Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Pre-Holiday Tale (Part 2 of 2)

by Liz


I sighed. The lone customer waited in silence for his grilled cheese which, gauging by the still-limp bread, would take at least another three minutes to brown. Five months of buttering bread and deftly peeling wax paper from individual slices of cheddar cheese. Five months of waiting for bread to brown.

I regarded him from the corner of my eye. He was a regular customer, and yet I knew nothing about him. He was one of the quiet patrons; one of the disaffected. Neither of us had ever attempted to engage each other in conversation. I turned my gaze back to the obstinate sandwich. Still pale.

“Do you have plans for Thanksgiving?”

He looked back at me, wide-eyed, startled by the abruptly broken silence.

“Oh. Uh. I’m just going home. To Long Island.” He smiled ruefully.

Interesting. He hadn’t struck me as the Long Island type.

“That sounds nice. So, you’re from New York, then?”

“Well, yeah. But I went to school for a while in the Midwest.”

Now I was invested.

“University of Michigan?”


“Me too!”

The conversation progressed.

“What do you do in New York?”

“Well. I’m, um, unemployed. I was an attorney.”

“What kind of law did you practice?”

“I was an employment attorney.”

“Oh, god. How ironic.”

He smiled in response; I noted that he had nice teeth. I’d never seen him smile before.

His grilled cheese was suddenly done, and we soon bid each other a mutual “Happy Thanksgiving.” He ambled back out into the grey, pre-Thanksgiving afternoon; I poured myself a quarter mug of coffee and cooled my forehead against the exposed brick wall behind the bar.

Another customer; another coffee. Another early afternoon on Avenue B. Another holiday season.

And soon, another year.

A Pre-Holiday Tale (Part 1 of 2)

by Liz

I stood there dully, the day before Thanksgiving, absentmindedly toying with kitchenware. I examined the marred metal surface of the tongs, perpetually speckled with bits of brown oil. Memories of yesterday’s grilled ham and cheese; of yesterday’s grilled Nutella sandwich. Memories of any number of café novelties which have comprised the last five months of my life.

Five months of waking at 5:30am; of scaling seven consecutive flights of stairs to transfer between the underground R and the above-ground F train; of listening to NPR as I brew coffee and set out morning pastries, my shoulders tightening with each subsequent news headline. Five months of exchanging pleasantries with customers, people who I often mistakenly consider friends; people who, in all actuality, regard me only as “coffee girl,” if they consider me at all.

Five months of pining; it’s inevitable. I became panicky in the presence of an exquisite-faced Australian at the Uptown café I worked at earlier this year. Before the Aussie, it was the boyish son-of-a-yuppie with the hot-tempered, chain-smoking, half-Asian girlfriend. For the past five months, I’ve agonized over my current coffee crush, a customer who, despite my good-natured charm and subtle advances, remains partially oblivious to my existence.

“Does he know you’re not STUPID?” my friend Sophia inquired helpfully, via GChat. “Does he know you went to college?” In other words, does he know that you have half a mind and don’t ALWAYS smell like stale coffee; that your blouses aren’t ALL streaked with fudge; that the hair on your forearms isn’t always clotted with cream cheese?

Five months of buttering bread and slicing tomatoes and deftly peeling wax paper from individual slices of cheddar cheese. I stood there, before the grill, the day before Thanksgiving, anxious and lovelorn. In truth, I was wallowing in self-pity, doubtful of whether or not I should even remain in New York after the holiday season.

(to be continued...)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Il Caffe

by Jyll

I want coffee so badly, I can't even tell you. My body feels way too calm and centered sans caffeine...I'm like thinking clearly and rationally and it's only 11am. I haven't had a drop all day. Or yesterday. Or all last week. My heart is bleeding and my spirit is sick with grief. Really.

Coffee is more than just a beverage to me, it is a part of my soul. And I know that it's trendy to say things like that, but I've been saying it for the past 21 years. I've been drinking coffee since I was three years old (Dad was in charge of me during the mornings and only a man would give coffee to a three-year-old child for breakfast) and it's as much a part of my day as a shower and eyeliner. Or more like wanting to shower and put on eyeliner but opting to sleep an extra 12 minutes instead. More like that.

I would never, ever advocate giving up something that you love just because it (or he/she) is bad for you. I find the world to be a joyful place, but only because we create joy when we love something. Coffee, boys, babies, eyeliner, Christmas lights, and gossip all conspire to make the world a beatific place for me, so giving up my daily cup isn't just removing a vice, it's taking a physical toil on my soul. And if I didn't get massive migraines every now and then from my soul stirring love of coffee, you can be sure I would hook up an IV of Illy right into my left arm and go from there. But the last two weeks have brought two 26-hour migraines on me, and what with being up and down with a crawling baby all day it's just not worth the misery. I think.

When I was in college I was a 9 Cups a Day girl. I weaned myself down to three when I graduated, and then after a really weird day in Krakow I gave it up completely. I was backpacking at the time and was living off of coffee and gummi bears, the other choice being authentic Polish food, which would have been fine had it not been prepared in authentic Polish kitchens (complete with cockroaches, Fat Commie Shirtless Chain Smoking Cook, and stale ketchup), so I think it was just a combination of stress and shit coffee but I had these crazy heart palpitations one night so I just gave up the stuff completely. I was so amazed at my own willpower that I was done with it until just last summer, when I fell madly in love with this guy in Napoli and had to make a daily cup of coffee part of my daily routine so that I could stalk him properly. I never had migraines at all last summer, either, but that could have been the combination of being so in love that I was literally prancing everywhere I went that I was just too insanely, retardedly, stupidly happy to have headaches, or it could just have been that Italian espresso is less acidic than American coffee, but, really, who knows? Or cares?

Today we went into our fave cafe and bought a cup of coffee, and to make it worse our favorite baristo (the hot stupid one, naturally) came up and hugged me and told me that he missed me last week and that I was the best part of his day. I'm assuming the best part of the day is based on looks alone, as we never speak beyond "small coffee to go, please", so that's even more flattering as I am nothing if not vain and narcissistic (in case that's not glaringly obvious). Now we're back home, baby baby is napping, coffee has been transferred to my favorite mug, and it's just sitting here, looking at me...

Well, it was. After that last sentence I downed half of it. Mamma mia that stuff is good. Fuck it, as of my encounter this morning coffee has a whole nother meaning, because now it involves boys and if I'm actually on hugging terms with Hot Baristo it might also involve gossip. That's three soul stirrers all in one, migraines be damned, coffee, you and I are BACK.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Literary Transcript: Monday Night GChatting ("Gee, Chatting!")

by Jyll & Liz

8:06 PM
Jyll: i want a rowing machine
Liz: my dad used to have one
I never had enough coordination to do it
could never nordik track, either
Jyll: Haha
I used to break the skiis on that thing all the time
Liz: my parents kept the nordik track in my room
my bedroom perpetually smelled like stale sweat

* * * * *

Liz: i oversalted my popcorn. nuts.
Jyll: It's okay
Tomorrow is skinny day

* * * * *

8:25 PM
Liz: as i was popping my popcorn, i had an epiphany, sort of
Jyll: tell tell me
Liz: i think you and my coffee shop crush would be uber compatible
and i wouldn't even hate you if you dated
because i'm in love with you both
Jyll: your coffee crush is so not my man
he has no tattoos, I doubt he could work on a car, and he's an ass
Liz: ugh, you just described my type, to a T
Jyll: you are ridiculous
Liz: hahaha, oh jylly jyll face
you're going to fall in love with a yuppie before the end of your time in NYC
i can feel it

The Big Apple: Food for Thought

posted by Liz

"When a recent Pew Research poll asked Americans about different cities and whether or not they'd like to live there, 45 percent of the people under 35 said they'd like to live in New York. So if you're already here, roughly half of young America would happily switch places with you right now."
- New York Magazine, April 2009

* * * * *

"[In New York] I wasn't steering anything, not even myself. I just bumped from my hotel to work and to parties and from parties to my hotel and back to work like a numb trolley bus. I guess I should have been excited the way most the other girls were, but I couldn't get myself to react. I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo."
- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

* * * * *

"Hell. I still love you, New York."
- Ryan Adams, "New York"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

a little bittle bio

by Jyll

Well it's Sunday morning, and as per tradition Liz is working her way through her hangover at the coffee shop and I am sitting around the house in my (cute) jammies doing my makeup and kind of talking to my BFF Kerra on the phone (see "The Jyll Bitch Move" for more information on that). We aren't usually such degenerate drunks, but I think our newfound friendship is bringing out the idiot in both of us. With my inner idiot quite naturally dwarfing Lizzie's. We aren't usually such retards, though, even though our behavior last night doesn't lend credence to the fact. The owner of the deli on 12th and A certainly wasn't very impressed with our intelligence, what with the massive pile of cheetohs we left on the floor and the time we spent reading our fortunes in our baci chocolates. Sorry, Li-Chen, we'll be good girls next weekend!

We really are nice girls though. Smart, too, questionable on my part but a big for sure on Liz's. She has a BA in English from the University of Michigan. I have a BA in History from San Francisco State. We graduated in 2007 and have so far used our liberal arts degrees to advance ourselves in such exciting careers as food service and childcare. We're debating grad school but the cost is batshit insane so we're taking our sweet time.

I've spent the last two years traveling around Europe as an au pair, kind of a redneck Mary Poppins. I work my way from country to country, eating and drinking and flirting and playing with babies. I'm in New York because my visa expired in Italy and the new Schengen agreement makes it impossible to bribe your way to a new one like in the days of yore (or ummm so I've heard), so I found myself having to get the fuck out of Rome or lose my ability to enter the Schengen states for 10 years. I found a live-in nanny job in Manhattan, and four days later I was eating granola in the East Village.

The family that I am living with now are stereotypes of themselves, but I love them anyway. He's a professor, she's a designer. They eat only raw food, including meat and dairy, which we have shipped in bi-weekly from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania. I know. Cooking food puts toxins in it, you see, which we humans mustn't have or we'll get old and get cancer. Raw food makes you live forever and you will NEVER get sick or wrinkled. If you do, you're simply detoxing from years of toxic waste in your system. Their doctor's book actually says that most of our bowel movements should come from e. coli and not from fiber. Which is cool, I mean I respect people who are crazy so good for them. I'm allowed to cook, but it's a great diet to live in a house with nothing but raw fatty organ meat and vegg. I've taken to eating raw eggs because it means I don't have to wash the pan, and raw meat is cool by me because it's just so savage that I can respect the concept. If they were raw vegan or something artsy I would talk a lot more smack, but how can I make fun of someone gnawing on a fattie piece of raw cow heart? It's just so real. It's a total culture shock from Italy, but I think New York is a total culture shock from anywhere.

More later, time to pick up my phone and "uh huh" Kerra.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanks givin

by Jyll

Well, since Liz started us on the holiday spirit, let's just jump right in! It's my favorite time of the year. Thanksgiving is a few days away, the massive Christmas sales are about to begin, and I'm not even very fat this year so I can buy clothes only one size too small instead of several. For me, this time of year is all pretty lights and Christmas carols and cute peacoats and Christmas trees and turkeys and sparkles and alcohol. It's the best part of being in the city. The majority of my newfound east village hipster friends bemoan the presence of the lights and the wreathes and the giant cornucopie ("It's not even Veteran's Day yet, waaa!") and say silly things about hating our capitalist society and Americans are so commercial and this country is too materialistic and in Europe they don't do this (they totally do) and blablabla I hate my parents. None of that for me.

I'm from Bishop, California, a small town in the Eastern Sierra. It's Wild Wild West where I'm from, think cowboys on every corner, saloons instead of bars, an actual hitching post (that gets occasional use) at the high school. Being in the big city with the lights and the trees and the people rushing around makes me feel like I'm in the movies. It's validating, in a way, to be like, okay, I'm broke, total career rut, I have no boyfriend, I only date losers, and I'm a little bit fat...but at least I'm done with college, I'm hella pretty, and I live near a park with a big giant Christmas tree with sparkly lights all over it. Life's okay.

I'm grateful to capitalism for many things, and these things include the window dressings and the glitz and holiday bustle. It is manufactured, to some extent, but most good things (food, medicine, sequins) are manufactured. The happy feelings most of us get when we see all the decorations? Straight from da heart. Thank you capitalism, for dressing everything up and making the world sparkle. I will totally max out my credit cards in thanks.



by Liz

Thank you, saxophonist on the corner of 1st and Houston, for showing emotion.

Thanks to this paper cup of coffee, for its unconditional warmth.

Thanks to Jyll for keeping me in mind, even if it was while purchasing popular pre-teen literature (and even though it has led to the degradation of my personal reputation at the café; one patron even offered to bring an alternate book jacket to conceal the tell-tale cover design. A Playboy. A National Enquirer. Anything but Twilight).

Thanks to the quartet of Canadian tourists who left a gift for me at the café last Sunday night. “I think its wine,” my boss shrugged, affecting an air of nonchalance. It was, fortuitously, a bottle of vodka.

Thanks to Caitie for hosting an apartment-warming party tonight, to which I shall bring the aforementioned vodka and a considerably smaller bottle of tonic water. These two liquids, imbibed in tandem, will facilitate the abolition of East Village Todd from my thoughts (if only for one Friday night).

Thanks to Rose for inviting me into her home for Thanksgiving: an incredibly warm invite from an incredibly gracious human being.

Thanks to my new co-worker for her thoughtful assurance. “I could definitely see you in France,” she agreed after I had divulged my ideal of ex-patriotism. I told her of my plan to extract myself from this city and from the half-hearted embrace of Uncle Sam. I want to knead bread in a patisserie, I told her. And begin smoking, lightly. And read Simone de Beauvoir while licking my fingertips, sticky with brie and honey. “I think you should,” she concurred, nodding with an almost grave certainty.

Thanks to the 1st avenue barista who smiles at me in recognition. To him, I am not a lost girl. To him, I am a loaf girl, someone who knows exactly what she wants, even if it’s just a simple piece of banana bread.

Thanks to John Mayer for the new album, for indulging my self-manufactured heartache; thanks to Lady GaGa for providing counter-balance to my self-pity; thanks to Norah Jones for keeping an even keel. Special thanks to Brandi Carlile for provoking a serious (if brief) consideration of lesbianism.

Thanks to all the NYC crazies for making me feel somewhat less batty by comparison. Thanks to the tatterdemalion who, earlier this afternoon, addressed a garbage can with the utmost sincerity (“You LOOK so HUMAN!”).Thanks to the man who brandished a cigarette lighter on the R train, setting fire to his right knee-cap. Thank you, over-lipsticked East Village woman, for gloating that you once lasted two years without brushing your teeth (“My gums didn’t even BLEED!”). Thanks, guy who walked into the café wearing a diaper; thanks for not caring about social boundaries, and for choosing not to shave your thighs.

Thanks to everything that gives reason for pause; to every small thing that gives every larger thing reason.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

About Harry

by Liz

While conditioning my hair in the shower this morning, I had an epiphany. Full-blown; fully-realized. And though I usually write at a coffee lounge on Mercer Street, this post comes straight from my desk chair in Brooklyn. In fact, I’m still in my bath towel, having careened out of the bathroom, hair dripping. I have forsaken a proper scrub and shave for the sake of a blogpost.

First, some background.

Last Sunday evening, Jyll and I met her new lust interest at a bar in Brooklyn. Settling into a cozy corner with a glass of Stella, I was looking forward to meeting Harry. Or rather, re-meeting Harry; Jyll and I first became acquainted with Harry at an East Village bar on Halloween. Though he was funny and charming and undeniably enamored of Jyll, he was - by his own admission - under the influence. Well. Under a few different influences.

So, at this bar in Park Slope, I was charged with the task of re-assessing Harry. I could vaguely recall his physical appearance, but I vividly remembered his demeanor: bumbling, babbling, disarmingly candid and verbose. At the time - at midnight on Halloween at a bar on 11th Street - I attributed these traits to the cocaine and alcohol. I was mistaken.

Sober Harry was identical to Sloppy Harry: Talky. Forthcoming. Self-deprecating. Comical. Uncensored. Sweet.

He exhibited traits so antithetical to what Jyll and I have come to expect from New York men (and men in general) that we became wary, analyzing his innate kindness to a pulp.

Liz: He must have a wife and two kids. Why else would he live in Park Slope?

Jyll: No, I think must have been molested as a child. Why else would he be so sweet and sincere?

Liz: I’ve got it! He’s an undercover CIA agent. He’s playing a role; he’s courting you for an eventual position as a spy for the U.S. government.

Jyll: Alien. Harry is definitely an alien.

It’s pathetic. Our expectations of New York men are so embarrassingly low that we found ourselves reducing Harry to a caricature: a deadbeat dad/alien, a married undercover agent who had been molested at an early age. Why ELSE would he be so wonderfully vulnerable?

Scrubbing my scalp in the shower this morning, it hit me like a load of bricks. Harry is the “manic-pixie-dream-girl”. HE’S Natalie Portman in Garden State; he’s Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown; he’s Rachel Bilson in The Last Kiss.

And Jyll and I, like the male protagonists in these films, underestimated the manic-pixie-dream-boy simply because he is so care-free and kind. It’s hard to understand, his open-ness. It’s scornful, his sincerity. Harry’s personality traits should be refreshing; instead, we found ourselves rolling our eyes at them.

This is just a feeble observation, but it seems that girls and boys have two opposite battle plans when it comes to attracting the opposite sex. Guys act cocky, cool and reserved; they try to impress you with their intelligence and drinking ability. Girls act open, caring, and interested; they try to attract you with their warmth and attentiveness.

And it is only acting; we overstate these attributes to gain the attention of the opposite sex. And worse, we’re really only guessing at which attributes would attract the opposite sex. I know that I tend to act pretty flighty around guys that I like; I’m hopelessly attentive, forgiving and sweet. If you know me at all, you’d also know how unlike me these attributes are.

Harry, though, isn’t acting. He isn’t affecting the demeanor of the brawny, super-intellectual and cooler-than-humanly-possible male. He’s just…Harry.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

From the Comment Section: Responses to "About a Boy"

posted by Liz

Call me the Girl-Who-Thinks-She-Sees-The-Insecure-Boy-Behind-The-Man-That-No-One-Else-Sees. I'm the Natalie Portman in Garden State; I'm the Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown. I hate this melodramatic role.
- Liz, from the blogpost "About a Boy" (11/10/2009)

Caitie said...
Well, from your film comparisons, I would say you are the "manic pixie dream girl." And as the originator of the phrase says, "she exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures." So, really it's pretty selfish and male chauvinistic. But the way I like to interpret it in my head is that the MPDG is actually the primary subject and the one that can be happy on her own in the end. And it's not that she doesn't necessarily exist, just that she can't live up to the dream the boy has created out of his own need to live out the hipster, indie fantasy he has of himself and his sad life.

wow, that made no sense. sorry to add to the confusion.

* * * * *

L said...
Caitie, you're amazing.

For the record, I hate both Garden State and Elizabethtown. These films portray woman not as an extention of the male protagonist's humanity, but rather as foils to the man's supposed depth. These women are flighty and shallow; they're Diane Keaton re-incarnate, re-packaged for a new generation.

I sneeringly compared myself to these 2-Dimensional characters simply because I recognize the unfairness of the role, a role I feel I've been cornered into. Guys love playing the Zach Braff card.

For the record, I hate Zach Braff, too.

Adzuki Bean Popsicle

by Jyll

I feel like my mother today. In a good way. There are days when I feel like my mother and I know that it's most definitely not a good thing, but other days it can be a comforting thing. Just like there is "good crazy" and "bad crazy".

I find that when I have a "turningintomymother day" that I do things that are exactly the way that she does them. For example, I was rudely awoken at 5am by a pounding migraine. I sighed loudly and mumbled "fuckin a," a dearly beloved expression of my mother, in what I swear was my her exact voice. That made my head worse. So I took two Advil, started to go back to bed, and then thought, in these exact words, "Honey, 400 miligrams isn't enough, 800 is much better...oh, alright, 6oo miligrams, but you really should take another 200. Honestly." Which would have been my mother's end of the conversation, had she been in the room with me. Medication starts at 800 miligrams or bust for her and we always fight over how much she drugs me. It's an important part of our relationship. My mom is a Hospice nurse, and because all of her patients have 6 months or less to live she forgets that those of us with healthy livers need to keep them that way.

So, I go back to bed, blablabla my head is killing me, wake up, take the baby out, get some coffee, play at the park, come home, put munchkin down for a nap, and then I wandered into the kitchen, just like my little mother does (she's very childlike, my mother), and said, aloud, even though there was no one there, "What oh what shall we have for lunch today?" Just like, you guessed it, Mama. I remembered that I had cooked up a big batch of beans and frozen them, classic MyMother move, so I threw them in a pot and added some meat and there we are. I find it relevant to post this because a) I'm turning into my mother and the world must be warned, and b) Having a giant adzuki bean popsicle in a pot was so comical and classic SomethingMyMomTaughtMeToDo that I photographed it.



Monday, November 16, 2009

On a Park Bench in Union Square

posted by Liz

If you're wrong, you're wrong. There's nothing wrong with being wrong.

But what happens if you're wrong forever?

Nothing happens.


Those must be the new street smarts.

Rose & Sonny

by Liz

Working at a café in Manhattan has its share of perks. I have unlimited access to coffee and Nutella; I can wear, quite literally, anything I like (read: “slumber-party chic”). I’m also not required to suffer 8 hours in front of a computer screen every day. Instead, I have the opportunity to interact with a myriad of personality types, eccentrics notwithstanding. Every coffee shop has its share of regular customers; my coffee shop has Rose.

Conversing with Rose is like brushing up against myself at another age. We lead disparate lives – Rose is in her late 30’s and resides in the Bronx with her husband and two children; I’m in my early 20’s and live in Brooklyn with two roommates I found on the internet – but the two of us share an uncanny emotional connection. We also share the same source of daily inspiration: Rose’s eleven year old son, Sonny.

Sonny is at the perfect age and of the perfect temperament; so perfect, in fact, that you’re tempted to grab him by the shoulders and draw him firmly to your breast, holding him tight in a vain attempt to conspire against the aging process.

“He’s so,” I once remarked to his mother, “even.”

And he is. He’s thoughtful, observant, smart and astute. He’s wide-eyed, conversant, polite and, sometimes, stubborn. His idol is Bobby Flay. He loves to cook, but professes a distaste for chocolate; it is, in his words, “unoriginal.”

“Perhaps,” I countered, challenging Sonny’s fundamental aversion to chocolate, “it’s your duty as an aspiring chef to manipulate the ingredient in a way that suits a different palate. Your palate.” I mentioned the fact that there are, after all, many different kinds of chocolate, as well as different brands, all with varying percentages of cacao content.

“Well,” he slowly conceded, “I COULD mix it with something spicy. Like, maybe to marinate chicken in…”

“Like a molé?” I offered.

“Yeah!” he responded eagerly, warming to the idea.

Often, Rose and I glean more from Sonny that he does from us, the ostensibly wiser adults. (Did you know, for example, that the crocodile is widely considered to be the most superior member of the animal kingdom?) Rose and I, in Sonny’s presence, allow ourselves to inhabit a childlike mentality; that is, we take care to listen, consider, inquire, and hypothesize. We aren’t stiff, staunch or stentorian in our opinions.

The interactions I share with Sonny and Rose often mark the conversational highpoint of my day - at 8:30 a.m., no less. These conversations unravel over the course of just a few minutes and cover simple topics: film, field trips, weekend plans. When we talk, it’s less an exchange of statements and opinions than it is a communal stirring pot of words and ideas, each of us tending to the topic at hand.

Though we stand at opposite sides of the counter, the three of us coexist on the basest, most simple level. We connect as people. We wash our faces and hands in each others’ presence and leave the bar refreshed, properly fitted to greet the new day. Sonny departs for his first-period class; Rose makes her way to a cubicle in Herald Square; I return to the dirty dishes behind the counter. All of us walk away noticeably brightened, spiffy with some sort of evolved understanding.

I know Rose and Sonny would agree.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Text-alogue (Thursday Night Edition)

by Jyll & Liz

Jyll: What are you doing tonight?
Liz: Just got home. Woke up just in time for my stop, still drooling. Gonna shower, open the first of 2 bottles of wine and listen to the pussycat dolls…U?
Jyll: That sounds amazing. I am going to go to the gym and come home and watch the office and do crunches and pushups until i’m gi jane
Liz: Hahaha. Someday our two worlds will collide.


Liz: God, it took me, like, 15 minutes to shave one leg. Woof.
Jyll: Ah yes, winter is here.


: U haven't posted. I hate u.
Jyll: The baby hasn’t napped! I will when i get off


Liz: I'm watching Oprah’s Karaoke Challenge. 4 real.
Jyll: Elizabeth!
Liz: Haha, shuddayoumouth. Ooh! Wild card showdown after the commercial break!
Jyll: Dude. No.


Jyll: No parents yet…i just ate like 8 pieces of cheese in protest
Liz: Uggg. Kidnap the baby and hop a flight to italia. Thatll teach em.


Jyll: Posted. It sux.
Liz: I luh it.

So Much for Solidarity

by Jyll

10:57am, Saturday morning. Liz and I had a wonderful Friday night. We went to a lecture on post-modernism at NYU, went to dinner at a raw vegan restaurant after, and had a really interesting conversation about modern values and their effect on livestock, which translates into economic symbolism and a general lack of socialism.


Actually we blew off an artshow party in favor of going to my favorite dive bar in the east village, where we proceeded to get absolutely hammered on a few too many vodka and gin tonics, respectively, flirted with the bartenders, eyed the doorman, and drunk texted all the guys in our phones. It was fun. And we must have done a nice job with the bartenders because those boys were pouring straight liquor into our glasses by the middle of the night. I've been crushing on the bouncer for awhile (what with the tattoos, long hair, and dazzling array of chains on his jeans he is JustMyType) so when we left I brilliantly asked him his name and in exchange gave him mine and a dazzling smile. Although in retrospect vodka makes everything dazzling, doesn't it?

We finished off the night with the ultimate: DINER FOOD. A massive basket of fries and another of onion rings. Drunk noshing on salty fatty food is nothing, and the fact that we both killed about a one pound basket each isn't surprising in the least. What is surprising is that we also killed like an entire bottle of ketchup. An entire fucking bottle. And not the mini-bottle shit, the regular wide mouth bottle. If we'd each had four baskets of fries and a half gallon of ice cream I wouldn't have raised an eyebrow this morning, but a family size bottle of ketchup? Fucking savage.

2,000 fried-delicious-greasegreasegreasey calories later found us back at my place, stumbling into bed so that Liz could save commute time in the morning. Poor kid was up at 8am, after going to bed at at least half past 2. I woke up with her and decided to stay awake, because one of us sleeping in like a princess isn't fair if the other princess has to go work for the man*. I was going to stumble in and visit her at 9am, wearing my dress and makeup from the night before in solidarity and unity** but I needed to rest my eyes for a minute we are.

Sorry, Lizzie.

*I took the children to the library last week and picked up The Biography for Kids edition of The Life of Lenin.

**I think it's having an effect on my personal life.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What's in a name?

by Jyll

Ever get a text from someone who is clearly not used to texting? It's flattering when they take the time, especially if it's a guy, as they never take the time unless you're really worth the taking. I just got a text from the new guy I'm dating, I think it took him 3 hours to draft it but good for him for making it to the 21st century. His name is still stuck in the 19th.

This fellow is definitely a good prospect. He's a few centimeters taller than me (I'm 6'3"), dark, floppy hair, big blue eyes, a legitimate job, and he wears trendy adorable oversized plastic glasses in a non-hipster sort of way, which is a feat in and of itself. He's really smart, and well read...and has political opinions, which actually isn't a turn on for me but I am impressed that he has them. This boy is new territory for this girl, because I generally go for motorheads, tattoo artists, bouncers, and mechanics. I love big stupid meatheads with tattoos, at least three illegitimate children, a reverence for Jenna Jameson and Jessica Rabbit, and crazy meth head ex-girlfriends. This new fellow is so the polar opposite from that that it makes me think that I am growing up and beginning to make rational choices. However, before we take off our hats to New Guy, let's get to his name. It...Is...Harry.

I know.

And he goes by it by choice. Do you know what his real name is? Harold? No. It's HARKER. His mother's maiden name or some east coast shit like that, I wasn't sober when he told me how he came by it but it's Harker. And his last name is elegant and French. He has a romance novel name and he goes by HARRY. Maybe it's a geek thing? We don't know each other well enough for me to start taking control of his life...yet...but, when and if I do become The Girlfriend, 'Harry' will be the first thing to go.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Jyll Bitch Move

by Jyll

My BFF in California is on the phone right now. I love love love her in person, but she only calls me when she's high, and only to tell me lengthy, over detailed stories about people I don't know or care about, and it's annoying. Rather than not answer, or ask her nicely not to call me when she's stoned, I just put the phone down and pick it up to say "uh huh" and "niiiiiiice" every few minutes. Right now I'm watching Southpark and Kerra must be on some good shit because she's high enough that I can get away with literally putting the phone on the floor and picking it up every commercial break for a few words. Bloody hell. Today she is launching into yet another story about an aging 80's rockstar (and, yes, if I named him you'd totally know him) that she is sometimes fucking, which is problematic as she works with his wife and is starting to like the woman. It would be interesting if this hadn't been going on for over 3 years and if we hadn't had this same "conversation" for, you guessed it, over 3 years.

In a few minutes she'll compare notes on the girls at work, the bitch at the coffee shop, her fiancee, her mom, her ex-husband, her dog, and then I'll put the phone on silent and turn up the TV and in the morning I'll text her and tell her I had a long day at work and just plumb fell asleep.

I'm the best friend EVER.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

About a Boy

by Liz

When Jyll mentioned - about a week ago - that we ought to start a blog, I was inititally reticent. A blog, so often, is no more than a virtual confessional; a blog, for many, is a place to spill your guts, no matter how gruesome the contents.

I didn't want our blog to be so gauche; so overly-reflective; so pretentiously deprecating.

But I also agree with Jyll in that a good foundation for any piece of writing - whether poetry, prose or fiction - is drawn from your own personal circumstance. Write what you know. Candor, honesty and authenticity are crucial components of any relationship, including the relationship between the writer and the reader.

So, it is with this philosophy in mind that I write today's blogpost. And, as you may have guessed from the lengthy pre-amble, I write today with hand-wringing trepidation. For today, I write about the opposite sex. Boys. A Boy.

Let's call him Todd.

Todd harbors insecurities; just as you harbor insecurities; just as I harbor insecurities. Insecurity is the mark of humanity, of mortality. However, insecurities that aren't self-monitored or well-managed are bound to manifest themselves in the form of drug addictions or unsavory social affectations. Unfortunately for me, Todd's insecurities have festered, manifesting themselves as undesirable personality traits. He's derisive, facetious and cocky. I almost rather wish he suffered from a minor coke habit.

I ought to have know better than to fall for East Village Todd. Poorly managed insecurities reign below 14th street in Manhattan; everyone in the East Village seem to suffer from some social or intellectual delinquency. My boss has said that the inhabitants of the East Village are either prisoners or exiles, but I think they're both. They've been exiled (or have exiled themselves) from polite society, and now hold themselves prisoner to their own insecurities.

Anyway, call me a woman scorned, or at least a woman incredibly frustrated. Call me the Girl-Who-Thinks-She-Sees-The-Insecure-Boy-Behind-The-Man-That-No-One-Else-Sees. I'm the Natalie Portman in Garden State; I'm the Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown. I hate this melodramatic role.

But one role I refuse to play is the Girl-Who-Thinks-She-Can-Change-The-Boy. The boy who chooses sarcasm as a petty shield against perceived societal pressures, against vulnerability. I'm not a masochist.

Agonizing over unrequited love is a form of masochism in itself. I recall a conversation I once had with a friend on the subject:

Me: Unrequited love feels like someone is stirring my guts with a wooden spoon, like an over-tended cauldron.

Her: It feels like I'm languishing at the bottom of a well, waiting for someone to throw down a rope...

Me: It feels like my heart is being squeezed in someone's fist; perhaps even my own. It feels like bloody masochism.

Her: It feels like I'm choking; like my throat is closing; like I'm being asphyxiated; like there's not enough oxygen in the world.

So, needless to say, I'm over East Village Todd.

(Jyll, please remind me of this tomorrow morning. And the next day. And the next...)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ayo (I'm Tired of Using Technology)

by Liz

I've tried, for the last 40 minutes, to install a StatCounter on our still-obscure blog. This has proven to be an exercise in futility for the following reasons:

1. I have no idea how to install a StatCounter.

2. I've been hypnotized, spellbound by the vacant-minded trio seated at the table next to mine; the sheer vacuous-ness of their conversation is entrancing:

I went through a phase last year when I said "ass" a lot.

That was a weird-ass phase.

3. I'm under by the vague suspicion that everyone in this café can smell my feet. This distresses me, then distracts me from the task at hand, as all my mental energy is focused on analyzing the facial contortions of the NYU students seated in close proximity to my flip-flops, which are currently propped up on a wooden chair.

4. I have no idea how to install a StatCounter.

Sorry, Jyll.

My oh my

by jylly

Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day...

63 degrees in Manhattan, folks, and not to be a Grandpa and start my sentence off with a cheesy old song and an announcement about the weather, but, my oh my, isn't it a nice day?? This will be my first winter in New York, and when you consider that I am a native Californian and that I have spent the last year in Hawaii and southern Italy, you might appreciate that this New York cold is a whole new ballgame for this beach babe. Today I took my baby (I am a nanny) to the park to celebrate the nice day. And, because we always go to the park in the morning anyway. We both wore trendy blue sundresses and had matching cups of coffee from the it-cafe of the moment, 9th Street Espresso (although to be fair Esme's was empty). It was just so gosh darned nice to sit in the sun and drink a good cup of (overpriced) coffee. Yay for vitamin D.

We visited Liz at her overpriced cafe, and she was patiently training her new counter person. I felt sorry for the new girl. The first day on the job at any food joint is awful, because you realize how much there is to clean, how much coffee will stick under your fingernails, and how little time you have to laze around in parks in sundresses with happy babies when you're slagging coffee and biscotti. Why anyone chooses actual labor over childcare is beyond me. But Liz is wonderoman, she can handle a hard day's work, unlike other women I know. She can even leave the pastry shelf alone, a feat that is beyond my comprehension. When I'm a barista, there are a lot of "broken" cookies that must be eaten immediately, usually because I pick them up and break them before stuffing my face. No bagel, donut, or can of whipped cream is left unmolested, and no cookie left unturned. I generally give free shit to everyone that I like, which means that every Guy in a Band, Guy with Cool T-Shirt, Hot Guy, Dorky Funny Guy, and Guy in general doesn't pay for shit, and usually I hand out my phone number as freely as the "broken muffins". I sit around at the bar eating stuff, texting boys, gossiping with my co-workers, blatantly ignoring everyone else, and generally just acting like the rudest, boredest teenager of your worst nightmares, so, yeah, long story short I'm really impressed with Liz's work ethic and attitude. She's the best.

If you haven't seen Liz, let me paint you a little picture. She has lovely, and I do mean lovely, red hair, a proper ginger shade, not like reddish brown or blonde with a dash of red. Straight up Little Mermaid red. And it's thick and fluffy like Ariel's hair, without the weird early 90's swept bang thing. She always has on something cool but in a carefree, non-hipster sort of way. By that I mean that she can wear jeans and a vintage blouse and not look like she spent $500 and 3 days putting it together, it

She has a great sense of humor, balancing sarcasm and sweetness with the greatest of ease and not in a patronizing way. Best of all, she is observant, incredibly observant. She notices a person's attitude and can analyze their thought process, something that I am baffled by. I notice emotions and pretty colors, Liz notices expression, rhetoric, and outlook, and she gets it in like 5 seconds. It's like everyone is a character in a novel and she's the English teacher explaining the character and their relevance of the story to the class. I mean that in a good way. She's someone who you can talk to about, like, the postman or the delivery guy for about 10 seconds and walk away thinking, "Whoa, that was deep." It's really hard to be brilliant and not boring or lame, but she walks the line and she walks it well. She's a very intimidating person to have a blog with, because while she is using big words and discussing attitudes and emotions and other brilliant things, I'm over here writing about hangovers and broken cookies. Yin and Retarded Yang, I guess, but maybe it'll work.

Anyway, Liz is awesome, like the weather today. Now excuse Grandpa Jyll while I go get another cup of coffee and read my paper.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

About Last Night...

by Liz

Geez, you Manhattan kids lead such bourgeois lives.

Who had the better Saturday night? Hard to say. A typical Saturday night in Brooklyn includes cheap wine, meat substitutes and an impromptu dance-party-for-one (all enjoyed while I mix a new playlist for the café, a playlist which is invariably better suited to one-off dance parties than early-morning latte-sipping).

Oddly enough, Jyll, our respective Saturday nights ended in a similar fashion: we both fell asleep with the lights on, still in our clothes and mascara.

Moral of the story? No matter the borough, the night always ends the same.

* * * * *

Well, as expected, Jyll has set the bar rather high. Write what you know? I don’t know a single thing.

So, instead, I’ll write about Jyll.

(Jyll, we can use this for the back flap of our eventual book jacket. Or for our Wikipedia article. From what I’m told, any self-serving jerk can reserve a spot on Wiki these days. )

Jyll is brunette and model-esque; were her life to be depicted onscreen, she would no doubt be portrayed by Carla Brüni or Sophie Dahl (or, in a pinch, any actress other than Amber Tamblyn). She epitomizes what it means to be a woman in the modern era. She is at once maternal (as when she assures Liz that she is “skinnier than Janeane Garofalo”, an impressive fib) and fiercely independent, having traveled the U.S. and Europe as an au pair extraordinaire.

Jyll lives for gently sardonic banter. Forthright and authoritative, she is always plausible, even when paraphrasing Wikipedia articles and quoting Dr. Oz. Her voice messages, however, can be disarmingly bashful, as when she invites Liz to join her for a brownie after work (but only, she clarifies, if Liz wants to).

Jyll doesn’t need to know your language to fall in love with you; she believes that language is a needless prop, the invention of an un-emotive man. She values aesthetic principals and disdains the presumptuousness of those men who so much as wink at her.

An overly precocious young adult, Jyll is yet unsure of how to navigate the self-conscious pretense of New York’s East Village.

Posta l'Una

by jyll

Ahh, where to start? We're just figuring out the focus of this world wide weblog, so bear with us during the construction phase if you're feeling charitable, or check back in a few weeks if not.

The best thing to write about, as every writer will tell you is the very cliche, and yet very sound:

Write what you know.

Simple and yet profound. But at the moment my hangover, my lack of coffee, me being coerced into working on a Sunday, and the brick of cheese I accidentally ate are all weighing heavily on my mind so I'm not quite ready for profundity.

Last night I had a pretty decent first date, Manhattan style, at a fancy bar with a guy in a button down and a pullover and the standard yuppie jeans (fortunately the lighting was bad so no one noticed my Payless shoes and clearance-H&M dress), and we had a nice time and ended up getting hammered and making out at the bar, which was nice for several reasons but mostly because it was such a drunken redneck thing to do that it reminded me of home.

After he paid our fairly substantial bar tab, I toddled home in my heels and made friends with two bouncers, one door man, a crackhead, and the falafel guy. I also called my ex-boyfriend. Effing brilliant. Even in my drunken stupor I knew that it was a dumb thing to do so I fell back on an ancient female remedy for comforting oneself: I went to the nearest deli and bought a chocolate bar and an Enquirer. Then I called my best friend in Nevada, who after hearing me speak two words told me to drink a glass of water and go to bed. So I did. Today was spent buying hairdye, harrassing Liz at her cafe, getting a pedicure, taking a lot of Advil, and buying cheese at the farmer's market for a party tonight and eating half of it. And then writing this profound, soulful piece for the blog. I daresay that with a bit more sleep, a few more braincells, and less cheese and chocolate in my system I can maybe think of something better. Stay tuned for posts about Italian barmen, crash dieting, childcare tips, Ways to Convince Yourself that You Can Skip the Gym, and many, many more such gems.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Raison d'être

...text message conversation of 11/04/09:

Jyll: I just had an epiphany
Liz: Do tell! I could use some profundity
Jyll: We are going to start our own blog. It's going to be huge.
Liz: Word. Theme of blog?
Jyll: TBD. We can brainstorm that part.
Liz: I could b right. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Jyll: We are both writers, and observant, and lazy, and we don't suck...let's do it.
Liz: ...well put. And that, what u just texted me, should be our byline. So shall it be written, so shall it be done.
Jyll: It will need a name
Liz: Hmm, well. Depends on content. Are we going to be clever? Witty? Maternal? Intellectual? Irreverent? Bitchy?...
Jyll: All.

* * * * *

Liz: Have u thought of a name for our pulitzer prize winning blog yet?
Jyll: I am inclined to veto anything "...and the City"
Liz:...crud. Then i got nothin.