gwyneth, a coffee drenched doodle dog, and a mini riot. all (or only) in the hamptons


i cringe when i’ve had to write “the hamptons.” so i say “montauk” instead. that’s slightly less cringe inducing. and i’m not one to cringe easily.

well, that’s where i was this past weekend + a day.

other than being one of those rare snippets of time you know you’ll remember for years after [because spent with some of the friends you love most], the weekend was confetti’d with some new york style “you’re kidding, right?” moments [only to be found in extensions of nyc such as the hamptons]. [insert cringe].

and so began our mission of tunneling our way into a bookstore in the hamptons for, of all things, a signature from gwyneth. paltrow. is there any other?

we may be thirty somethings holding down legitimate careers, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t jostle our way through a mini riot for this sort of thing.

a half hour before the big event, we queue up. the line wraps around the bookstore. we’re informed that not everyone will get in. the door shuts five heads in front of us. those five heads and all the heads behind those are not happy ones.

a lady with a massive doodle dog somehow sneaks her way to the front of this “waitlist” line. how a lady with a giant doodle dog sneaks her way anywhere is beyond me.

the persecution of this lady and her giant doodle dog begins. it’s a line of 50+ against this batty lady with a doodle dog. she fights back. the dog does not. coffee [iced, not hot, thank god] gets spilled all over the dog. the poor dog shakes off the coffee. the coffee sprays a great distance [in slow motion], soaking a good portion of the pissed off new yorkers at the front of the waitlist line.

a heavily botox’d lady behind us attempts to bond with us. her moment is here. “oh, look at that poor dog. with coffee all over it. can you believe that lady? unbelievable! i bought my gwyneth cookbook in advance. i brought my receipt in case they wouldn’t let me in – look!”

more people appear out of nowhere, jostling their way to the front of this “waitlist” line. it’s survival of the sneakiest [and the shameless].

one such sneaky shameless lady with a huge scarf wound over her head pops out of nowhere, claiming to be “the press.”

“where’s your press pass?” asks some of the pissed off new yorkers. a man with a giant camera lens menacingly extends his giant lens towards her.

miracle of miracles, we somehow make it in. and meet gwyneth, who is perched on a wooden booster seat of sorts, looking overwhelmed and annoyed. it must suck to be you, gwyneth. for a moment, i feel sorry for her. but hey, she’s gwyneth freaking paltrow.


“it’s new york”

i hear these three words way too many times as an excuse, explanation and/or answer to way too many things.

“why is it so loud outside?” – “it’s new york.”

“why is someone yelling right outside my apartment?” – “it’s new york.”

“why are there so many drunk people running around?” – “it’s new york.”

“why are there bags of garbage just rotting on the streets?” – “it’s new york.”

“why does my money not go very far?” – “it’s new york.

“why are my neighbors so weird?” – “it’s new york.

“why do girls wear a pound of makeup when they’re jogging?” – “it’s new york.”

“what is going on over there?” – “it’s new york.”

“why did that pigeon almost attack me?” – “it’s new york.”

the list goes on.

when i lived in california, no one ever responded with “it’s california” to anything i or anyone else said.

somehow, new york itself – its very being – seems to suffice as an explanation for most everything.

below 14th street

i detest the mta [see earlier post]. part of moving to my new neighborhood [which lies safely below 14th st. but well above the wasteland of the financial district and tribeca], was to minimize my reliance on the mta. in other words – avoid hopping on the mta at all costs unless it is to commute to work [that part’s unavoidable].

everything i could possibly need, want or desire lies beneath 14th street [and above spring st.] and within walking distance of my new dwelling.

some reactions i’ve gotten:

“wow, 14th street – that’s really specific. what about 15th or 16th? why 14th?”

“what’s wrong with tribeca? why above tribeca? i live in tribeca!”

“you should start a second blog about fun activities to do below 14th st. wait – i’ve changed my mind – fun things to do *above* 14th st.”

seriously, people. is any explanation necessary?

once you cross the 14th st. border, all cuteness vanishes.

and if you venture even further north, God forbid … you may run into baby strollers and children too large to be sitting in them [but nevertheless squashed into them].

i intend to stay within a mile radius of where i live, venturing only within that safe orb.

the green mountain state


there’s a reason they call vermont “the green mountain state.” true to its name (especially in the summer), it is both super green and super mountainous.

and like the dairy it produces in spades, there’s something so wholesome about the whole state. chittenden was our town of choice for the Fourth and we drove through lots of other little towns en route, so i can’t speak to every single town in vermont, but the towns we did see were wholesome as dairy. [btw, the cheese is just amazing there].

we rode [horses], swam [in a pool], kayaked [on a lake] … wholesome activities to go with the wholesome state.

not surprisingly, the un-wholesome people [including us, probably], were out-of-staters.

one in particular [two if you count her dog as a “person”], was from jersey [shocker].

this particularly unwholesome individual let loose her tiny dog [also from jersey] into the riding ring we were riding around in [on horseback], then proceeded to call out the dog’s name in the shrillest voice possible. thank god the horses didn’t spook. where do you think this is, lady? spain? [see very first blog post]. dogs should be on leashes – especially when around horses.

from the front, the place looked like an edward hopper painting. [what a pretentious comment!].

and from the back, it looked like the backdrop for downton abbey. [only slightly pretentious].

even the rain was unlike new york city rain – not gross or mixed in with the trash swirling around nyc, but clear and crisp and *wholesome*.

we vowed to return.

really, new york? seriously?


hello, new york MTA. you greet me every morning and [most] evenings.

you always bring something new. the other day, it was a pair of random shoes in the middle of your platform – as if someone had carefully taken them off and left them there.

today, it was a woman wearing a crazy christmas sweater in 90+ degree weather. i mean, it *is* A/C’d inside the subway car, but a ridiculously thick xmas sweater? does she carry that large sweater in her purse when not wearing it?

new york can surprise you with its beauty, but the mta is not the place to be looking for it. especially in the summer.

why thank you, fortune cookie


i have this thing for fortune cookies. i love cracking them open and finding a little message inside – as cliche as the message may be (i can’t believe i just admitted that).

i find them endlessly amusing (someone recently told me he found *me* “endlessly amusing” – and that made me smile. but that’s another story).

if i find one *super* amusing, i’ll go as far as taping it to some random thing i own. if someone asks me why it’s there, i can tell them i have no idea how it got there.

others have not found them as amusing. a previous S.O., for one. poor guy. as if the things that came out of my own mouth weren’t enough, he had foreboding fortune cookie forecasts to deal with as well.

i read aloud one such fortune cookie forecast to him after triumphantly cracking it open: “trust him. but keep your eyes open.” wide-eyed, i read it aloud to him. he stopped eating (well, for about thirty seconds – maybe forty?). it was one of the very few times i had seen him lose his appetite (albeit briefly). go fortune cookie! woot!

those thirty to forty seconds were enough for him to whisk the fortune cookie message out of my hand to verify its legitimacy, crumple it up and toss it across the room as offensive nonsense.

those thirty to forty seconds weren’t enough for me to laugh and roll around cackling (that took much more time). i was, at that point at least, able to get a smile out of him.

how apt that this most recent message (pictured above) fell out of a fortune cookie as i approach getting (yet) another year older, but don’t feel any older – though i know i should.

hello, “cat”

Imagethis dog is not dead. she’s very much alive. she’s not ill, either. she’s actually quite healthy.

she just happens to be a brat.

my uncle showed up one day at my parents’, announced that he was going to leave his dog with them (indefinitely), and then left (sans dog).

my mom has taken to comparing me to this dog. she continues w/ the comparisons cuz she can tell that i’m getting (audibly) annoyed. she happens to think this is hilarious.

mom: you know, she’s lazy, like you (omg, not another person thinking this)

me: who? the dog?

mom: she has a name, you know.

me: i can’t believe you and dad are actually okay with a dog running around the house.

mom: she doesn’t run all that much. she’s so lazy. she just sleeps all day. kinda like you. but she’s smart, fortunately. she’s got that going for her, at least.

me: i don’t sleep that much anymore. [well, not as much as i used to]

mom: anyways, she’s got a strange personality – she thinks she’s a cat. like if another dog comes up to her, she just looks at them. she really is like you.

* * *

glory hallelujah

… i am moving to a walk-up on a beautiful tree-lined street in ___ [insert preferred neighborhood that i’ve been talking about for months]. and i’ve avoided the stroke inducing broker’s fee.

bee: what floor is it on?

me: want to guess? it’s on the fifth floor. of a six story walk-up. no elevator.

bee: omg, you’re never going to leave your apartment, are you?

[note to reader: my friend bee has a history of making fun of me for being “lazy” – that started when she saw me walking my bike 1L year down escondido road. i put “lazy” in quotes because really, i am not lazy – she is just the busiest bee]

me: of course not – cuz that would mean i have to climb five flights of stairs to get back into my apt.

[we both throw our heads back and laugh] 

bee: but seriously, congratulations – that’s awesome.

me: what, you mean the five flights of stairs?

bee: no, you’re moving to the _____ [insert cute neighborhood].

me: yeah, and the place is adorable. i’ll blog from the fifth floor.

bee: i read your blog you know. it’s funny.

[throw our heads back again and laugh]

let’s see how many visitors i get to this fifth floor walk up.

daughter, like mother


i love my mom. and i love her love of odd things. when i was little, i hated it when people told me i was nothing like my mom. this proves them all wrong. at least we are amused by the same things.

of the pictures i had sent my mom from spain, one was of a little huddle of cabbage patch like miniature nuns. figurines, that is. but chubby with crazy eyes, like cabbage patch kids. [cabbage patch kids freaked me out as a child, but were oddly mesmerizing with their fat cheeks and pinwheel eyes]. we had spotted these nuns in a storefront window alongside marzipan. in cordoba [i think].

i open up my mom’s reply email. attached is the same picture. at least, that’s what i think initially. “i saw those same little nuns … in cordoba, i think” she writes. “i couldn’t walk past w/out taking a pic of them … i mean, they just jumped out at me.”

unwittingly, we had snapped photos of the same cabbage patch like nuns. she had gone to spain with my dad a few months before me. “thanks kyung,” she’d told me. “your dad and i appreciate your christmas gift of a spain trip.”  at this point, she proceeded to laugh into the phone. 1) this was after i had been telling her for years that i’d wanted to go to spain with her. and 2) i had no idea they had decided on spain. i only knew that my christmas gift was a vacation package to wherever they’d choose. 3) i can’t believe she thinks this is hilarious.

i suppose i do take after my mom, after all.