n i g h t i n g a l e s h i r a z / blog
jhumka keychains at khajoor bazaar in karachi

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shameless poet-friend plug.

red envelope, whatever.  *my* recommendation for the perfect valentine's day gift is the sensually-classy-raunch poetry of our very own Harriet Green.  not only did she hook me up with my first job in Italy (alright second, if you count two weeks building CRM solutions for someone who eventually admitted that yes, he was expecting me to survive on e1.25 an hour and that i could clean his pool in my free time), she writes kick-ass poetry.  she also makes a great pimm's cup, but well, that's a completely different story...

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via da Morrona, Pisa]
[lunedi 27 dicembre 2004 ore 20:39:18] []

missing the Moores.

there *are* a few good things about being Muslim.  for example, most of the time, you get to enjoy Christmas as a spectator sport.  absolute, stress-less, yuletide fun.  nobody expects you to buy presents for them, nobody expects you to even send cards (well, as long as you don't expect anybody to send *you* cards for Eid, anyway).  and if you *do* get the urge to buy a present, or send a card or two, you are immediately elevated to Major Appreciation Status.  because in your case it's even truer than usual -- you really didn't have to.

this is why i love Christmases.  they're win-win situations for me.  even Christmases at the Moores -- no wait, *especially Christmases* at the Moores...  all the fun and love and laughter that usually comes with a family holiday, plus none of the underlying emotional baggage and/or historical (and often mildly neurotic) backlash that usually comes with *your* family's family holiday.  perfect.  who said you can't have your fruitcake and eat it too?

most of the time.

"most of the time", however, does *not* include, say, when you suddenly find out (in the midst of all this pleasant self-congratulation), that this year, you're spending Christmas with your Italian boyfriend's family -- after having met them all of TWO times.

dear lord.

suddenly, i actually *had* to buy presents.  and they *had* to be good presents.  worse still, i didn't even *know* the people i was buying these presents for (of course, you can imagine how much help the aforesaid Italian boyfriend was in this area -- he didn't go christmas shopping until the day before, and then he ended up buying his mother a soapdish).  ever-worser, he thought to inform me that i was invited the sunday before Christmas.  we're talking SIX days' warning (all of which were days i had to be at work).  six (6!), virtually-unusable shopping days.

i took friday off.

it was terrible.  i still break into a cold sweat just thinking about it.  the lines for the cash register.  the mobs for the complementary in-store giftwrap.  the snarly sales help at the profumeria.  the struggle to understand age categories for Italian toys (thank goodness for Lego).  the growing sense of desperation as you pace the stalls of the local ethnic bazaar, back and forth, back and forth like a deranged tiger among tibetan tablecloths and totempoles.  the sinking sensation that you will end up being The Girl That Got It All Wrong.

by the time i reached Florence -- hot, exhausted, laden like a sleigh-camel-in-the-snow (?), mylar dripping from my coatpockets and that particular kind of nausea that only department stores can give you -- i was a bah-humbug-wreck.

i think they liked their presents.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via da Morrona, Pisa]
[domenica 26 dicembre 2004 ore 23:57:05] []

the Venetian invitation.

alright.  here's the idea.

i want to spend a day in Venice.  any day -- preferably between today and January 16th.  partly, mostly because there is what might be a fantastic Dali exhibit.  but also because well, I haven't been to Venice in over a year, and that's just plain wrong.

for most of this day, i am looking forward to being on my own.  being alone in an Italian city (especially when you're a woman) is one of my favorite pastimes.  but for some part of ot, it would be nice to meet someone i would not otherwise have done.

so if you think you can swing it, the New York Times' has a nice little journalistic "anthology" for La Serenissima, to help you decide if you want to join me.

just let me know.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via da Morrona, Pisa]
[venerdi 24 dicembre 2004 ore 11:12:06] []

not good.

am having one of those days.  am having one of those weeks.  missing too many things, most of which i can't quite figure out.  which makes it that much more frustrating.  that much harder to find my sense of balance.  that much more difficult to figure out what -- or who -- i am angry or upset or disappointed in.

i try hard to put the good parts on here, most days.  and most days, there are indeed good parts.  but this evening, like a lot of evenings this week -- i feel like a six-year-old at midnight.  i am tired and i don't know what i want.

i don't like not knowing what i want.  i don't like not knowing what is making me unhappy.  or, more importantly, what it is that i can do or work towards doing in order to change it.  i have almost always known what i want.  i knew when i was fourteen and spent three days traipsing around new york city with my mother at my side and a Coca-Cola fannypack (or bumbag, you pick) at my now-mortified hips, that i wanted to study at that university someone told me was at the bottom of fifth avenue.  i knew even three years later, when the advisor at the American Consulate barely looked at me as she commented that yes, NYU was an excellent school, she'd studied journalism there, but that even if you got in my dear, you wouldn't be able to afford it.

i knew i wanted to work at Razorfish the day i walked into a creepy headhunter's interview room in midtown and met Todd Drake, soon-to-be Global Technology Evangelist, and still the only IT-type i know who uses the word "egregious" in normal conversation.

i knew i wanted to move Italy.  i knew i wanted -- needed -- the visa and the workpermit.  the plate of pasta and the glass of wine and the occasional accordion-player in the street and the copious amounts of really-good parmesan cheese.

and now?  now i'm kind of stuck.  i would be better, if i were better-convinced that i really don't want -- or miss -- anything.  but i am definitely missing something.

hm.  am beginning to wonder if what i am missing -- hopefully temporarily -- is the ability to write anything besides this crap.

sorry all.  i think it's best if i go back to the parmesan tonight.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via da Morrona, Pisa]
[giovedi 23 dicembre 2004 ore 22:04:12] []


i've brought my laptop to bed for three nights in a row now.  all three nights, i've balked at the screen, and come up with little that anyone would find vaguely interesting (this, of course, based on the questionable assumption that *any* of this has been vaguely interesting, to *anyone*).  have they coined a term like blog-block yet?  they need to.

i am hoping it has nothing to do with how much i've been reading the New Yorker online -- especially their fiction section.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via da Morrona, Pisa]
[giovedi 16 dicembre 2004 ore 23:07:03] []

apartment-hunting in Pisa.

just so you know.  it sucks big time.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via da Morrona, Pisa]
[mercoledi 15 dicembre 2004 ore 23:18:29] []

lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

working on the web site for Ciro's wine bar.  teaching myself information architecture on the fly (thank goodness for webmonkey, thank goodness for everyone i knew at Razorfish).

i know i am skipping steps, though.  but hey, *you* try and tell three salt-of-the-earth Tuscans they need to agree on a "metaphor" for their navigation paradigm.  ugh.

anyway, we are officially in the design stage now, and i am so very afraid.  because out of all the spheres, this is the one i am the least comfortable with.  everything else i can look up, figure out or fake.  but design, for me is the Black Box from which Sara Golding and her always-well-dressed-kind pulled forever-effortless mood-boards.  they'd go away for a day or two, and come back and talk about translating the  client's corporate qualities into a spectrum of colors and fonts and, well, aqua verdana sans serif suddenly made so much sense...

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via da Morrona, Pisa]
[martedi 14 dicembre 2004 ore 22:39:43] []

celebrating the small.

first real paycheck, in a while.  you know, the kind that goes straight into your bank account.  as opposed to being a wad of small bills in an envelope.  as opposed to being the outcome of a cryptic Italian invoicing system your accountant has assured you is what you as an Independent Worker need to be following.  as opposed to being the kind you don't even bother to put in the bank because you'll be using it all up before the end of the month anyway, ha ha.

first bank account.  well actually no.  that's not being entirely fair to Monte dei Paschi di Siena (established 1472; a full twenty years before Columbus discovered the land that gave us free checking).

first corporate expense report since Razorfish.  over seven meals at the neighborhood Thai restaurant.  some things never change.

first weekend not spent with the Italian boyfriend -- i.e. - with both of us actually in the same country, and with neither one of us attending VinItaly.  it is nice to have two days to myself and no one else.  nice to remember, that despite the dance-on-the-bar, groan-a-joke, friendful people-nut inside -- i *like* being alone with myself.

first real, luxury purchase in a looong time.
and no, wine is *not* actually a luxury purchase.

first Galaxy bar in a while.

and.  my first, full, blog-year.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via da Morrona, Pisa]
[lunedi 06 dicembre 2004 ore 22:33:02] []


trader-types who don't drink wine at lunch.  nobody drinks wine at lunch.  only Italy -- maybe -- drinks wine at lunch.  you say cheers anyway.
mind you stand on the right of that gap.  and whatever you do don't busk.  but how i love the word busk.
you watch the weather on what they call the Beeb (not the Tube -- that's the underground dear,  the subway man, the metro mon cherie)...  today: gray.  tomorrow: gray.  thursday: maybe anthracite.  even Tory, sounds like a kind of gray.
seven pound ramen noodles and that teaspoon of chilisauce you have to pay extra for.  the bill that comes before you ask for it.  everywhere, bills that come before you ask for them.  service not included.  no, not bloody likely.
and all the time you wonder, who the heck is Janet?

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Cornhill, London]
[friday 3 december 2004 at 08:01:46] []