It's too cold to throw myself in the Arno, right?

We've been extra busy here making travel plans for the next few months. Unfortunately, that has mostly meant extended harrowing phone calls with customer service representatives as we reschedule flights and attempt to exchange hard-earned frequent flier miles for actual free things. But next week we're taking a trip that hasn't been any hassle at all: one release request filled out by CameraMan, one visit to ÖBB (the Austrian national train service), several ecstatic emails to The New Oregonian, and it's planned!

This weekend we're going to Florence to visit The New Oregonian, who is working there for the first time. We're taking the overnight train on Sunday night, in a 6-berth couchette car, which will look something like this:

I'm pretty sure we have both booked top berths, so that should be awesome. If nothing else, it will be a good time for CM to get over his fear of heights.

We'll get into Florence at approximately 6:30am, just in time to take pretty sunrise pictures while stumbling around looking for espresso. Then we'll spend the day with TNO, who has Mondays free. We'll stay with her that night (we're trying to convince her that she does NOT need to sleep on the couch and give us the bed), and then spend Tuesday exploring on our own before we take another overnight train back to Vienna. This direction, we'll have a more luxurious private 2-bed sleeper car, which should look something like this:

The honeymoon suite it is not, but overnight train travel does have a certain romance about it anyway, am I right?

We've both been to Florence before, but never at this time of year, and never together, so we'll gladly take any and all suggestions of restaurants, museums, and other can't-miss Florentine experiences! We'll be there less than 48 hours—how should we spend our time?

Besides taking ridiculously gorgeous pictures, like this one from TNO:

Happy weekend!

It turns out I'm leaving Vienna for New York a few days earlier than planned, so this is one of my last TWO weekends at home! I'm starting to get that panicked feeling—it's not enough time! We have lots of fun things planned for this one, including a Flickr meetup at the Zoo (we might actually make some friends) and a visit to a potential wedding location (cross your fingers for us, won't you?). What do you all have planned, dear readers? I'd love to hear.

Some links I've been saving up all week for you:

This video had CM and I falling off the couch laughing, and we've returned to it several times this week when we needed a boost. (via Cup of Jo)

Vienna is awesome. But don't take MY word for it. Everyone says so.

This map comparing US states to countries based on GDP and population is amazing. Apparently we live in Georgia. Huh. (via Sarah)

We've been eating this all week. SO GOOD. It's real winter comfort food, but not so terribly terrible for you.

I've posted a new Bossy Beat Club Mix, full of all the things I'm listening to these days. Right now I am especially loving Amos Lee's new album. Also Adele's new album 21 (but it's not available in the States yet—sorry).

I've also been busy updating my Flickr stream. I'm so happy to be back to photography—it's a joyous thing to have in my life.

Here's a bonus pic of the Bossy Cat, about to indulge in one of her favorite activities: chewing on plastic.

Here's hoping your weekend is filled with brisk walks, cozy cafés, and new friends! xoxo LMB

The Famous Ferris Wheel Fiancée

We spend so much of our time apart, missing birthdays and holidays and opening nights and all the miniature events in between, that for me there is almost nothing so satisfying as being Fiancée Of for one of CameraMan's important days.

The first summer we were together I tagged along with him to the Trap instead of getting a summer job, and I constantly struggled with this very thing. I found it so frustrating to be introduced to new people and have them know me only as CM's Girlfriend. I wasn't sure I was all that interesting outside of the arena of work, and ultimately I think I didn't know how to be myself if I didn't have my job to remind me.

Tonight we went to the Konzerthaus to hear the orchestra from CM's undergraduate alma mater perform. They've been in town for several weeks, and he's had a few chances to see some of the faculty members and other alumni. Yesterday he attended a luncheon where he happened to mention to the President of the college that he had proposed on the Riesenrad. The President then shared that with the entire room, so tonight various strangers kept approaching us and asking if I was the one he proposed to, and congratulating us on our engagement, and asking about our lives here.

It was delightful. Truly. And I realized how much I've changed since that first summer. I don't have those struggles at all anymore. Our relationship is such a core part of me now that I know without a doubt that I am most myself when we're together, regardless of whether I'm working or not. Oh, I'll admit to a little vacation antsiness that creeps on after a few weeks without work. But there is still nowhere I would rather be than here with CM, reminding ourselves what day-to-day normal feels like, and available to be his date whenever he needs one.

Everything you need to know about our night

We are currently watching The Muppet Movie with German subtitles.

Life is good.

Old Man Winter sends a peace offering

Monday morning früh I awoke to a familiar noise that somewhere in my half-asleep brain I recognized as a snow shovel scraping against the sidewalk. I didn't have time to take that recognition to its logical conclusion before I fell back to sleep, though, so it wasn't until several hours later, as I sipped my morning coffee and glanced out the window, that I noticed something across the street. There was snow on the windowsills. And not only there. There was snow on the street, and snow piled up on the cars, and snow making all the pretty places even prettier.


I've been longing for warmer weather, for the Vienna of our arrival here, full of green lawns and blooming flowers, perfect for long walks and longer bike rides. I've started resenting Old Man Winter just about every time I zip up my puffy coat, or pull on a pair of bulky boots.

But I'm still a sucker for snow. Seeing snow falling outside the window makes me a kid again, longing for a Snow Day to spend sledding and making snow angels, or staying in my pjs reading.

Today when I woke up it was snowing again. And even though by midday the snow was melting and dripping on me from every building I walked by, it still felt like a Snow Day.


Sadly, there wasn't enough snow for sledding or snow angels.

Which is why I felt justified spending most of the day on the couch watching Big Love. In my pjs, obvs.

I guess Winter's not so bad.

Can we fast forward to the cake tasting part?

Friends, this weekend was a bit of an emotional roller coaster, and all I have to say is that it's a good thing I don't blog between Friday and Monday, because you would have had to experience the play-by-play, and at least in this case I think it's so much better to wait until I've sorted through it all and can present it to you all tied up with a bow.

The real low point was probably on Saturday afternoon when I updated my Facebook status to read Okay, who wants to plan our wedding? and then immediately commented Not it.

As a caveat, let me just say that (obviously) I am incredibly excited to get married to CameraMan. Not a day goes by that something, be it small or momentous, reminds me that it's the right next step for us—to put it simply, that we're made for each other. The mere idea of standing in front of the people we love most and making promises to each other makes me heart-swellingly giddy. I can even see a glimmer of a time when I will enjoy planning the day itself, when we're down to detaily goodness, like designing our wedding website, or tasting cakes, and shopping for shoes.

First, though, first thing is: THE VENUE. Before we can get to the fun part, we have to make this one crucial decision. And we've just come up against so many stumbling blocks looking for the right place, mainly that we are a) new in town, b) not entirely fluent in the local language, and c) on a bit of a deadline and feeling the pressure of choosing a place before I leave for New York in three weeks. After debating budgets and guest lists, last week we finally decided we could splurge on this perfect spot we had found in August, that seemed like it was beyond our price range, only to find out Friday that it was booked on our date. And a visit on Saturday to a quirky museum space that, in the end, just didn't feel right, left us both discouraged and despondent. Hence the status update.

But the thing about lows is that they can dependably be expected to be followed by highs, and this one was no exception. It started with friends from far away responding with encouraging words on FB. Sunday morning brought more hope with it, as our Vienna friends sat around our living room after brunch brainstorming and offering suggestions. And then last night, after a Skype conversation in which I, shall we say, expressed frustration, Mama Bossy did a little internet research and turned up what might be the absolute perfect location. I don't want to jinx it, of course, because we haven't seen it in person yet, but I am feeling hopeful. Which is a nice change.

The big lesson in this for me, the thing I will take away from the weekend, is that we don't need to this all by ourselves, but we also (probably) don't need to hire someone to do it, either, because we have so many talented, incredible people in our lives. It must be said, the moment I reached out for help, even in a flippant FB way, I started feeling better.

The other lesson is, of course, that we need more Wiener friends who already know this city.

And if we find some, we will lure them over for Sunday brunch, which I've decided is the best time to entertain, especially if you confine the menu to Things Prepared the Night Before so that you can still sleep in. This gorgeous Winter Fruit Salad was a big hit, and I highly recommend it. Also this.


Happy weekend!

What's on the docket for this weekend, my lovelies? I'll be attempting to recover from the full-body soreness brought on by one pass through Jillian's new workout (seriously), and we're hosting Sunday brunch at our place. The temperatures are dropping around here, so we might leave the apartment as little as possible.

I have a few links to share with you:

#88 on my Bossy List is Spend a night in a castle. Pretty please can it be Versailles?

Our Fairy Godmother shared this video on Facebook. It just might be the cutest thing I've ever seen.

I love everything this store sells. I think I might need to make an appointment when I get back to NYC.

My dad told me about this guy who makes musical instruments out of ice. WHAT?!?

Oh goody!

And, for good measure, here's a picture of my sweet fiancé. He was so amazing to me this week as I lay around moaning about being sick, even though he had to work every day. And isn't he handsome?


Here's hoping your weekend is full of cozy blankets, easy workouts, and French toast! xoxo LMB

You had me at nut dumplings

On Tuesday I broke every rule of my three-rule diet. It was Day Two of Five.

Here's the thing. I'm all for cleansing and detoxing and whatnot, but when I go out to dinner, I don't want to be the girl who drinks water and eats a small salad, dressing on the side. So when a friend happened to be coming to Vienna for one night, what was I to do? Use him as an excuse for CM and me to try an amazing restaurant, of course. I dragged myself out of my bed and my pjs, spackled my red nose with concealer, and ordered whatever I wanted at Österreicher im MAK, a chic restaurant in the contemporary arts museum. Pumpkin cream soup with Styrian pumpkin seed oil (an Austrian specialty), salad, and Krautfleckerl (noodles with caramelized cabbage). And since I was already having white flour, I broke the No Alcohol rule and shared a bottle of wine with the men. And after that, it was a slippery slope leading right to dessert.

It was listed as Nut dumplings with marzipan sauce and nougat (on our ENGLISH menus—embarrassing, I know), so of course we had to get it. "One dumpling, three spoons," we said, and that's exactly what we got.

It was totally worth it. (And do you like the place mat?)

In other news, I'm all better today and a whole new girl. I'd like to think indulging in comfort food helped me along the road to recovery. That's plausible, right?

Just be glad this post isn't all about my sinuses

Since I woke up sick Monday morning I have left the apartment exactly twice: once last night, because a friend happened to be in town for one night only, and once today, because we had an appointment at a potential wedding reception venue (which was VERY exciting—I'll start posting more about wedding planning when things start firming up). To put it mildly, I am stir crazy. I have lost all perspective on what's interesting, as evidenced by the fact that as I sat down here to type my daily post, I was considering writing about either a) my persistent cold symptoms (OMG MUCUS), or b) the healing/distracting power of housecleaning.


But then I remembered, WAIT! I have pictures! I can catch up on things past, back in the day when I was not spending my hours wallowing in wedding blogs and Big Love (I'm in the midst of Season 2—sweet Lord, that sh*t's addictive). I will take you all the way back to Saturday evening, when CM and I went out in search of photo ops and ended up wandering around the city center, exploring new streets and mentally flagging restaurants to try and shops to revisit.

I have a colleague at the Met who lived in Vienna once upon a time for a while, I think it might have been a decade ago. He loves to wax nostalgic about our fabulous city, and has put in orders for Milka chocolate and Julius Meinl coffee for me to bring back to New York. He also told me I should look for a restaurant/bar he used to frequent here.

Trouble is, he couldn't remember the name of it, not exactly. He thought it was Spiritus Sanctus, or maybe Sanktus Spiritus, he wasn't sure. And he was pretty sure he knew where it was, in a little alley behind the Stephansdom, but he couldn't be certain which one, but maybe it was called Kampfengasse, or Kumpfgasse, or something similar?

So when we found ourselves by the Stephansdom with some time to kill before we met friends for dinner, we set out to find it. I did not have high hopes. After all, it had been 10 plus years since he was there, and Google Maps didn't know what the hell we were talking about.

And then there was Kumpfgasse, right off the Singerstraße where it was supposed to be. We wandered down the little side street, turned a corner, and there it was:

Oh. SANTO SPIRITO. Of course.

It was closed (clearly), and for a minute we thought maybe it was out of business, or they were on  Urlaub (vacation), but no, it was 5:30 and they opened at 6.

We took a few pictures to send to my friend, and then we kept walking with the promise to come back for dinner sometime.

But we couldn't wait, so after dinner we went back there, and they were open.


Isn't it lovely? We had drinks (Aperol spritzers) and dessert (Haselnuss Palatschinken). Opera calendars from all the companies in town were on the wall, as well as prints of opera scenes. Monteverdi was playing on the stereo. It's adorable and so cozy, and we would have never found it if we hadn't been looking for it.

I'm so delighted to be here, living in a town with history, a town with restaurants that have been open for a couple hundred years, a town where I can trust that 10 years after we leave, we'll be able to visit all our favorite places and they'll still be there.

Although I should probably mention that Saturday night we also had dinner at T.G.I. Friday's.

Don't judge.

From the desk of Legs McGee

A few months ago, I crossed #15 off my list: Successfully teach someone to drive a stick shift. I wasn't ready to write about it, though, until I was sure I truly was successful. Thankfully, my friend Legs McGee wrote me a little testimonial so I could safely check this one off.

In her own words:
For most of my adult life I have chosen to associate the word clutch only with women's fashion. Who wouldn't?! Happy images of dancing strapless handbags are infinitely better than their automotive counterpart.  Thinking of clutch in THAT context might lead to words such as stick, shift and the inevitable Transmission...a vocabulary that translates into inadequacy and shortcoming for the solely Automatic driver---aka ME!  It's a weakness I have long suppressed in shame, but I've always known it would eventually rear its ugly head and war would be waged.

As it turns out, the perfect comrade for said battle was found in my pedicure partner, fellow yogini, and tennis trainer: LMB.  Two lessons, approximately 45 minutes each, and I was well on my way to conquering a lingering fear of adulthood.  With supreme patience she guided me through the multi-tasking maze of gas, clutch, and gear shift---graciously refraining from counting the number of panicked stalls that occurred in the process.  (There was one particular left turn across traffic that I'm sure she'll always think on fondly).  Lesson #2 introduced the concept of Reverse, and that school parking lot probably still doesn't know what hit it.  Along with teaching me how to drive, LMB also enabled me to travel through time.  Yes, she's that talented.  For two glorious sessions I was 15 again, and equally ecstatic learning to drive this time around.

THE TEST:  A little over a week after my Driver's Ed course, I arrived in Moscow---the motivation behind my rapid education.  My second day in the city I was given an atlas, the keys to my host's MANUAL Volvo, and well wishes.  That day may have potentially been the longest of my life, but I survived my first manual trip on a freeway, severe traffic jams, and more than 2 hours of commuting with only an occasional stall or two, all courtesy of LMB.  Throughout my month with a Manual I was praising my mentor daily and it is with great pleasure that I now recommend her to you, the Internet populace.  Her List is long, but examine it carefully! LMB just might hold the key to alleviating your automotive anxiety equivalent!
So, what do you say, dear readers? I could use a new dose of motivation for my Listmaybe we could help each other...

For now, though:
15. Successfully teach someone to drive a stick shift.

Sick day

Just when I had adjusted to this time zone and normalized by sleep schedule, I got sick. I've been feeling it coming on for a few days, and last night I was finally felled by a wicked Erkältung that kept me in bed all day today, sleeping, reading, and miserable. The day didn't look all that different from last week—I didn't accomplish significantly less than usual or sleep significantly more. Somehow, though, a luxurious lazy day and a sick day feel miles apart, and I'm longing for an end to the latter and a return to the former.

In a brilliant stroke of terrible timing, I committed to starting a detox diet/cleanse today, just for the week, to see how it goes. I'm cutting out sugar, alcohol, and white flour, in the hopes that it will give me more energy, fewer cravings for pastries and gummy bears, and a svelter physique. Of course, today was the day I would have gotten organized and gone grocery shopping, both of which responsibilities my trusty CameraMan took over after his evening rehearsal was miraculously canceled. So I was able to start the diet today despite being sick, and was undoubtedly helped through the first day by having almost entirely lost my appetite.

Vienna is a good place to be if you love carbs, take it from one who knows. Cookies and tortes and marzipan, dumplings and spätzle and so much amazing bread…it's all here, and it's all delicious. I haven't baked much lately,  since I started developing my interest in cooking, but Friday night I was walking home from a late lunch with CM and friends when I was hit with an overpowering urge to make Strudel. For the first time. So I nipped into the Billa on my way home and picked up Strudelteig (strudel dough: this is a normal thing that exists here in the refrigerated aisle), Topfen (a cream cheese), and Vanille Zucker (vanilla sugar: everywhere here, though actual vanilla extract is nowhere to be found). I brought it all home, chopped up some apples we already had, and managed to whip up something resembling Strudel, all without a recipe.

It was fine. Not great, not amazing, just fine. I of course ripped the dough right off the bat (strudel dough's main characteristic is being very thin, supposedly so thin you should be able to read the newspaper through it, although I'm sure if I had tried that I would have ripped it even more). Also, I think I added too much egg to the Topfen, so the baked filling resembled nothing so much as apples with scrambled eggs. Still, we ate it (obvs), and I think it was not a bad first attempt. Next time I'll find a recipe.

Not this week, though.

(Insert sad trombone sound effect here).

Schönes Wochenende!

Good lord, it's Friday, and I think I slept away the entire week…EXACTLY as I planned. What's on tap for the weekend, dear readers? CM actually has the whole weekend off, which is so exciting. We're going to do some wedding planning (I'm just starting to get in the mood for it) and wander around the city. Oh, and tonight I'm going to experiment with strudel baking and Aperol cocktail mixing. I'll let you know how that goes.

In the meantime, some links:

Did you hear about the Zodiac signs changing? Well, thank goodness it's been debunked! I don't even believe in that stuff, but I DO know I'm a Libra through and through.

I have fallen in love…with an eyeliner. I highly recommend you immediately buy it in every color it comes in (like I did).

Modern Family this week was SO good! It's definitely my favorite show on TV these days.

Today we passed a café selling cupcakes (in Vienna!), and they all looked amazing. I'm dying to try half the recipes at this cupcake site.

I'm thinking this list would make a good project. I've embarrassed to say I've only seen 9 so far, but CM got me The Bandwagon for Christmas, so we could start with that.

I'd also like to leave you with a picture of my adorable Bossy Cat chillaxing on the radiator. Isn't she cute/ridiculous? Incidentally, this picture WAS taken while I was supine on the couch. Score.


Hope your weekend is filled with long walks, lazy mornings, and pastries! xoxo LMB

I got your kult-cha right here

CM dragged me out of the house yesterday at the unholy hour of 4pm, which is Primo Naptime Hour around here these days. We were both in need of some photo inspiration. I'm remembering that this take a picture every single day thing, while exciting, is also somewhat stressful, especially when you're sleeping your life away in the living room. There are not very many awesome pictures that can be taken while lying supine on the couch, it turns out (although lord knows I'm trying). So, out of the house we went, just a few blocks down the Mariahilferstraße to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna's biggest art museum.

As always happens in these cases (why oh why do I never learn?), I was so happy I left the apartment. First of all, the museum building itself is one of the most gorgeous in Vienna, which is saying something. It's all giant staircases, and ornate floors, and painted ceilings.

Zum Beispiel, THIS is the cafe. And now that I've bought a Jahreskarte (annual pass) to the museum, I can come here for coffee and cake any time I want.

I can't get over the floor. SO BEAUTIFUL.

The art itself isn't half bad, either. We didn't come close to seeing the whole place, but we browsed through the Picture Gallery (those Habsburgs were quite the art collectors), and zoomed through the Egyptian Collection (hieroglyphics and sphinxes and mummies, oh my).

I heart you, wide angle lens.

While drifting through the Flemish section, we found several painters making reproductions of the paintings. Being so artistically disinclined that stick figures are a challenge for me, I am completely astonished that anyone has the skill to do something like this.


In the same room, we stumbled upon a movie being filmed (we think). We were lurking around trying to eavesdrop and be inconspicuous when a guy on the crew came and told us we could walk by if we wanted to, but to not look directly into the camera. We opted to walk the other way instead, because honestly I'm not sure I can trust myself to follow those directions. But first we watched a guy get so flustered by the camera that he tried to walk between the velvet rope and the paintings, thereby setting off a loud beeping alarm that surely wasn't planned for whatever they were filming.

Phew. I may not always comport myself as well as I should in places like museums and churches, but at least I'm not THAT guy.

Vienna at night

Because of my wonky jet lag sleep schedule, I haven't been emerging from the apartment until well after sundown. It's hard to feel like I'm missing out, though, when this city is so gorgeous at nighttime. Here, forthwith, are some of my favorite pictures from the last couple days of Wien after dark.

CM's workplace itself: the Wiener Staatsoper. Taken from the balcony of the Albertina Museum. It has to be said, I love Lincoln Center and all, but it doesn't hold a candle to THIS.

I was worried all the Christmas lights would be gone by the time I got here, and most places they're (frustratingly) still here but NOT LIT! Not on the Graben, fortunately, where they're still going strong. Aren't they pretty?

This is one of the only available angles to photograph the Rathaus at the moment, because the entire front of the building is dominated by the massive construction site for the WIENER EISTRAUM. I'm just a little bit excited about that.

This is the Karlskirche, which is totally gorgeous, although I'm weirded out by the Christmas signage: Auch für dich wurde Jesus geboren (Jesus was also born for you). It's not the message that I'm debating—it's the freaky giant picture of a baby in the middle. What is that all about?

11/365: It's trendy here during construction on historic sites to cover the façade with a photographic rendering of what it will look like when it's finished. The Votivkirche apparently went a step further and sold that space to advertisers. Classy, oder?  


So pretty much since I got here I've been spending all my time either sleeping or batting my eyelashes at my fiancé, and honestly it's more of the former, since CM has a job to go to and all. It's just like this post, except there's no cooking involved. In my few waking hours, I'm just reveling in being here, in Vienna, finally in the same place as my sweet cat and my sweeter fiancé. It's been 4 months since we were last all together, and people, let me tell you, that is TOO DAMN LONG.

I'm also spending a fair amount of energy fighting these nesting impulses that are coming on something fierce. There's something about Vienna that makes me long to find, furnish, and decorate our dream apartment, despite already living in a gorgeous, fully furnished Wohnung.

There's this apartment directly across the street 1 floor down from us. They've got beautiful cats that sit on the windowsills and an incredible floor plan with a kitchen that opens onto their giant living room, and what looks to be 2 bedrooms down the hall. We've enjoyed spying on them since we moved in, and we've been coveting their square footage, and their high ceilings, and their hardwood floors. Well, yesterday there were moving trucks parked outside of their building, and men hoisting boxes and mattresses out the 2nd story window down to the trucks below. They're moving out! Tonight I watched as they cleaned their empty apartment and their cats wandered around freaking out.

Which is all to say that those nesting impulses have now taken on a very specific shape, and I'm fervently hatching a plan to move across the street. Only problem is, I can't find the apartment listed anywhere online, and I have no idea how to find out the price or whether it's even available. How is this done in a city where I've never seen a posted FOR RENT sign? Any ideas?

For now, I'm just going to keep spying, and mentally decorating the place with our own stuff. One thing I KNOW we would add:


Happy weekend!

What do you have on the books for this weekend, my dears? Tomorrow I'll be giving lots of last-minute notes before our HD Broadcast, and then sitting in the TV truck to watch it all happening. Sunday I'll be frantically packing, and then heading home to Vienna! I'm so ready.

In the meantime, some linky goodness:

Before I go on that diet, I think I may need to make and devour this.

I found my perfect wedding dress. Now, where can I find it for a tiny fraction of the price? Anyone?

In New York we discovered that watching others ice skate might be just as fun as doing it yourself. However...

I'm stalking this photographer in hopes that his prices are reasonable and he's available July 9. You like?

What are you doing Saturday (tomorrow) at 1pm Eastern time? Going to your local movie theater to see Fanciulla??? I hope so!

Yesterday I left work for an hour and took a walk to clear my head. I wandered down to the river and discovered this beautiful place. Every day this city reveals itself to me in new ways. By the end of my hour I had even found that elusive thing called perspective.


Hope your weekend is full of fat snowflakes, hot drinks, and purry cats! xoxo LMB


I got my feelings hurt today. It's been a while—I'd actually forgotten what that felt like. It turns out that the thick skin I've painstakingly developed is pretty much bullshit. You know in the latest Harry Potter, how when they get to a new place they have to cast protection charms before they can relax and know they're safe? I do something like that myself (minus the wizardry) before I go into a potentially hazardous situation, which is why I generally emerge relatively unscathed from encounters with poisonous directors and dangerous divas. Sometimes, though, someone sneaks up on me and the sting gets in before there's time to put my guard up, which is how I ended up nearly breaking my firm "no crying at work" policy today.

"Are you expecting?" he asked, eyeing my belly meaningfully.

(Spoiler Alert: I'm NOT.)

I've heard of this happening to people, but generally as hilarious foot in mouth stories from the point of view of the person asking—"Oops! I should have known better." Perhaps that's what this story will turn into for him. As for me, I'm not ready to laugh about it just yet.

Oh, I know I could chalk it up to insensitivity, or bloating, or the empire waist of my dress. But honestly, when a person who has seen you practically every day for the last 2 months asks whether you're pregnant, it's a reasonable assumption that perhaps you've put on a few pounds. This, approximately an hour after I blithely told colleagues that I don't own a scale (true), have only a general sense of what I weigh (true), and can judge just by the way my pants fit whether I need to be more careful of what I eat (possibly not as true as I had hoped).

Exactly 492 feet from my front door stands what can only be described as my downfall: Shake Shack. Delicious burgers, heavenly cheese fries, creamy shakes, all dangerously convenient. In fact, I went there for dinner last night, and used that opportunity to take my picture of the day, which I planned to include here today in an upbeat post about the culinary wonders of my NYC neighborhood.


Trust me, the irony is not lost on me.

Blergh. Does this mean I have to go on a diet?

The slug in pajamas shall rise again

There is a whole lot of counting down going on over here: 4 more days, 3 more nights, 1 more performance…and then 1 8-hour flight and I'll be home (umm…that's VIENNA for those of you who haven't been paying attention). I could not be more impatient or excited.

If you've been reading here for a while, you're probably expecting an epic to-do list for my 5 weeks at home, maybe a self-improvement course of some kind, or a radical diet. Well, think again. I am planning…nothing. I am looking forward to a real vacation more than I can express in words. Every time I wax poetic about staying in my pjs and not leaving the apartment, CM rolls his eyes, but that is exactly what I intend to do. For at least a week. I have plenty of pajamas to last me, and I've been downloading books to my Kindle like it's my job. A week from now you will find me sitting on the couch under a blanket, sipping Nespresso, petting a purring Bossy Cat, and reading for pleasure. Sounds heavenly, no? And then CM will come home from work and mix cocktails, and we'll hang out and talk about our days, IN PERSON. And then when we go to bed we won't have to write each other good night emails, because we'll be together, IN THE SAME PLACE. Oh, I can't wait.

What are you reading these days, my dears? I still have lots of Christmas Kindle cash, and I'm taking suggestions. So far I've amassed The Year of the Flood, The Metropolis Case, Unbroken, Room, Super Sad True Love Story, The Lonely Polygamist, and Just Kids. Normally, that would be plenty to last me through any 5-week period (or 5-month period, for that matter), but in my new life as a Slug in Pajamas, I might need more. Whatcha got for me?

Here's a picture of Christmas decorations at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle. You should enjoy my last few NYC photos, because starting next week it's entirely possible you'll be getting nothing but pictures of my cat.


It only took 11 years

I was 18 when I first fell in love with New York. I spent the summer here as an administrative intern at a theater company. By day I answered phones and read plays and organized the office and took on more responsibility. After hours I went out, all over the city with friends who were older, to bars where I never got carded or to plays where the seats were comped. The one piece of Manhattan advice that had stuck with me was to never ride the subway after 11pm, so most nights I could be found walking blocks and blocks home alone, or piling into a shared cab. Home was an "only in New York" sublet: a 4th-floor walk-up, 1-bedroom split in Midtown with a stranger who had to walk through my room every day in order to get to the bathroom or to the front door.

Nothing about the city got me down—not the heat, nor the prices, nor my sweltering cluttered apartment. I felt certain that I had found my destiny: to live and work (and play) in New York City. I started thinking maybe I should just stay. A great job opened up that hadn't been posted yet, and a contact got me an interview, and it went well, and I almost believed that it could happen. Real life was all messy and up in the air. I had just decided to take a leave of absence from college, take a year off, and transfer. I had sworn off singing altogether in favor of directing (the first time in what would become a pattern), and I was having trouble seeing my future clearly. Nothing had gone right or turned out like I planned, until my summer in New York, which was exactly what I had hoped for but better.

Of course I didn't get the job—I didn't have a college degree (duh). I left at the end of the summer as scheduled, and I figured out what I needed, and I moved on. Whenever I visited the city from time to time, I still felt like it was mine. I had my favorite restaurants, and my favorite streets, and I could navigate the subway system with relative ease. I always thought I'd end up here someday.

And then I started working here, for a couple months at a time, and I couldn't get that feeling back. Even though I was living the "glamorous" life I had pictured at 18, with a good job, and incredible friends, and enough money for a nice apartment and dinners out, New York left me cold. I couldn't picture making a life here in anything but a temporary way. It's hard to live here. It's expensive, and the weather is mostly terrible, and it's crowded, and it's dirty. Even for two months, I feel that, and it usually makes me want to go somewhere else.

It hit me last week that this time has been different, though. I can't quite put my finger on why it happened now and not before, whether it's subletting in a neighborhood I adore, or seeing friends more regularly, or finally feeling like I know how to do my job. I do know that in the week CM and I spent together here, I could see us here for real, sometime in the future. And seeing it gave me a glimpse of the same exhilaration I felt during that first summer here, all those years ago.

I think it might be love.


All that being said, though... can we please fast forward to Monday, when I'll be back home in Wien with my kitten and my CameraMan? New York will still be here when I get back.

Happy New Year to me

This year Santa Claus, being a faithful reader of this here weblog and knowing that I have purged most of my worldly belongings and am none too anxious to replace them all with more to move from place to place, opted for gifts of the virtual and/or easy to pack variety. I am awash in Amazon credit, more than I know what to do with, except of course I know exactly what to do with it, and have already bought EIGHT Kindle books in anticipation for the five glorious weeks of vacation coming my way. I was also given a beautiful green scarf knit with love by Mama Bossy, and CM and I will be buying our wedding rings as belated Christmas presents when I'm back in Wien next week.

CM and I still managed to prolong the holiday, though. We opened little gifts and chocolates and Christmas pjs all week long, and I realized on the day that I didn't miss the huge presents at all. Valuable lesson, that.

But now here it is a week later. I've started a 365 project, did you hear, and I'm feeling the need for some extra inspiration. So… I bought a new lens. A big fancy wide angle lens, one I've been coveting for a very long time.

I took it out for a spin this afternoon. The day was gray and rainy, but I still had fun traipsing around with my camera. This new lens is going to force me to look at things differently, with a grand new perspective. I haven't quite figured out its quirks just yet (all that distortion: arty or annoying? I'm not entirely sure), but I'm looking forward to experimenting.

Because the weather was grim, there were far fewer people out and about than I expected. I checked out the Brooklyn Bridge Park, I think for the first time. It's beautiful, on the edge of the water between two massive bridges to Manhattan. It's too easy for me to stay inside my bubble, to and from work, walking the same route every day, rarely straying from my own little neighborhood. It was great to explore a part of this incredible city that I don't know very well today, to remind myself that there is more to NYC than Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle. One of the reasons I've started this project (again) is to get out more, to take more risks. I'm hoping that on the quest for my next great picture I'll find my next great adventure.


Grüß Gott, 2011!

Last night at 6pm New York time CM and I toasted via Skype, me with a glass of Austrian sparkling pinot noir and he with an Aviation. We toasted to three incredible years together, to many more to come, to 2011, the year of our wedding. In the background I could hear the faint sounds of fireworks exploding for the Viennese New Year.

At 12am New York time CM answered the phone still groggy from sleep. We toasted again, me with a cup of freshly brewed Sleepytime tea and he with his eyes closed, to the year ahead, to each other, to being lucky enough to find happiness. All around me were the deafening blasts of fireworks echoing against the highrises.

No parties, no drinking games, no drunken debauchery. Just the two of us, an ocean apart but celebrating together.

2011 is going to be a big year in the Bossy-Melear household. I have ideas and plans swirling around in my head, not quite ready to be articulated. I won't call them resolutions, per se, since the word carries with it certain failure, but I just might use the occasion of the new year to set a few goals.

During my annual year-end reckoning, I started thinking about little habits and activities I've done this year that have contributed immensely to my overall happiness. Rather than focus only on fresh starts, I want to make sure I recognize the things that work and stick to them. So in 2011, I will continue to • bring a full water bottle to rehearsal • write a good night email to CM every night we're not together • wash my makeup off before I go to bed • send books I enjoy to my mother • always bring my camera • make my bed in the morning • floss • wear earrings • read magazines on my free days.

I'm also, against my better judgment, trying a 365 project again, and CM's on board to do it, too (which has already prompted much jealousy on my part, and he's only posted 1 picture so far).

I spent the first day of 2011 doing whatever I wanted to, including a walk through Central Park, The Illusionist at the Paris with My Gay Husband (all is forgiven), and a leisurely night at home in my pjs. I think it bodes well for the rest of the year, don't you?

The blizzard happened less than a week ago, but in my neighborhood most of the actual snow is gone, leaving behind only a slushy, dirty mess and cranky pedestrians. In the park, however, there's still lots of snow left, with children playing and tourists gamely tromping through the fields. That won't last long, though; after today's high temps and tomorrow's forecasted rain, I doubt very much that this melty snowman family will survive the weekend.

1/365 (take 2)

Buongiorno, 2010
Bonjour, 2009


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