Sunday, June 15, 2008

New home(s)

We've moved, both in the real world and the virtual one. You can visit our new internet digs here.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

31 Paul

New York's massive population ironically leads to a great deal of loneliness. The City so teems with bodies that all of them close off their souls in an attempt to preserve a modicum of privacy.

Yet that wasn't my experience in New York.

My brother Paul is almost six years younger than me. Growing up, many of my activities (baseball, mowing, acting, Kamiakin, swing dancing, and Bethel) were shared jointly with brother Zach, just two-and-a-half years my junior, but Paul was too young to participate. Paul eventually did all those things (well, except for baseball and mowing), but many of them happened after I left for college.

In 2003, after I graduated from college and Paul "graduated" from high school, I spent the summer at home and began to see Paul as a peer. I played a lot of ultimate frisbee with Paul and his friends and realized that Paul had been maturing and had chosen his friends very wisely.

I moved to D.C. and had some less than ideal roommate situations. Paul moved to L.A. and had the same. Our friendship grew and I remember that at Christmas '04, Paul speculated that I'd make a pretty good roommate for him and that he'd be a good one for me. He was right.

After being admitted to Columbia, I missed the deadline to secure university housing. God used my laziness for his good purpose. As I started my classes in August, Paul was hired to write for Engadget. While he could work from anywhere, most of the blog's editors lived in NYC. So, in October he flew across the country and we moved into a one-bedroom in Harlem.

Our New York experience centered on our great little community of believers, City Church. God had independently introduced us to Sovereign Grace Ministries, Paul in Pasadena and me in Fairfax, VA. Paul and I rode that D train to the F train come hell or high-water--talking theology, politics, music, family, and everything else important.

We also shared a drug-dealing super, two amazingly bad TimeWarner internet connections, LOST (till Paul quit), an Arctic Monkeys concert, six weeks without hot water, and so much more.

When Mrs. Miller came into my life, Paul was longsuffering. Of course he was very happy that I had found the right woman, but I devoted so much time to courting to my Love that, as the photo at right suggests, Paul sometimes felt squeezed.

But that all changed after the wedding. Paul became the most frequent guest at our dinner table. The conversations between the three of us were wonderful and God-glorifying. The Three Millers were a force, strengthened by our numbers.

Paul, in all my prayers for you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now. You are the top thing I will miss about New York.

Friday, June 13, 2008

30 Restaurants

Nothing new here. New York is famous for its food. Here's a short list of places I'll miss.

For coffee and pastries:
  • Kitchen Commune (Location: Soho. The chandeliers are made from kitchen utensils)
  • Naidres (Location: Carroll Gardens. Delicious wheat-free muffins)
  • Tazza (Location: Brooklyn Heights. First cafe I fell in love with in Brooklyn. In random news, last time I visited, I saw Jennifer Connelly and Emily Mortimer)

For pizza:
  • Grimmaldies (Location: DUMBO, but also now in Arizona! Amazing basic pizza and great views of the Brooklyn Bridge)
  • Oven (Location: Brooklyn Heights. The five-cheese pizza is heaven with a good bottle of merlot)
  • Artichoke (Location: near Union Square. Paul told us about this place; then we read a review in the Sun and decided to make it our last dinner in NYC)

For a meal:
  • Bocca Lupa (Location: Cobble Hill. This hip wine bar and restaurant, just a block from the burrow, excels in ambiance and taste. Mr. Miller and I ate there to celebrate our first anniversary)
  • Noodle Pudding (Location: Brooklyn Heights. Ignore the silly name and GO HERE if you're in NYC. Everything tastes good from the salad to the desserts. Oh, and order the house wine. We also love how family-friendly it is; there were children wiggling at nearly every table)
  • Caracas Arepa Bar (Location: East Village. Best (ok, and only) Venezuelan cuisine I've ever tasted)
  • Five Points Restaurant (Location: NoHo. Yoland told me about this gem. The brunch menu is amazing, and perhaps magical. I ate there with Marilyn, Jenna and Ev mere hours before going into labor!)
  • Song (Location: Park Slope. Great Thai food, but I mention it mostly in tribute to Lulu and City Church, because it is their unofficial restaurant of choice)

29 Pasty people

Maybe it's that their paycheck only covers food and housing or maybe its the long, sunless winters, but there are a lots of pasty people in New York City. You know the type. Little melanin and no account at the local tanning salon. They're ghostly white and, among them, I feel at home in my skin.

28 Our back porch

Few people if any have yards in the City (which is why public parks are so important.) A few lucky residents live in the "garden level" of their brownstone and, thus, get a yard. And some fortunate others have a back porch or a fire escape.

The burrow has a small back porch, just large enough for a table, two chairs, a potted plant, and a mini-grill. And it has a view. Sure its a view of the back of some buildings and an industrial portion of the East River, but its a view.

We spent countless afternoons and evenings out there eating, studying, talking, and entertaining. One of my favorite memories is the night we hosted Paul and his friend Kyle. It was March and it was freezing, but still we sat out on the porch in the cold and rain, drinking wine, and letting our conversation follow meandering paths like the smoke coming from the guys' cigars.

I'll miss that porch.

Cute baby picture alert

See them over at my sister's blog.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Back to the blog

Sorry for the unintended absence. Moving across the country ended up being rather demanding. Plus, we haven't had regular internet access for awhile. I hesitate even to call what we have "regular" internet access as finding a signal requires standing next to the front window with the laptop craned just so. ::sigh:: Such is life in the sticks.

Soon I hope to post the rest of my 31 Things I Love About New York City, and finally put the borrow blog to rest. I am starting a new blog project. More on that to come.

Friday, May 30, 2008

27 Neighborhoods

I'm really going to miss the distinct neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Brooklyn, broadly speaking, is ethnically and culturally diverse. But on a micro-level, people tend to move near people who are just like them, which is great because that facilitates the flourishing of cultural distinctives, such as the Catholic statutory in Carroll Gardens, a largely Italian neighborhood near the burrow; the trim Brooklyn Heights moms with their Bugaboo strollers, nanny, and 1.5 kids; or, the Williamsburg phenomenon of hipers in tight pants and scarves living alongside Hasidic Jews dressed in black coats and top hats.

26 Libraries

In one sense, this post isn't fair because I won't miss the Brooklyn and NYC libraries any more than the other libraries I've loved and lost. But I'm going to miss the New York and Brooklyn libraries because libraries are like dear friends; their quirks and uniqueness get under your skin and make them unforgettably wonderful.

The lion pictured here guards the NYC Humanities and Social Sciences Library, where I spent long hours last Spring writing papers for law school. It's the first library I've used where I couldn't access the stacks, but rather had to order books at one window, and pick them up several minutes later at the next window. Kinda like Burger King. The library also has the happy luck to be neighbors with Bryant Park, where I escaped from time-to-time to clear my head.

25 My midwife

Joan Bryson. She's a nurse as well as a midwife. She's delivered thousands of babies through her business, Community Midwifery, which she runs out of her Park Slope brownstone. I met her last November when Mr. Miller and I decided--to our own surprise--to have E at home. I had scoped out numerous midwife options. At the meeting with Joan, it was clear that she was the right fit for us. I immediately felt at home with her. And in the time leading up to E's birth, she became more than just my midwife; she became my New York "mother", mentor, and friend.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

E at four months

Our girl is growing like a weed. Her four month stats (% compared to girls her age):

Height: 25 in (74%)
Weight: 16 lb (90%)
Head Circumference: 43 cm (91%)

*UPDATE* E's also sleeping at night and taking naps without being swaddled, at long last.

24 E's pediatrician

I adore E's pediatrician, Dr. Jana Dehovitz. She has a warm, generous personality and she interacts with E like she's a person, not an incoherent baby. Dr. Jana has been kind to promptly return my panicked calls for help and accommodate the revised vaccine schedule I suggested.

The icing on the cake is that Dr. Jana's office is also walking distance from the burrow and adjacent to the Promenade.

We're going to miss Dr. Jana. But we praise the Lord for providing us such a fantastic pediatrician for E's early months.

23 Brooklyn Heights Promenade

The Brooklyn Heights Promenade brings together the BQE, the Statute of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and brownstones. How could I not love it?

Monday, May 26, 2008

22 Arthouse Cinemas

Walking distance from the burrow are two theaters that show lots of independent and foreign-language films, which is great. Now don't get me wrong; we're not movie snobs. We love blockbusters just as well as the next American. But we like indie films too, and its nice to be able to trot down the street to see one.

Our two favorite indie films of this year were Juno and Once (its fantastic soundtrack includes this, this, and this song). Our least favorite: La Vie en Rose. Sure it won Oscars, but watching someone slowly derail their life on drugs and alcohol is deflating.

21 Columbia University

I have so many reasons to miss Columbia University. First, the university's law school is the reason we live in New York. Second, it's beautiful and old, and I like both of those things in duet. Third, its where Mr. Miller and I met.

More on the third point. Mr. Miller first saw me at a lawyers' conference in November 2005 as we stood in a circle with mutual friends. But we did not meet until three months later when I came to New York for a national law student conference at Columbia. We were officially introduced at a quaint restaurant down Amsterdam Avenue, but Mr. Miller really caught my attention later that night at a reception at Low Library (the building behind us at left). Mr. Miller approached me and asked, "So, I hear you're a religious pluralist?" ::contented sigh:: There's nothing like raising a girl's intellectual ire to win her heart.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

20 City Church

Today is our last Sunday in New York, which means its our last time to worship at City Church. We're going to miss this church so badly.

When Mr. Miller arrived for law school in August of 2005, there were a lot of uncertainties in his life. But one thing he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt was that he wanted to be a part of City Church. He had visited its sister church in Fairfax, Virginia a couple months earlier, and he was profoundly affected by the doctrine-rich sermons and song lyrics, the parents and children who clearly loved each other, and unabashed, vocal worship of God by all the members.

When I joined him in New York as his bride, I instantly found a wonderful, warm circle of friends in City Church, which helped me adjust quickly to my new town. For example, although they barely knew me, the women of the church not only celebrated my marriage with a post-wedding shower, but also celebrated Evangeline's arrival ten months later with another party.

Some of our very best memories from our time in New York are Sunday morning worship services, talking about the Bible in the Gonzales' basement on Wednesday nights, and breaking bread with these brothers and sisters at restaurants, parks, and apartments around the City.

We know the Lord has a new church family for us in California, but we also wish we could take City Church with us.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

19 Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge turned 125 today. Taking advantage of the perfect weather, E and I joined a special walking tour led by the official borough historian. I learned a lot. E slept.

The bridge is an incredible engineering feat. At the time of its construction, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world, and the towers on either end were not only the highest points in Manhattan, but also in the entire Western Hemisphere.

Building the bridge was a family affair. John Roebling, inventor of both iron and steel cable, designed the bridge, but died before construction began. His son, Washington, took over as the chief engineer. Then, when Washington became ill, Washington's wife, Emily, took over the day-to-day operations under the direction of her husband. She learned engineering from her husband and brother, and was the first person to walk across the bridge. What a woman! Smart, successful, and submitted.

18 Cred[ability]

A Brooklyn address endows cred, at least according to some people.

Friday, May 23, 2008

17 The New York Sun

Mr. Miller here.

The Burrow has been blessed with a free subscription to The New York Sun. The Sun's parochial (it endorsed Rudy, Hillary, and Bloomberg) voice and neoconservative (meaning hawkish, pro-Israel, low-tax, gold-bug, and pro-choice) politics are refreshing if sometimes infuriating. And every Monday, the opinion pages feature the indispensable Mark Steyn.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A chapter completed

Mr. Miller was graduated from Columbia Law School this afternoon. I'm so proud of him. Law school is one of the most intense academic experiences in the modern world, and he completed it with skill and excellence, as unto the Lord.

Paul, E and I were in the crowd to cheer as the reader said his name. Our little triptych of support was rather fitting. Paul was Mr. Miller's roommate for the first half of his law school career, and I was the roomie for the second half. Evangeline, on the other hand, is a bit of Mr. Miller's future. But we're glad she overlaps with this chapter in his life too!

Design with junk

Has your hand ever hovered over the trashcan as you strain to come up with a brilliant plan to transform the item in your clutch into something beautiful rather than throw it out?

These artists realize those trash-to-treasure longings.

HT [BoringSidney]

HT [Inhabitat]

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

16 Stoop Sales and Sidewalk Freebies

Brownstones don't have garages, so Brooklynites hold stoop sales. To hold a stoop sale, you merely dump all your unwanted things on the stoop and then sit back and chew the fat with your neighbors while passersby nose through the piles. If you want to clear stuff even faster, you leave it unmonitored, transforming it into sidewalk freebies.

And, now, presenting my recent acquisitions!

(for a $ at a stoop sale)


15 Museums

New York City has them in legion. I've written about many of the great museums on this blog (e.g., the MoMA, National Design Museum, Cloisters--here and here, and Brooklyn Museum) and visited scores of others.

As an art junkie, I adore the MoMA and The Met (how original). Thanks to an annual membership courtesy of my mom, I've been to The Met over a dozen times in the past year. And the MoMA is free on Friday night, making it a frequent destination. Here is a favorite work from each museum:

Jacques-Louis David. (French, 1748-1825). Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and His Wife. c. 1788 @ The Met. This painting does an incredible job at portraying love in marriage. Lavoisier was a prominent French lawyer-turned-scientist and public servant. His wife was deeply involved in his research, working side-by-side with him. In a move uncharacteristic for the time, Lavoisier had David make his wife the focal point of this portrait in order to emphasize her importance to his professional life and his personal happiness. Not that Lavoisier was a completely humble man; back then, men prized good legs and Lavoisier made sure David painted his.

Claude Monet. (French, 1840-1926). Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond. c. 1920. @ the MoMA.

Speaking of museums, this afternoon E and I plan to celebrate the subway at the New York Transit Museum. Maybe we'll get this shirt for the papa to commemorate his many trips to Columbia.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

14 Change of Seasons

I've already written about the disparate seasons here. Thus, this post merely gives photographic tribute to NYC's summer/fall/winter/spring.

13 Parks

If you're going to cram millions of people onto a small island, you need to provide them a bit of greenery and space so they don't go mad. Ergo, city parks.

Central Park is the mother of all parks, but not the only good one. Consider:
  • Bryant Park [in central Manhattan] This incredible park is the result of private funding, and illustrates how private enterprise brings public goods. It has ice skating in the winter and free movies and concerts in the summer. Plus, there's an H&M across the street.
  • Prospect Park [near Park Slope] PP is Brooklyn's response to Central Park. The landscape is vast and feral, yet sometimes cultured like when it hosts outdoor opera.
  • Cobble Hill Park [our neighborhood] Located a hop, skip, and jump from the burrow, CHP is a tiny walking park with a playground tucked within a nest of brownstones. On warm days, the park floods with strollers, wiggly children, and chattering parents, nannies, and students. Mr. Miller and I went there to eat breakfast and read last semester, which is when I determined this would be Evangeline's park. Starting in April, we took her there to feel the grass between her toes and people-watch. If she were a bit older, she would have enjoyed watching Sesame Street film there a couple weeks ago...

Like Picasso II

Yes, another salad. The recipe is based on my mother-in-law's. I served it with fresh focaccia bread.

Salmon Salad

1 can salmon, drained and flaked
1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Romaine lettuce

Stir together salmon, cucumber, red pepper, and onion. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wash lettuce and arrange salad inside leaves.

Monday, May 19, 2008

12 Brownstones

Brownstones are row homes characteristic to our part of Brooklyn. Not all brownstones are constructed of brown sandstone; many of them are red brick and some are wood. They generally have a "garden floor," which is located in the basement, a stoop (exterior stairwell leading to the front door), a "parlor level" floor (first real floor), and several additional floors. Brownstones vary not only in building materials and height, but also in exterior accents like stain-glassed windows, carved doors, intricate wrought iron, and unusual windows.

The interiors of brownstones are often just as beautiful as the exteriors. They may feature antique chandeliers, detailed crown molding, and built-in book shelves. In spite of my husband's teasing, I'm something of a Peeping Tom when it comes to the row homes. I try to glimpse the interiors through windows at night, hoping to see their old, lovely details or the talented decorating skills of the residents.

Two weeks ago, the Brooklyn Heights Association offered a tour of five brownstones. I was thrilled. Not only could I look inside these homes guilt-free, but the brownstones in Brooklyn Heights (the neighborhood just north of our neighborhood, which provides the set for the Bill Cosby Show) are my favorite in the entire borough.

Some brownstones up close:

Two become one

My dear friend Megan married her perfect match on Saturday. As a member of the bridal party, I was fortunate to be "behind the scenes" with Megan and Steele, their families, and the other members of the wedding party. Here's a photographic journey of the experience.

The Bachelorette Party at the ArtWalk in Scottsdale.

Putting together bouquets and making petals from thousands of rosebuds at the McGinnity's home.

The groomsmen's hats.

The church

Megan's parents at the rehearsal [marriage looks even more beautiful with time]

Gettin' pretty

Enters, the Bride

The wedding feast

Ready for life together, starting with a trip to Italy!