Snowflakes in France

Reflections of a 20-something woman in publishing

Month: December, 2008

what would you attempt to do?

The first gift I opened on Christmas Eve was a paperweight. I opened a lot of great gifts after that, but the paperweight was one of the best.

what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Inspiration is a funny thing. My uncle first told me the phrase on this paperweight when I was afraid of moving to New York. Back then, it was a paperweight on his desk, a constant reminder that he can do anything he puts his mind to, and he was simply passing along that advice to me.

I look over my To-Do list today at work — process invoices, file contracts, proofread and compile reports — and I know there’s no risk of failing. But now a paperweight, heavy with inspiration is at the bottom of that list.

What about the challeges, the things I could fail to accomplish? It asks. Why haven’t they been added to the list?

I knew about the paperweight. Its phrase is in my blog archives and on my Facebook profile. But having it right here, feeling the weight of its meaning, reminds me that I should add more to my to-do list.

I will not allow yesterday’s success to lull me into today’s complacency, for this is the great foundation of failure.
-Og Mandino

Dedicated Snow Men (and Women)

People in Hoboken were on a mission on Friday. They marched out of their tiny brownstone apartments with shovels and bags of salt. That was dedication, I thought. I, on the other hand, was going home to my brownstone to drink tea and watch the snow fall.

Then the cold hit, and I realized it was not dedication, it was necessity. Yesterday was cold. 12°F according to National Weather Service records, which always seem to be a bit cautious. I took the bus, which I never do, because my face was freezing, quite literally. Today was better, so I walked. But the sidewalks in front of brownstones owned by lazy, non-dedicated people (like me) were impossible!

I’m sure it’s no worse back home. You mix snow/slush with bone-chilling temperatures and you get terrible sidewalks. But sidewalks are used so much more in urban areas! I don’t have a car to escape to. I have boots. And the streets are clear, but clear sidewalks depend on the dedication of the surrounding residents.

So it’s true that most people up here don’t have to worry about mowing lawns or even scraping windshields. But they have to shovel sidewalks. Or people will fall a few times before making it to the subway.

photo-1_00

Singlehood Fading…. :(

I think I might have a boyfriend. Damn.

I really did not want to pop right back into an exclusive relationship after being single in NYC for a measly four months. And WHY would a guy who clearly isn’t a serial-dater suddenly act all boyfriendish toward me?

Boston said he hasn’t dated anyone since college. He graduated 3 1/2 years ago.

We haven’t said what we’re doing, but I think it’s slanting down toward the dating end of the table. We text about 10-20 times a day, call each other a couple times a week, and we’re scheduling monthly to bi-monthly trips to each other’s respective cities.

She even stopped wearing pink! (That won't happen to me)

She even stopped wearing pink! (That won't happen to me)

I’m beginning to feel guilty about flirting with other guys…

SINGLEHOOD! Where did you go?

I want to be single.

He clearly doesn’t date often, so we can conclude that he wants to be single.

We live in different cities, so singlehood should be the obvious resort.

BUT, we liked each other immediately. I think they call that chemistry. Whatever it is, I invited him to a New Year’s Eve party.

An Olde and Whimsical Trip

I considered writing something helpful to readers about my trip to Boston. Like the really nice charter bus that you can take from NYC to Boston (or DC or Philly, even Toronto) for less than $15. Or how the grave of Mother Goose in Boston is not actually the storytelling Mother Goose that we all know and love.

But Boston was not a business trip. It was my first trip to the city, and it was actually more of a date. One of the things I love about big cities and traveling is how many interesting people you meet. So this is a more personal account of my most recent urban experience.

Boston was cold. I kept trying to talk, but my cheeks were frozen. All I could do was laugh.

And then there were the socks. Or rather there weren’t socks. I was treading through the oldest cemeteries in America, wondering how long it would take for my toes to get frostbite in ballet flats with no socks. Paul Revere was probably never that unprepared. Though he also probably never wore ballet flats.

We decided to buy some socks for my feet. So we walked into a bookstore. Not to buy socks, but because it was on the way and we both seemed to gravitate toward the door. He suggested that it would be a good place to warm my feet, and though it had no fireplaces, I agreed. It had enough books to warm even the coldest of feet, I’m sure.

He and I wandered through shelves upon shelves in the same way we had wandered through graves upon graves, stopping to admire some, squinting at the odd names of others, and walking past some with hardly a second glance. I bought a couple, books that is, and one for him as well.

Then I bought socks. Pink of course. With warm toes we continued into the North End, where he was a wonderful tour guide, pointing out interesting things that he knew nothing about, and wandering aimlessly trying in vain to find that one thing about which he knew loads of random facts.

After running out of proper sites to explore, we stumbled out of the cold into a bar, tucked in between old brick buildings on narrow cobblestone streets. All the bartenders had a proper Boston accent, which I’ve decided has something distinctly Irish about it, and consequently distinctly friendly.

I laughed. Boston was cold. But the company in Boston was warm and welcoming. I’m looking forward to seeing him again.

Paul Revere's house on the North End

Paul Revere's house on the North End

Paul Revere's statue, also in the North End

Paul Revere's statue, also in the North End

Freezing in good company

Boston was cold. I kept trying to talk, but my cheeks were frozen. All I could do was laugh.

And then there were the socks. Or rather there weren’t socks. I was treading through the oldest cemeteries in America, wondering how long it would take for my toes to get frostbite in ballet flats with no socks. Paul Revere was probably never that unprepared. Though he also probably never wore ballet flats.

We decided to buy some socks for my feet. We walked into a bookstore, not to buy socks, but because it was on the way and we both seemed to gravitate toward the door. He suggested that it would be a good place to warm my feet, and though it had no fireplaces, I agreed. It had enough books to warm even the coldest of feet, I’m sure.

He and I wandered through shelves upon shelves in the same way we had wandered through graves upon graves, stopping to admire some, squinting at the odd names of others, and walking past some with hardly a second glance. I bought a couple, books that is, and one for him as well.

Then I bought socks. Pink of course. With warm toes we continued into the North End, where he was a wonderful tour guide, pointing out interesting things that he knew nothing about, and wandering aimlessly trying in vain to find that one thing about which he knew loads of random facts.

By the time the dinner kiss came around I was having a miserable feeling about having a great time.

“Shit,” I texted to Amanda. “I like him. I like him a lot.”

I’m not sure what I was expecting. To have a horrible time? To be completely awkward and want to leave to save my own continuing embarrassment? To feel stuck with someone I knew hardly anything about and realize I didn’t want to learn anything about him? But then why would I have come?

The guitar player in the restaurant sang an Italian song over our table — thanks to our over-involved waiter — and he continued to strum the final note until we kissed. We did, over the table.  It was a small table with a safety candle (fake flame) in an intimate setting — very close to the other diners.

I laughed. Boston was cold. But the company in Boston was warm and welcoming. I’m looking forward to seeing him again.