Not yet at all back to normal - that will have to wait till I return to Cayman and get back in a decent work and exercise routine. It has been almost a month now without my having done a stroke of work, and it is not something I enjoy - I need to be thinking and reading and writing in order to feel more myself!
But New York visiting is very soothing. My apartment is sublet, so I'm staying downtown in fairly idyllic circumstances with adopted grandfather G., who is feeding and entertaining me and leaving me to my own devices in characteristically lovely fashion. You wake up and find that he has already been up and out to obtain muffins or scones from Balthazar or Once Upon a Tart and that the coffee is ready to brew, and the day proceeds from there: this morning I went back to bed after breakfast, for instance, and woke up again in the later morning for an excursion to the Housing Works bookstore to replenish the light reading supply followed by a delicious ham and cheese omelet for lunch in the absolutely lovely trellis-vined garden at Le Jardin Bistro.
I am not such a food-oriented person most of the time, but the last month has involved odd and irregular eating; I have mostly been living on coffee, chocolate, alcohol and non-delicious sandwiches. In other words, I am more than ready for the regime of nutritional stringency and hard exercise which will begin when I get back to Cayman, but in traveling limbo it is very good to have some truly delicious food in the New York vein!
On Tuesday after I got in we had a late lunch at Peep (grilled calamari, chicken with basil); in the evening we had dinner at Mezzogiorno (tonello vitello, beef carpaccio with arugula and parmesan - yes, I know the first two are really basically the same thing, but it is the sort of thing I most like! - and blood orange sorbet to finish).
Last night we went to a very decent (it was too long, but texturally highly satisfactory) theatrical adaptation of Dos Passos' Manhattan Transfer, then to Le Rivage in honor of Bastille Day for a tasty and reasonably priced prix fixe dinner (romaine with tomato and anchovies, chicken cordon bleu, peach melba).
Tonight: Sweet, Sweet Motherhood (doesn't sound great, but it's my sort of topic - I liked Lee Silver's Remaking Eden quite a bit).
I finished The Passage - I really, really liked it. It is haunting, it is bleak, it is well worth your while if you like that sort of book at all - a friend tells me that it has not met the publishers' "big book of the summer" expectations, but if this is so, I would guess that it is because it is too much of a 'real' book and not enough of a simple beach read. And I also polished off a little book by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Fall of Light, which I enjoyed quite a bit but found puzzling on account of my complete inability to tell whether it was an installment in a series or just a hastily written one-off with a large number of loose ends.
(And I forgot to mention the other book I read just before leaving Ottawa, Wendy's copy of Bimbos of the Death Sun - I had mentioned to her a few years ago that I was reading Zombies of the Gene Pool because it had been pressed upon me as a loan by the fellow who sells books in front of Milano Market on Broadway, and she observed that in her circles, the other book was rather better thought of!)
The Housing Works haul really is excellent. Being in a good used bookstore like that also makes me want to write novels - it is a more interesting and less bland selection than what you see in a non-excellent big-box bookstore where it's almost all new stuff. For US$40.78, I obtained the following, which will certainly tide me over to next week: Kate Atkinson's When Will There Be Good News?, John Twelve Hawks' The Dark River, Sam Bourne's The Last Testament, Nick Flynn's Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (a novel the NYT remains unwilling to name in its pages), Stewart Home's 69 Things To Do With a Dead Princess, Jenifer Levin's The Sea of Light and Water Dancer (swim lit!), Sebastian Faulks' Human Traces and a funny curiosity that I'd never heard of before but am very much looking forward to reading, Mary McMinnies' The Visitors.