Step Away From the Phone

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via Flickr

Did you happen to catch this article, “Step Away From the Phone!”, in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times yesterday? Imagine my delight when I read that my recent second attempt to disconnect and spend less time on my phone/in front of technology is actually part of a larger movement. Turns out, I’m not the only person feeling overconnected and saddened by being tethered to a smartphone 24/7 (don’t even get me started on the idiots who waited in line for the new iPhone over the weekend. I have no words, just eyerolls). The people interviewed in the article, including Marc Jacobs himself, have all set a hard line when it comes to limiting technology at home. Throw your phone in an empty fishbowl, leave your iPads outside the bedroom, first one to check their email puts the kids to bed. Genius, right?

“Whenever Michael Carl, the fashion market director at Vanity Fair, goes out to dinner with friends, he plays something called the “phone stack” game: Everyone places their phones in the middle of the table; whoever looks at their device before the check arrives picks up the tab.” I suggested playing this with a few girlfriends earlier this year; one, (who shall remain nameless ;), insisted she couldn’t afford the entire bill, not realizing she wouldn’t have to pay more than her share if she just left her phone unchecked. While I love the idea of the phone stack game, how sad is it that we had to invent a game with incentives just to concentrate on your friends at the table? What have we devolved into?

My favorite line in the whole article was this: “Public cellphone use has reached an uncivilized fever pitch, so now it’s chicer behavior to exempt yourself from that. You’re not answerable 24/7, and that’s a powerful and luxurious statement.”

Powerful and luxurious. I love it. I have to think that with all the swirling excitement over the latest cell phone release date or those silly commercials with iPhone and Android users brawling over bragging rights, that eventually the smartphone craze will burn itself out and maybe, just maybe, we’ll see a world without cell phones again.

I Forgot My Phone

Christine linked to this last Friday but I thought it was so important it bore repeating here. I’ve recently been feeling overconnected again, and I don’t like the squirmy feeling it gives me to not even realize I’ve been glued to my phone and look up and see Fitz next to me, just staring at me, asking for attention. He gives me these looks like, “Oh. That thing again. Guess you can’t pet me.” Maybe I’m anthropomorphizing, but when your dog gives you guilty stares because your laptop is on and your tv is on and you’re still scrolling through your phone instead of rubbing his belly, maybe it’s time to cut back on technology.

I grew up without a cell phone, and when I finally did get one in high school, no one had text messaging. We didn’t have Facebook or Myspace or even Youtube, forget Instagram and Pinterest. We hung out in person, not Google+ hangouts, and no one spent the meal with their face buried in a smartphone. I miss that.

I spend 9 hours a day at work in front of two computers, why on earth do I need a phone to send me more email during my short commute home, where I have another two computers? Or get Twitter messages in bed? Long story short: I’m going back to my Nokia bar phone for a while, as a cleanse. Unlike those unhealthy and bizarre juice cleanses, this one makes sense. A phone that just makes phone calls. What a novel concept.

We Went to the Museum

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It’s like visiting old friends again, saying hello to Renoir, and Monet, Degas, Seurat, Pissarro. Keep your churches, your synagogues, your meeting halls; this is my place of worship. I think of all the Sunday mornings spent here with my dad, before playing on the dirt trails of Fairmount park right behind the museum. I think of the tile making class I took here one summer as a kid, painting my own tiles and being amazed at how they came out of the kiln. I think of the times I came a few years ago following an ugly breakup and a year of unemployment, when the only thing I could afford to do, emotionally and financially, was sit in front of Eakins’ “The Gross Clinic” for hours at a time, thanks to our life-long family membership. I think of the unbelievable embarrassment of riches this museum holds, right here in my city, and am staggered. I think of the plan I made 20 some years ago, that if there were ever a world war and everyone was wiped out but I magically survived, I would move into the museum and live among my favorite paintings.

I love museums. I love this museum.

Weekend in Pictures

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I would like to formally request that every weekend be a 4-day weekend, please and thank you. By the time Saturday rolled around, I was so delightfully disoriented and confused as to what day it was from spending the previous two days off, that I almost burst into tears when I found out I still had one more day before Monday. Incredible!

As we’ve done for the past few years, every July 4th Jamal and I have a picnic at his alma mater, with Fitz in tow. I didn’t snap any shots of us spread out on our blanket with our sandwiches and fruit, mostly because it was approximately a billion degrees and we didn’t stay long. Fitz, however, was beyond excited. Look at that face! Friday, as part of my anniversary present to him, Jamal and I went on a 2 hour tour of the Phillies stadium and got to wander the park and the field (unfortunately, we weren’t able to tour the locker room, but I was totally hoping for some player encounters). That night we went out for drinks at a rooftop bar, dinner at our favorite Italian place, and an impromptu comedy show featuring Kevin Nealon. We were exhausted by the time we got home after midnight, but in the best way possible. Have I mentioned before that I love this guy? He’s my favorite. (Jamal, not Kevin Nealon.)

Tomorrow: photos from our museum date on Saturday!

Happy 4th!

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Happy Independence Day! I suppose it’s just a little bit un-patriotic to post a Parisian-esque picture on such an important day in American history, but I’ll have you know that photo was taken right here in Philly (the city where the nation’s independence was officially declared) at my favorite restaurant outside of Paris, Parc. Today is also my 3rd anniversary with Jamal, and I can think of no more fitting honor than fireworks and a day off from work (though the vintage New Kids on the Block sweatshirt he got me is pretty spectacular, too). Happy anniversary to the best guy I could hope for, the absolute greatest guy to have in my corner, the kind of guy who knows the way to my heart is to buy an NKOTB sweatshirt and tickets to the ballet and a book about Paris. Take that, America.

500th Post

No, it’s not this one. It actually occurred last week, and you’d think for so auspicious a milestone I’d have kept my eyes peeled. Not the case, and I didn’t even realize I’d hit 500 posts until this weekend. I’d always figured I’d make a bigger stink about my 500th post, that there would be fanfare and a humongous sense of accomplishment. And then I missed it entirely. I’ve been blogging for over two years now, and blogging every day for the past 18 months. I guess I sort of forgot about milestones and was just going with it.

Are you curious to know which post marked the big 5-0-0? It is ridiculously fitting.

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VOILA.

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A post about the New Kids on the Block. I have never been more proud.

I’m also insanely grateful to all of you who hang around here everyday, who read and comment and don’t judge me for being obsessed with things such as macarons, Gary Oldman, or Paris. Or, of course, the NKOTB. Here’s to the next 500. Yikes.

Yesterday

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Father’s Day has proven to be a pretty difficult day for me the past seven (seven? shit, man) years. It’s more manageable than, say, my dad’s birthday, or even the anniversary of the day he passed away. And sometimes I feel guilty for not being more sad, but that’s stupid; I know he wouldn’t have wanted me to feel sad or guilty. Yesterday was actually a pretty good day: I spent the day on a high from the New Kids on the Block concert I went to on Saturday night (more on that tomorrow) and laughing about all the times my dad and I drove around listening and belting along to the New Kids Greatest Hits, eight years after they had broken up. My dad did great back-up vocals for “The Right Stuff” in case you were curious. He was good at a lot of things, not least of which was putting up with and even sharing my totally un-ironic obsession with NKOTB (though he stopped short of letting me stalk them out during our annual summer trips to Boston, rude.). I miss him every single day, to the point where some days it smothers me and I feel like I’ll never be able to dig myself out of the absolute bleakness of the fact that at some point I will have lived more years without him than with him. And that’s a reality I’m not okay with yet. But there was also a time when I thought I would literally die from grief, and the only upside to the distance that’s inserted itself between me and his death is that it gets microscopically easier every year.

So yesterday wasn’t terrible. I wrote another 1,500 words of my book. Fitz had a play-date and didn’t make a total idiot out of himself or end up in time-out too much. I cleaned my bathtub. And yeah, I listened to a lot of New Kids. I lived. That’s the best way I know to honor my daddy. Miss you, daddy-o.

Peonies

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Friday was a good day. We had stinky bleu cheese and baguette for dinner, I bought and blazed through Maria Semple’s “Where’d You Go Bernadette?” (finishing it after a mere 8 hours combined over the weekend. I highly recommend it!), and I finally found peonies. I found them! And I spent the majority of the weekend photographing them and staring at them lovingly. The light in our all-white guest room (slash my writing room) is unbelievable in the mid-afternoon, so I snuck down there yesterday and had a mini photoshoot with these beauties. Yes, they smell as gorgeous as they look. I actually had a hard time leaving the house (this morning included) because I really don’t want to miss them opening and becoming even more beautiful. That’s not weird.

I’m Keeping ‘Em.

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Thanks for all weighing in on my new glasses conundrum a few weeks ago! My eye doctor determined that my prescription had in fact changed, and my astigmatism got worse, which explains all the ocular migraines I was getting and why my left eye was nearly always bloodshot. I’m blaming blogging, all that time spent in front of various computers. I clearly haven’t learned my lesson, because while the obvious choice would be to limit my screen-time and take better care of my eyes, I decided to steam ahead and buy those new glasses I wanted and take a lame hipster selfie to show them off. You’re welcome. (I was supposed to be writing when I took this shot of myself in Photo Booth. Ahem). I love them. Also: stripes.

How was your weekend?

Long Weekend

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It’s Memorial Day here on Monday, which means we’re off for a long weekend. I’m one of only five people in the whole office today, and the above cartoon really sums up perfectly how I feel. Every morning when I leave the house, I get a glimpse of my writing office before I go upstairs, and every morning without fail, the urge to play hooky and sit there and write all day is overwhelming. Someone needs to pay me a salary + benefits to sit at home in sweatpants and not do things. At least with the paid holiday on Monday, I can pretend.

What are you up to this weekend? Tomorrow morning we’re trekking out to Jamal’s alma mater to check it out as a potential wedding spot. I’ve requested diner breakfast as compensation for getting me out of the house before 9am on a Saturday. Hopefully there will be lots of writing the rest of the weekend. I’m trying to cross off some more post-it milestones. Have a good one, kiddos!