Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Jersey

Dear Emi:

At this point in life, I pretty much consider myself a die-hard New Yorker. I live here, I love it here and while I am willing to believe that there may be a wild pack of horses that have the power to drag me out of this place, I hope to live within the boundaries of the five boroughs for the entirety of my life. Like most NYC transplants, I rep here shamelessly. And, for validation, I definitely hold onto the fact that my father was born in Queens, my grandmother in Brooklyn, my birth certificate definitively says New York City on it and for a time my family (with me in tow) lived at 12th and 4th. That said, I spent a solid 16 years of prime developmental time in New Jersey.

Turns out that no matter how hard one tries--When you are from New Jersey, December 26 is the day when you instantly shed all your adopted New York-ness with wild abandon, go back to New Jersey, to the mall specifically, and shop like you fucking mean it. Like a homing pigeon on a mission, you get in your car or on a bus and cross that bridge or tunnel because you have been CALLED HOME.

You enter the mall and your eyes pop... no sales tax! 60% off! mom's buying! You no longer give a holiday shit about cool, hip, trendy or handmade. You lick your plate clean at California Pizza Kitchen and actually remember to order the same things you used to order when you were 15. You delight in being given a purple plastic pager and told that your turn to nosh will come in 20-30 minutes. Lunch comes and it tastes like high school dates. You fight with your mother over BBQ chicken pizza and Arnold Palmer's like its 1995.

On December 27th, you will want boutiques and assymetrical clothing once more. On 12/27 you will return to free range and grass fed, surely. But one short day before that? You want chain stores, deep discounts, mass produced food and coupons. On December 26th, you are the most American ever. You heart parking lots and big cars and highways and all the new shopping opportunities being built on Route 3 or 4 (depending on which side of the family you are shopping with that day). You heart Cinnabon, not Magnolia. You are Fuck the Subway. You are Double Cheeseburger Please. You are Wait That's Only $35? I'll Take That Too Then. You are Yes I'll Take a Plastic Bag. You are Gap Old Navy Lord and Taylor Cheesecake Factory Nordstroms Modells Best Buy Brookstone. You are Can We Go To IKEA too?

For girls like me, the day after Christmas you become the infinite end consumer, as you might say. Whether one likes it or not.


PS. This was imported/slightly modified from a post on the other blog, as I thought you might like to read it even if it wasn't initially intended as a letter for you.


Dear Emi:

I love/hate Christmas.

Who doesn't love tacky christmas lights and fat plastic christmas santas lining the block. Perhaps you have to be from Jersey (or apparently my block in Brooklyn) to understand, but overboard Christmas houses never fail to make me happy. And the eggnog and the classic holiday movies and the giving presents and the getting presents. And the food! All good things.

The problem with Christmas is that it seems that people save up all the crazy they have inside of them and then for one day in December (two or three if you are lucky)--let it ALL HANG OUT. And people appear to be accruing interest on their crazy. Which means that its crazy x [enter going interest rate on savings accounts here]. Lisa does not like.

In these days of economic woes, I submit that people should be saving up their money, not their crazy, for Christmas. I think we would all have a lot more fun.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hello out there?

Dear Emi:

Although these letters are to you, they are also to everybody.

Readers who are not Emi-- go 'head and chime in!


Dead ends.

Dear Emi:

I hate/detest/despise/loathe getting my hair done.

But now it is short and easy to love! And I didn't even have to leave my kitchen!



Dear Emi:

Are lobsters incredibly cheap in Sweden too? Here they are TOTALLY CHEAP because everyone is so poor that they have stopped buying luxury items and now there are too many lobsters on the market. The end result is that they are, at least for the moment, no longer a luxury item! SCORE.

Some people seem to have a problem with putting them in the pot, because, well, that's the part where you have to kill them. But not me! Turns out that I am a fearless lobster killer. Death comes with a bad hair day, sweatpants and the below pot.

Delicious makes me mean.

Sorry you had to die, lobster, but you were extremely tasty.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A word of warning

Dear Emi:

Do not under any circumstances watch Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father as your heart will instantly break and you will never be okay again.

The only people who should watch it are:

1. People who want to suffer. (Akin to listening to Elliot Smith on the night of getting dumped by someone you love dearly.)
2. People who can turn their souls off on command.
3. People who aren't worried about their figures and feel okay about comfort eating entire containers of pomegranate chocolate chip ice cream at 12:45 since the world is broken, cannot be fixed and ice cream is the closest thing that approximates the now-gone-feeling-of-okay that was there before you had watched this movie.
4. People who need an I'm-dating-a-crazy-person-and-need-to-be-stopped-because-that-shit-is-real interventions.



Dear Emi:

I bought a fancy new digital camera on Black Friday. Of course, I ripped it out of the box and started taking pictures immediately--many of them to show to you! I photographed my new short hair and the lobster boiling incident and my mother trying to reclaim her youth at Forever 21!

Unfortunately, at the same time that I discovered my AMAZING and HILARIOUS photo taking skills (and newfound PHOTOGENIC-NESS!!!)... I lost the camera cord to my fancy new device.

This makes me: amazing, hilarious and photogenic, which is all nullified by the fact that I am an ASSHOLE.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Reason #45691 that Lisa is lame.

Dear Emi:

I am the worst letter writer ever.

Winter ate me up!
The dog stole my will to blog!
Netflix Instant takes up all my time!
The new velour is too comfortable and I fall right to sleep!
I'm reading a mystery novel and I can't put it down!

Well, maybe not all that. But I'm back! More to come.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Big things.

Dear Emi:

A matching velour track suit changes everything.


Friday, November 21, 2008


Dear Emi:

Is this man beautiful?

Or kinda fugly?

I can't tell. Please help.


Monday, November 3, 2008

A memory book.

Dear Emi:

This was my favorite man.

He collected peoples stories. I think that everyone who reads this should document their feelings about something in their life (in a paragraph or three). It should be something that is tethered to this election, economy or time in the world. Send them to me. I'll post them here.

RIP Studs Terkel. I wish he could have told the story of this election.

From New York,

Yes we will.

Dear Emi:

If this happens, I'm entirely confused about how one is suppose to celebrate this. Dinner party? Parade? Buck naked running down Fifth Avenue? Polar bear swimming? Key party?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Dear Emi:

People are starting to think we've got this thing in the bag. I certainly hope so, but I'm not setting myself up like that. I'm just going to cross my fingers, vote Obama and try not to have a nervous breakdown. In the meantime though, the crazies seem to be getting out of control. People are yelling the "n-word" at rallies. White supremacists are cooking up horrible, violent plots to kill people. Liberal idiots are hanging Sarah Palin dolls. And I'm not even talking about the McCain volunteer and horror-show lady who carved a B (for Barack) into her face and blamed it on an unidentified black man. (Nor will I comment on the media coverage, as the word "hoax" doesn't go nearly far enough for this kind of behavior).

What am I doing in the face of all this nastiness? I'm reading articles like this gem about the useful and practical nature of farts. Because I'm over it. And if anyone calls me apathetic, I'm saying its because even the candidates poot sometimes!!

I'll be funny(ish) again when this election ends.

From New York,
Lisa (who has nothing smart left to say until Nov 5)

Monday, October 20, 2008


Dear Emi:

I try to be as clever as I can, but tonight I am just too tired. So I'll just sort folks out into winners and losers.

My favorite Swedish musician (and now neighbor! and possibly friend!!)
Colin Powell
Obama (always)
Jay Smooth (always)
Trader Joes (for being cheap)
The pumpkin pie I made
Funky southwestern patterned wool socks (BEST CHRISTMAS EVER)

McCain/Palin (always)
My computer power cord (for allowing itself to get lost and making me run to Apple store to buy a new one because I simply cannot live without a computer for a night[??])
Trader Joe's (for being crowded and annoying)
The apple crisp I made (and burnt) (and had to throw away).

From New York (where it is now unpleasantly cold and Octobery),

Friday, October 17, 2008

No Kool-Aid for me please!

Dear Emi,

I'm guessing in Sweden people can eat Fried Chicken and Watermelon with immunity--I'm bet there aren't all manner of racist associations with the food there. Unfortunately, here in the U.S. those food are loaded! (And not with vitamins, either!) And I don't think I'd even be able to properly explain the whole Kool-Aid thing to you, friend, but it's not good, no good at all really.

A collection of southern republicans decided that they would play with Photoshop last week and "riff" on the joke Obama made about not being the kind of face we are used to seeing on our currency. So these women, Emi, they made fake food stamps! With Obama's face surrounded by fried chicken, watermelon and ribs! And they published it! And they put there names on it! Then when they got busted by the national press for being ignorant, ill-advised and, well, not even really funny--they claimed that they didn't recognize that it was racist because they aren't racist! This is bad logic, Emi! I'm scared of people like this!

In any case, I think Obama looks more like a prime rib (medium-rare) kind of guy. And likely a Whole Foods shopper! If I had him over for dinner, I would definitely go Roasted Whole Sea Bass with Fennel, Lemon, White Wine and Capers. He would like the mignonette I would serve with my oysters on the half-shell! Not to knock traditional foods either--I bet Michelle makes killer candied yams and maybe even fried chicken because everyone has traditional foods passed from generation to generation, which is what makes us all human right? But these ladies got carried away! I'm definitely not drawing little old non-black ladies on fake currency with bowls of gelatin salad! Why? Because its not a knock, its what your mom and your grandma and maybe your great grandma made. And I love the culture of ALL households.

So, it seems, we've got 18 days left to go before the election in New York. It's going to be a white-knuckle ride. I finally managed to pull myself away from the news, youtube, political blogs and the like long enough to spend an evening making pumpkin pie, watching Grey's Anatomy and reading this terrible/wonderful novel for teens about vampires. The evening was delicious.

From New York,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The great debate

Dear Emi,

Have you ever been to Trader Joe's?

I go every week and regret it every time. It's the closest I have ever come to being an addict and the closest I've come to having a nervous breakdown. The one in New York is small, crowded, ridiculous and completely infuriating--I can't help myself. Who can resist all the affordable organic items? The delicious prepared food, the Chile-Spiced Dried Mangos, the $4 Raclette, the $5 fair trade breakfast blend coffee, the cheap "but in a carafe no one will know the difference" wine?

When it gets too crowded, there is a bouncer! Who manages the line outside of the grocery store! And people wait on the line! I've waited in this line, friend, and it made me feel like a proper asshole. It's that cheap and good.

It is an interesting contradiction to be in a store and want to clap my hands and jump up and down with glee and simulataneously want to SHOOT MYSELF IN THE FACE IF ANOTHER PERSON TOUCHES MY PERSON WITH EITHER HAND OR CART. It's quite the conundrum. Cheap soy milk and greek yogurt for 2 bucks or my sanity? You'd think the answer would be easy, but it is not. You actually have to stop and do a cost-benefit analysis.

But this is all beside the point, what is most interesting is the staff! The place is lousy with employees walking through the biggest grocery-shopping shit-show that ever was, the but on every single face is the biggest, most blissed out smile you have ever seen. Soma? Orgy in the back? What?

Emi, I know these people are as pissed off about having to be at work as I usually am, and I like my job. The shoppers are pretty hard to love, with their carts wielded as weapons, their uninterruptable plans of attack, their nose-dives for the last box of Panko Breaded Tilapia. And I can't help but believe that at least a handful of them have probably dealt with tendencies towards claustrophobia at some point in their life. So why are these people so happy looking?? I want them to tell the TRUTH, Emi!

OKOK, it's schadenfreude, fair enough, but sometimes as I wander the crowded, obnoxious aisles (that I'm dealing with OK but am sure are doing some lasting damage to my soul), I think that if I don't see a "crew member" completely lose it (I'm talking a throwing-ham-at-customers, trashing-the-cheese-aisle kind of fit), throw a box of TJ-O's at their manager and quit out loud, I'm not going to to shop their anymore. Cause if this is what people have to put up with for health-insurance, and whistle while they work, mind you, I don't know what to say.

From New York,

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Potty mouth.

Dear Emi:

You might think this is not a subject for mixed company, and it probably isn't, but do you chat through the door when you or someone in your home is in the bathroom? I happen to do this often, but my boyfriend definitely doesn't and, well, he even gets a little mad that I'm still trying even though he pretends like I'm not talking when I do so. Just a moment ago he ignored a WHOLE conversation about the economy. I happen to know he heard me. He calls it "his 'me' time". Personally, I think it's just a door. And I'm all about efficient use of time.


From New York,

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Dear Emi,

IKEA. Stopped. Carrying. Nyponsoppa.*

This is, in a word, worrying. Or two, extremely disconcerting.

I really don't know what I will do on cold nights to come without a hot mug of delicious rosehip soup. Are we being punished for electing Bush twice? Will we stop getting those delicious pastel candy cars too? And lingonberry jam? If we elect Obama, will you guys send us back our powdered fruit soup? I sure hope so. This is a very inopportune time for this, given that I'm very stressed out about this stupid election and need some comfort. Nyponsoppa is very comforting, don't you think?

In any case, I would like to stop seeing Sarah Palin and crazy righties who I am not entirely conviced actually live in the same country as me on my TV and start seeing more articles about this disturbing shortage!

From New York,

P.S. Whats up with Iceland?!?!?

*To those who are not Emi, this is a delicious sweet Rosehip soup that I once carried 10 boxes of home from Goteborg.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dear Brown Man I Saw on Fox News Last Night

Dear Emi,

Here is a draft of a letter I was thinking of sending to a strange brown man I saw on TV last night. He is not voting for Obama. I guess everyone in the US isn't as excited about having a smart, articulate, dynamic president who also happens to be the same color as me. I had no idea. I think he should have his own TV special because I'd like to understand him.


101 Main St.
Anytown, Redstate 11111


Dear BrownManWhoLovesMcCain:

I saw you on TV last night. And I thought I'd tell you that I have to disagree sir. May I speak plainly?

If ever there was a time to suck it up, get it together and stop acting like an idiot--its NOW friend. I mean, it almost hurt to watch you preaching to what looked shockingly similar to a jim crow era lynch mob about Obama's alleged "terrorist connections". It looked like a pork chop talking about dinner to a pack of Rottweilers. Guess who was the pork chop?

BrownManWhoLovesMccain, can we talk? I think we need to talk. I'd like to better understand.

You really don't want to have a president who looks like you? You don't want your kids to grow up and really think they could be president too? You think an educational system based on testing and teaching to that test is good? You like 5 million dropping into poverty? You wanna live with McCain appointed supreme court justices for the rest of your natural born life and a decent chunk of your kids lives too? You like the fact that money for a projector used at a planetarium in our second city is called irrelevant pork barrel spending. You like presidents who have used the word "gook" in the newspaper? You like not having healthcare, or having to promise your first born to get it? You like recessions? And panic? And you like the idea of women dying from DIY abortions in back alleys with coathangers? You like war? You like old people who might die in the white house and hand us to Palin on a plate with parsley on top of us? You like the achievement gap? You like the fact that no one will ever date you because being a foaming-at-the-mouth misdirected and ill-informed black republican is number 3 on the Top 5 Least Sexy Things in the Universe list? (With diarrhea and boils coming in at 1 and 2, respectively.)


BrownManWhoLovesMccain were you raised by wolves? Cause there is no way you had a black mom like mine. It wouldn't be pretty if you did. Either way, I find you fascinating.

Good luck (you'll need it!),

News. Coffee.

Dear Emi,

I feel like such a grownup!
(Oops, I AM a grownup!)

Earlier this week I subscribed to the New York Times and every morning when I plod down the stairs to grab my little blue bag full of the news, I remind me of my parents. And yes, there are a lot of things wrong with New York, but the NYTimes on your doorstep and a hot cup of coffee kind of help make up for them. But, friend, as much as I like my paper and coffee the headlines these days are kind of freaking me out. I wish I had subscribed during the Olympics!


It feels like reading the headlines in some novel about the bad version of the future where everything has gone wrong except it's neither a novel nor the future. This isn't any fun at all. To be honest, Emi, I'd rather read the movie reviews today.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Better memories.


I think the world would be a better place if we all had our childhood preserved with videos of completely amazing musical projects like this instead of those embarrassing naked baby photos everyone has.

My parents were just not this cool.


Hearting Jay Smooth

Dear Emi,

Did you know that we New Yorkers are falling in love with this man? Over the internet. Yes, he's a little funny looking, but his brain is quite delicious. Our boyfriends are all jealous.

From New York,

The National Debt.

Dear Emi,

Why should all the Scandinavians have all the fun? Helsinki and Stockholm are great, but I think I'll write you my own letters from New York.

In New York today, the American National Debt Calculator has run out of digits because we have so much. It also says that my family owes $86,017. Perhaps thats their problem, seeing as I don't have $86,000 and if I did, I think I'd prefer to buy one of these. Don't they know I work at a non-profit?

Interesting, as always.

From New York,