Tuesday, November 25, 2008

m o r n i n g l i g h t

sometimes it's hard to sleep in on the weekends...

more apartment photos

Couches are such a luxury when you live in tiny New York apartments! In my last 5 years in the LES apartment, I had my two precious red Eames lounge chairs, but not really something I could throw my feet up on at the end of the day. The last time I had one was when I lived in San Francisco (2003) and it's probably been about 7 years for Paul!

So much to our delight, our chocolate brown couch finally arrived and the 3 delivery guys lugged it up 4 flights. Unfortunately, it was stuck in our little foyer for 45 minutes while they tried to manuever, manipulate, molest it in. Finally after much grumbling, the guys took it out onto our shaky fire escape via the terrace, took out the bedroom window, and got it in the apartment that way. Good thing the camera phone was ready. Thankfully, no casualties.

Anyway, new couch=new living room arrangement:

Also, got a new dresser! Paul and I were on our way out one Saturday morning to go dresser-shopping when we ran into our downstairs neighbor struggling with a gorgeous distressed antique Chinese dresser in her doorway. She was trying to get rid of it, we were in the market. Lucky us, one of the fastest and most convenient deals we've ever made- and it's from ABC Carpet and Home !

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Coop Sweet Coop

There are still a few boxes to unpack and we should be getting the couch this week- our last major purchase... I think.

Home (or in our case, coop) ownership has had its blessings and then its ummm, challenges... I think I will start posting the "challenges" portions separately, as each little step (for example: hiring a $35 chimney sweep) is its own Pandora's Box of nightmares!! But despite these challenges, we absolutely adore our home and neighborhood...

The view from "my side" of the bed:

The view of our small but humble private (!) terrace (that's Paul sacked out taking an afternoon nap this weekend)

The bathroom and kitchen need a little work, or at least some color.

The kitchen and eating nook are about the size (and width) of my former apartment!!

The view from our kitchen and living room windows- a charming church and tree-lined street...

I can't believe this is where I live... We are one of five of the floor-through apartments in the building, and everyone is very cool and chill. As I grow older and mellower, I appreciate but do NOT miss the vibrant nightlife/character of the Lower East Side during the last few years... I have replaced the nightly party of honking taxis, car alarms, drunken 20-something year-olds and music-blasting neighbors between 1am and 4am, the 5:30am garbage trucks and street cleaners, and the 7am drunken homeless guy who sang the same song every morning in front of the deli... with the distinctive clatter of dry leaves falling from trees, the calling of birds and chattering squirrels, flying and hopping from tree to tree in the courtyard, and the loud church bells from across the street everyday at noon and 6pm. Pumpkins decorate the neighborhood stoops (not vomit and cigarette butts) and the air is crisp and smoky from fireplaces (someday, from ours too!).

Although we are on this quiet Brooklyn street, we are only 3 blocks away from the promenade, downtown Brooklyn (and my office!!!), 5 subway lines, grocery and produce stores (plus the first Trader Joe's in Brooklyn just opened last month!), the fantastic Middle Eastern mecca on Atlantic Avenue, and the great little boutiques and restaurants of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens!

I told Paul the other day that this was the best decision we ever made. He corrected me- it's the second best decision we ever made! **groan...**

Yoshidas in NYC!

I couldn't believe it when I heard that Kumi was coming to New York!! Along with Masami (her husband), they were traveling with Yasumi-sensei (the school nurse from Ine High School) and (Mariko-sensei (the school nurse from Amino High School).

I was so excited when I heard the news- and immediately panicked because I knew I would have to make their 4 day visit somewhat as amazing as my Yoshida-bread laden, Japanese-culture- and-generosity-infused year abroad. Also, that meant I would have to speak Japanese again, which I haven't done regularly in about a year- and even then, it was pretty bad!

Paul and I surprised them at their hotel with bags of fruit, snacks, and bottles of green tea. It was a pretty emotional reunion- a combination of screaming/crying/hugging! Of course, they were prepared with omiyage and each presented us with typical Japanese gifts such as candy and snacks, but of course gave us some exquisite items, including a coral tie pin for Paul, a handmade silk flower brooch for me, and handpainted towels.

I took the next few days off work so that I could spend some quality time with them. We took the subway, buses, and ferries around town, and did some typical but exhausting New York sightseeing: walked through Times Square (all the lights! the traffic! the people!!), Nolita, Soho, the Union Square farmer's market, ate dim sum and perused the weird fruit and fish markets in Chinatown, visited the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, downtown and financial district, Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, 5th Avenue, Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center, Herald Square and Macy's, Central Park, introduced them to American style BBQ and Korean BBQ, 24 hour delis, the Lion King musical, Dean & Deluca, walked the Brooklyn Bridge and promenade...

I don't know if my efforts at being their NY tour guide did any justice to what the Yoshidas did for me when I lived in Japan (especially with my shameful mix of Jap-lish and pantomines). It was also tough not being able to have room to actually host them in my apartment, or having the luxury of driving them around the city, or introducing them to local craftsmen who make New York City manholes or something. I'm sure they were incredibly thrown off by the frenzied pace of the city, so vastly different from the peaceful ricefield towns of Kyotango-shi! I was impressed with how easily they assimilated to the city and how much energy they had everyday! Plus, it was great to take a break from being so stressed out with the paperwork of the apartment closing and packing up my apartment.

This was also only about 4 days after Paul and I got engaged, so they were also pretty excited and on the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, they kept asking me where it was that Paul had proposed. (The idea of him getting down on one knee on the bridge was just sooooooooooo romantic and dreamy...)

I miss you Kumi and Masami! Please come again soon!!

No Sleep Til Brooklyn!

Apologies for the long lapses between updates...

So, since the last update, I've had visitors from Japan and San Francisco, closed on the Brooklyn coop, packed up my entire 244 SF Manhattan apartment, moved to our spacious 650+ SF Brooklyn apartment (and as a result, made numerous trips to IKEA, Crate and Barrel, Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Depot, the local hardware store, etc.), planned and hosted a small engagement party, and entertained my parents and Paul's parents while they were in town, all the while working like crazy...

Below are the "before" and "after" photos of the LES apartment which was my home for almost the last 5 years (not counting the year in Japan)... about 30 seconds before I gave my key to my landlord and walked away (down) from the 6th floor walkup...