November 25, 2010

The house.

In our new house, the 'parlor' is like this. Flamboyant details. The house was built in 1889 and the time period shines through. We like some of it, but there is going to be a stopping point. One can appreciate only so many bows and froofy gas chandeliers (I never imagined I would have such problems).

Other rooms are more like this. Toned-down and pretty amazing, down to the wood floors (froofy chandelier-theme persists, however):

And then there are rooms like this:

Xavier loves these rooms because they = bricolage. (Bricolage is handyman work - the verb, bricoler, in French is so much more amusing than its English equivalents, especially when Xavier is enthusiastically employing it, while sporting the leather bricoleur belt and holding a drill).

There is a bathroom I love:

And so many other crazy details:

There is even a dumb waiter. I think we have Thomas Jefferson to thank for this contraption. With a little bricolage à la Xavier to the suspended pulley, I will be popping out of this thing for dinner parties before you know it. You will have to come, although now I've ruined the surprise.

And Chris looks great in the window seat.

There are projects enough in this house to last the rest of our lives. You start one teeny tiny thing and you discover ten other projects that need doing in that same 2-foot space.

The little garden is another matter entirely.

November 24, 2010


We moved into a new house. Here is the view. That is Alexander Hamilton's house and the tower of City College of New York from the third floor window. Yes, that's right - this is a real view in a house in the middle of the New York City (well, Harlem, anyway). Achieved. And so, looking out from the window of a house in Harlem, this is a tribute to Xavier, who has ideas and then gets them done. Probably more than anyone else I know.

More to come.

November 22, 2010

Ping ponging with Xavier.

He'll hardly play with me, he has so little tolerance for ineptitude. But we came upon this ping pong table in a shop in Manhattan and had to play. First of all, a chalkboard ping pong table? Genius. With Xavier's scrawl: "Apply yourself" for inspiration? I pulled out all the stops.

Ping pong is one reason Xavier and my dad really like each other. They are real competitors. In high school, my dad used to play ping pong with my boyfriends to size them up. He would start bouncing the ball awkwardly around, missing shots, letting out cries of defeat and disappointment. That was just his snare. When the boyfriend would let some sort of cocksure smile slip, my dad would immediately start slamming the ping pong ball across the net - ricocheting it all over the place. Then the boyfriend was dead. He always lost. My dad would even go to great lengths to humiliate the boy. His favorite (duly titled) was the 'crowd pleaser,' in which my dad would shout 'crowd pleaser' and crouch down to let the ball fall almost to the concrete before swooping it up with his racket to hit it back over the net to his chastened opponent.

They all lost, except Xavier. Xavier has beat my dad (once or twice). Unbelievably. I guess it is one of the surest signs that I made a great choice in him. (That said, Xavier did have a hard time keeping up with a few of my brothers this past Christmas).

November 18, 2010

Paris vs. New York

Xavier found this stellar site, Paris versus NYC, which features all sorts of lovely comparative renderings like this one. Love it.

He also triumphantly sent me a link to this article, in which "French Gastronomy Voted Unesco 'Intangible' Heritage in First for Cuisine." Shocker. Way to go, French people. No one would have ever guessed.


November 16, 2010


Ensnared bleeding ink.

November 15, 2010

Fettered ambition.

I came upon them on my walk to work. A huddle of canine friends waiting for their stroll through Central Park. I loved their expressions, their aloofness - so un-dog like. The we've done this before, where dogs are usually oh this! #20,000, but my tireless enthusiasm goes on. With all of those affixed leashes, it is like they've had to learn to forsake a part of their innate being in order to avoid tangulation (as I like to call it). The terrier looks like he could pose problems for all - still a little too eager. Must be a new member of the pack.

November 14, 2010

New York today.

The sun was splendor, tricking us into believing that winter was not coming tomorrow (probably literally). We found a spot to ingest as much as possible and did not move.

until we went here.

and saw this.

and this.

November 13, 2010

Highly amusing.

On the scooter, it used to be this and this. Now it is just as much fun, the same swerving, get-around-anything, turn-around-anywhere, ride-on-sidewalks approach, but the city has changed. And the scooter. One thing, however, decidedly has not: Xavier. Two examples of why riding on the back of a scooter while Xavier is driving is highly amusing and worth the peril.

1. Setting: Park Avenue near the Seagrams building at approximately 8:43am. Yellow vehicles in motion all about, flanking sides, front and rear. Action: Weaves in and out of all vehicles to get to the front of the starting line. Light turns green and he streaks ahead, beating every car to the next light where people are still crossing (despite the red palm: stop). Xavier: "RUN! RUN! RUN!" his screaming voice and engine both reinforce his threat to run them over. They believe him. They run. Xavier laughs maniacally and somehow, it reverberates all down Park Avenue.

2. Setting: Any New York corner, almost any hour will do. The random person/group overflows into the street trying to catch a cab. Arm is up, extended. Hand is out. Action: Xavier slows down with the traffic and swerves over to the side to take the opportunity. High fives the cab seeker as he drives past. Literally slaps their hand and sometimes adds enthusiastically, "High Five!"

November 10, 2010


A trip to the Bronx Zoo meant many things for us.

Camel kiss.

Camel ride.

The largest of primates pressed up against the glass.

Madagascarian Lemurs.


November 6, 2010

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