Tag Archives: life

So We Come To The End

11 Nov

Sorry everybody, but, it’s come to this. I don’t have the time to write the Granny Cart anymore.

Looking Forward to the Future

I’m not leaving the Internet, I’m still embarrassing myself in public in several locations– like on Twitter, Flickr and over at the Garden–but I just haven’t figured out a way to do it all anymore. I used to have two hours before I went to work in which I could write and think and cogitate, but now I’m up-and-attem every morning, fighting the incoming commuters at Grand Central like a salmon swimming upstream before I used to even be out of bed. And then, when I get home, I have no interest in sitting in front of the computer anymore.  I’ve gotten to a point where I’m happy just sharing my life with my husband and family and fighting the good fight for my job. In short, I’m happy.

The Granny Cart was, in many ways, born out of anger and frustration with the limitations of my job at Forbes. It was an outlet. I guess I don’t need an outlet anymore.  But then again, you never know. Perhaps I’ll soon find the world of plants and flowers and giant pumpkins stultifying, and you’ll find me back here, writing about finance and politics.  You just never know.

In the meantime: Be well, eat well, live well. It’s been quite the ride.



On Cameras

22 Jul

Anyone who is a regular (or even just occasional) visitor here can probably figure out quite quickly that I like taking pictures.

And it’s true. I do.

I recently went through a few weeks of withdrawal when I sent my beloved G9 back to Canon. It felt like a little piece of me had gone missing. I still had the little Casio Exilim I carry everywhere in my purse, and we spent some quality time together, but I was frustrated by its limitations. It’s a good camera for taking quick shots on my daily commute, but lacks the flexibility I have come to rely upon in my Canon.  Thankfully, though, my Canon came back just in time for our trip to Palm Springs, and all was well.

My love affair with cameras is an old one, first kindled in adolescence by 4-H.  Our club leader had a friend with a dark room, so he convinced him to teach us some photographic basics and how to develop our own photos.  Each kid had to supply their own camera though, and my father gave me the beautiful Asahi SLR that he had bought in Asia when he was on a tour during the early days of the Vietnam War.

On memory.

I ♥ NY

11 Sep

They danced on the shore in marvelous, civilized, humorous reels in which the old contributed wit when they could not contribute grace, and the young listened to their elders, who told them in their dancing to hold on, to love, to be patient, and, most of all, to trust.

Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale

The Coop

21 Aug

Remember when I told you that there were going to be some changes around here? When I introduced you to Oliver and asked you to sit tight, that I would explain all in due time?

Well, it’s time. And no, Annie, it’s not a baby. I’ll leave that to Ximena. But someone did guess correctly. Yep, Robin, you were right. Isaac and I bought a house. (Must be that you guessed right since you have real estate fever too!)

I’d like to introduce you to our new coop.

The Coop.

It’s a very, very old farmhouse, built into the side of a hill a few hours north of the city in the Hudson Valley. Hopefully, someday, we’ll be able to move there full-time, but for now, we’ll continue to rent an apartment in the City and go upstate on weekends and holidays.

Sun setting over the garden.

And it has land! Oh glorious land! The previous owner had a garden in which she grew mostly flowers. There’s little plastic markers for plants, like tomatoes and peppers, but the only evidence that she had a green thumb for anything other than nasturtiums and sunflowers is one very sad, very abused looking summer squash whose vines gave me a rash while I was attempting to rescue it.

Summer Squash.

There’s also endless acres of high-bush blackberries that are just beginning to develop into transcendental, inky, delicious love bombs of juice and sweetness (if the deer don’t eat them first that is).

Blackberries, all the way down.

And then there’s peace and solitude and privacy and quiet, and a big kitchen and two big decks facing the sunset and lots and lots of empty rooms. It’s going to be a bit of time before we can have guests up, but I can’t wait.

The view from the kitchen.

For many months now, Isaac and I have been quietly looking for a place to call our own. We didn’t expect to find anything for quite some time, but the minute I saw this place, I got goosebumps all over my arms and my heart felt tight, in a good way. I knew it was the right house.

Storm movin in

Storm movin' in.

Back in the car Isaac asked me if there was anything he should write on the salesheet, and I said, “Write down Ann *hearts* it.” It took a little time to convince him of its charms; the ceilings downstairs are very low, and it tends to be a little damp, what with being built into a hill and all, but we finally realized that it was just those sorts of quirks that can be overcome and that make a house worth loving.

There are morning glorys everywhere. I know theyre basically a weed, but I find them mesmerizing.

There are morning glorys everywhere. I know they're basically a weed, but I find them mesmerizing.

So we made an offer, which was accepted so quickly it made our heads spin. And then everything else happened lickety split, until it was time to schedule the closing. For some reason, that took forever. But, then it happened, and then, all of a sudden, the house was ours!

One of the trees in the front garden

One of the trees in the front garden.

And so, last weekend, we spent our first weekend there. We sat in the sun and pulled weeds and grilled burgers, drank champagne and ate the delicious chocolate cake our realtor baked us. Basically, we soaked it all in and enjoyed the hell out of padding about in something that’s actually ours.

Our first dinner: burgers, salad, champagne.

And this weekend I’ll go back up there, sadly alone though, as Isaac has gone to England for work for two weeks. It’s going to be a very strange experience, rambling about in a big, empty house, all alone, just me and the deer and the coyotes, but I’m looking forward to it.

This is what the garden looked like before.

I’m hoping to plant some perennials and to scout out farm stands, to eat corn on the cob while watching the sun set, and then sitting on the hand-me-down couch with a glass of wine and a pile of my mother’s old Organic Gardenings to plan next year’s garden.

One solitary raised bed of the garden, after.

But don’t worry. We’re not planning to spend every weekend up there. There will still be plenty of New York City ramblings and pictures and stories.

Nasturtium, Morning Glory, Dew.

So, I hope you’ll stick around for our next chapter, because I can’t wait to share it with you!

Arroz con Cranky

5 Jun

I fear I’m not always 100% truthful with you, especially on one very salient fact.

West Village Puddle

New York City and I do not always get along. From the timbre of many of my posts, you’d think I walk around in some sort of Disney princess bubble enveloped in a halo of chirping birds and hopping bunnies, magically making my way untouched through the seething throngs of grumpy commuters, clueless tourists and the hopelessly deranged. But this is not true.

Japanese Maple, Raindrops

Sometimes, for no conceivable reason, the city just pisses me off. The anger is not acute. No, it’s not usually one specific thing that sends me round the bend, it’s more of a crescendo of annoyance.

The mockingbird imitating a car alarm for hours. Our upstairs neighbor playing GTA IV at 5am. The ingrate that forces me to miss my train into work. The destruction of yet another piece of my city’s gritty heritage. Almost being hit by a bike messenger (again) careening the wrong way down a one way street. Yet another endless line full of tourists with no sense of urgency at my favorite coffee place.

May Showers, May Flowers

Yes, they’re little things, and probably make me sound a little petty, but man, sometimes, a girl just can’t take it anymore. We New Yorkers live so close together, so cheek by jowl with one another, so constantly in each other’s faces that it can really begin to wear on a being.

Nap Time at the Dog Spa

I try pretty hard to stay positive. I say excuse me when I run into someone, I smile at the checkout girl that’s just had to help the umpteenth pensioner from Spain figure out how to pay for his coffee, I grumble under my breath as the train-I-needed-to-be-on-so-I’d-be on-time-for-my-meeting pulls away without me, and I take photos in an attempt to help remember those old spots that won’t be there for the next generation.

But sometimes, a girl just needs to snap.

Won't Be Needing These For Awhile

Take this past weekend for example. I should have been buoyant and joyful; the weather was beautiful, my work was done, all I had to do was sit back and enjoy 48 blissful hours of sun, fun and food but no, I was cranky. The trains were all kerfuffled, the sky opened up and let fly like it was Armageddon and the farmer I wanted to buy baby kale from wussed out and left the West Village greenmarket early.

Statues & Man

So there we were, Isaac and I, skirting the edge of Washington Square Park, heading for the Union Square greenmarket, when I just snapped. I stopped like a stubborn donkey and began stomping my feet like a two year old mid-tantrum. I wanted to go home. The city, its chaos and closeness, its clamor and commotion had done me in. I was beaten.


We got back to the apartment and I ran for the solace of my kitchen. I began chopping: spring onions, green garlic, jalapeños. Some went into a pot of Steve‘s magic beans, some went into a pot of rice, some went into a red salsa and the rest went into a green salsa. After a few hours of stirring and prodding and chopping and tasting, I finally felt better.

Vaquero Beans

And who wouldn’t if they were sitting down to a meal like this? Spicy rice, tender, fragrant, achiote-marinated shrimp, zippy pico de gallo, sublime salsa verde and, of course, those perfect, wonderful, fragrant, intoxicating beans. It was a perfect meal.

And yet, I woke up with the crankies again the next day, and the next, and the next.

But then, on Tuesday morning as I was harumphing and grumbling my way through my commute, I pulled my nose out of my Economist and noticed the gentleman sitting across the subway car from me.

Camarones y Arroz con Cranky

He was amazing.

In his 80s, he was impeccably dressed. A perfect summer-weight pinstripe suit, beautiful tan leather shoes, a flawlessly tied tie with matching pocket square, a straw fedora that was a work of art, waxed handlebar mustaches, Col. Sanders beard, and to top it all off, a yellow rose in his button hole.

Suddenly my outfit, which I had been so proud of earlier in the morning, felt completely disheveled. And yet, I was happy. This man, this one single man, who seemed pulled from another time; a kinder, gentler, more caring era, sitting next to a rockabilly-tattooed hipster chick, plastered a smile on my face that still won’t go away.

Vaquero Beans

Perhaps I’m a little hard on myself. Perhaps I really am just a giddy, wide-eyed, New York City optimist. Or, perhaps, I’m just a real person in love with a difficult city. Disagreements are bound to happen, but we’ll always make up.

Head below the jump for the recipes for Arroz y Camarones con Cranky.

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