Eating: Lindt “touch of sea salt” dark chocolate bar, my usual coffee companion. It’s 10 AM and I’m finally feeling normal. I read recently (from an unreliable source) that having kombucha first thing before you eat is best because your gut can absorb the cultures. Lordy. I had a glass at 7 AM and my stomach is doing the Cha Cha Slide, but I know things are healing.
Is it just me, or was this the year of the stomach issue? Maybe people are just finally being more public about it, but it seems we’re all cramped and bloated, taking at-home food sensitivity tests to eliminate gluten or whatever. Solidarity, loves.
Thinking: 1.) About yesterday’s social media glitch. It’s both fun and dystopian observing the collective response to Instagram being down. Twitter, ever the resilient misfit platform, boosts users onto a high horse of “me? I’m chillin.” We love pitting one app against another, a pissing contest of which promotes marginally better well-being. And who’s to say, really? In my opinion, it’s all about where you derive insecurity from: edited images of attractive people’s highlight reels? A fountain of opinions that never turns off? Or, just the relentless ticking of the clock as you forfeit life to a screen? One thing’s for sure, these shutdowns always reveal a new layer of consciousness around the addiction and resentment we all feel.
2.) I don’t understand people who “don’t like kids.” In fact, I think there’s something wrong with you if you don’t “like” an entire subset of the population, especially whose livelihood depends on adults like you and I showing love and support. (This has nothing to do with whether you want them yourself, for the record.) Last week I was grabbing coffee at Milkcrate in Fishtown at the same time as a nanny. Two blonde children munched on veggie straws in a double stroller as we marveled at their innocence. "They're blank canvases. Sponges," she said. The three of them together had this ethereal quality of perfect symbiosis. It inspired my visit with my nephews over the weekend to really appreciate them and talk to them like equals, which bled into an hour-long hangout with a student today at work.
Loving: Checking out all the Fall 2021 runway trends on Patternbank. Per usual, I love Etro’s genius use of color and texture and Zimmerman’s spirit of the 60’s + commitment to a statement neckline. I’ve been leaning into a simpler wardrobe of late, so keeping up with this stuff reminds me to stay fun and colorful sometimes.
Just tried: A Mano. This was the last big restaurant on my neighborhood list and it totally delivered, but not without setbacks. And isn’t that just life? Licking your plate while the kitchen’s on fire? Let’s set the scene…
It’s Friday afternoon. I’m alone at the office, and I get some good news. I call Andrew, exclaiming, “Let’s celebrate! Let’s try A Mano tonight!” We choose the 6:15 reservation over the 8 o’clock because we’re old. By the time I get in the shower, it’s like, 6. (Why am I like this?) We have asked them to hold our table for an extra five minutes. I choose an outfit to compensate for my hopeless hair and makeup: my favorite thrifted black jeans, just baggy and worn enough to make everything look tougher; the white balloon sleeve button-down I found at Bloomies this summer and wore every day for a month; my hot pink Balenciaga heels and ballerina pink Balenciaga purse because B I T C H!!!; and a trench coat.
From the moment I leave the house, I know I have made a grave mistake. These shoes, suitably named “the knife heel,” are not made for walkin’. In fact, my foot is literally bleeding and the heel has jammed into the sidewalk cracks, ripping the neon satin to shreds. Did I mention these are Balenciaga? I deserve this for being impractical and ostentatious. I swear off my taste for designer, promising only nondescript sneakers and hiking sandals henceforth. Multiple people compliment my shoes on the way. I break the promise immediately.
We arrive 15 minutes late. The restaurant is clearly overbooked, and a host, who reminds me of Anthony Marentino from SATC, makes a good case for a raise as tables appear out of thin air. Eventually we’re seated and reviewing the menu. Andrew and I face a typical conundrum: we want the same dish, the mafaldine in pork ragu. Mafaldine is one of my favorite pastas. Andrew despises ordering the same thing as me. It’s like a Larry David bit, which is really how most of his idiosyncrasies read now that I think about it. I surrender and order something I don’t even want—the chitarra with cherry tomatoes, olives, and anchovies. Like, I would actually never order this; it feels too much like something I’d whip up myself on a lazy evening.
We split the focaccia and burrata to start. Both are great. Our dishes arrive. Andrew’s is cold… egregious. We send it back and pick at mine, which practically laughs in my doubting face: this dish is fantastic. I could not make it myself. The blistered tomatoes and anchovies melt into a cream, and the olives (and surprise capers) add that bitey Mediterranean flavor. I only ordered a half portion, so I eventually finish Andrew’s, which is equally perfect.
Overall, 8/10. I’m still hung up on that chitarra. The Balenciaga heels are in jail.
Just Watched: Squid Game because I, too, have a pulse and a Netflix account. I thought it was remarkable! The plotline around the rich people in animal masks was corny, but the rest of the show largely made up for it.
Feeling: Extremely proud of myself. The aforementioned good news, which I couldn’t help announcing on all social channels, was that my Italian teacher said I have one more concept to master before achieving fluency. What constitutes fluency is pretty subjective. I personally feel far from, just from a vocabulary perspective; but Lulu asserts “vocabulary comes with experience” and that understanding native speakers, knowing the grammar, etc. are the marks of fluency. I’ve taken the same comprehension test every few months to watch my growth, and I’m currently at “Advanced-Intermediate.”
Some people were confused as to how I learned Italian in a short time frame. I think it looks like something I just picked up during the pandemic, but I actually started taking lessons in the fall of 2019 through the America-Italy Society of Philadelphia, so this is my third year. I’m really looking forward to continuing this journey and learning more languages in the future. If you have any questions about tools I use, the process, etc., or just want to chat in italiano, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email.
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