(1) Kitty. It is the best coming home to this sweet little face every evening. She drives us crazy with her caterwauling at night, but that annoying trait is so easy to forget when you come home from work and Miss Ali is being a total cuddlebug.
(2) Fall-time baking. I had a weird urge to bake zucchini bread late last Thursday night. So I made a dozen muffins for Sean and I, and a loaf to give to my in-laws when they came to visit this past weekend. It was a better idea than I thought, because it saved them a trip out for breakfast that Sunday. With all that cinnamon-y goodness, what’s not to love?
(3) Autumnal colors. We went traipsing all over Manhattan with Sean’s parents, and we saw the occasional flash of gorgeous colors here and there. I stumbled across this golden beauty in Central Park.
(4) Actually taking a photo together. Fact: it’s hard to take a good photo of yourself, and it is awkward to ask someone you don’t know that well to do so for you when you’re out in public places. Fact: I am in love with this shot the MIL (a fancy new acronym I get to use!) took of us near the lake in Central Park. Of course, it would be during the time period when I had a near eye-infection and had to wear my glasses. But I still love it.
(5) Being a tourist in your own city. We went to parts of Manhattan we wouldn’t ordinarily go to, like Times Square (to see Wicked on Broadway, fulfilling 15-year-old Rebecca’s dream), the Financial District, and even the 9/11 Memorial — which was especially special. Here is good ol’ George Washington in front of Federal Hall National Memorial, on the site of where Washington took oath of office as the first president of the United States and the Bill of Rights was first introduced to Congress.
(6) The best pizza. We went to Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn for dinner on Sunday night, at the famous “under the Brooklyn Bridge” location. The wait was long, like always — as there was a line out the door, but we also poorly timed our visit so that they had to change out the coals in the brick oven before our pizza was put in. Oh, but it was so worth it! We got onions, black olives, Italian sausage, and pepperoni. With the fresh mozzarella and fresh basil? Ugh, perfection.
(7) City lights. You can’t see them when you don’t live in a high-rise apartment. I’m glad we don’t live in a high-rise apartment, but it was a real treat to see the Manhattan skyline post-pizza on Sunday night. We walked over to Brooklyn Bridge Park to get something sweet from The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (peaches & cream for me!), and from there you have a spectacular view of Manhattan. Also, if you’re an English major, you’ll feel a little giddy reading over the engravings on the railings, which are from Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.” Trust me, I took a class entirely about Walt Whitman and Mark Twain my senior year. His poetry is magical. Did you know that Whitman was the editor of the daily newspaper The Brooklyn Eagle from 1846-48? Well, now you do!
OK, OK, I have to include a quote from Whitman’s Leaves of Grass in here now, just because. Because that book remains among the most beautiful I have ever read, OK?
O such for me! O an intense life! O full to repletion, and varied! […]/People, endless, streaming, with strong voices, passions, pageants;/Manhattan streets, with their powerful throbs, with the beating drums, as now;/The endless and noisy chorus, the rustle and clank of muskets, (even the sight of the wounded;)/Manhattan crowds, with their turbulent musical chorus — with varied chorus, and light of the sparkling eyes;/Manhattan faces and eyes forever for me.
(8) Sweet cards from friends. I got a number of lovely letters and cards for my birthday, but I was in no way expecting more pretty mail to come my way. This one is from Caitlin — who keeps finding ways into my blog postings out of sheer awesomeness — who was going to write me a Facebook message about an author she thought I’d enjoy, but instead took the time to mail me this darling teacup-themed note instead. I was delighted. Shortly after receiving this, I had to make my favorite Tazo Organic Apple Red tea. Too bad I don’t have something to drink it out of that is nearly that pretty!
(9) Concert season continues. We went to see Father John Misty at the Bowery Ballroom last night. He is a total weirdo, but he has an AH-MAZ-ING voice. Great show. I just couldn’t help but laugh at his hip-swinging moves and the ridiculous sequences of words expelling from his mouth. To be honest, I’m not sure where the craziness ended and the exaggerated stage presence began.
Watch this video of him on Letterman, just for kicks and giggles (also, this is what my husband has declared “The Song of the Year” … so that should entice you):
(10) Good reads. I finally read Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, after buying a $3 used copy from the library’s bookstore. I always thought it was written much longer ago than it was (1982). Despite the fact that this is 200% something Oprah would endorse — oh, wait, she was in the film version — it was genuinely excellent. Quickest synopsis: Two poor African-American sisters share their triumphs and trials via letters (“epistolary novel” is the fancy term), as one struggles with her fate as a child-bride in the South and the other as a coincidental missionary in Africa. The ending — no spoilers! — but it was like, “UGH, my heart is so happy right now!!!” So yeah. Definitely seeing this being studied in schools one day, whenever they get tired of talking about Huck Finn.