Snowflakes in France

Reflections of a 20-something woman in publishing

Category: human interest

Weekend! Wee!

Today I’m returning to Boston via my old friend Bolt Bus. It’s the first time I’ve been there since Jon moved here. And how appropriate that I’m going back for my final wedding dress fitting.

In truth, I can’t wait to visit our old haunts. The little Turkish coffee shop near Harvard where words drifted up from corner tables to the wooden beams of the ceiling — most of the time the languages evoked thoughts of spices and colors, my own mental symbols of the East. Of course there were the occasional hung-over college kids. Even Harvard students turn to alcohol during college.

I’m really hoping that we can make it to Red Bones, the best BBQ joint north of … well…Kentucky I suppose. It was right around the corner of Jon’s old apartment in Cambridge.

Paul Revere's statue in the North End

And lest I be too focused on food, I must mention the shops on Beacon Hill where one might find the perfect unique stationary set or child’s birthday gift. Most of all, I look forward to the feeling of history and liveliness that swells up from the North End amidst the cemeteries, statues, markets and pubs.

It reminds me that while Boston holds my own story, the story of how Jon and I dated and fell in love, it also holds the stories of countless others. Happy weekend readers! I’m off to The Olde Towne.


Annoying morning

We have a book coming out in a few months about all the things that can annoy people. Noises, smells, and other sensory things are pretty universal. Whether you’re in Ohio or Moscow, nails on a chalkboard is annoying. What’s weird is when you look at deeper things — how things annoying you because of your sense of morality or world view.

Sometimes I walk my dog down to an apartment complex parking lot about two blocks away. It contains the closest patch of grass, and while my pup will do his business in the middle of the sidewalk, he gets really excited about grass.

This morning was no exception and he wagged his little tail and looked up at me when we walked past the block I would normally turn if we weren’t going to the parking lot. He sped as we got closer and rushed up to the grassy area in between cars where he stopped to carefully sniff whatever it is that dogs sniff in grass.

A woman leaving the lot in her car  asked me if I lived there. I told her I lived down the street, to which she replied that this was a private lot. So I pulled my puppy away from the precious grass to walk yet another block away from my apartment to the public park.

I know that in any legal sense she’s right. It’s a private parking lot, but that privacy technically extends to people cutting through to shorten their walk home and dogs sniffing the grass. And I guess she’s annoyed by other people’s dogs, or just by people taking advantage of her grass when there’s a park a block away. Fine.

But I’m also annoyed. Because I’m not a public menace, I clean up after my dog. I don’t hurt anyone and there’s not a gate or a door blocking people from walking through the lot.

Mostly I annoyed because if I were in her position, even if I were annoyed by some dog sniffing a parking lot inlet of grass, I wouldn’t say anything. Because in a city with limited grass and lots of “NO DOGS ALLOWED ON GRASS” signs on most green spots, it’s mean to kick a dog out of one of the non-discriminatory patches.

Or maybe I’m just annoyed because I know I was wrong.

A belt and a ring

You think we women are the only ones who get overwhelmed and freak out with that awful gut feeling that you can’t, you simply won’t be able to do the things that the Wedding Industry insists that you do to make everything perfect? The men apparently suffer too.

The more I talk about color palettes and bridal parties, decorations and venues, the more he feels the pressure to do his part, the proposal, not only perfectly, but also quickly, so that I can start with all my plans. And I get that, so I’ve stopped talking to him about it because I don’t want to put that awful pressure on him.

And now I feel disconnected. Which is wrong. The marriage/wedding/proposal is about US. And this has become about him planning a proposal and me planning a wedding without talking about anything. So I’m making it about us again. And I’m planning a surprise proposal too, and then we can plan the wedding together.

Knowing that it is important to him that he surprises me and makes a moment of it, I’m not going to steal his thunder. I’m going to propose to him after he proposes to me. I’ve decided to order a custom leather belt from an Etsy seller, with the following text hand-stamped into it:

A belt is not a ring. But with a little effort, it is never-ending. The belt is not–God forbid–sparkly, but it does hold your pants up. A belt and a ring, together? Supportive and beautiful; Sparkling and strong. From Maryland to Boston, Hoboken and beyond. This is our love. Will you marry me?

I thought about getting a ring, but a) I don’t know his ring size and the rings I liked were not re-sizable; b) I think he’d like a belt much better; and c) I really like the juxtaposition between a leather belt and an engagement ring. It’s kind of poetic.

I’m very happy with the entire plan. Please let me know what you think. I realize that it slightly questions traditional proposal etiquette, and gender expectations, but I like that. I also realize that I could propose to him instead of waiting, but I think he’s very excited about his plan and to ruin it would be crushing.

Scandalous delivery?

My boss is on vacation until next Tuesday, and her boxes are delivered to my desk.

She gets a lot of boxes.

To save space, I figure I should open them for her. But the shipping label on the first one reads: Seduction 7-piece Color Collection.

…maybe I should just leave that one alone.

UPDATE: I looked up the website online and entered the item number. (Stalker-ish, I know) and relief! It’s a make-up kit.^A96870,frames^y,from^se,cm_scid^isrc,cm_ssi^Item:%20A96870&cm_re=PAGE-_-SEARCH-_-A96870

A restless state of in-between

I have such a short attention span. I find something right in one part of my life and want everything else to immediately line up accordingly.

My current situation is lovely. I went to see a Saturday matinee on Broadway with a friend, and spent Sunday browsing odd little vintage and costume boutiques. I made ravioli cassorole that should last me at least until Wednesday, and ended the evening with a glass of wine and about 30 pages of Emma — my favorite Jane Austen book — before chatting to Jon and then falling asleep. Pretty typical weekend.

But here I am, Monday morning and it’s a snow day, which leaves me with nothing to do except contemplate my existance. Which is to say, find fault with my current situation. My room is a small disaster with too many shoes and not enough closet. I’m aching for a dog — it’s been five years since I’ve lived with one and at this stage of desperate longing, every mutt on the street sets off some dreamy soundtrack in my head as I resist reaching for him in a violation of the New Yorker way. But how could I possible condemn such an innocent creature to this room or expect my roommates to accept such a change?

Thus, I must move. But I can’t move — I don’t have quite enough money. And even if Jon were to get a place with me, then we’d have to decide on the city. (Although I think I might actually be somewhat successful in persuading him toward Hoboken) In any case, I can’t move until at least the summer because who wants to take on a move when a foot of snow could suffocate every street across the East coast on any given Monday?

I’m stuck here, in a restless state of in-between, a place that wouldn’t be that bad if I wasn’t so looking forward to the next best thing.