A Woman’s Wit

One of the great things about New York is that it is chock full of museums. Art, culture, books, music, science, there is a museum for it all. The things that makes me giddy is that most museums offer free hours, most are only once a month but many are every week. I choose this week to take advantage of the free hours at the Morgan Library. They are hosting a Jane Austen exhibit through March, that I was eager to check out.

Now if you are unfamiliar with Austen, you are likely a man who has had little or no interaction with women. Surely you have heard of Pride & Prejudice or Mr. Darcy. Austen’s stories center on the lives of women and are mainly stories about people falling in love despite social constructs and the usual obstructions to love. In other words Austen is the foundation of every romantic comedy you have ever seen.

The exhibit showcased many of Jane’s letters to her sister Cassandra. I am sad that hand written letters are seemingly obsolete. Jane had writing on every nook and cranny of the page. Paper was expensive and therefore precious in her time. Her letters were full of wit and good humor. Like every other Jane Austen fan I think Jane and I would be great friends and pen pals if she were around today.

One of the highlights of the exhibit was a complete manuscript of Lady Susan. This is the only surviving full manuscript of any of Jane’s novels. Looking at the pages you can really see the expertise she wielded in her craft.

We spent a lot of time in the Austen exhibit taking everything in, but we also were able to check out J.P. Morgan’s personal library. Wowzers! I love a grand personal library and this is one of the grander I’ve seen. It is my dream to one day have a library; filled floor to ceiling with beautiful hardbound books.

This was just one of the rooms of the library. He had every type of book there; history, children’s books, novels. I personally wouldn’t put them behind the glass doors he had (books shouldn’t be jailed) but it was beautiful nonetheless.

My roommate was so kind as to join me for my little bookworm adventure and we capped off the evening with some hot cocoa and Sense and Sensibility.

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What I’ve been up to

Yes I know it’s been a while, but I’m back and ready to catch you up on what’s been going on with me out here.

Most exciting thing to happen since I got back.

I saw Ira Glass! I was walking to the subway after finding out an event he was hosting was full and met him along the way. He was in a hurry but gracious, and yes he sounds exactly like he does on the radio.

I spent a fun Friday evening with my new roommate Tianne exploring the lower eastside. First stop was the KGB Bar.

We came for a poetry reading and were surprised to find the placed packed. The room was overflowing with people sitting on the narrow stairway straining to hear the poems. The little that I heard was good, but we didn’t catch much of it because we decided to leave and head to a little wine bar around the corner. I would like to come back though and check out another reading. This place is known to host some up and coming literati.

I couldn’t find a link to the wine bar, but it was a classy establishment. I enjoyed a lovely glass of white wine.

Next stop was some grub at Katz Deli.

Tianne and I split a pastrami sandwich. It was delicious. The pastrami was much more flavorful than Carnegie Deli’s. Half a sandwich was a perfect portion.

Next up a dark and stormy at Pianos.

This place was great. Two rooms with music, the type varies from week to week. Lots of seating. It can get pretty loud, but it encourages close conversations. A fun place to go with a group of 3 or 4 friends.

After Pianos we got a little lost and found ourselves at a little dessert shop. Can’t remember the name now, but then again there wasn’t anything too remarkable to mention. It was a fun Friday night of exploring.

The other night I went to an Austen Mashups discussion at the Morgan Library.

They have an Austen exhibit on display until mid-March. I haven’t checked it out yet but will soon. The discussion included authors of various Austen mashups. If you’re a fan of Austen, you’re probably aware of the various pastiche stories (P&P from Darcy’s pov is a common incarnation). Recently there is a trend toward inserting monsters into literary works. For example.

and more recently

The author Ben H. Winters was on hand to discuss his inspiration for the Sea Monsters mashup. It was fun listening to the panel discuss Austen because they echoed so many of the reasons I love her writing. The language, cadence, dialogue, and suspense of her writing was highlighted. I can’t wait to check out the full exhibit.

In case you were wondering, I have read P&P&Z. I don’t really have a favorable review of that one. I’m giving S&S&S M a shot just because the author was charming and funny. I’ll let you know how that one is when I’m done.

Those are the highlights so far. It’s hard to believe it’s almost February. I’ll try to update more regularly now that I’ve finished unpacking and gotten over my cold, so till then enjoy the rest of Jan.

Completely Smitten

I love pretty things and get so much inspiration from my talented and design inclined friends. One of them being my friend Angelique. She is chock full of fun diy ideas and manages to find some of the coolest gifts. When I got back to NY I was delighted to find a package from her, and of course her gift indulged my pretty things & Austen obsession.

Thanks Ange! I’m in the middle of an Austen kick right now, so re-reading P&P in this beautifully bound version is perfect.

Also another inadvertent gift from Angelique is my new earring display.

I had a pretty white wooden box that used to hold my stationary that I re-purposed to hold my jewelry. I hate laying my dangly earrings so was brainstorming ways to hang them. I used the muslin bag included in the P&P package and another muslin bag from Ange’s wedding invitations. Thanks Ange, you’re the best!

California Love

I’ve lived in California for most of my life, before finalizing my move to New York I got to spend the holidays with family and friends back in my home state. I was able to spend some time savoring some of my favorite things about Cali. Here is a small sampling of things I’m going to miss:

Forget Shake Shack, In & Out is the hands down winner where burger joints are concerned. Those fresh cut fries, and that crispy grilled bun, there is no contest.

The beautiful California Coastline. I haven’t driven down to LA in a long time, but got the opportunity to do so in early Jan. That drive has to be one of the most spectacular on earth. Seeing all the surfers running across the freeway to get to the water was really cool too.

I’m going to miss the beach! The sand between my toes, and running into the water and playing with the waves.

That’s it for photos, but one of the things that causes equal parts admiration and ire is the diversity of California. I’ve traveled from the the upper reaches of Northern California to toeing the line to Mexico in Southern California and it’s like driving through several different worlds. The people, values, economy, etc. vary greatly even 100 miles apart.

Of course the thing that I’ll always love most and will keep me coming back to California are my family and friends. It may be a while, but I’ll see you guys in Cali again hopefully soon for a visit.