I have a complicated relationship with my alma mater. If I could talk to high school me, I would shake her by the shoulders and say, “you are making a mistake! Don’t try so hard to be taken seriously; don’t choose a school where much of what you will care about will be treated as a punch line. Go to a women’s college! Major in English! And if you must make this mistake, don’t befriend a bunch of neo-con assholes, don’t trust your roommate, and don’t try to drink (you’re missing whatever enzyme, you’ll never ever be drunk, and you’ll be better for it).

Do not be jealous when your awful college boyfriend introduces you to his friend Elizabeth. Do not ignore your awful college boyfriend’s neighbor, Josh. Stop talking to that loser, immediately. Stop talking to everyone in your dorm.

Use every minute of friendship you can with Elizabeth and Josh because you will spend the coming years missing them, always. You will never be the ‘smart one’ or the ‘funny one,’ but that is okay, because that means you’ll always be having the best time, and it’s a lot of pressure, anyway. You will regret almost all of the choices you made for yourself in college, and you will have such a list of resentments, but high on that list will always be waiting too long to realize that Elizabeth and Josh are going to be your forever friends. So if you must choose the wrong college, find the best people.” 

Last weekend, Elizabeth and Josh came to visit. We sat in the sun, watched the Veronica Mars movie, and ate too many doughnuts for breakfast. I skipped my college reunion last year because a) too soon, please, b) I am never sleeping in a dorm bed again, and c) this was way, way better. Oh! and a special shoutout to Joe, Elizabeth’s friend from high school, and all-around cool guy, who can now confirm to his mother that Watson is just as fluffy as he appears on the internet. 

What CAN’T you buy on the internet these days, am I right?

Because we are not at all immune to the charms of NYT trend pieces. 

"The last frost date was supposed to be three FREAKING WEEKS AGO," I yelled. "My plant babies are going to die and I HATE New York." I tried to storm off in a huff, but tripped on my own feet and fell down a few steps of stairs.

Nothing ruins a morning like waking up to snow in April, trapping my new little sprouts in a thick cover of icy death. I thought we collectively agreed it was spring! The daffodils, the sandals in store windows, the sunburns we all got from spending the weekend outside. Then, this morning, it was puffy coat time again.

When my colleagues found out about Conor, they were relieved. “We wanted you to accept the job, of course, but worried about you moving out here alone,” Catherine said. “This city is hard.”

This morning, Conor helped me up after I fell, and didn’t laugh at me even a little bit. He melted the snow in my containers, and gave the seedlings a big pep talk. They look okay, if a little dazed. The kale and sunflowers are champs, and the most delicate sprouts were inside last night. When I came home tonight I found tiny cupcakes and a cheer up note on my desk — basically the Silvia version of a gentle, warm spray of water over my frozen grouchy heart.

My feelings about New York will continue to sway wildly from one extreme to another, but this won’t ever stop feeling like exactly the home for which I’ve always been looking.

This is Watson’s sunning-like-a-lizard, “where’s my taco?!” face. 

Conor and I wanted to go for a run, but couldn’t stand to leave Watson alone at home. Instead, we packed the dog along with reading materials, baby carrots, and metro passes. Our relay race plan started off well; Conor went for a run while I sat in the sun, took pictures of Watson, and listened to the young people nearby look up instructions for baking special brownies. I got tagged in, and joined the coursing stream of people that is the running lane in Central Park.

It was going so well. The weather was finally wonderful and everyone was stretching into it. The dogs ran, too, after the last abandoned bites of hot dogs, stray kernels of kettle corn. I dodged jogging strollers, bounced past the Guggenheim, and felt speedy, light, and happy. I rounded the corner of my last tenths of of a mile, and looked up for Conor and Watson. Who should have been right in front of me, under our home base tree. Rather, they would have been there, had I not missed a turn and ended up two miles away. Oops.

Fortunately for my absent internal compass, I have a phone that tells me where I am. I ran my way back to the two of them, and then we went to Shake Shake and ate too many servings of french fries and custard. The way I figure, if I’m going to get lost and run two extra miles, I might as well make it up in french fries. 

Daffodil, rabbit foot fern, jade plant, jasmine, peperomia, button fern, zinfandel shamrock, and all I’ve ever wanted from a window sill. 

His face is literally  XD

I know it is not really ice cream, but on a warm Saturday afternoon in the park, nothing is better. 

Do you see that little white blur just past the tree? That is Conor and Watson almost catching a squirrel. Next time, little guy. You’ll get him next time. 

My very first dutch baby! How on earth is this “4-6 servings?” Can you really stop yourself from eating most of an entire pancake by yourself? 

I sent Conor this picture to prove that Watson was not sick. Hungry for popcorn, maybe, but not sick.

Conor returned from China and brought me a new green travel mug with a tea filter, tea, a gardening journal, and one small panda. A+ boyfriend, would boyfriend again. 

Walking into the Fab warehouse sale in Chelsea Market, I realized that I did not need quirky mugs, sari blankets, or sandal-clogs nearly as much as I needed to not be swallowed by cardboard boxes on the verge of mutiny. 

I bought one scoop of lemon ice cream, takeout sushi, and went home to hang out with Watson.