It happens tomorrow.

It’s been 17 months in the making, but Mad Men’s back in less than 30 hours!

Even though I try to keep my obsessions in check, I just can’t suppress my glee on this one.

I knew it had been awhile since the last new episode aired, but the repeated seasons on Sunday mornings have been tiding me over. So I was shocked when I saw that the last Mad Men season finale aired in October 2010.

October. 2010.

Think about how much has happened since then in real life — a whole calendar year, no less.
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Make new friends, but keep the old.

I invited some dear friends and former coworkers over this week. These ladies helped me through one of the darkest stages of my career, at a place where we each experienced all manner of hell and persecution. I know that everyone has had an unpleasant job of some sort before — but whatever you’re picturing, quadruple it. To survive the day-to-day, we leaned on each other and cooked, ate, laughed and commiserated together. We all shared a love of food and fellowship, which led to plenty of potluck lunches and flurries of emails and conversations about recipes. I found many of the food blogs I read today through their recommendations: Pioneer Woman, David Leibovitz, Brown Eyed Baker, Smitten Kitchen, Orangette. Even though we don’t see each other every day anymore, like soldiers who fight on the battlefield, I will be bonded to these women for life.

It’s been several months since we had quality time together, so everyone came to my home to catch up with wine, heavy hors d’oeuvres and stories about ridiculous work escapades. Their visit served as a good excuse to pull out a few dishes already in my repertoire but also to experiment with some new ones. For appetizers, it was bruschetta three ways: fig-mozzarella-prosciutto, classic tomato (my good, ole standby) and smashed pea with mint.

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Animals dressed as humans.

One of my favorite TV shows of all time is “Friends.” I’ve seen every episode a ridiculous number of times, and my friend Ann and I used to quote it so much we basically had conversations in “Friends” dialogue. When it started syndicating in college, roommate Kristin and I established a ritual:  Wendy’s drive-thru run before rushing home to catch it at 7 p.m. I just had to hold the rolled top of the food bag tightly so “Wendy’s fumes” wouldn’t bleed into the fabric of her new Jetta.

Then I lived in New York, toured my visitors past the “Friends” apartment building in Greenwich Village and came to realize how outrageously unlikely it was that any of those 20-somethings could afford to live in such apartments. But willing suspension of disbelief is much easier when it’s so entertaining.

“Friends” was special because it captured so well the urban family that forms, especially in NYC, and the needling and squabbling yet love and support among friends. I think we all could relate. Plus, it aired over the course of my important formative years — when it premiered, we discussed it on Fridays in high school, and by the time of the finale, I was out of college and had been living in New York for 5 years. Keep reading »

Connection in an isolating age.

I was talking with a friend this weekend about something that happened to her weeks ago, but I didn’t know about it. She responded, “Oh, you didn’t see it on Facebook?”

Nope.

I’ve been pulling back from the book of faces recently, only because I’m realizing it’s not real life. There are so many ways to get your feelings hurt, and it’s not rooted in any sort of reality. (Back in June, the NY Times discussed this: “An Ugly Toll of Technology: Impatience and Forgetfulness“) We’ve stopped communicating our major life events in person, over the phone — even over email — and we just put it up for our sister’s husband’s third grade next door neighbor to read.

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