Friday, January 28, 2011

Looking forward to Washington DC

 Aeriel shot of Dupont Circle

I'm finally starting to get excited about my trip to Washington DC for the AWP conference next week.  Even though I'll be in conference rooms listening to writers and professors talk for three full days (can't wait!), the fact that I'm going to be in a city that I love hasn't escaped me.  Even better, I have wonderful friends that live in DC who I'm hoping to see while I'm there. 

In preparation, I've dug out my Metro map and am booking my train tickets.  I'll be on the search this weekend for a new messenger bag to carry around from session to session since mine is almost ten years old and looks like it was attacked by wild dogs.  And Anthony surprised me last week with a brand-new iTouch so that I can keep tabs on my email, etc. while I am away without having to lug my laptop everywhere.  How lovely, right?

I found this round-up of the best hot cocoa places in the Washington Metro area and I can't wait to try some of them.  One of them is kind of close to where I'm going to be too.  Also, writer/blogger Leslie Pietrzyk has a post on places to eat while in town.  The conference schedule keeps looking better and better to me--now, all I need to do is get there. 

Any suggestions for surviving my first AWP conference?  Any favorite Washington DC destinations to share?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Movies: The Kids Are All Right

As soon as I realized that The Kids Are All Right was out of theaters, I put it on our Netflix queue.  Anthony wasn't interested in seeing it so I planned to watch it on one of the long, cozy afternoons between Christmas and New Year's Day.  Of course, those days flew by without offering a long, cozy afternoon so this weekend, on a Saturday that was surprisingly relaxing for a change, I popped in The Kids Are All Right.  Persuaded by all of the Golden Globe/Oscar buzz surrounding the movie, Anthony watched with me.  In the end, we both really enjoyed it and I was happy we watched together. 

From the previews, this looks like a movie about a lesbian couple meeting the sperm donor who helped them conceive their children, but that's only the tip of the iceberg.  In this film, every character is flawed, no one is perfect no matter how hard they try, and it's very clear to the audience that these characters may not even know what perfect actually is (who truly does?).  The dialogue is realistically witty and the emotions are raw.  Without giving anything away, I was surprised by the turning point of this movie, and it takes a lot to surprise me.  It was lovely to be enveloped in a real story, and watch a family grow and break and love all at the same time.

The Kids Are All Right is about family, after all.  The confusion that all five of the main characters feels at one point or another is so relateable and portrayed so beautifully that their pain is palpable.  As someone who is older than the kids in the movie, but not yet a parent, I truly was affected from all sides.  After I saw this movie, I wanted to curl up with a pen and write my own screenplay, one that bravely explores the truth about growing up and making mistakes that any viewer could understand.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Date Night

Anthony and I were good friends for over three years before we 'officially' became a couple.  We lived 45 minutes from one another for the first two and a half years of our relationship but we made the best of the distance.  We met halfway a couple of times a week after work for dinner or coffee, and we spent most weekends together, me staying at his place on Friday nights, him staying at mine on Saturday nights.  It worked for a long time but I can't tell you how happy we were to finally move in together so we could spend as much time with each other as we wanted. 

Even though I wouldn't want things to go back to the way that they used to be, I do miss some things about our first years as a couple.  We spent a lot of time talking in our cars and drinking hot cocoa in coffeeshops.  We also spent a lot of time going to the movies.  Sometimes we'd see two or three films a week, sitting next to one another in the dark sharing popcorn and soda.  Since we joined Netflix, we don't go to the movies as often as we used to, but I still love going to the theater to see new releases.

A couple of days ago, after I got out of work, I met Anthony at the movie theater to see the newest Harry Potter installment.  It was a Wednesday night so the theater was empty.  We had perfect seats, and shared popcorn just like old times.  Perhaps the best part was that it was something we hadn't done in a really long time so the outing felt special.  It was a wonderful impromptu date night and I can't wait to do it again. 

Image courtesy of From Me to You

Thursday, January 20, 2011

When it rains...

It always seems like bad things happen at the same time.  One of my car windows is shattered from Tuesday's ice storm and I am waiting for someone to come fix it.  And this morning while taking a shower, I noticed that the walls above our bathtub and showerhead are bubbled and seem to be filled with water leaking from the apartment above.  Now, I can't wait to get home and check on it, all the while hoping that I don't walk into a flood of some sort. 

Even though I don't like change (and I'm the first one to admit that I don't like change), every day I am more certain that I need a change in order to stay sane.  We are planning to move when our lease is up in the spring but we still aren't sure where we want to end up, keeping in mind that affordable but pleasant rents are not always easy to find in Fairfield county.

Until then, I'm staying optimistic about our current hiccups.  Everything will work out in its own time.

Photo courtesy of Jenna Fifi on weheartit

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow Day #2

You would think that nothing good could come out of a day that forces me to miss work because of a severe ice storm and essentially strand me unexpectedly in my apartment, but it hasn't been all bad.  I've been working from home but still had time to continue the cleaning project I undertook this weekend.  I was also able to book a free room in New York City for a weekend in February using a hotel voucher that is about to expire.  With my Washington DC trip for the AWP Conference in a few weeks and our trip to Savannah on the horizon, I feel like there is much to look forward to. 

Browsing through the New York Times to catch up on articles I've missed, I came across this neat piece on Connecticut restaurants that have been featured on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  I don't regularly watch this show but I've caught more than my share of episodes, and I always want to try the places after Guy Fieri samples their specialty.  Guy Fieri himself is a little too much for me with his pinky rings and bleached hair but he loves food and so do I so I keep watching.  So far, he has visited five places in Connecticut (Anthony and I have already been to a few from before they were featured) and it's amazing how these businesses are effected after appearing on the Food Network.  The customers double and in this economy, most owners consider it a blessing, even though it takes some time to get used to the volume. 

After reading this article, I really want to try a couple of the places mentioned.  I've been meaning to visit Wilson's Holy Smoke BBQ in Fairfield for years, since it is right down the street from where I went to college, but I just haven't made it there yet.  And even though I hate hot dogs, I may take one for the team and try Super Duper Weenie, also in Fairfield, which I know Anthony will love.  Are there any places near you that are awesome holes-in-the-wall that would be perfect on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives?

Photo courtesy of New York Times

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Muppet Movie Details!

As a huge Muppet fan, I cannot tell you how excited I am about the new Muppet movie coming out later this year.  The film is being written by Jason Segal, currently on How I Met Your Mother, formerly on Freaks & Geeks, and who also just happens to be one of my favorite actors (and favorite writers--I loved Forgetting Sarah Marshall).  The film should be out around Thanksgiving 2011. 

This quick post on New York Magazine provides some details about the movie's plot, including info about the characters' careers.  Gonzo is a plumber; Miss Piggy is an editor at French Vogue.  What a perfect profession for a pig who loves fashion! No hog has ever been so chic!

Even if the movie isn't great (although I think it will be!), it'll be awesome to see the movie on a big-screen and follow new adventures of some of my favorite characters.  And I like the thought of a new generation of kids being introduced to the Muppets, these wonderful human-like puppets that I loved so much growing up.  I mean, how awesome is it that Kermit, Fozzie and Miss Piggy (a frog, bear and pig, respectively) are all portrayed as productive members of society, despite being walking, talking animals, and no one ever questions it?  If only the world was that inclusive in real life. 

Am I the only one who is excited for the new Muppet Movie or are you looking forward to checking out their new wacky adventures too?

Photo courtesy of New York Magazine

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Longing to Try Square Doughnuts

Two years ago when Anthony and I were in San Diego, we made a special trip to a bakery called Cupcakes Squared.  I was so excited about this place because, as their name suggests, they actually make square cupcakes.  The storefront was adorable and we bought four different flavors to try.  Even though we thought another bakery's cupcakes were better, I loved the quirkiness of the square dessert and I was happy we tried them.

I'm reminded of this because there is a restaurant called Orangeside Luncheonette a few blocks from my office and I just read that they are serving square doughnuts.  Not only do they look delicious, but I love that they are square.  The owner learned how to make them because he was unhappy with the quality of doughnuts in the area (plus, no other New Haven establishment actually makes fresh doughnuts!) and he is selling almost 20 dozen a day, charging $1.50 per doughnut.  I'm planning to make a trip later this week and I can't wait to taste them.  Yay to squares!

Photo courtesy of Yale Daily News

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day

Snow days are rare for me--I almost always make it into the office.  I kind of like being at work when very few people are there.  It's quiet, a bit more relaxed and I usually get a lot of work done.  When I woke up this morning though, it was clear to me that I wasn't making it to work today.  There were over 2 feet of snow on the ground and our cars were completely covered.  Anthony and I also don't own shovels so I knew it was going to be an ordeal to dig out. 

I did some work this morning, then we went outside and cleaned our cars and parking spaces.  Now, there's little left to do but watch television and make the coffee cake that I've been wanting to try.  Every hour or so, I walk by the window and look out at the snow.  All of the trees branches are covered in white; the glistening icicles on the back fence look like festive twinkle lights when the sun shines a certain way.  I can see why the dogs and cats at this tumblr page, Pets Looking Out the Window at Snow, can't tear themselves away from staring outside.  Enjoy the snow while it's still pretty (by tomorrow, it'll be dirty slush on the side of the road) and stay in 'snow mode;' there's supposed to be another storm in a few days!

Top photo courtesy of weheartit; Bottom photo courtesy of Pets Looking Out the Window at Snow tumblr

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Optimistic Outlook

Good morning, my dears!  I apologize for the recent radio silence.  I've been ill with a cough that rattles my chest and head, which makes it impossible to think clearly.  I'm on the mend though and, for once, am feeling optimistic about the new year.

Yes, that's right--I'm being optimistic.  2010 wasn't the year I had hoped it would be, but I have plans for a great 2011.  I'm even following the lead of a friend and made a list of goals.  This year, I will take a class at Murray's Cheese in New York City (nom nom, cheese!), I will read more (and recap the books here) and Anthony and I will finally move to a new apartment.  For sure, things are looking up.

I also plan to post a bit more regularly here on Open Door #4, and, as always, am thankful for the few but faithful readers I have right now.  Thanks for staying with me--I know it'll be a wonderful 2011 for you, too!

Photos courtesy of weheartit's MuffinMoon