Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hiatus

Everyone needs one at some point.
Wishing I could take one from the rest of life right now but this will have to do.
Lots going on in real life - including two jobs, and possibly, maybe buying a house (!!!!).
I'll be back. And better.
Promise.

<NL>

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The One where Serial Renters go Buy a House

Never in my life have I been faced with so much responsibility as I am now.
We're doing it... we're buying a home!!
OK, so not today.
But, we're getting there.
I've mentioned before how we're currently living at my mother-in-law's house.
No, this wasn't some crazy scheme we came up with to drive our marriage and sanity into the ground.
We were faced with the ultimate decision a few months ago when our landlord came to us and said he was terminating our lease in 90 days because...he was moving back. Asshole.
So, we weighed our options.
The option to go buy a house in 90 days was completely out of the question... we were nowhere near saving what we needed for our down payment, and aside from that we didn't want to rush into something this... HUGE.
Option 2 was to rent again. Truth was though, that we were getting really sick of living in the city and itching to get out. To have to commit to at least another year of renting and
essentially throwing our money away seemed crazy.
Crazy though? No.. not so much.
What was crazy was going with Option 3: Moving in with Brian's Mom.
Alright, not crazy, it's not that bad.... it is challenging though.
Especially when Brian and I are both commuting and constantly exhausted.
But, it's definitely been for the best,
because we've been able to (finally!) place ourselves in the tortuous role of first-time-home-buyers.
We're meeting with mortgage brokers, documenting our finances from birth, perusing Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow... CONSTANTLY!
I'm house obsessed. I've had to stop watching House Hunters and all of HGTV, because ..
well, I know it's fake and it gives me anxiety.
My parents have booked plane tickets to come up in about a month to help us hopefully narrow down our final choices and now I'm stressing that it may be too far off.
WHAT IF WE FIND OUR HOME BEFORE THEN?
I'm sure 90% (of the 10 that are reading this) are thinking, are you crazy?
But I just know myself and that I wouldn't be able to make a purchase without
Realtor Kitty giving her approval.
The goal is to be in OUR house by the holidays.
I think know it's going to be a bit of a challenge and we have a long, stressful road ahead of us
but I can't help from being so freaking excited!
Brian and I have lived together in 4 different places in the 6 (?) years we've lived together.
We've never had a place that truly felt like our home,
somewhere we can "put roots down" and begin our lives.
This really is our beginning (finally), and I can't wait to get there.

<NL>

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Friend requests: Do's and Don'ts

I have 152 friends on Facebook.
By all social networking standards - this is really low for a 29 year old woman who is by no means a social outcast (I don't think?) and having gone through 18 years of school - I probably know more than 152 people that are out there in the facebooking world of ours.
You see, I just don't know the rules or etiquette of friend requests.
At one point I rejected any and all requests by people in high school I never talked to or just didn't like.
Until they kept re-requesting me... and I gave in..
Which is why I am friends with the one person I considered my HS nemesis.
Though, she probably has no idea who I even was and just friended me because I graduated NDHS '01.
ughh it's exhausting...
The whole  "Do I or Don't I friend them?" And, if I don't accept this friend request, I am a total dick...right?
Here's what I think...

1. Do friend me if we were once friends and we've lost touch over the years. I think this is the greatest part of Facebook (well, now I do... in '04 when Zuckerburg launched this thing it was amazing to internet-stalk the guy I was my roommates were crushing on in class and grecs' "ex-girlfriends", obviously).

2. Don't friend me if I'm related to you and if our families virtually do not speak. This is uncomfortable for all. Hello, Uncle Pasquale - I  haven't seen you since I was two, and I pretty much have no idea who you are. Please don't tag me in the picture of the pool party back in '85, ok thanks.


3. Don't friend me if we've never spoken to each other, and we just happen to have some mutual friends. This one guy went to my sister's wedding and then proceeded to friend all of her hot friends. Hello, internet-creep.


4. Don't friend me if you've been dating my friend/sister for two minutes. New rule: please wait until you've put a ring on it. Here's the current dilemma - I want to, so badly friend and then immediately  proceed to stalk the person my sister is currently dating... but then when if things end I'll most likely lash out and ruin his life publicly. 


5. Do friend me if... we're friends :) But please don't crowd my news feed with pictures of your pregnant belly or sonograms, or "cute" engagement photos - no one cares!

As I'm writing this I realize I'm so over it... the whole social networking thing 
(and this post too, for that matter).
I only subscribe to about 10% of my 150+ friends on my news feed... which is pretty much my family and close friends. As far as everyone else - I just don't care enough.
Are others feeling the same way? Will we ever grow tired of telling all of our "friends" what we're having for lunch, running errands, going to the gym? I sure do hope so.

Now I'm off to deactivate my FB account....

maybe....


<NL>

Friday, July 27, 2012

el día gris

It's gray outside.
The haze is blocking my view from the train window.
A view of broken down neighborhoods of row homes and
graffiti covered abandoned warehouses.
He's asking me what's wrong and I don't have an answer.
It's just one of those days.
As though the color of the day has seeped into my consciousness.
And I can't help but put my book down and concentrate on the outside,
to wonder what it's like there -
amid the violence, destruction, corruption.
I'm longing for something else today,
but I'm not sure what it is.
Freedom, maybe.
Solitude.
Or the exact opposite.
I picture Brian and I in a crowded city -
London, or Barcelona.
Thriving from the energy that's obtained from being somewhere unfamiliar,
with the person you love...
I dreamed of Key West last night.
Of the two of us in a bar, holding hands and listening to music,
feeling sticky from the humidity.
A slow drunkenness enveloping the both of us.
Laughing.
From my seat, it's as though the outside is mocking my day dreams.
"You can't have that," she says.
And I know I can, that I do.
I'm just... living in between right now,
something I'm accustomed to.
Stuck in the middle of my past and present of freedom and responsibility.
I have a nagging feeling to just get up and go,
somewhere.
Anywhere that isn't on this train, or the place I'm coming from and going to.
Grabbing Brian by the hand and fleeing
away from this gray space,
and the looming responsibilities that are so close...
I want to reach back and grab my youth,
hold it closer than I did.
I shut my eyes and I'm in the middle of Las Ramblas,
amid chaos and confusion and
a different language.
The night is approaching and I'm carrying my bag in front of me so the gypsies don't get to my cash or passport.
Brian is leading me to London Bar,
where we'll spend the night drinking absinthe and pints of Estrella,
watching models do lines in the bathroom,
listening to Exodus and Exile on Main Street.
We don't try to speak Spanish, or English. We revel in the anonymity of the night.
The way the absinthe makes our heads cloudy, but in such a good way...
I remember what it's like to feel younger, careless.
Happier?
No, not happier, I know that much.
When I open my eyes again, the sun is shining through the smudged windows.
We're pulling into the Western part of Philadelphia,
he's leaning in, as though he's waiting for me to crack.
Because he's thinking the same thing, maybe.
"This train is so depressing."
But it's where we are today, it's all a part of our story,
and I'm grateful for that.
Thankful for today - and as always, anxious for tomorrow.

<NL>


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mid-summer crisis

Lately, I've been spending my days traveling back and forth between the city of Philadelphia and the large suburb of Hamilton, NJ (or, Trenton - for those that have no idea what that is).
It's a monotonous routine. Wake up, commute, work, commute home. Walk the dog, clean the house bedroom, do laundry, cook dinner. Go to sleep.
I did this when I commuted to DC from Philly for 9 months,
and this is nothing compared to that.. But, I know I could never do it long-term again, and live my days like this. Which is why our goal is to move back towards Philly within the next few months.
Which is why I've probably been acting like an insane person this week.
Or maybe not insane, maybe more like myself?
Which happens to be anxious, spontaneous, and... fun.
First off, on a whim I cut off my hair.


These are horrible pictures (I mean - holy, nose) and the one on the left is about 5 months old.
My hair was long, gross and I just couldn't take it anymore.
It was the first time ever the hair stylist put my hair in a pony tail and... cut it off.
It was awesome.

Then yesterday, I decided we were going to visit friends in San Diego and I just...booked flights.
Just did it, without really talking to Grecs.
That was equally awesome, and I'm freaking excited to go away.
I know, I know we're living at my mother-in-law's house what the hell are we doing going away,
and spending money that could be going into savings...
BUT, you guys! I'm LIVING at my mother-in-law's house, and I used mileage! 
So, suck it.

I haven't felt this good since we made the move.
Probably because I'm feeling in control of things.
Even though those things just happen to be my hair and bank account.
There are some other things in the works too that have me equally excited.
And I'm hoping to be able to share that on here.. at some point.

For now, I'm going to keep trying being awesome, positive, and have a good summer - or, what's left of it.
The craziest thing I'll probably do today is open up the Allagash White that have been sitting in the fridge for a couple of weeks... have a few mid-week cocktails, then go scare the neighborhood kids over at the Little League ball park with my crazy ass dog. You know, get wild.

<NL>


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Reading List: My Picks

"Any good book recommendations for the summer? Looking for some fun beach reads!"
This has been on my Facebook and Twitter news feeds daily, sometimes more over the past few weeks. Most of the time I want to comment, "read a book review,"and link to NPR or the NYT.
But I don't because all of the other comments are so earnest... 
"Have you read 50 Shades of Grey? You just HAVE to it's so so so so good."
"I've read ALL of them! And Emily Griffin! And Jennifer Weiner! Love her!"
I then proceed to throw up. in my mouth.
And this is where I sound like a pretentious asshole.
But  in reality, I'm not. Really you guys, I swear!
I read 50 Shades of Grey (all of them).
I read Jennifer Weiner (she's from my (former..ugh) neighborhood in Philly!)
I love chick lit when I need to totally zone out. Of course, I mock them and most of the authors for their horrible writing styles, but for the most part I read through them in a day and love it.

Since Memorial Day I've read about 10 books. Most of them have been good, some horrible. Some are current NYT best sellers, some literary fiction which I have been meaning to read since High School. Here's a few that I have loved so far (and one that's on my Kindle Wish List).


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Currently ranked #4 on the New York Times Combined Print & E-Fiction Best Sellers list, Gone Girl is about a marriage gone wrong. Nick and Amy Dunne are celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary when Amy suddenly goes missing. Obviously, Nick is the prime suspect. 

The book is divided into two perspectives: Nick's and Amy's. Amy is the "cool girl." She's the wife every guy wants. She is beautiful, rich, carefree, fun; the "I don't care if Nick comes home at 4 am drunk from a night on the town with the guys" type. When Nick loses his NYC job as a writer, they pack up their life in Brooklyn and move back to his home town in Missouri where things get real. She loans him money to buy a bar with his too-close twin sister. And in return, Nick acts like a dick.

Flynn offers a psychological insight into the characters and spins what is at first a murder-mystery into a complex narrative of a marriage gone bad.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I won't get all 'book review' on this one. I'll just say... I loved it. Really loved it.
Hazel is a 16-year old terminal cancer patient whose best friends are her parents and the recluse author of her favorite book. While at support group one day she meets a boy, Augustus. Suddenly, Hazel's life is changed. It's a raw, emotional story of first love, heartache, and living.



Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

This is a great one for all you chick-lit loving beach bums. I admittedly love Hilderbrand. 
Last summer I read Silver Girl which is just as great. Summerland is centered around Nantucket (which I believe most of her books are based), and its small local community. On the night of the high school graduation, the beloved Penny Alistair is killed in a car accident, leaving her twin brother Hobbie in a coma, and her boyfriend Jake and frenemie Demeter injury-free. The book's narrative is based around the survivors and their parents, each offering their individual perspectives; revealing truths and secrets about the past and present. Intriguing and beautifully written, Hilderbrand explores themes of family, community and honesty.


Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

I'm currently reading Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer, to kind of recharge my brain a bit  after what has been a whirl-wind reading frenzy of easy-summer-fiction. As soon as I can put Miller down though, Beautiful Ruins is on deck.

Helen Schulmanof the New York Times says, "Walter is simply great on how we live now, and ­— in this particular book — on how we lived then and now, here and there. “Beautiful Ruins” is his Hollywood novel, his Italian novel and his Pacific Northwestern novel all braided into one: an epic romance, tragicomic, invented and reported (Walter knows his “Cleopatra” trivia), magical yet hard-boiled (think García Márquez meets Peter Biskind), with chapters that encompass not just Italy in the ’60s and present-day Hollywood, but also Seattle and Britain and Idaho, plot strands unfolding across the land mines of the last half-century — an American landscape of vice, addiction, loss and heartache, thwarted careers and broken dreams."
Um, I think I'm hooked already.


Some other suggestions of my favorite summer reads, old and new:
Jane Austen (everything! read it all!)
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (Grecs is reading Atlas Shrugged right now... the 1,000+ page book is with him everywhere he goes. I think he's doing this to me so I'll give in and get him an iPad, if only so I can stop carrying all his crap).

What are you reading right now? Or, what was horrible?( I also read The Innocents by Francesca Segal recently... may have been the worst book I've read since I was forced to read Beowulf in 10th grade. OK, not that bad).  

<NL>

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Catch up, of sorts

To say things have been hectic is an understatement.
I've generally forgotten about this little thing I have going on here,
because real life has just gotten in the way. 
To get back in the swing of things 
I'm going to break it down and keep it simple.
Here's what's happening in the life of Nikki L.

1. For a good month or so I was surrounded by my family in one way or another.




Untitled







2. Now I'm not, and I really miss them.

3. We moved out of our South Philly row home and are temporarily in the suburbs...we're currently living in my mother-in-laws' house (more on that soon, I ... just... can't.. right now).

4. Kingston loves the suburbs.

5. Brian and I are going to be spending a lot of time in the car commuting together, and that's frightening.

6. I've traveled to Missouri for work twice in the last month: I hate the mid west.

7. I didn't go to this.

8. I still haven't seen this.

9. Work is majorly stressing me out.

10. In 27 hours I'm on vacation for a week.

11. I'm so annoyed with co-workers, friends and people in general lately that I realize number 10 is really, really needed.

More to come soon, promise. Hope to be blogging in a much more relaxed, reflective, vacation/alcohol-induced buzz-state next week. 


<NL>