Monthly Archives: April 2010

Roman Holiday

My latest Big Thought? Rome. I want to go to Rome.

It sounds like maybe Japan isn’t in the cards anymore…and I was happy as a little clam going all over creation last year. I’ve been in New York now for FOUR STRAIGHT MONTHS. It’s time to plan an escape.

And then yesterday, as I was finishing Frank Bruni’s Born Round (which isn’t about Rome outright…but there *is* a brief section on his tenure as the Rome Bureau Chief and he *does* hail from a large Italian family…), it hit me: I should go to Rome.

I really liked Bruni’s latest book — and not just because I once went to a party at the apartment he talks about in the final chapters. I totally get his relationship with food — from the late-night binges as a means of self-healing and escape to the cherished articles of clothing that allow you to hide your imperfections (my beloved cardigan was at the dry cleaner for four days and I almost died. And it didn’t help that I had a claim ticket that said it would be ready on Wednesday…and when I arrived on Wednesday to pick up aforementioned-blogged-about-beloved cardigan, the woman was on the phone forever and then gave me serious attitude — “This says Wednesday!” — which made me panic for a moment and think, “OhmygodisitTuesday?” but then I remembered that I had fake-gambled that morning for the first time that week, so it was definitely Wednesday and said as much and she said, “This means Wednesday NIGHT.” And so I waited another day…). And, I mean, Dude was the restaurant critic at Times, so I suppose he has a way with food words…but, man — his descriptions of meals in and around Rome seriously made me want to go (in some parallel universe in which I have unlimited cash and speak flawless Italian…[which reminds me of an old roommate’s friend from Rome who once taught me to say, “Stai fuori come una Jacuzzi in giardino!” which, if memory serves, translates to, “You’re out like a Jacuzzi in the garden!” and basically means, “You’re crazy!”]).

Missing Italy (and, frankly, Greece…and Ireland…and Norway…) is one of my big regrets from my two years in England. (But, at the same time, I was a poor student…so it’s not like I never got around to it…[again, it’s unfortunate we don’t live in that world in which I have lots of money and speak lots of languages]). And it’s crazy to think that’s been eight years since I’ve been back (which is all beginning to sound a lot like “New York, We Have to Talk,” isn’t it?)…

I’ve also heard a lot of talk lately about Eat, Pray, Love (once from a fake-gambler who vowed to punch the next middle-aged lady he sees on the train reading it…but also from a J-school colleague). And…gotta say: I was totally with Elizabeth Gilbert when she was in Italy. Gorging yourself on pasta and practicing Italian with a charming young man are two things that make absolute sense to me. (But, alas, I found I identified with her less and less as her journey went on…and, honestly, I thought she was kind of a jerk to the guru in Bali. I know he *expected* her to abandon him and move on…but, still…seemed a little mean to me to drop him like a bad habit as soon as she met the Old Guy…)

And…so, minus the Praying and the Loving, I wanna do it, too — I want to go to Italy and eat pasta and bread and cheese and gelato until I weigh twice as much as I did before. And I want to sit on the Spanish Steps. And I want to throw a coin in Trevi Fountain. And I want smarmy men with slick hair to tell me I’m beautiful even if they don’t mean it and I want to say, “Ciao!” and “Grazie!” and to ride on the back of a Vespa with Gregory Peck. And I want to marvel at old things.

So…perhaps the Big Birthday is a reasonable goal. What better way/place to usher in the next decade of my life than in the Eternal City?

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Proverbial Cojones…

I can’t say I ever watched “Ugly Betty” with any regularity…which I suppose makes me partially to blame for the show’s demise. But I always found it reliably enjoyable if I happened to catch it.

And that’s precisely what happened the other night for the big finale…and…I thought it was really sweet and poignant and wrapped everything up perfectly…(although I’m not sure about that hint of a Betty-Daniel romance…)

A couple of years ago, I was shopping with my mom and aunt and cousin…and my cousin said I reminded her of Ugly Betty — which I’m pretty sure she meant in a nice way, although my mom sort of jokingly gave her a hard time about it. And I returned to work shortly thereafter and told some colleagues about it and one said, “Well…you *do* have a firm moral center.”

And, I mean, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that particular assessment…(Plus, I would be the most obnoxious person ever if I came online to tout my morality, wouldn’t I?) but I do feel — especially after “working” at various magazines — a certain affinity with Ms. Suarez. (I don’t have braces and a Guadalajara poncho…but there’s a certain shared black-sheep-ism, I think…)

And…the whole making-a-life-for-yourself theme hits close to home. (Plus, it’s New York. Plus, it’s a glossy.)

So…Spoiler Alert…

I’m really glad Betty went to London. And not just because I have a soft spot in my heart for all things English. I know how hard it is to make a big move on your own. (And I can’t even imagine how hard it would be if you had family nearby and had lived in ONE SINGLE PLACE your entire life…although I suppose that’s why it was so important that she actually made the big move.

So I watched Betty wave goodbye to her family and head to London alone…and knew *exactly* what she was feeling in the back of that car. I’ve made that precise move on my own. (In fact, I woke up that first day by myself in a foreign [albeit English-speaking] country and thought, “[Expletive!] What have I done??”) And it wasn’t even the first time I’d done something like that — two years prior, I’d moved to LA on my own…(and, subsequently, [obviously] I moved to New York by myself.) I guess I was always paranoid about missing out on some sort of life-changing experience and wanted to make sure I didn’t look back and wish I had done something I had avoided simply because it was too scary and didn’t want to leave the ol’ comfort zone. But, at the same time, those moves are really, really scary! (Which is also why I really liked Wilhelmina Slater’s “You’ve got big balls, Betty Suarez”-comment. [And Betty’s acknowledgment: “That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me…”)

I also really liked the flash of just “Betty” at the end…a nice nod to her transformation. (Even though it perhaps takes *slightly* longer than four seasons to scale an actual, real life masthead…)

The universe hasn’t thrown any big, scary moves at me in a long time. And maybe it never will again. Maybe I’m meant to be in New York forever. I haven’t figured that out yet. And, while I like feeling like I have a home again, there’s still a certain appeal and excitement to starting over and discovering new things in a new place…but, as noted, nothing has presented itself yet, so…I guess I have to be patient until some big editor guy comes up to me and tells me that he’s starting a new publication and that I’d be perfect for it…

(PS: I knew Glee’s Emma looked familiar…but I only *just* made the connection that she was Henry’s rival love interest…)

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Filed under clothes, feminism, Red Hook, weight loss

Goodbye, My Sweet Cardigan/Hat…

Spring is certainly here…(although, to be fair, I started this yesterday when it was more overtly here…). And while I am happy it has sprung, I’m a little sad to say goodbye to my winter clothes. Winter is a season far better-suited to hiding. I mean, if I wear a cardigan every day of my life in winter, no one asks questions. But that same cardigan in the spring/summer is not only mildly to intensely uncomfortable, but also turns me into Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give. (I remember she wrote a play about everything that happened with Jack in the end, but I don’t recall whether her clothes changed, too. But, if I was the gambling kind, I’d guess Nancy Meyers 86’ed the turtlenecks as some sort of homage to Diane’s transformation…)

And, I mean, I had this grand winter plan to reinvent myself and emerge in spring all svelte and wonderful. And yet I have this phobia of gyms (I don’t like people seeing me like that! Even though it’s supposed to be a good place to pick up, you know, babes, isn’t it?) and I am pretty sure I blogged about my epic failure in the Richard Simmons Experiment (although I did very much enjoy his introductory sequence at a Brooklyn nightclub…)…and so I thought I could compromise with this bike thing — which I could ride hidden away in my apartment and only my cat would be the wiser…but then my mother warned me not to buy anything until I had seen it in person, so I totally checked it out at Walmart in Tucson…but by the time I was ready to pull the proverbial trigger, it was sold out and I went back to square one. Plus, I am lazy and I like food. And now the year is practically halfway over and I haven’t done anything transformative at all (although, to be fair, I guess there’s no time like the present…)…but I still don’t think this will be the year I wear swimwear in public…unless it’s the old lady suit…and is that really progress? (Insert muumuu joke here.)

The other problem with it not being winter anymore (I say that instead of “spring,” because I don’t want to imply that I don’t like spring…I’m really happy to see the sun and everything! I will just miss the cardigan…) is that I’ve been all about hats this winter. (One of the fake gamblers said, “When does the hat come off?” The answer? “Spring.”) But…I don’t think I can get away with hat in spring/summer, can I? Which means I’m stuck with my stupid hair…and…the Cosmic Cosmetologist was totally right and I like it better longer…but…THERE’S SO MUCH OF IT…and it gets so bouffant…and I don’t know how to rein it in…which is why the hat was so great all winter. Otherwise, I just end up pulling it back…which sort of makes growing it out moot, doesn’t it? And it was completely wonderful after that Moroccan straightening treatment…but only for about two weeks. And it was WAY TOO EXPENSIVE for just two weeks of hair happiness.

I wish I could pull it back halfway with something like a Snooki poof — just not quite as tall. But my version was not even remotely attractive…and I actually just tried out this headband thing — that’s right, folks, I am reverting back to elementary school — but I’m not sure that’s really something appropriate for everyday use either. And so I am more or less stuck until next winter?

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