The Street Where I Live

British by birth, New Yorker by nature.

Isaac

A Frying Pan

Love and Marriage, Home and DesignAlexandra kingComment
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Here's a story about romance. Not the Valentine's Day bullshit kind. The real kind. On the first birthday I ever spent with Isaac, he bought me a frying pan. A FRYING PAN. Now let me tell you, on initial encounter, it wasn't that I was disappointed, exactly. I had not fallen in love with a man with a Ferrari or a Ferrari budget (thank god and dammit). But really, dude, a frying pan? He presented it, beaming, unwrapped, entirely naked, stern in its plain, utilitarian usefulness, and I dutifully went through the motions of pretending to be absolutely delighted (you can take the girl out of England..). What a nice sturdy handle! I exclaimed, half-heartedly. A terribly useful non-stick surface! Just the right size for pancakes! Then he explained.

When his parents were newly married, both just out of the military and living in Alabama, for their first wedding anniversary Isaac's father had wanted to get his new wife, Isaac's Mum, something nice. But they were totally broke, living at home, saving up for a new life in Texas. So, Isaac's dad went along to a tiny store in Gadsden, one of the only places to buy things at the time, and he saw the frying pan. They needed one, he said. He also remembers it was "teflon, and about four or five dollars" (I called up my sweet father-in-law, Dave, to get him to tell me the story in his own words). He also remembered that Isaac's Mum was "very surprised, and very gracious".

They used the frying pan for years, he added. Though he insists that when it comes to his romantic gifting skills, "I got better!".

So here's to the loveliest of family traditions. And here's to my frying pan. Long may it sizzle, and hang in the walls of my heart and home- as hot, heavy and hopeful as my love.

P.S

This Christmas Isaac got me a Soda Stream. I LOVE IT.



Snow Day

New York City, Love and Marriage, Living For The WeekendAlexandra kingComment
mid-storm, Jonas

Well, despite my cynicism, Jonas turned out to be a whole lot more than the little storm in a teacup I had witheringly predicted. Saturday was a record breaker- the second highest snowfall in New York City history; and as Brooklynites slept soundly in their beds on Friday night, naughty Jonas whipped himself into a rage. Two and a half feet of snow was dumped onto the streets of Brooklyn, flung onto windows, slopped onto stoops. The city issued emergency measures- banning cars, shutting down transport and urging people not to go outside. We dutifully obeyed, but by 4pm, cabin fever had set in, and, with literally every jumper I own on my body, I persuaded Isaac to take a walk outside with me.

Isaac Jonas
two snow bunnies
Brooklyn Jonas

It truly felt other-worldly. Frightening. Lovely. Visibility at times was only about ten feet or so, busy intersections were totally empty and the only traffic in sight were other stir crazy (emphasis on crazy) civilians, wrapped in every layer they own, desperate for fresh air, and curious about such a new white world.

Alexandra kIng-Lyles TSWIL
jonas, brooklyn apre ski

Despite the wind and snow, we ventured a very long ten blocks to one of our standard haunts, The Double Windsor, which (god love you Double Windsor) was one of the few places open. Inside, it was pumping, with skis and sledges propped against the walls.  Apres-ski in Brooklyn! We dutifully drank hot toddies and ate too many french fries. Then began the truly punishing walk home (into rather than away from the blizzard). The snow smacked us hard on our cheeks and filled our eyes with water. Cue multiple groans of "who's idea was this?" (mine) and epic falls over walls of ice. A couple of times we stopped into the few open places on 7th Avenue for warmth. It took us about an hour to walk ten blocks.

kitty girls

FYI,  these girls know how to deal with a blizzard (cuddle, chill, stay the hell inside). I swear they are giving serious side-eye in this photo.

tswil chateau king lyles

Once home, we thawed out (courtesy of our battered old bathtub) made spaghetti and binge watched the new Netflix Chelsea Handler show (hilair and well done. Highly recommend). I had learned I have bad survival skills. But all was well.

Brooklyn in Jonas
isaac shovelling snow

The next day, after what had truly seemed like an interminable 24 hours (this girl is truly not made for staying inside- there's only so much hand stand practice I can do on the rug before the neighbors protest) the blizzard was over. Isaac cleared the steps and had a great time bonding with all our friends on our block, digging out cars and clearing the pavements.

brownstone under snow
street light and ice, TSWIL
thawing out Brooklyn

And now, on Monday, business as usual. The thaw begins. Oh Jonas, you were naughty as hell, but so pretty.

Fantasy Vacations

Love and MarriageAlexandra king1 Comment
On actual vacation, in Tulum last year.

On actual vacation, in Tulum last year.

My husband Isaac and I have gone on a lot of vacations recently. Last week we cozied down in a cabin in upstate New York, hearing the chickadees flit through the fir trees, drinking cheap beers at decrepit dive bars and noting the luxury of perfectly visible green horizons. On Saturday, I announced we would be going for a private viewing of the Savage Beauty exhibition in London followed by afternoon tea at The Berkeley.  Last night, citing a craving for spicy noodles, jewel-toned trees and air as wet and hot as bath water, we spent a blissful evening in Indonesia.

Of course we haven’t actually gone there. Not physically. But we definitely did in our heads.

Like many good and clever things, it all started out as a bit of a joke, a lazy bedtime conversation  in that peaceful hollowed out moment between wake and sleep. “Let’s go on vacation” I had said, “where shall we go, you pick”. “Maine” he replied (I never knew he wanted to go to Maine). “We’re eating lobsters for lunch. We’ll buy more for dinner. You’re going to take them home to our cabin on the lake and make amazing lobster rolls and we’ll drink whiskey and I’ll read and you can watch reruns of those horrible Lifetime Shows you love. I’ll build a giant fire and refuse to move until it’s time to go home”. Wonderfully, we didn’t have to go home, though, because we both fell asleep. That night, I dreamt about running through countryside meadows where long grasses waved to the wind.

As embarrassingly new age/infantile/fully delusional as it sounds, I’ve come to really love our fantasy vacations. They are a lovely interlude to any day, and most welcome when, like most people in their 20s/early 30s/ actually just almost everyone in New York, you’re pretty much out of disposable cash after rent and have a monthly travel budget that will get you as far as a cab to Gowanus. 

Of course, it would certainly be nice one day to be able to take a whole lot of proper luxurious holidays when the urge strikes us- I sense most vividly that the real Pina Coladas are a lot more refreshing than the imagined ones. But I’d still like to keep our fantasy trips going. They are so inexpensive, so immediate and so terribly convenient (that wonderful British oxymoron). Mainly, though, they remind me of how much I adore my favorite travel partner, whose companionship on journeys both real and imagined is always the most beautiful. 

So this week, darling readers, as Winter’s grip loosens and daylight savings time summons us sleepily into the light, I'm recommending that you also take some time to take a fantasy vacation. Paris? Papua New Guinea? Peru? Immerse yourself completely. No passport required. Oh, the places you’ll go.