Friday, May 31, 2013

The Lowline

New York, 2013

Last night Will and I went out to a benefit for The Lowline, which is sort of like The Highline, only underground. The party was at The Box, and featured a performance by Miike Snow (who we saw in concert when I was pregnant) and some guys from MGMT. It was a tiny venue, and there were burlesque dancers and technology types and lots of glamorous looking people milling about.

Once in a while, I get disenchanted with New York...but then you think of all of the improbable ideas that come to fruition here, or have an especially serendipitous night out, or have a conversation with someone whose job is so particular to this city that you can't imagine living anywhere else (one chat last night involved someone who worked for the Highline who was telling me how someone applied for permits to do a photo shoot with a bear there. Sadly, they were declined.) I mean!

I don't know. I certainly don't want to go out to places like The Box every night; I'm usually quite content in my little Brooklyn bubble. But I'm glad it's there. I'm glad people are busy transforming the city all the time; I'm glad to be surrounded by so many creative, ambitious, weird characters and ambitious ideas. I love walking over the Williamsburg Bridge with Will and Axel and seeing the skyline and having silly adventures.

Certainly there are other, more peaceful, less expensive places to live. But then I contemplate our plans in any given week, the sort we even take for granted, I'm glad we've stuck it out. As much as I sometimes fret about my work or wonder if it wouldn't be simpler to live in a smaller city, twelve years on I'm still pretty enamored with life in New York.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Languedoc-Roussillon, 2009

Am looking forward to our trip France; we leave a month from yesterday! Axel will be 11 months when we go, so I enjoyed reading this post on Hither and Thither about their family trip to Bali when their son was the same age. Looks pretty idyllic...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Leaps and Strides

I feel like this little one has made some big developmental strides in the last week or so.

Over the weekend, Axel was exposed to more adults, different toys, and a local fish festival, complete with live folk music. He seemed to love every second of it, from his first taste of macaroni, salmon cakes, and pancakes to crawling furiously around the kitchen and climbing Will's guitar.

Axel, 2013

He made a beeline for the stairs (which aren't part of our day to day Brooklyn life) and made it up about three with complete confidence.

He also said something that sounded a bit like "banana," but I'm pretty sure it was just ba-na-na.

He seems more and more like a kid.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Off the Grid

Maine, 2013

Had a great few days away from the laptop, enjoying the fellow and the mercurial Maine weather. Will be back to my usually chatty self soon, I'm sure.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy Long Weekend

Axel, 2013

Wherever you are, I hope you stay dry! More Maine photos to come.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Williamsburg, 2013

Where's spring? It was kind of a washout of a weekend, cold and rainy, with an under the weather bambino. We have been coping with homemade brownies, naps, and SNL.

Friday, May 17, 2013


Williamsburg, 2013

Feeling a little scattered this week!

Would you believe the second picture was taken on a rooftop in Brooklyn?

We are invited to our first "1st" birthday tomorrow, for another baby in our building, then on Sunday a going away party for one of Axel's little friends who is moving to London. These kids have a busy social calendar.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How She Does It

New York, 2013

When Lean In came out, one of the (apt, I thought) criticisms was that while Sheryl Sandberg encouraged women to dedicate themselves to "important" careers, she never really explained how she managed it all on a day to day basis. She alluded to a helpful husband, and to forgetting St. Patrick's Day at her son's school, but otherwise left all the "how to" of it fairly vague.

Well, now the New York Times has a series on how individual women manage the work life balance. Their first installment, written by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was pretty great.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Williamsburg, 2013

A windy, sunny Mother's Day. These pictures are from a little flower stand that set up for the day outside of Allswell. And here's a cute slideshow of gals who work in flower shops in Brooklyn.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

11211 Love

Williamsburg, 2013

A gorgeous Friday and a thunderstormy Saturday around these parts.

We went to the garden center on Metropolitan (behind Crest hardware) and got some veggies for our roof plot (but did not see Franklin the pig); checked out a hydrangea and crab apple tree that might work on our deck; had a delicious lunch thanks to Blue Apron; and popped into the new children's shoe shop, Wonderwolf.

I finished Homeward Bound. Hard to distill what's actually a very nuanced book, but I liked it very much and saw my own dilemmas in its pages.

A few points that resonated, or made me think:

A lot of this glorification of the domestic sphere has to do with Gen Y's sense that the corporate world has failed them; that (for men and women) working 60+ hour weeks is incompatible with a balanced life; that there must be something else. That a sad Amy's Organic burrito heated up in the microwave after a twelve hour work day isn't quite cutting it. It's no surprise, then, that a lot of otherwise ambitious people fantasize about checking out and moving to Vermont to make cheese.

That said, a lot of what's called "dropping out" or "opting out" isn't exactly that. You read a lifestyle blog that glorifies the charms of a folksy, cozy, stay at home mom life...but if that blogger is earning $60k writing about their chili recipes, they're not so much a stay at home mother who has dropped out of the work force as they are a small business owner. Just because it doesn't look like work doesn't mean it isn't. It's sometimes a new phenomenon that isn't exactly like the return to '50s values it may appear to be.

The roots of the hyper-natural parenting movement have to do with a disappointment in "the system." If there are scares about Big Food, people feel they must make their own organic food. If there is no reliable, affordable day care, if you only get 6 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, if, ultimately the sacrifice (and the math) doesn't add up, maybe you quit your job and become an attachment parent or simply "lean out" for a few years.

And maybe you embrace doing so....but that doesn't mean you would have made the same decisions if there were more options to fuse gratifying paid work with raising small children.

The author talks a lot about highly educated women who've rejected conventional careers and taken big pay cuts to sell knitted goods on Etsy in the name of work life balance, perhaps making do with less to make it all happen. But she explores the trend with a cautionary note. If few women are left in the corporate or political worlds and thus well positioned to fix a broken system, the hard-won battles of previous generations of women may be undercut.

If everyone, say, home schools their children, or quits their job due to inadequate maternity leave, who is going to be around to make the public schools better or push for family-friendly leave policies from a position of power?

Just the other day I was talking to a friend who has turned down several promising job offers because the company wouldn't let her work one day a week at home (and thus see her toddler a few more hours a week.) So the company loses a great worker, and my friend freelances, making some economic and personal sacrifices in the process.

All in all, a good read.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Technical Difficulties

Excuse the craziness on the blog at the moment. I tried to do some redesigning and got in over my head. Ack!

Just Beacuse

New York, 2013

An excerpt from a good essay on the differences between the fantasy and reality of life as a freelance writer:

The fantasy:

"I imagined teaching, being a teacher almost exactly like my least-engaged college professors, the ones who showed up to workshop with a large coffee and some xeroxed Raymond Carver stories and then sat there for two hours while their students talked, sipping the coffee and sometimes nodding.  The rest of my time would be spent alone in a library or a home office, some room with a computer, a desk, a chair. I would write novels and then, later in the day, make dinner. Maybe sometimes if I felt like it I’d accept an assignment from the kind of magazine no one really reads but that basically exists to pad the bank accounts of already-rich writers, travel and specialized beauty magazines, you know,  '[So and So's] Wacky Adventures In Bangkok...'" 

The reality:

"What made my first year of full-time freelancing so happy, besides not ever having to ride the subway during rush hour,  wasn’t anything specific about what my workdays were like. I wasn’t accomplishing much, I was wasting a lot of time, and a lot of the time I was bored.  Most days, my work did not go well and I felt dejected about my actual writing. But I still felt good and hopeful, because all these potential paths seemed possible. Everything seemed possible. Unpleasant things had happened to me but I still had never been majorly unlucky.  This sense of infinite possibility was like a drug; hooked on it, I clung to it even after it should have been clear that I needed to move on, I couldn’t just stay poised to do something forever."

A.M. Antics

Axel, 2013

Oh, you know, just trying to harass the cat, open the freezer, and climb into the trash.



Watching as the One World Trade center spire is put in place from our balcony; reading Homeward Bound (a book that explores the "leaning out" movement); working from home today; excited for Will to come home tonight.

The book is really interesting, especially living where we live, and it speaks to a phenomenon I relate to much more than I related to Lean In, which I ultimately felt like I had to read. A full report to the mean time, there's a good review of it here.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

11211 Love

Oslo, 2012

I pretty much spent my entire pregnancy at Oslo (and am sure Axel is made of their lattes and bran muffins), so I was pleased to hear that their Bedford Avenue location will open it's doors again in a matter of days. Gentrification or not, Williamsburg still feels like a real neighborhood to me. And, now, apparently, to J. D. Merget.

Captive Audience

Axel, 2013

You'll notice that a lot of my recent pictures of Axel are taken when he's buckled into his high chair. Otherwise I'd be wandering around the living room a few paces behind him, trying to keep him from eating the TV wires.

He is getting sturdier by the day, though, and has figured out how to climb back down to the floor from a standing position, so I don't have to hover quite as much as I did a few weeks ago. His scar is also much less worrying than it was right after his surgery, so I'm a little less panicked about that.

We video "chatted" with Will last night (am sure Axel was like what the heck is my father doing in that laptop?) Other than that, it's been pretty straightforward looking after Axel solo...he's good company.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rip van Winkle

New York, 2013

So I am what you might call a late adopter. When my school got an internal e-mail service, circa 1996, I was all, "Why would I use something called e-mail when I could just pick up the phone?"

The picture above is of the new Metrocards that have been in circulation for some time now (I had no clue...I'd still be using tokens if they'd let me.)

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, then, that I just joined a brand new social media platform called Twitter. You can, er, "follow me," or whatever it is you do, @sarahhornegrose, though I am more of a lurker than a tweeter. Um, hashtag#?

In spite of my Luddite tendencies, I thought I was pretty with it when it came to media and pop culture, since I've worked in magazines, TV, and online publications for a decade. It turns out that the year I took off to freelance and have a baby, pop culture & social media kind of exploded in a new way. So now I am playing catch up.

Like, lookie here...who is this celebrity named Rita Ora, and why do I care about her? Also, the 25-year-old in my office talks about someone called Grimes a lot. And apparently there's a show about duck decoys that everyone is ironically watching? Is that the new Honey Boo Boo?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Whatever, Looks Tasty

Jeni's 'Zelda; Ice Cream, via Serious Eats

Nothing like a dysfunctional marriage and some problem drinking to inspire a line of delicious ice cream. But am I wrong to think this already-sold out collection looks delicious?

Mama Time

Axel, 2013

Will is headed to California this week for a business trip this afternoon, so for the next four days it's just me and this fellow.

This means...

Axel will be a total mess after every meal. His papa has meticulous spoon technique, while I think dinner doesn't count if the whole baby isn't covered.

I probably won't sleep all that well. Yes, I can lie diagonally in bed, but as the only adult on duty overnight, I'll also jump at every little noise (even when it's just the cat being a nocturnal jerk.)

The kiddo will miss his morning jam sessions (but may get a few sneaky glimpses of the Today Show instead.)

Lots of morning trips to the local coffee shop. As much as I love seeing Axel trying to climb all of the furniture in our living room, it's kind of easier to manage solo when he's contained in his stroller and amused by the goings-on around the neighborhood.

I will have cereal for dinner on more than one occasion.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Nine Months Old

Axel, 2013

At nine months old (tomorrow), Axel wakes up and is on a mission. Pulling up on the freezer, pulling up on the coffee table, pulling up on his Baby Bjorn bouncer. Letting go with one hand and looking around, proud as can be.

When he plays in his crib, he occasionally heckles his stuffed animals, holding one up and saying "Gah!" very emphatically. When he's interested in a toy (his bath eggs and blocks are a hit) he can amuse himself for ages. He is by turns very studious and very sociable. Poor Sealface has to endure lots of tail and fur grabbing while we say "Gentle! Nice nice to the kitty..." over and over again.

Axel still loves new people, and doesn't seem to experience much separation anxiety (though he has burst into tears a few times when his papa has blown his nose very loudly.) He's loves the teacher at the local library's reading group and is also very interested in watching us eat. Nubbins of bread, his thumb, and his mini ladybug maraca are all big hits.

Will and I often turn to one another and say things like "He is the best!!" When we start to say things like "He's a genius!" that means he is probably in desperate need of a sibling...

I saw a friend with a three month old, 11-pound baby on Friday, and those days seem quite remote. Of course we loved him when he was a little bean too, but now he really cracks us up.

Axel, 2013

P.S. Here's a little video of him standing the other day.
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