absolutely everything.

on the second or third day there, I woke up early (oh how I love being on eastern or central time and traveling west!), put on my swimsuit and clothes, and went for a walk on the beach. the water was like glass before the wind kicked up for the day, the sun was high and warm.



I walked less than 1/4 mile before I just had to get into that water. I hadn’t planned on swimming, despite donning my suit, and hadn’t brought a towel or put on sunscreen (which I most always do). so I ditched my shorts, watch and the shells I’d collected on the beach and headed into the not-so-warm-but-oh-so-gorgeous water. it was “brisk” to say the least, so much so that I actually gasped when I dove under. but I am from northern california and will swim in pretty much anything (see: the san francisco bay, the pacific ocean, frigid marin country creeks, alaskan glacier run-0ff that was quite literally the coldest water I have ever felt in my life). for me, the joy of being in the water always outweighs the coldness of the water itself—I’ve just got to get in there! true, it may take be 10-15 minutes to slowly immerse myself to avoid total shock (I’m no glutton for punishment, after all), but I am going in!


it was, of course, totally fantastic. to be alone at 9am and neck-deep in the sea of cortez a few days before christmas… well, that’s somethin’.

the snow

sometimes, the best thing one can do is call in sick to work on a very snowy day, sleep in, and spend the afternoon frolicking in the snow with her love, who happened to be in town for the first new york snowstorm of 2011.


snowy prospect park

I made a tiny snowman

my l.l. bean boots which I now love even more after taking them for a spin in the deep snow

downed tree by the little lake

pretty tree


seed pods in the snow


it has been EONS since I have been/seen/frolicked in real, proper snow. far too long! while I can’t say I love the frostbitten northeast’s winter climate (like a true californian who never truly learned to appreciate real “seasons”), I can get behind a snowy romp in the beautiful winter wonderland-y park from time to time.

we threw snowballs, watched hilariously fat squirrels leap through snow up to their ears, watched snowflakes as big as quarters fall, observed the skill with which canadian geese land on ice, and other fun things. I couldn’t be happier with my bean boots and felt marvelously prepared to stomp around in snow 12 inches deep (obviously most of the “base layer” of this snow accumulated during the boxing day blizzard of 2010, which I thankfully missed due to a canceled flight).

then we went home and had sushi delivered and I drank a glass of champagne. new york has its moments.

how our brains are fine-tuned to trick us (for our own good?)

happy 2011!

this is worth 20 minutes of your time: a very interesting talk from the TED series about reality, happiness, choices, options, self-delusion and other such interesting things. I’m not sure quite yet what I’m taking away from this talk but I am very interested and it’s gotten me thinking.