Friday, December 30, 2005

A nice new friend

Today I made a quinoa, broccoli and cheddar casserole and it was quite good. It was a little scary, cooking with a new grain, but I weathered the storm. First you preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Then you take 1 1/2 cups of quinoa, rinse it in a fine sieve (this gets rid of saponin, its natural bitter coating) and simmer it in 3 cups of water for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Chop an onion and saute it in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet until the onion is translucent. Add 2 medium crowns of broccoli, broken up into bite-size pieces, and 1/4 cup of water. Cover the skillet and cook the broccoli for 5 to 7 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine the broccoli mixture, cooked quinoa and half a cup of sharp cheddar cheese. Put the mixture into a lightly oiled, 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle half a cup of sharp cheddar cheese evenly over the top. Cook 20 to 25 minutes and let stand 5 minutes. (Source: The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet by Nava Atlas.)

Yum! Quinoa is high in protein, by the way.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Ramblings of a diseased mind

Actually, my mind is not diseased. Just my body. And it's starting to get better. Good enough to blog, anyway ;)

Today I dragged my carcass to the gym and library, because I hadn't been to either place in a while. I had a huge stack of library books and realized I should return the ones I've read. I also stopped by the laundry room in my building to drop off some books. There's a little library in my laundry room. I put books that I'm never going to read there. My books always get snatched right up, maybe because their competition is:

The Scarlet Pimpernel
The Zone of Sudden Death and Other Stories of Combat (I'm not making this up.)

Although, Liz, they did have A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Cool, huh? I already read it, though, so I let it be.

As I left the laundry room, I saw a man sneaking into the building through the back entrance. I saw he had a little suitcase-type contraption with mesh on one side, and through it, I saw the white tushy of a dog! He smiled and said hello (the man, not the dog). I hope the building doesn't sue him. The building people always lose the lawsuits anyway.

I tossed my Us magazine into the recycling bin without reading it for the second or third time in a row. I'm waiting for my subscription to end. They keep putting Jessica Simpson or Angelina Jolie on the cover. I'm sick of them both. At least Britney Spears was unintentionally funny. I remember the time she called an emergency family summit, because she was afraid that her brother's dog got her dog, Bit-Bit, pregnant. "That would be incest," she said.

I heard once that Jessica Simpson's father was praising her body parts in public. (I'm not going to get any more specific, because it's still haunting me, like the homeless man I saw doing something in the Village. I'm trying to forget both things.) You might say, "That's not Jessica's fault," but I'm just sick of seeing her. Period. I don't really like Angelina either. I know she adopts kids, but she hurt Jennifer Aniston and her own girlfriend when she took up with Brad Pitt. The girl is clearly not concerned about karmic payback.

In other news, I really like Lauren Baratz-Logsted's books. I recommend them. I'm currently reading "A Little Change of Face."

I'm going to make my first quinoa recipe ever in the near future. It's a quinoa, broccoli and cheddar casserole (from The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet by Nava Atlas, a Christmas present from one of my sisters). I will let you all know how it is.

One more thing. Katie Holmes's father is apparently one of the most powerful divorce lawyers in Ohio, and he's helping draft her prenup. It's good to know there's someone helping her out :) Although Tom will, apparently, help her change diapers. And she has vowed to get help if she has post-natal depression.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas and the aftermath

Merry Christmas, everybody! I hope you had a groovy day. I woke up on the 23rd, feeling grim with a day of travel ahead of me, but the day shaped up well. First I got a big Amazon box from Lisa! She got me a stuffed shih tzu and a fun book about wiggling! (Not the Australian band, I promise.)

On the train we had the privilege of hanging out with Caroline, an adorable 3-year-old from Virginia. She has officially made me re-think my stance on kids. Maybe in 2 years. (Don't worry, y'all...I won't rush into it.)

Christmas Eve and the day itself were also fun. One of my favorite gifts was a pink coat from my sister!

D got, among other things, a classic book on advertising. It was written in the 1920s, and has some, um, interesting views on mothers!

(From Chapter One, "Early Influences"): "The greatest event in my career occurred a year before I was born. My father selected for me a Scotch mother. She typified in a high degree the thrift and caution of her race. Boys, they say, gain most of their qualities from their mothers...A Scotch mother is the greatest asset a boy can have who desires a career in advertising. Then economy and caution are instinctive with him. They are fundamentals"...Lest we think he is sexist, he praises his mother highly: "She was a college graduate with great intellectual powers."

I've peppered some pics through here. (The fluffy mailman toy belongs to my sister's dog.) Thanks again for your holiday wishes - e-cards (Kim) and sparkly cards (Bdogg).

Thursday, December 22, 2005

My favorite Christmas present

I saw a meme over at Michelle's and it got me thinking. One of the questions was: what was your favorite Christmas gift?

Picture it. Danvers, Massachusetts. 1983. I was 8 years old and for whatever reason, I wanted a white mouse really badly. I opened a number of presents that year. One was a collar, another was a leash. Although I actually was a bright child, in this case I didn't put two and two together. I still thought I was getting a white mouse, and I asked if the collar/leash was "an adjustable belt." Go ahead and laugh.

Anyway, eventually I went out to the family room to plunder my stocking. I opened the door and suddenly there was this moving furry mass! I screamed. I closed the door. Then I opened it again and peered in. I saw a small, "brindle" Cairn terrier. That's the word breeders used to describe her brownish-golden, blond-in-summer, dark-in-winter fur. She had pointed ears and beady eyes. All she wanted to do was play. We'd give her squeaky toys and she'd rip out the center and eat it.

She was with us from 1983 to 2001. Rest in peace, Pepper.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

OK, things are getting crazy here

Yesterday, I didn't notice the strike too much. (All of you who live in the outer boroughs and have to come to Manhattan to work, please don't hold it against me. I know you had a tough time starting yesterday morning.) Today, it's officially crazy. 8th Avenue is choked with cars. Almost none of them are stopping for lights; when they do stop, they go again too early. So crossing the street is like walking an obstacle course and I'm sure the driving is absolute hell. To make matters worse, many people are trying to get to Penn Station. I would not want to be someone in the city trying to get to JFK or La Guardia. People are probably selling their bodies for taxis and then the taxis will crawl along at 2 mph. And taking the A train to JFK is out.

The strike is also starting to trickle into unexpected places. At the gym, for example, there's a sign up telling us not to take too many towels, "because of the MTA transit strike." It doesn't seem to have affected supermarket goods. I picked up the gym schedule for classes, because they have yoga classes and I can ask to be on their sublist (after sampling the class).

There are two other places where I'm thinking of getting on the sublist. I'm on the fence about this one. Somehow it seems a little hard core. I guess the only way to find out is to take a class there.

And finally: 2 annoying groups are out in full force today.

1) Old women who cut me off while pushing shopping carts. These women cut in front of me, then proceed to walk at one-quarter mile per hour. I WALK FAST. Why do you cut in front of someone if you walk slower than they do? The mysteries of civilization.

2) Junior high kids who decide to flirt by punching each other, climbing onto each other's backs, etc. usually in the middle of a crowded sidewalk. I'm glad they're getting their groove on, or heading in that direction, (oh wait, was that a horrible thing to say? provided they use protection, etc.), BUT DO IT SOMEWHERE ELSE. Somewhere where you won't knock people over.

And finally, D has a very difficult client right now. A total PIA. I told D they need to break up. This brings me back to early in the relationship when a guy D worked with offered to take us for a ride in his Cessna. This is a small, noisy plane with a propeller. I was terrified. The guy let D fly the plane and everything (there was a similar setup to a driving school car, where the guy could press the brakes and so forth). Anyway, we flew over the Delaware Water Gap into Jersey. We ate at a little cafe. Then, in the plane on the way back, D "dumped" him. While we were still in the air! Fortunately, he wasn't a vindictive guy. All I could think of was that scene in "Broken Arrow" where John Travolta gets all fascist in the air and makes the pilot crash the plane.

The nicest book

Sometimes I am too sentimental, I know. I just finished a library book and now there is a nice pink glow over everything. And I kind of want to adopt a baby girl from China. No, not really. But the book kind of makes you think you do.

I'll back up. The book is "...And Baby Makes Two" by Judy Sheehan. It's about a 37-year-old woman in New York who's kind of stagnating. Not interested in dating, has a good-enough corporate job. And then she seems to be surrounded by babies. And then she does a Google search for "single mothers," starts meeting with a group of women interested in adopting, and it takes off from there.

I don't want to spoil the book if you plan on reading it, but it really was a cozy read.

It's interesting, too, because lately I feel like I've been getting cosmic messages not to have children. I was going to my writing class last week and saw a girl from my class in the elevator. She joked that she was always jealous when she saw me with my yoga mat, because she doesn't have time to exercise anymore. She did tell me "the more help you can get, the better" and explained that she's able to write on the two days her nanny comes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A recipe for you

For a late lunch, I made butternut squash, kale and white bean soup. It is unfortunate that D does not like the "orange family" (butternut squash, pumpkin, acorn squash, sweet potatoes) and TW will no longer be coming over for dinner on Tuesday nights now that our mentor meetings are over. This means that my orange family soups will be ending up in the freezer. Oh well. It was very good.

Here's the recipe (from one of Jeanne Lemlin's books):

Heat 1/3 c olive oil over medium heat in a large stockpot. Saute 2 large diced onions for 10 min, or until tender. Add 10 cups vegetable stock (note to self and others: Health Valley is better than Kitchen Basics), 1 c diced tomatoes with their liquid, 1/2 t dried rosemary, 1/2 t salt, and ground pepper. Bring to a boil. Add 1 lb diced butternut squash, reduce heat to a lively simmer and cook for 30 min. Add 1/2 lb shredded kale and 1 can of small white beans (drained and rinsed). Simmer for 15 minutes more. You can serve it with grated Parmesan if you want, but it's really not necessary.

So I was going to go to the studio uptown where I used to go before yoga school took over, but the transit strike made that impossible. I didn't want to walk or ride 80 blocks, so instead I walked 14 blocks downtown to an affiliated studio. The teacher took my name for their sublist. She told me after class I should attend one of the director's classes; apparently the director likes you to do that. (The director won't be back until after New Year's). She also told me how they structure their classes there - 15 minutes of warmups, followed by 5 Series A sun salutations, 3 Series B sun salutations, and "then you can do anything you want."

Because of the transit strike, I was the only person who made it to the 2:30 class. So essentially I had a $10 private - probably the cheapest private ever. The going rate for private instruction is $75-$125 an hour, and this lesson was an hour and a half. Anyway, it was great. It was all tailored to me so it was neither boring nor exhausting. She spotted me into tripod headstand, a few handstands and we did a fun arm balance called bhujapidasana, where you rest the backs of your thighs on your upper arms, lift your feet off the floor and cross your ankles. At first I felt rather naked and exposed being the only person in the class, but I got used to it and it was definitely a good experience.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I am...

a certified yoga instructor. Finally!

The day started with brunch with TN at Le Gamin. They have one branch at 9th and 21st where it takes them an hour to make French toast (no exaggeration). So we tried their new branch on 15th between 7th and 8th. No wait and the service was much better. TN felt that the bread was weird, which I guess it was, but you can't have everything.

Then we saw The Family Stone, the new movie with SJP, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, Claire Danes and Dermot Mulroney. I was a little disappointed. It was about SJP clashing with Dermot Mulroney's family. Then there was a switcheroo where people ended up with different boyfriends/girlfriends. The movie made me like Dermot Mulroney less and Luke Wilson better. Luke was probably the best part of the movie. He had a very funny dream about SJP.

Then I had my yoga graduation. One of the girls in my mentor group gave us little Hindu god figurines. She gave me and TW Ganesh (a little elephant) and she gave LT Hanuman (a little monkey). Very cute. After we got our diplomas, the directors gave us cake from Lifethyme on 6th Ave. So good...banana bread with strawberry frosting and strawberries. Also Martinelli's cider. They played disco in the background.

I was afraid I failed the exam, but I got a 93. On the first question, they asked us to write out the "togetherness mantra" and explain its meaning. There was much emphasis on memorizing it in English (we already knew the Sanskrit) so I wrote it out in English. The mentor who graded it wrote "Sanskrit? -2". I think they should have said "both languages." Then I would have got a 95. The competitive nerd in me is coming out ;)

Anyway, I will have to ask some yoga studios if I can be on their sub list (the first step to getting a regular gig). I'm shy about it, but as D said, "You gotta be in it to win it."

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Strange, but thoughtful, gifts

LC (the one with 3 girlfriends) sent a strange gift to my husband's office today -- a foosball table. D is now assembling it (as I will soon be assembling some baked ziti).

I think LC was inspired by our lunch conversation.

D: I'd really like to get a foosball table. Can we get one for our apartment, Bearette?

Bearette: No. You could get one at the office, though. There's that big space in the front.

I'm a little embarrassed that my husband likes foosball. But it is what it is. I've noticed that all men seem to like Indiana Jones and the Simpsons. Maybe foosball falls in that category?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The puppy heist

Ladies and gentlemen, I am a puppy thief. But before you judge me, hear my story.

I was at writing class tonight and it was going swimmingly. I think my 8-part structure represented a massive step forward. I know where the story's going now, people are identifying with my narrator, and she's more self-aware. Groovy.

The writing class is in an office that is part of a suite of offices. It's a little, shall we say, unconventional. They sell Reese's peanut butter cups at the front desk. Anyway, a bunch of people were there tonight, having a party of some kind in one of the rooms. Someone dropped off a balloon animal at our writing class. Someone else invited us to attend the party. So we snagged some food (grapes in my case) during our break.

In the office across from ours, there was a tiny, beautiful white puppy. Possibly a Maltese. The puppy was in a playpen with a "wee-wee pad" (that's what KR called it. She speculated that they don't walk the puppy). Anyway, the puppy was crying, and pulling on our heartstrings. So I "borrowed" it and took it to our office. KR and I patted it and it wiggled around, full of happiness. I returned the puppy to the playpen.

Later in the class, I decided I wanted a little more time with the puppy, so I borrowed it again. It was getting used to me now and seemed to be having a bona fide good time. Then I heard a woman saying, "Where's the dog?" so I brought it back across the hall. The woman said, "I think it's inappropriate that you came into my room and took the dog," so I apologized. I thought that was that.

A few minutes later, she strolled into our classroom/office and went on about how INAPPROPRIATE and RUDE it was. I apologized but she still seemed bitter and angry. When she was gone, the other girls made light of it, saying, "How dare you show affection to my dog" and "Happy holidays!" In the elevator, the girls said, "You've gotta socialize your dog," and "You think they'd be nicer, with all the booze flowing." SL said, "Was that her room?" since it seemed to be an office. KR said, "I didn't see a bed."

I feel bad that the woman was upset. But I don't regret the time with the dog, and I think the dog enjoyed it as well. What do you think? Venal or venial?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bear with me, my O is hurting

My O key is only working sporadically, so if you see some O's missing, bear with me. I'm trying to fix them as I go along. Oh, I just ripped off the key by accident. (I was trying to clean around it with a pen cap.) In a way, it's easier to type o's now. I never realized how many o's there were.

Anyway, yoga school is about to come to an end. I'm going to miss it. I know, I complained about all the stress and interminable homework assignments. But it was nice to be together with people, doing something I love, learning a lot and becoming comfortable with public speaking. I think the trick is to see it as chatting with friends, not making announcements to a group.

It's bitterly cold here today. Before, it's been brisk, kind of a nice jovial cold, but now it's the real thing, with puddles frozen and everything.

There was a guy in yoga today who was totally new and had trouble with almost all the poses, so the teacher kept coming back to him and showing him what to do. He was sitting next to me and I figured I could learn how to help new people, so I watched them. She spent a long time getting him into a seated spinal twist. Then she realized he was on the wrong side. Laughing, he switched over. It was cute.

I have a shameful confession to make. My reading is getting trashier by the minute. I've started reading Red Dress Ink books from the library. They're one of the chick lit imprints, but I always felt Downtown Press and Avon Trade were better. Now I like Red Dress Ink, except the "glamour lit" ones - you know, where the girl works as an assistant in the fashion industry and names like Prada and Christian Louboutin get bandied about.

Yesterday I finished "A Wedding in December" by Anita Shreve. It was good, though there was an historical narrative embedded in it that left me with a sour taste in my mouth. A little bit cheesy and sleazy, as a girl I knew in college would say.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Woo hoo! I just had my physical final and it was fabulous. It didn't have a "final" feeling at all. It was more like 16 of us got together and taught each other. Each person taught for 15 minutes, followed by the next. The director bought roses for us all (green!). I played Zero 7 during my part of the teaching. It went well. TW said it was "light and playful."

D's friend LC is in an interesting situation. He has three girlfriends. They all know about each other. One of them isn't happy about it, and wants to be in a committed relationship. One of them does not want to commit. The other one is out of the running because she didn't call him over the weekend. It's kind of interesting, most of the singles I know are doing online dating and so forth and he has THREE PEOPLE. He says it's lonely, though, and he'd like to settle down. I asked, "How lonely can it be with four of you?" :P But I guess he means the loneliness of not being with the right person.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I woke up this morning at 8:30 or so and was pleasantly surprised. I thought, "Oh, I can make it to the 10:00 Basics class." We're required to do a basics class each week. I heard the door open and shut and realized that D must have woken up and gone out before I got out of bed. I assumed that his friend L, who was sleeping on the couch, went with him.

I went out to the living room to fetch my mat. I was pretty sure I had rolled it up the night before and put it on top of a chair. Then I saw a bunch of blankets scattered on the floor. My mat was peeping out from under them. Then I saw L's black, shaggy hair. He was sleeping on my mat, wrapped up in blankets. Nothing but his hair was showing.

I knew then I'd have to rent a mat, but I was amused anyway. When I got to the center, I said, "I have to rent a mat today because my husband's friend is sleeping on mine." Of course I was waiting to say that. The rental mats are terribly thin, though, and I could feel my bones making direct contact with the floor.

Friday, December 09, 2005

I just did this eight-part structure assignment for my novel and I feel 100% better. I don't know why I'm so allergic to structure. In fact, I chose Brown for college largely because it had no core requirements. But sometimes it's not a good idea to have complete freedom. In a novel, for example. Because otherwise it would wander all over the place. I'm going to have to do a lot of rewriting. But that's ok. Because you shouldn't see a first draft as a monolith. (Sometimes I do.)

For dinner we had penne with kale and white beans. I didn't take a picture, because it actually looked pretty similar to the penne with spinach and chickpeas. It's easy enough. First, you boil half a pound of penne. Meanwhile, you put 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a big skillet. Saute 6 cloves of garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes in the oil for 2 minutes, over medium-high heat.

Then add a pound and a half of kale (leaves ripped from the stems), 1/3 cup of vegetable stock, and cover the pan. You cook it for 7 minutes, until the kale is nice and tender. Then you add a can of drained cannellini beans and 1/2 teaspooon salt and keep it all warm over low heat until the pasta is ready. Drain the pasta and add it to the kale mixture, and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over all.

I also figured out, pretty much, what songs I'm going to use for my first yoga class. I realized the key is to pick songs I like, but not my very favorites (too distracting). The songs also need to be mid-tempo without too much percussion. I'll also mix in some tracks from yoga CDs.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

So I got back from writing class tonight. I got an email from Bdogg, saying she's enjoying Twilight, which is cool. Another recommendation along those lines: Vamped by David Sosnowski. The hook: "A single male vampire looking for more than a one-night stand." Yes! And it got good reviews from all the heavy hitters: New York Times, People, etc. I love a good vampire novel, though I can't get into Anne Rice. She doesn't seem creative somehow. I wonder if I was a vampire in a past life. I was definitely a puppy in one; my friend TW agrees.

Anyway, I got a little disheartened in writing class as I realized I need to redo my structure. In a big way. I have some good scenes, and an interesting situation (I think), but I need a focus. In a way, I guess there are too many situations and scenes. I have to figure out which one is the most important, and I need a "crisis." The problem is, there are about four, but one needs to stand out as the low point of the story. So I have to think about this.

The good news - we might continue to meet and discuss our novels, after the workshop ends. I really hope we do. There were only 4 people in class tonight, but they all seemed amenable to it. One of them has actually continued to see people from her food writing class and they comment on each other's work. I actually don't mind the class attrition (5 people have dropped out). It's nice to have a cozy group, and this way we have plenty of time to discuss each other's writing.

I'm currently reading Turning Thirty by Mike Gayle. I like it. He has that dry British humor. He hasn't really made a name for himself in the U.S., which is too bad. I admit I have a wish list at, for all the good chick lit that comes out over there first.
Hi all, I don't have too much to share but the mood to blog is upon me. Yesterday D and I were assailed by Wachovia people. They offered us 15 free songs on iTunes in exchange for our phone numbers. Not for a date, but so they could call us with bank info. I expected D to balk - he hates giving out personal info - but apparently he is only reluctant to give out his email address. "They'll only call once or twice, but spam is forever," he said.

So I promptly bought 15 songs last night. This was a careful process which involved browsing iTunes by genre with a heavy emphasis on the '80s. After "buying" them, I decided I didn't like 2 songs (both from modern times) and deleted them. What the heck, they were free.

If inquiring minds want to know, here are the ones I bought:

Billie Jean - Michael Jackson (This is the best song to sing with a friend, ever. Preferably the friend can do a good falsetto.)
Faith - George Michael (I considered Father Figure, but that one makes me sad for some reason. Also, it's creepy. "Put your tiny hand in mine" - nah.)
Gloria - Laura Branigan
Owner of a Lonely Heart - Yes
Things Can Only Get Better - Howard Jones
Kyrie - Mr. Mister (I love the grandeur of Mr. Mister.)
Talking in Your Sleep - The Romantics
You Spin Me 'Round (Like a Record) - Dead or Alive
Steal My Sunshine - Len
Let the Music Play - Shannon
O.P.P. - Naughty by Nature
Only the Lonely - The Motels
Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode (I already have the original; this is a Timo Maas remix. 8 minutes of moody DM, what could be better?)

I discovered to my chagrin that most of the songs on my yoga class playlist don't really work when you try to do yoga to them. I realized that 2 of the great loves of my life - yoga and '80s/dance music - are fundamentally at odds with each other. So I think I'll just play random songs when I do yoga at home and see what works. It's a little frustrating because I'm very good at making mixes for people and D always says I'm the DJ (of the 2 of us). But I'll figure it out.

There's a woman on my floor who is marvelously antisocial. I'm really impressed. I don't know anyone else who avoids social contact to such an extent. I guess it's not a good thing ;)

Monday, December 05, 2005

James Frey and a blogger encounter

Tonight I went to see James Frey, the author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard, at the Union Square Barnes & Noble. I met Jules there (my first blogger encounter :) Jules is small and twinkly-eyed and looks a bit like Julianne Moore. She was kind enough to save me a seat, which was very necessary because the place was packed! I've never seen anything like it. I guess that's what Oprah will do for you.

James seems very down-to-earth and likable. 100% pretension-free. He was wearing jeans and a thick, maybe flannel button-down shirt. Also sneakers. The questions were pretty personal: one woman asked plaintively, "Do you believe in God?" and one boy said, "Could you tell us a bit about Lily from A Million Little Pieces? That was pretty sad." I wonder how often he gets questions about that. They must be painful to answer. He just said that he still loves her and misses her. At the beginning of the talk, he said, "Before these things, I always get pretty @#&!% nervous. I used to come to these things and there would be, like, 4 people. So thank you all for coming."

There was the usual question, "What advice would you give to aspiring writers?" and he said, "If my dumb ass can do it, anyone can." After the laughter subsided, he said, "I was never considered talented. I just bust my ass. I work harder than any writer I know, although I don't mean to demean other writers. Inspiration is for amateurs. I get up every morning and work my %#@(% off."

Someone asked him about his favorite authors. Disappointingly, he likes Hemingway. I think Hemingway is ok but wildly overrated. Seriously, if you read some of the dialogue in A Farewell to Arms, it's the most stilted stuff ever, and an editor would hack it to pieces today. I guess it's a guy thing. He writes about guns and war and masculinity and maybe men like that. I don't know. He also likes F. Scott Fitzgerald, which I respect much more.

Other than the Hemingway disappointment, he seemed like a very cool guy. I raised my hand to ask if he was going to write another nonfiction account of his life. He seemed to point to me, but I paused because I wasn't sure if he was pointing to someone else in front of me, and then the other person asked. Oh well, I lost my chance. In some weird twist of fate, the other person asked the same question. He said he's going to write a novel this time. He said, "People were like, 'Can he do it again?' So I did it again. Now they're like, 'Can he write about anything but himself?'" So he's not going to write about himself anymore ;)

Before meeting Jules, I bought a fluffy light purple turtleneck at the Gap. So soft :)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Friday's feast

This is from a site Lora frequents. I know it's not Friday, but I've never been much for rules.

When was the last time you did something you would consider courteous, what was it, and who was it for?

Today at Whole Foods, I was passing in front of a woman with a cart. I felt as if I had stepped in front of her, although neither of us was in line yet. So I let her go ahead of me. I looked at the two-bite brownies and two-bite chocolate macaroons while I was in line. Those things have a lot of calories! A regular-sized brownie must be well over 200 calories.

If you were to have a painting done of you alone, what would you want the background to be?


Describe your voice.

I'm told I have a nice voice. I do talk too fast, however. I wish I could naturally speak slower. When I try to do so, it sounds forced.

Main Course
What is something you would like to do, but you're afraid of the risk(s)?

Practically everything. I'm very risk-averse. Maybe start my own yoga studio or restaurant. A neighbor of mine from MA always said she would make tomato sauce for my restaurant. It would be vegetarian, of course :)

What was the last television show you watched?

It would have to be The Apprentice. I am so over that show, though. D and Lobo were watching, and I watched too rather than leave the room. But I find it thoroughly stupid. Tonight Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy will be on, and those are much better.

The first snow

So here are the windchimes on my terrace (a gift from my sister) and some snow shots. Whenever we have the first snow, I think of my childhood dog, Pepper, who liked to jump in the snowdrifts. Sometimes she got ice or little balls of snow caught in her paws, and we had to take them out.

My camera is really a sorry piece of equipment. I've already sent it in to be fixed once, and it still has the same problem. Whenever I try to zoom, the lens freezes open and won't close, making it impossible to take pictures. The lens also freezes open on other occasions. It makes me mad. It is one of the cheaper digital cameras at $160, but $160 is a lot to pay for something that doesn't work. I guess I will send it in for repairs one more time.

On a more positive note, practice teaching went pretty well yesterday. I liked the poses I was given to teach - two forward bends (janu sirsasana and pascimottanasana) plus a tabletop. I wasn't too nervous. I do think I will prefer teaching when I'm not being "watched". But it's good to get feedback.

It's funny, I like snow, but the grayness, I can do without.

I just started "Two for Joy" by Patricia Scanlan. It's about as close as you can get to Maeve Binchy without buying a Binchy book.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Squash and the undead

Sometimes I take my computer power cord, and plug it into different outlets on the side of my computer. D has warned me that this might short-circuit my computer. Well, tonight there was a hissing sound and my computer screen went black. Apparently it's entirely ok, other than the fact that it thought it was December 1969 when it woke up. I reset the date and time. Computers have personalities, don't they? I think mine is a girl named Silver. Then again, I named my former car, a '98 Honda Civic, Silver as well.

We had dinner at Little Frankie's in the East Village with DG. At first it was unprepossessing because the music at the bar was very loud. But the music improved. At first, also, they tried to seat us at a communal table with some strangers, and we decided to wait for a regular table. It was really good! I was sitting right next to a heater. I decided not to bow to societal expectations when I ordered. Instead, I got exactly what I wanted: a pear and gorgonzola salad and a side of butternut squash. I love squash. It was baked with cheese and I just loved it.

The dinner conversation was a riot. I am always reluctant to give away personal details about other people here - unless they're celebrities ;) - but suffice it to say, DG's stories make me laugh.

I want to eat butternut squash all day.

Jennifer Aniston has a movie coming out on Dec. 16, I think, called Rumor Has It. It looks like a groovy chick flick. I'll probably see it with my friend T.

I'm a little nervous about practice teaching tomorrow. There will be 16 people (all yoga school students; 16 go on Saturday, the other 16 go on Sunday). I haven't taught a group that large before.

I finished "Carrie Pilby" and "Undead and Unappreciated" and enjoyed them both. I know some people felt the latest Undead book was a disappointment, but I find they improve as they go along. Some people were miffed that it came out in hardcover, but I thought it was justified. It seemed more polished than the previous books in the series.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I stopped by the library after lunch and got some more books. There was a little cartoon at the librarian's station that said: "If you don't pay your fine, Babar will break your pinky." It showed a librarian confronting a patron and a huge Babar looming behind the librarian. Now, we all know Babar would never do that ;)

I also stopped by the pet store near this particular library. There was a foxy-type dog, a Pomeranian, and a dog that looked like Leah's Simon in the front window. In the back, they had puggies, little black Labs, and I think another Pomeranian. The Pomeranian started to whimper and jump around, trying to bust out of his cage, when he saw me. They are so cute, they break your heart.

On the way home, I saw someone that looked like Kelly Osborne - raven-black hair, pale white skin and a number of lip rings. But then the person's mouth opened and a male voice came out. I also saw a drag queen of a certain age sitting on a stoop. The drag queen had plucked out his eyebrows and was drawing them in with a bright pink pencil. The heavy pink and rose makeup was an interesting contrast to the deep furrows in his face and his decidedly masculine features. It was endearing somehow.

Only in New York.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I just got back from writing class. It was fun. One of the girls works at a tabloid and talked about how intrusive it is. Apparently she was getting a bikini wax once and she got a call on her cell phone. Someone wanted to tell her, "Nicole Kidman and Urban just got off a plane! We need to send photographers!" She works as a photo editor. She also gets calls while she's watching movies (in the theater) about Angelina and Brad. She says Jennifer Aniston has bad friends. Apparently a lot of Jen's friends leak personal info to the magazine, such as how many times she and Vince Vaughn had sex (eight). And apparently Vince Vaughn has a thumb shaped like a toe. That is why he will never show his hands in a movie. I was happy to hear that this particular girl and 3 people from her department want to come to my first yoga class! I was a little worried because many people have full-time jobs, and the community classes are a bad time slot for that (2:30-3:45). But I guess a lot of people can take a long lunch or whatever. I have to figure out what music I want to use soon.

A bit on my novel. My protagonist is, shall we say, Behaving Badly. It becomes a problem to the extent that it might make her not likable or not sympathetic. The readers find the protagonist's sister more sympathetic. I fully understand this, but I always find the "bad one" more interesting to write about. Maybe because I have always been a "good girl" (I know, how boring), I find it more interesting to write about people who are "bad". I know this is gross oversimplification, but you know what I mean.

I had 2 oranges at home after class. For some reason I find it hard to eat just one.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

This and that

We had our buddy/mentor meeting tonight. That is, 4 people from yoga came over. T came first. I made pumpkin polenta (which ROCKED. Much, much better than it sounds) and we did some studying for the final. Apparently some people fail the yoga final, and although they attend graduation, they get a little envelope along with their diploma. *Shiver* Although my mentor assured us it doesn't happen often, and I think I know my stuff. He quizzed us. He also said to me, "The old ladies in your building push my buttons sometimes." Apparently he was downstairs, ringing up to come in, and this woman fixed him with a stare and said, "I'm not letting you in." Pretty rude, huh?

We did practice teaching. I tried playing Kate Bush's song "Pi" during it, but I got distracted. It's interesting because I played Zero 7 when I practice taught T alone (not the whole group) and it was fine. I guess I have to experiment with different kinds of background music.

Speaking of which, I went to the gym for an hour because I felt like a tub o' lard and I dredged up all my favorite tacky hits from the '90s. She's Homeless (Crystal Waters), Please Don't Go (Double You), Baby Got Back (Sir Mix-a-Lot), Supermodel (RuPaul), I'm So Sexy (Right Said Fred), Pump the Jam (Technotronic), and Jump (House of Pain) all made an appearance. "Get your booty on the floor tonight/Make my day." I also juxtaposed "Burning Up" (from Madonna's first album) and "Jump" from the current CD. I also listened to "Special" by Garbage about 48 times.

It's raining here, but kind of atmospheric.

Oh, and I almost forgot! T has a puppy, an Australian shepherd. Anyway, her daughter's friend was walking the dog (in New Jersey) and ran into Parker Posey walking her own dog! The girl said to Parker, "You look familiar," and Parker said, "Oh, I'm an actress, that's why." The girl said, "What's your name?" and Parker said, "Parker."

Notes from the one who can't sleep

I have insomnia, so I'm going to play What's in My Reading Pile?

I've got the following from the library:

Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner. I usually hate Red Dress Ink books, but my writing teacher says it's the only good one. The premise does sound pretty funny. It's about a genius with no social skills. Apparently she makes a joke about the metric system on a first date to convince the guy that she's not so serious. For some reason this tickles me ;) I used to be excessively, perhaps rudely bookish as a child. I always brought a book to the family Christmas party (a big shebang; they rent out a hall) until I was 12 or so, at which point my mother gently suggested that I stop.

Two for Joy by Patricia Scanlan. This woman could be Maeve Binchy's cousin. Unfortunately, she doesn't seem to have caught on in America. I like her though.

Liquor by Poppy Z. Brite. I renewed this one from my previous pile. It looks like a New Orleans murder mystery with some cooking thrown in. It seems like everything in N'awlins revolves around food. Unfortunately it's not very vegetarian (or so I've heard).

Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson. Kate is firmly back in my good graces after the awesome Case Histories.

Undead and Unappreciated by Mary Janice Davidson. This is a trashy vampire series, I enjoy it greatly. The books take about an hour to finish.

I also have Eating Heaven by Jenna Shortridge (I think that's her name) in my "purchased, but not yet read" pile. I think I'll read the library books first.

Monday, November 28, 2005

My baby's back

You may remember my struggles with Apple. Well, they're over now. I heart Apple. They sent me a new pink iPod. I promise to cherish it forevermore, and I will never drop it. (I say that every time).

I also made black bean soup from Crystal's blog. It was splendiferous. It took even less time than the recipe said. I found that it was heated through after 5 minutes, not 15.

I also had a good yoga class. I did a forearm stand (with assistance). That's where you put all your body weight on your forearms, which are on the ground. Yay!


I didn't have my camera with me on Thanksgiving, but here are some pics from my niece's birthday party the next day. She turned 10 (wow). I remember when she was born, I visited my SIL (she gave birth in a midwife-type place right near the hospital) and I was contemplating getting a belly button ring. My SIL said to my mother, "Don't worry, it's just a phase." I never got one.

The pics include: my niece with her new stuffed black cat; cake; my piece of cake; Shelby, the dominant standard poodle; and my nephew engrossed in his new book, "97 Ways to Make a Dog Smile."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Apples and cilantro

Not too much to report today. I was delighted to see Desperate Housewives and Gray's Anatomy after a 3-hour, 35-minute Amtrak ride. D whipped through the fourth Ladies' Detective Agency book on the train, while I read a bit of Solo by Emily Barr. I also polished off all my Catholic/Protestant holiday cards, and I'll do the Jewish/neutral ones soon.

I thought both shows were awesome. I love the idea of Eva Longoria competing with a nun for her husband's affections. Did you notice that the nun keeps smiling no matter what she says? I'm puzzled, though, as to what the nun will get out of it if she steals Eva's husband. Don't they take vows of celibacy? I also hope the pharmacist doesn't die. I can't believe Bree didn't call an ambulance for him! Gray's Anatomy was awesome as well. Dr. O'Malley was so sweet and comforting to Meredith!

I went grocery shopping at 11 pm. If you've never done this, I recommend it. No lines, no waiting, no shopping cart traffic jams. I bought the ingredients for Crystal's black bean soup, which I'll make tomorrow night. The store had no bell peppers, but I don't think D will be broken up about it because he doesn't like them anyway. Anyway, I bought cilantro for the soup and a bunch of apples (Gala, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious). I was eating one of the Galas in the dark as I read Carolyn's blog and noticed it had an odd but not unpleasant flavor. Turned out a cilantro leaf got pressed against it.

I like the idea of (possibly) becoming a law librarian. People always say there is so much you can do with a JD, but I've never seen any options besides slaving away in a corporate, life-sucking law firm. Now I know of something! Thanks, Liz. I think I will pursue the writing/yoga path for a while longer, but this is something to keep in my back pocket :)

Good movies coming up: Memoirs of a Geisha and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. D read several of the Narnia books this weekend! I have only read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; the others don't grab me somehow. I'm also looking forward to The Family Stone, though it may not be good.

Good night, all.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Like a rock

Did you ever have one of those meals that sits in your stomach like a rock? That just happened to me. I had dinner with Mom and D at this new place in Danvers called "Red Sauce." The space has gone through many incarnations. It used to be Romy's when I was a little girl. They had stale crackers and wonderful cheese.

Anyway, tonight I shared a baby spinach, gorgonzola and roasted fennel salad with my mom (they DRENCHED IT in dressing; sometimes I forget to ask for it on the side). D had arancini (fried risotto balls with mozzarella inside; I had half of one). Then my entree was linguine with tomato sauce and basil. Doesn't sound too heavy, huh? Oh, and I had a little bread. Ugh.

I'm thinking I might want to get my master's in library science. I know I am doing the yoga teaching/writing thing, but I have always (or maybe just recently) liked the idea of working in a library. I could recommend books to people. Like this: if you like Maeve Binchy, try Patricia Scanlan! Really. I got Francesca's Party by Patricia Scanlan from the library, and it's quite cozy. I'm almost done.

Oh, my nephew told me that at his school, they have a "tarantula, a squid and a human backbone." I wonder if it's true; sometimes his details are off ;)
Hi everybody! I think this is the longest I've gone without blogging since I started this thingy in June. D has used his computer wizardry to get a faster connection somehow. I got knocked out by some kind of allergies/cold, but the urge to blog came today. I have pictures, but I'll have to put them up later since I don't have the cord with me.

Thursday: We went to my brother and SIL's house. My brother plied us with brussels sprout soda and turkey and gravy soda. I kid you not. I didn't have any. I also passed up the pie! I did have roasted veggies, butternut squash, and baked ziti (which I made in the morning). I learned that Valerie Bertinelli got my brother through junior high. I'm 11 years younger than him - I didn't even know who she was! My sister brought her new dog Chloe over to join in. She is actually smaller than my brother and SIL's standard poodle. The standard poodle, Shelby, is extremely dominant. She started humping Chloe right away! Shame! Chloe is extremely sweet and good-natured.

Friday: We went to my brother and SIL's house again because it was my niece's birthday. She turned 10! She received many, many books, including a beautiful hardcover edition of The Secret Garden from D. I gave her The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke (one of her favorite authors) and Bend It Like Beckham, which she wanted. D also gave my nephew some presents, so he wouldn't feel left out. One of the presents was a book called "97 Ways to Make a Dog Smile." My nephew immediately started trying out the ways on his dog, and wrote down which ones worked and which ones didn't. My niece got a writing journal (I think it was from my mom) and immediately started writing a story called "The Spoiled Kitten," I think from the kitten's point of view. The piece de resistance was an awesome cake that my SIL's mother brought over. My SIL's mother knows a woman who makes cakes in her church basement. These cakes are amazing - buttercream frosting, moist chocolate on the inside, just fabulous. They are the best cakes in the world. The woman's husband left her. WHY?????

Saturday: That's today, I guess. I went on a 2-hour walk, partially with my mom (she got tired and turned around). New England can be very beautiful and treesy, with a carpet of fallen leaves, but I got extremely allergic afterward.

Other news: D and I will probably go to Miami for a week in February.

I am looking forward to catching up on all your blogs and comments! It sounds like a lot of you are sick or congested too, so feel better :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

My new painting

So I went to Wai Cafe today and bought "Bird and Turtle Love," which is now hanging proudly in our kitchen.

Here is the artist's business card.

I am running around like a chicken with its head cut off, getting ready to go home to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving. My niece's birthday presents arrived on time from Amazon. Yay! At any rate, my mother has dial-up, so I may be incommunicado for the next few days.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Hi everyone, I made a recipe I haven't made in a while tonight. We had fallen out of touch, like old friends, but now we are reunited. I am now a convert to frozen spinach...easier to work with. And I'm thawing it in the microwave, like Lora recommended. I'll be trying her vegetarian lasagna soon (it's in her October archives if you feel like digging around).

Penne with spinach and chickpeas in garlic sauce (Jeanne Lemlin, Quick Vegetarian Pleasures)

1 10-ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed in the microwave
1 lb penne
1/3 c olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 t salt
1/4 c Parmesan (I used more)

Bring a 6-qt pot of water to boil and add the penne. Cook until al dente, 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chickpeas and cook 2 minutes more. Add the spinach, salt and 1/4 c boiling pasta water and stir well. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.

When the pasta is done, drain it thoroughly in a colander. Return it to the pot or put it in a large serving bowl. Spoon on the sauce and toss well. Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese, toss again, and serve with additional cheese to pass at the table.

We're watching "How I Met Your Mother" right now. It's not the best show in the world, but I'm always pleasantly surprised when we watch it. Doogie Hawser, all grown up, is pretty funny. He has a snide persona, similar to his character in "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" (a fun movie if you haven't seen it). Another character, Lily (she's played by the Hannigan girl from the American Pie movies, I can't remember her first name for the life of me) is forced to make a 6-layer salad for her future-in-laws. Key ingredients are mayonnaise (16 cups!) and gummy bears.

P.S. I did some online shopping and I am now officially done with my Christmas shopping. THANK GOD. I think Bdogg inspired me with her vow to finish by Thanksgiving. My credit cards are groaning, assaulted by a huge wave of evil...but I'm done.
I just spent $112 on Christmas presents. Okay, you can subtract $3.00 for wrapping paper and $1.97 for a tank top for me (who can turn away a price like that?) It hurts and feels good at the same time ;)

On the way home I saw a fluffy white dog and a black pug. They were sniffing each other, but gave up and rushed over to me. They were both equally eager for attention. When I was going to lunch with D, we saw two shih-tzu type dogs who were very excited! One bounced up and clocked me between my nose and lips with his or her skull.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Forbidden love

That's the name of a Madonna song I like. When we got to yoga school today, one of the directors put in Madonna's new CD and we all danced, then grouped together for a class photo. We talked about sequencing all day. We also got our poses for our physical final! The teacher made a little ritual out of it. She made a deck of sealed notecards with the poses written inside. We each had to shuffle the deck while singing OM, spread out the deck with our right hand, and then pick a card with our left. Then we took a rose petal and a chocolate kiss and went back to our seats after tapping someone else on the head, so that person could take his or her turn.

I was very, very happy with my poses. I got: setu bandha (half-wheel), urdhva dhanurasana (wheel), and supta padungasthasana (lying on your back while holding onto your big toe with a yogic toe-lock). Woo hoo! The first two are backbends and I love backbends. They're kinda like crack. Well, I've never taken crack, but they make you feel good. They accelerate your heart rate and flood you with adrenaline. It's good stuff. Yay!!!!

This was also our last day of lecture. Next weekend we have off, due to Thanksgiving. Has anyone else noticed great, huge mounds (rather, mountains) of sweet potatoes and russet potatoes in their supermarket? I guess they are preparing for the hordes. I snapped up two russets for my and D's lunch. Baked 'em up with melted cheese, parsley and nonfat sour cream. Yummy in my tummy.

Then, the weekend after that, everyone goes to *one* day of practice teaching. Mine is Saturday. So I have Sunday off for the first time since September. The weekend after that, we have our physical final (where we teach the poses mentioned above), and I only have to go on Sunday. The next weekend is the written final (Saturday) and graduation (2 hours on Sunday). So the time of all weekends being filled up is over, over, over. I'm psyched about teaching. January 12 is my first community class. So, if you'll be in NYC then, let me know and I will send you the details.

I met a boxer doggy who shared my name yesterday, a basset hound named Sherman this morning and a 6-month-old bulldog with lots of energy and very white fur tonight.

Update on the artist: I am going to meet him on Tuesday at the restaurant where I saw the painting, so I can buy it! I may put up pictures ;)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

What a long, strange day it's been

First, I burned the inside of my left wrist cooking spinach. That's right, folks, cooking spinach. I've never used frozen spinach before, and I confess to being a bit of a fresh-vegetable snob. However, this "green gnocchi" recipe of Rachael Ray's called for frozen, so frozen it was. The package directions said to put the spinach in 1/2 c of boiling water in a saucepan, and stab the block of spinach with a fork to hasten thawing. So I stabbed it (it was a small saucepan), and the water in the pan promptly bounced up and burned me.

Then we went to yoga school and dressed up as pregnant women. It was pre-natal day. The teacher went through a stunning litany of what happens to your body when you are pregnant. Most of it is not good: you gain 7 liters of water (14 bottles of spring water), the curve of your spine is exaggerated, etc. Toward the end, no position is comfortable for more than 5 minutes, a fact pre-natal yoga teachers need to remember. And you can't lie on your belly. And you can't lie on your back for very long. Yikes. Anyway, we strapped blankets to our middles and did yoga poses, which were grotesquely transformed. Our center of gravity was thrown off and certain balancing poses were suddenly harder to get into. And the extra weight hanging from our middles was no joke. Still, it was funny seeing the guys pregnant ;)

"The Women's History of the World" had some truly disturbing stuff in it. I don't know if it's good or bad that I'm now aware of it. I guess sometimes ignorance is bliss.

I had dinner with T after yoga. There was a beautiful painting in the restaurant, pink, with a turtle and a bird hugging. I know D would like it. I asked if I could buy it (it was only $70, which for paintings is nothing), but the waitress said I would need to call the artist, and gave me his card. I feel shy about calling the artist.

Friday, November 18, 2005

2 burning (or silly) questions

OK, I have 2 burning or silly questions, depending on how you look at them.

1) I'm a fan of Rachael Ray, though I've never seen her show. And Lisa's success with her pumpkin polenta makes me want to try it. I like the whole quick & easy thing she has going on. Oops...that didn't sound quite right. Anyway, you know what I mean. Half hour meals and all. So I had her newest cookbook on my Amazon wish list. But I thumbed through it at the bookstore, and saw tons of meat recipes. There's a vegetarian section which would probably be useful. But is looking at the meat recipes all the time going to make me queasy? And the vegetarian section is pretty short. But I could play with some of the pastas to make them vegetarian. Probably.

2) I've already henna'd my hair dark brown for this month. (Last month was light brown.) I like the whole henna deal and want to continue, but I am still experimenting with colors. My friend T uses chestnut and it looks good. However, I wear pink a lot. Will the chestnut highlights clash?

Thank you for your attention to these weighty matters.

Have a good weekend!
Instead of reading my reviewers' copies, I dived into "A Women's History of the World" by Rosalind Miles last night. This was a recommendation from Bdogg.

It's one of those books that makes you angry, enlightens you, makes you wonder if all this is true, makes you wonder why you didn't know this stuff already, and above all, keeps you reading. I don't want to spoil it for anyone because I think you should all read it. One of my favorite parts of the book is how women were initially treated as goddesses because they had children (or "life flowed through them," as the author poetically puts it) and no one had figured out why. Women rock! Of course, there is a lot of dark and horrible stuff in the book too. But I'm impressed above all by how we just kept going.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I just finished "Twilight" by Stephenie (yes, it's really spelled that way) Meyer, and I thought it was most fabulous. I'm a fan of vampire lit that is not by Anne Rice. My friend Carpe loaned me her book, "Pandora," some years ago and I read it but didn't love it. I do like how she has a Halloween party in N'awlins every year. I don't know if it's open invitation or not though. You do have to come in costume.

Anyway, this book was so good that I tore through it in 2 days despite it being about 490 pages long. It was so well plotted. The author kept throwing in new complications and making the stakes higher and higher. The characters were great too. So well done!

Next I will read either "Lust for Life" or "I Think She's Trying to Tell Me Something", which I'll be reviewing for Stay tuned.
So writing class was a little intense last night. One of the girls had written some pages, the start of a novel, before, but then she changed her mind and decided to go in a new direction. She wrote about a girl who was talking with her boyfriend, who was much older, and the boyfriend started asking probing questions about the girl's best friend. The girl replied that her best friend was on break from school, and the boyfriend suggested that the three of them go on vacation together. (Can you see where this was going?) The girl, not seeing where it was going, clasped her hands together and said, "That would be so wonderful," etc. Then the guy started saying lewd things about her best friend and saying he wanted the best friend "between us, just like this." The girl's "days and nights became blurred" and she retreated to her bed.

After reading this, I get to class and the girl starts saying, all starry-eyed, that the man and woman are in love, etc., and some older woman leaves her husband for the guy, and the two women become friends, and "there is an interest between them, not necessarily sexual." Not able to contain myself any longer, I was like, "This guy is a CREEP" and a lively debate ensued. Turns out the author of the story dated a 60-year-old when she was 24 and is fascinated with Lolita.

I just found it unbelievable that the girl in the story would put up with this. Another girl in the class thought the guy in the story needs to be younger (in the story, the girl is in her 20s and the guy is in his 50s) or else have something very compelling about him to explain why all these women (not just one) are into him. The author explained that she didn't grow up in America, etc. and was frankly surprised by the other girl's reaction.

I ended up walking part of the way home with the author, who was nice enough to share her umbrella with me. But I was irritated! I was thinking, more likely than not, that the book is "faction" and she has put up with all kinds of crap from pervy older men. Then I talked about it with D and how the whole thing had a dom-sub feeling and he said, "You know, she's probably just very submissive." Then we decided that most women who date much older men (20-year age difference or greater) are probably submissive, with the exception of Anna Nicole Smith, who was just into her husband's money.

I guess I don't really understand the appeal of submissiveness. When my parents met, my mom was 23 and my dad was 33, but it was very much an equal relationship. I guess there are all kinds of preferences out there and all kinds of different thought. I did like the movie Secretary, but I felt that Maggie Gyllenhaal's character was kind of feisty and more into the sub/dom relationship as a kinky thing, rather than being truly passive.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I've been listening to Madonna's new CD some more. I love it. It's like she let all the disco in her soul loose. It's awesome! The lyrics are fun too.

I've been to other places, but I like New York
Other places make me feel like a dork.

Hehe :)

I'm still reading Case Histories. Almost done. It's really, really good and it keeps getting better. Like dessert with surprises. I think y'all should read it. You can ignore the boring title and un-promising beginning. I'd give it an A.

So I'm scheduled to teach my first yoga class in January. I said to my mentor last night, "I'd love to teach a yoga class with all dance music, but I probably shouldn't do it the first time," and he said regretfully, "Probably not." I'm going to sneak a couple of dance songs in there though. Like Track 4 on Madonna's new CD. It's called Future Lovers. :)

Poppy wanted a review of Kate's new CD. I haven't listened to it as much as Madonna's. It's much more subdued, but it's good, and powerful in a quiet way. If you like Kate, you should get it.

Oh, I have a confession to make. I'm obsessed with roasted squash soup. I don't want to make anything else. Well, I made penne a la vodka last night, but you know what I mean. I'm going to make the squash soup today.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Aargh...I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Haven't been able to read more of Case Histories. Went to a yoga class this morning (we have to do a beginners' class, plus a 2 or a 2/3, which means intermediate or intermediate/advanced) each week.

I stopped at B&N on the way back and got Madonna's new CD, Kate Bush's new CD (first since '93 -yay!) and the first season of The Nanny, which is kind of a guilty pleasure over here. D used to watch it (reruns, of course) and I was like, "How can you stand her voice?" Then it grew on me.

We're listening to Madge's CD first since D is a Madonna fan, but not a Kate Bush fan. On Madonna's CD, the first song is good, then the others all kind of sound alike until you hit #10. Then 10, 11 and 12 are weird, fun and interesting. I'm predicting that the in-between songs will grow on me.
I have two conflicting desires.

1) For it to be nice and sunny here. However, if it was nice and sunny all the time, people would probably just lie around in the sun, focus on their looks, and lose all ambition. This could be fun for a week or so (South Beach) but it would wear on me pretty quickly. I'm by nature a little neurotic (Woody Allen) so New York is a good fit for me.

2) For it to snow!!! If it's going to be gray anyway, let's have some drama. And the snow is very pretty before it turns dark gray from exhaust (which happens in New York pretty quickly). When I was growing up in MA, I always took my dog for a walk during the first snow. She was a Cairn terrier, pretty small, and jumped from snowbank to snowbank. Sometimes she fell right into a drift of snow and then she'd pop back up. It was cute. She had a lot of spirit, but calmed down as she got older. She was about 16 when D met her, and she just came out to the kitchen wagging her tail. (She liked D right away.) D asked at first, "Why is she so mellow?"

I am loving Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. I'll admit I was turned off by the title. Do you see a book called Case Histories and have a burning desire to read it RIGHT NOW? I thought not. It seems dry. But it's not at all. After a slow beginning, she brings everybody to life. I started it fairly late in the day yesterday and I'm on page 200 or so. Which brings me to my next conclusion. The book I was reading before it, Beginner's Luck by Laura Pedersen, must not have been very good, because it was about the same length (around 300 pages) but took me about a week to finish. D thinks there should be a time limit for books; if it's taking too long, put it down. Hmm.

Monday, November 14, 2005


I have 7 books waiting for me at the library. Yikes! I better pick 'em up. They are closed on Friday and Sunday, which makes my life more difficult.

Here they are:

Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber (recommended by Crystal)

Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry (recommended by Liz)

Francesca's Party by Patricia Scanlan (saw this on Amazon, it looked fun and interesting)

Liquor by Poppy Z. Brite (Babel Babe recommended this on Carolyn's blog; is there any way that's the author's real name? Should I name my kid Opium Nightlight?)

The Thing About Jane Spring (another Babel Babe recommendation that I stole)

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (this was an editor's recommendation at Amazon. It's a YA book about love-crossed vampires. Kind of Romeo and Juliet with some bloodsucking thrown in for good measure. Should be interesting).

Who Cooked the Last Supper? by Rosalind Miles (recommended by Bdogg)

I'm currently sloughing through Beginner's Luck by Laura Pedersen. I don't know why, but it's taken me like a year to finish. By a year I mean about a week. I guess it was a busy week. I'll probably read Case Histories by Kate Atkinson next, or else I'll plunge right into this next batch of library books.
I just found three earplugs floating in the toilet. I don't know why this is blog-worthy, but somehow it is ;)
Aargh, I can't sleep. So I will do one of my late-night specials on a random topic. Tonight's topic is the Bendix.

The Bendix was a much-loved diner on 8th and 21st. They had a weird mural on the wall featuring people with purple hair, etc. Our favorite dishes there were the Thai salad with peanut dressing and soft tofu, and the pad see euw with tofu. Pad see euw consists of broad rice noodles, big chunks of deep-fried tofu and broccoli, all drenched in some kind of greasy, delicious sauce. (We were both a little heavier back then.) We would finish off this cholesto-fest with a large brownie sundae. Let's break it down: a huge, luscious chocolate brownie with walnuts, big scoops of vanilla ice cream, a cherry on top, and mounds of whipped cream. God. I don't know whether to be repulsed or excited when I remember it. At least we shared it.

When I had mono in 2001, the Bendix was there. They delivered their greasy delights in a brown paper bag. I'm sure the grease soaked through sometimes. Another of their yummy offerings was an "Oriental grilled cheese," which they made with thick slices of challah bread, melted cheese, bok choy, tofu and bean sprouts. Their motto, printed out in the front window, was GET FAT! Everyone loved to go there.

Then, sadly, their lease ran out. Bloomie's Nail Salon moved in. The neighborhood will never be the same.

D and I discovered another Bendix, on the East Side. Our loyalty was such that we dragged our butts across town to go there. They had a huge plastic bridge with a plastic Godzilla on the top. We got all our usual dishes. A friendly California surfer-type waiter frequently waited on us. We had the sundae. My college roommate, who lives in D.C., visited us and got the grilled cheese sandwich.

Then they, too, closed. Without even a good-bye letter posted on the glass front of the restaurant (at the West Side Bendix, the manager put up a letter explaining that the lease had run out). My college roommate was looking forward to her next grilled cheese sandwich, but we had to tell her they had closed. Soon, the space was taken by a Japanese restaurant.

Bendix, we miss you. We may be able to wear smaller sizes in your absence, and our waistlines may be grateful, but one day, maybe in heaven, we'd like another thick slab of brownie sundae and pile of pad see euw noodles.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

My in-depth review of P&P

So last night we saw Pride & Prejudice. I was a little tired because we went to the 10:00 showing and Bearette's bedtime is around 11:30 these days. The running time was 2 hours and 20 minutes so it was after 12:30 by the time we got home (and that was with a cab; usually I'd walk home). I'd love to see it again when I'm fully awake, and I'll probably buy the DVD for that reason (also because it was a good movie).

Anyway, I couldn't help comparing it to the BBC version at the beginning. I'm pretty sure it was Donald Sutherland playing Mr. Bennet (I think Austen spells it with one t) and that was just weird. He seemed like he was stoned or something. I know he's supposed to be dry and indifferent to the household goings-on, but still. Mrs. Bennet was annoying, but not as good as the BBC Mrs. Bennet, who was fabulous. I thought Keira Knightley was a better Elizabeth than Jennifer Ehle from the BBC version. I always pictured Elizabeth as thin and pixie-ish, maybe a little high-strung, and Jennifer Ehle is more Rubinesque and deliberate in her movements.

At first I was really opposed to the guy they had playing Darcy. Colin Firth is just better. However, this guy did a better job of portraying the obnoxiousness of Darcy. In the BBC version, Colin is so nice that you feel like Elizabeth is just being picky when she turns him down the first time. And the Darcy in this version did a good job of growing on you. (In a preview, I learned that Colin Firth is going to be in some dreadful movie called Nanny McPhee, which also includes Emma Thompson (who is usually super cool). It looks TERRIBLE.)

In the BBC version, Jane actually was a little prettier than Elizabeth, and she wasn't really here. So it wasn't credible that Bingley was falling all over himself for Jane and not noticing Elizabeth at all. Bingley was as usual super-amiable and reminded us both of our friend Mike. However, he was a redhead here, which was startling.

Mr. Collins was cast so well. He was a really freakish character (the minister cousin who crashes at the Bennets' house and hits on Jane, then Elizabeth when he finds out Jane is taken) and stole many scenes. He reminded D of Mr. Bean. Mr. Collins in the BBC version was so annoying that you just wanted him to leave. This Mr. Collins was awesome and a real casting coup. Yay!

I'm trying to think of the other characters. The Lydia/Wickham subplot was really trimmed down here and took up maybe 15 minutes of screen time, as opposed to the BBC version, which really played up the horror (in those days) of Lydia running off with Wickham, becoming damaged goods, and engaging in a hasty marriage. This movie took a more modern approach, saying, "Oh, Lydia and Wickham ran off, Darcy paid for the wedding, how sweet."

The cinematography was beautiful. When Darcy proposes to Elizabeth the first time, they're actually outside in this groovy gazebo. There's also a scene with someone standing on a cliff (filmed from far away so I'm not sure who it was). Keira also gave Elizabeth a fresh quality, as if she were more modern somehow. And again, Mr. Collins was a true riot. I'd share some of his lines but I don't want to spoil them for you. See it!

As a side note, I think commercials (not previews) before movies should be banished. I saw several good previews, though. There's one with Jennifer Aniston and Mark Ruffalo, and one with Sarah Jessica Parker, Dermot Mulroney, Diane Keaton, and Rachel McAdams. I want to see them both. I think they come out around Christmas. D doesn't want to see either of them because he doesn't like Jennifer Aniston or SJP, and he thinks Diane Keaton is the mark of a "bomb."

Friday, November 11, 2005

Today AT and I went to a yoga class and I felt like my mojo was back. It may have been because of the Dayquil.

AT: (seeing our teacher) She is ripped.
Bearette: Someday I'll have arms like that.
(high five)

This woman has arms like Madonna but with no body fat. Maybe 1% body fat. After class:

AT: That was great.
Bearette: Wasn't it good?
AT: She's like a drill sergeant, though. But I kinda like that.

The funny thing was, before class I thought: "She's kind of military. But AT will probably like that."

The class really did kick butt. I feel perfectly happy during yoga, except when I'm sick. I think it's because I'm not thinking or worrying about anything. Just moving.

Afterward AT, D and I went to Jackson Diner in Queens, which is yummy and cheap. They give you your weight in food for about $5. Okay, I'm exaggerating but the food-to-cost ratio is excellent and the food is yummy to boot. The garlic naan is to die fawr (imagine obnoxious accent here).

I also met one of the top three cutest dogs in the world on my way to yoga. This dog frequents the office across the hall from the yoga studio. He is a baby King Charles Cavalier cocker spaniel puppy and his name is Charlie. His fur is the softest thing in the world and he is beautiful. He was fascinated with my pink hood and sniffed it for several minutes. It is a marvel that I was not late for class.

I recently read a Lorrie Moore book, "Anagrams," where a character who's a professor asks her students to draw a picture of their soul, as they envisioned it when they were children. Then she wants their poetry, all semester, to reflect that. For me, it was so obvious: a small, fluffy puppy! What would you say?

Oh, and we didn't get to see Pride and Prejudice. Maybe next weekend, when it's in wider release. Right now it's "limited," so it's not showing at our friendly neighborhood theater, and it was late when we got back from Jackson Diner.
So I'm hoping to see Pride and Prejudice soon. I don't know if it will be as good as the 6-hour, but fast-paced, BBC version. If you're an Anglophile and you haven't seen it, you should. And that means you, Bdogg :)

I like Keira Knightley, though Elizabeth Bennet is supposed to be plainer than her sister Jane, and I doubt "plain" and "Keira" have ever appeared in the same sentence before. I have qualms about the male lead. Darcy is supposed to have presence! A strong, grumpy personality that later melts! I can't even remember this new actor's name. Come on, Colin. Play Darcy again.

In an unrelated note, I think Charlize Theron looks really cool with black hair.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Celebrities, noses and writing

So I woke up with the strong feeling that I had seen Renee Zellweger in the supermarket, and I was going to blog about it. But as consciousness set in, I realized I hadn't seen a celebrity in a while, and the supermarket in my dream appeared to be the supermarket in my hometown. Notice how I said "the supermarket in my hometown." I doubt I'd see her there.

D and I did see Tyra Banks at Red Cat, a restaurant in West Chelsea, some years ago. She kind of rudely climbed over D as she got into her booth, and he rolled his eyes and seemed irritated (not knowing who she was). Then he said something about her and her group of friends, like, "They're so loud!" Then I was looking at her, thinking, "Someone famous has green eyes like that," and she gave me a big smile and said, "Hi!!!!" Then she said to her friends, "No one is recognizing me. Usually everyone is like, 'Tyra, can I have your autograph?'" That's when I knew for sure it was her, and I told D. D got really amused and started saying, "I got ticked at Tyra!" We also used to go to an Italian restaurant, Gennaro, where Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgewick went all the time. We saw them there twice. There was great debate about Kevin Bacon's attractiveness. Interestingly, the women thought he looked ordinary, and the men thought he was good-looking. He had on a baseball cap. My first celeb sighting was Susan Sarandon in the Village about 6 years ago. She saw me recognize her and raced away! I wouldn't have harassed her, though. I even waited till she was gone to tell the people I was with. But there have been no celeb sightings for a while. I guess the most recent was Ted, the cook on Queer Eye, a show I no longer even watch. I just forget. I guess the novelty wore off.

How can you tell if someone has a nose job? I will be extremely general here, and not say how I know this person, because you never know who is reading, but I am really curious. The nose in question is upturned, like Janet's and Michael's, but it is a little too broad across the bottom for perfect symmetry. It also somehow looks less natural than the other noses surrounding it. It may also be a slightly different color. Do you think they offer a slightly-too-broad option to throw people off? Interesting.

In other news, my writing class continues. My writing teacher accidentally left her comments at home, but told me she thinks I will probably re-work the chronology at the beginning. She suggested a different point where I could start it. She did say to keep going, finish it up and then re-work the very beginning.

One of the women in my class is very hard on herself about her writing. She said, "Didn't you all have special training, like college?" and we were like, yes, we went to college, but they don't necessarily give you special training for writing. The teacher concurred, saying writing workshops are the way to do it. I have my usual perfume problem where someone is wearing perfume and it makes me allergic. I'll probably bring it up next time. It just makes me feel demanding, but on the other hand, I'm sniffling all through class and I already have a cold anyway.

I brought out the big guns for my cold. I was taking Nyquil at night, but now I'm taking Dayquil during the day too. Let's see if this works. The worst thing about it is that yoga with a cold is no fun. I really miss yoga. I still have to take 2 classes this week (1 down, 1 to go) but it's just not the same with a cold. I feel as if I've lost my mojo. Austin, I feel your pain.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I saw this meme at Poppy's and Lisa's and the results with my real name are just so off-the-wall, I had to include them.

My ten favorites:

Katie needs to talk at talking times only.

Katie needs attention. Lying on my bed waiting for a real man to come slamming into my room. Rip my clothes off without a word spoken.

Katie is in a race with her friend Maggie to see who can build a clubhouse faster. Katie needs your help with vocabulary words to win.

Katie needs to wear pantyhose, longer skirts, and dress professionally.

Katie needs a Project Manager.

Katie needs a wand.

Katie needs a real man, not someone who believes in aliens and acts as though those very aliens gave him an honorary degree in psychiatry.

Katie needs to stay away from those negative websites and focus on what she needs to do.

Katie needs to wear fishnets sometime.

Katie needs to be able to communicate effectively and will spend her first two years learning Mandarin in Kunming City, in Yunnan Province.

Monday, November 07, 2005

I am so excited! Anne Tyler has a new book coming out in May 2006. It is called Digging to America! I was just re-reading parts of The Amateur Marriage the other day. The ending actually made me cry the first time around. I think, for better or worse, I really related to Pauline. It kind of functioned as a cautionary tale for me. For those who haven't read the book, Pauline is kind of a fun, dramatic type but also a little oversensitive.

In other news, I think I fixed my digital camera. The lens was frozen in "zoom" position. I turned it on and off, fiddled with the zoom button a bit and now the lens seems to be behaving itself. I need to buy a memory stick.

Take my quiz!

I saw this over at the Zombieslayer's and I couldn't resist. You make your own quiz and your blog friends take it.

Take my Quiz on!

Maybe some chocolate for the winner? ;)
I really have nothing to post about today, but I'll post anyway. 'Cause I feel like it. ;)

I'm sick as a dog (well, not really, it's just a cold but I have a taste for drama). I won't be going to MA after all. My brother told me about W (our family friend) when Mom was still in Iceland. She went for a few days with some friends; they were going to go to a 100-degree outdoor pool, among other things. She came home, my brother told her about W, and then I called her to make transportation plans. It turns out she's not able to take any more time off work, because she just came back from vacation and she's taking Wednesday off for the funeral, so she wouldn't be able to pick me and D up at Alewife (a 40-minute trip from her house), and she's going to an event after the funeral so she wouldn't be able to drive us back either. I'd forgotten what a hassle it can be to get back and forth in MA. The public transportation in Manhattan is top-notch (even if it sometimes smells or the A/C is broken on a subway car), but there's no real public transportation between Boston and my hometown. I could get a commuter rail to a nearby town, but I'd still need to be picked up. Oh well. I am very glad I got to visit W a couple weeks ago. And she did seem happy up till the end, which is great, and she was not in pain.

My mom told me that my sister fell down the stairs. I didn't get all the details straight, but I think she was wearing high heels and her dog was being puppyish. So I sent her something in the mail today. I think she will like it. She is apparently fine; her finger got dislocated but they popped it back in. My yoga mentor told us that sometimes people's shoulders pop out in yoga! I think it only happens if you've dislocated your shoulder before. He had someone like that in class; her shoulder popped out, and she nonchalantly popped it back in.

So I am taking a bit of a lazy day because of my cold. I went to the gym for 30 minutes at a slower speed than usual, and I plan to spend the rest of the day reading a library book. (More on that later).

Here are the songs I listened to at the gym, on D's iPod (I made an On-the-Go playlist).
By the way, D let me transfer my songs from my computer to his iPod, since mine is busted. Isn't that nice? He said my songs were probably better anyway ;) And he still has his songs on his computer.

Clark Gable (The Postal Service)
Clocks (Coldplay)
Protection (Everything But the Girl) - one of my favorite songs.
Reelin' in the Years (Steely Dan)
She Blinded Me with Science (Thomas Dolby)
Take on Me (A-Ha) - ditto.
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight (The Postal Service)
The Samurai in Autumn (Pet Shop Boys)
West End Girls (Pet Shop Boys) - ditto.
What is Love? (Haddaway)

Then, in Lisa fashion, I will list all my newest books from the library.

Anagrams by Lorrie Moore
Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
Beginner's Luck by Laura Pedersen
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

Lorrie Moore: On a friend's recommendation, I read Like Life, and then I read Birds of America and Who Will Save the Frog Hospital? After I finish Anagrams and Self-Help, I will be done with her oeuvre. (Is that too pretentious a word to use, ever? I like it because it makes me think of hors d'oeuvres.) She better write some more.

Laura Pedersen: R from sent me a book of hers to review, and I decided to read her other book.

Kate Atkinson: I love love loved Behind the Scenes at the Museum, but was underwhelmed by her other books. Maybe this one will redeem her?

I think I'll start out with Lorrie.

P.S. I put all your recommended books on hold at the library, but I haven't received them yet. Thanks again. I may do that again sometime!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Just a quick note before I go to yoga school. Last night TN and I went to Wai, which has sort of multi-cuisine vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. We split a plate of veggie dumplings (well, I had most of 'em; TN weighs less than 100 lbs ;) and then I had a veggie burger and a little salad with their trademark carrot ginger dressing. Then we saw Prime. For the most part, I liked the movie. My biggest complaint was the sound. It seemed very soft to me. And the audience was a little rowdy. Sometimes they would keep laughing and we would miss whole chunks of dialogue. Oh well.

It wasn't the most intelligent script ever, and the characters weren't really well developed, but it was a solid B+. I like chick flicks a lot so there may be some grade inflation. I found the basic concept of the movie (older woman dates younger man; the man's mom is the woman's therapist; the man is Jewish, the woman is not) interesting enough to hold my attention. I do find it unrealistic though that Uma Thurman's character was doing well enough financially to have an ENORMOUS apartment on Three Fifth Ave (probably a fictitious address) and still have oodles of time to play with her boy toy. Also, the boy was kind of a dork. Not that that's a bad thing, but he played Nintendo all the time. I can kind of see why a 14-year-age gap, especially with the guy being younger, is not a good thing.

T slept over on the couch. In the morning we went to Bright Food Shop and both got cornmeal pecan griddlecakes with bananas. They were awesome. Really tender and fluffy. I saw a baby pug outside and ran outside to pat it. The owner was carrying it in a Puppia harness. She explained that pugs have broad chests and the other harnesses chafe them. The pug licked my hand and then my nose like there was no tomorrow.

Yesterday at yoga school, we did forward bends. I was a bit overzealous. I think I gave my hamstrings the workout of their lives. There is one forward bend where you have your legs stretched out in front of you, and you're sitting up. Then you extend your hands until you're holding your heels and your face is pressing against your knees. Then you can have someone else lie on your back (they're looking up to the ceiling) and they stretch back and grab your toes. It feels unbelievable. The other person asked, "Does that hurt?" I said, "No...oh, WOW..." and everybody started laughing. Then, 'cause I'm a greedy Bearette, I had to do it 4 times. I couldn't be the one "on top" though because my partner for this exercise couldn't get her head to her knees. Oh well. It felt good at the time, now I'm regretting it a little. I should probably only have done it once.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

This is a really, really good soup. It's more labor intensive than most of my recipes, but it's truly worth it. It's so yummy. And nothing smells better than roasting squash. Maybe onions being sauteed in butter are a close second.

Roasted Squash Soup (Didi Emmons, Vegetarian Planet)

1 small butternut squash, cut in half
1 acorn squash, cut in half
1/2 spaghetti squash (I just used a whole, small spaghetti squash. I cut it in half and used both halves.)
3 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 t curry powder (I used Pondicherry curry powder from Whole Foods. It smells really good.)
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2/3 c sherry
5 c water
1 t salt
Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch cayenne

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Lay the squash halves cut side down on baking sheets, and roast them for 45 min or until the flesh is soft. When the squash has cooled a little, scoop out the seeds and discard them. With a large spoon, scoop out the flesh of the squash into a bowl.
2. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook for 5 min, stirring frequently, until the onion softens. Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder, and cook, stirring, for 1 min. Add the apples and the sherry, and simmer for 10 min, or until the apples soften.
3. Puree the squash flesh with the water in batches in a blender or food processor. Transfer the squash puree to a large saucepan, then puree the apple-sherry mixture, and add this to the pureed squash.
4. Heat the soup, and season it with the salt, pepper and cayenne. Ladle the hot soup into bowls and serve.