Thursday, June 30, 2005

The most refreshing thing ever

This is really yummy.

Banana lassi: 1 ripe banana, 1 c. plain yogurt, 2 Tbsp sugar, 1/4 tsp cardamom (optional), 10 ice cubes. Put everything in a blender.

This is also a good hot-weather salad: 1 Granny Smith apple, 1 ripe pear, 1 celery stalk, 1 scant half-cup walnuts, 1/8 c. raisins, 1 to 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (to keep the fruit from turning brown). Combine everything in a bowl. For dressing, you can use plain yogurt mixed with honey.

Yay!

Adventures with dogs

D and I went to Regional Thai for lunch and sat outside. These two adorable white dogs went by so I started cooing, "You're so beautiful!" They stopped walking, which made their owner stop, and came over to be patted. Their owner looked like a member of the Village People, with a special hat and everything.

I asked if the dogs liked rice and the owner said no, that's okay, but then one of the dogs jumped up and ate a grain of rice off my skirt :)

Then when I was walking D to his office, I saw a Boston terrier which spazzed out and started licking my neck. (I washed up when I came home.) He or she was really cute and enthusiastic. It got tangled up in my pocketbook, so I let him have it (temporarily) and he nibbled on the strap and batted it around. Then a car slowed down nearby and the driver yelled out, "Your dog is a THIEF!" :)

On the way to lunch I picked up the following books at the library:

Vegan Virgin Valentine by Carolyn Mackler (YA, very Judy Blume, I love it)
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Follies by Ann Beattie (This last is a little more "literary" than the others, so I'll probably read it last...I'm not as highbrow as I used to be ;)

Have a good day, bloggers...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Whew, I just made dinner for D and me and quite an operation it was. I made sweet potato, tomato and peanut soup for myself (D does not like sweet potatoes); a Thai salad with peanut dressing and cubes of tofu for D; and tomato paneer for both of us. You make paneer, as I described it in an earlier entry. Then you chop 1 and 1/4 cups of tomatoes, 1/4 c. of Vidalia onions, and saute everything in peanut oil with turmeric, cumin, salt and cayenne. You add the paneer cubes and saute them for 2 minutes. This only makes enough for 1 person. We split it. Then I whipped up some Annie's mac and cheese for D.

I watched "Kissing Jessica Stein" on DVD today. I never saw it in the theater, but I saw it on cable once and ended up buying the DVD. I love it because it's like a female Woody Allen movie, very funny and very New York. (Spoiler alert) I also like the guy she ends up with - I think he has a role on Law & Order or some other legal/crime drama I don't watch.

Anyway, for unknown reasons, the movie inspired me to write. So when Jessica and the guy were chatting on the terrace near the end of the movie, I paused it and wrote another page of my novel. I am thinking of kicking up my schedule from one page a day to two.

I'm reading Love and Other Four-Letter Words by Carolyn Mackler. It's a YA book I got from the library. The voice reminds me a lot of Judy Blume, who wrote a blurb for the book. It's cool.

What's your slanguage?

I took this quiz that I found in someone else's blog. It looks like I have very evenly distributed slang knowledge :)

Your Slanguage Profile

British Slang: 25%
Canadian Slang: 25%
New England Slang: 25%
Prison Slang: 25%
Southern Slang: 25%
Victorian Slang: 25%
Aussie Slang: 0%

You can take the quiz at http://www.blogthings.com/whatslanguagedoyouspeakquiz/outcome.php
Hello, blog-ettes who like yoga: I will share my secret ambition (not so secret anymore). I'm going to an info meeting in July regarding yoga school. If all goes well, I'll be certified to teach by the end of the year. The course runs from September to December.

My yoga places:
http://www.laughinglotus.com
http://www.lifeinmotion.com
Four words to describe yoga tonight: hot, hot, sticky and sweaty. We did a variation of pigeon that I love; you loop your elbow around your right foot, right knee bent, then clasp your hands and arch backward. It's very dancer-y. Your other leg is bent at the knee on the ground, forming a little V.

My teacher, J, is looking more pregnant by the day. Her chest and tummy are a lot bigger. She can't demonstrate a lot of the poses anymore so she points to me :) And another woman in the front.

When I got home I had strawberries, cherries and yogurt with a touch of honey. Yum. Honey is a pain in the butt. I have a honey bear that is almost empty and it takes an eternity for the honey to roll down.

OK, I'll work on my book now.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I'm reading a number of blogs now. A common thread: blogs by women always have an entry where they say, "Ohmigod, I gained 4 pounds!" I even read one where the blogger (or blog-ette?) has a little ticker, with a pot of gold at the end, and a high-heeled shoe advancing closer to the pot of gold as she loses weight. It's really cute, but it makes me wonder about our society. I am going to stop worrying about these things and just eat healthy. Eschewing desserts and alcohol seems to help.

I don't know what Scientology is about, but I don't think it's doing good things for Tom Cruise. The blog-ette at conversationsfamouspeople.blogspot.com keeps putting up pix of him with his irises tinted green or red (depending on her mood) and saying he's really into aliens. Whatever the case, there is a fine line between PASSION and INSANITY.

Which is not to say it can't be fun on the other side...

Monday, June 27, 2005

Ladies, oil-free moisturizer and Burt's Bees lip gloss are your friends. I put some on and the years fell off. Although I feel compelled to point out that I am still in my 20s for another month or so.

Someone told D that he looked like Jerry Seinfeld. He said, "How many times have you heard that?" and D said, "That's the first time!" A few years ago, a model told him he looked like Emilio Estevez.

People I am told I look like:
1) Katie Holmes (a guy in a restaurant said this)
2) Alanis Morissette (aaahh! nooo! a construction worker said this, respectfully)
3) Natalie Portman (cool. My mother's friend said so. Sadly, I don't think I do aside from being dark-haired, dark-eyed and skinny.)
4) Faye Dunaway (but she's blonde!)
I don't like blondes, with a few exceptions.

Anyway, I got a nice rejection slip from Night Train today. The editor went into great depth about how my story was "conceptually interesting" but he didn't "fully" buy that my protagonist turned into a tree. It's fiction, people! Also, he suggested I start out the story with the protagonist already turned into a tree, and work backwards. That is not the best idea, in my opinion. I'm reminded of Jennifer Weiner's would-be agent in the past, who suggested she change the title of her first novel from "Good in Bed" to "Big Girl." No. She found another agent, and is doing quite well for herself.

He also said I added an "editorial" note, which, though he liked it, might not be welcomed by other editors. I scoured the file and saw that I had written "tiptoed (or tip-rooted)." The parentheses were intentional. It's called whimsy, people! But I took out the parentheses in case other editors might draw the same conclusion. Too bad it's already nestling in the to-be-read piles at several lit mags. D reassured me that he knew it was intentional. My writing teacher didn't bring it up, either, back when he read it.

At any rate, it's nice when they read the story and offer some feedback.

Ciao, people...talk to you tomorrow.
I was aggro (our friend N taught me that word; short for aggravated) tonight because I got a rejection slip via e-mail from One Story. They sent me a really nice rejection slip for another story, telling me they really liked it and inviting me to send more, so I did, and then I got a really cold rejection slip for it. D reassured me that the story that got the cold slip is really good and no magazine editor's opinion could make him think otherwise. Thanks D :) It's a good thing most of my rejections are encouraging/personalized, because I always get knocked back by the cold ones. I think the most important thing is to just keep doing it, writing and sending. At this point I'm kind of writing for myself, not to please the editors or anything. It's really kind of a compulsion.

I was also saddened by a blog I read...some guy who bragged to his girlfriend about a wild party he went to (he exaggerated; he actually left after weird stuff started happening at the party, but he told the girlfriend he was at the party till 4 a.m. He really left at 2). Anyway, she was convinced he cheated on her and nothing could convince her otherwise. He wrote a bunch of really dark thoughts, including how he knew he would mess it up anyway because he messes up everything he tries, and it kind of depressed me. Anyway, D said the guy may feel really bad now, but things will work out for him in the long run and maybe the guy should arrange a singing-gram for the girlfriend to try to bring her around. It's cute, I don't think it will work, but it made me feel a little better on the guy's behalf.

Till tomorrow...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Hello everyone, I took yoga with C this morning. She is a good teacher. She broke her foot and wasn't able to move for six months (I think she just meant she didn't walk). She said it taught her a lot about the body and how it heals. I love the music she plays - Aimee Mann, "Let My Love Open the Door" (I don't know who sings that), and a couple of other mellow classics. Or things that sound like classics.

It's Pride weekend here in NYC, so I saw lots of buff men wearing wifebeaters (yes, I know it's ironic) on my way home. Then again, I always see those guys in my neighborhood. It is my hope and belief that my neighborhood will keep me from becoming staid and boring as I age. I never want to be one of those summerhouse people who introduce themselves by going over their resume. Yuck.

Sadly, at Gristede's, nuts don't have their own separate aisle. They're relegated to "Snacks and Powdered Mixes." If I were them, I'd want recognition. I'd revolt.

Finished The Frog Prince by Jane Porter last night. It's very good. D is reading Waiting by Debra Ginsberg, which I recommended to him. He digs it. Next he'll read Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella, which I also recommended. He's a smart man and realizes that chick lit is best :) He also reads John Grisham and Dan Brown, but there's nothing I can do about that.

I recommend Chinatown Ice Cream Factory around Mott Street. I love their banana and pumpkin pie ice cream. Those are separate flavors, of course.

I don't know if I'll ever see the bat. (Batman Begins.) Lobo thinks it's 300 pounds of pretension, as good a description as any.

I saw a lab/spaniel mix today. I could tell because of the crinkled ears.
Hi kids, I'm back. Well, I think I have three regular readers, but one is on moving hiatus.

Anyway, we had dinner at Thailand Restaurant (our favorite cheap, in-the-shadow-of-the-courthouse place for exotic eats). Our friend Lobo came with us. After much discussion, that was the code name we chose for him. He's a quirky guy, named after a famous actor. He's having his 32nd birthday at Thailand Restaurant in August; you're invited ;)
When asked if there's safety in numbers, Lobo says, "There's safety in prime numbers."

After dinner, I was able to find and buy Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers by Louise Rennison...yay! Louise Rennison is the best thing to happen to YA fiction, and my to-be-read pile, in a long time.

I was very good with eating today. Not too many "serious carbs". Our new acronym is CARB - cereal and rice bread. Yes, we know it would be better if a carb started with A.

The jury is out on a new blog (well, new to me) that I started to read. It's called Manic Mom's Mental Myriads or something like that. I can't decide if it's funny or matronly.

It's interesting, when you use the random blog generator (i.e., click on "next blog" above), there are so many drawbacks. They're in another language, or they're porn, or they're full of search terms (i.e., they say "used cars" over and over). There should be a tool where you can eliminate these in your search for the perfect blog.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

This is my niece


She is cute and perfect. Second from the left.

Some blogs I read:

http://www.ecitonred.com/sh/blog (strange but fun)
http://drunkendan.blogspot.com (carpe!)
http://www.megancrane.com/bio.htm (I know, it should say journal.htm, but life is not perfect)
http://jenniferweiner.blogspot.com (one of my favorite auteurs; she will be at the B'way and 82nd Barnes & Noble in July)
http://giveyounothing.blogspot.com (sweet NJ blog)
http://jamesreeves.blogspot.com (totally nasty Baylor College student blog, but I keep reading it nonetheless)
http://conversationsfamouspeople.com (bitchy but fun and constantly updated blog. If she put the energy she puts into celebrities into writing a Nobel Prize-winning book instead, she would be famous).

And that's just the beginning...

Happy blogging, everybody.
I thought I was too tired to blog, but what the heck, I will anyway. I'm addicted.

I hope Billy Graham followers don't wreak too much havoc here in Manhattan. Apparently he made some rather inflammatory remarks about Jews to Nixon, saying they're to blame for everything in America. Too bad - he seemed a rather august, silver-haired man. Everyone seemed to accept his apology readily. Maybe they don't see him as capable of true bigotry.

Anyway, we went to Grimaldi's in Brooklyn with P and his new flame, C. She seems very sweet, but not a redhead! We think he is color-blind. They are very comfortable and cozy together. She is an artiste, and draws pictures of people. He is a crazy comic who makes fun of his mother ;) Just kidding P, we know you have a firm grip on sanity. His mother has a famously gravelly voice and says to him when he calls, "I'm naked. I'd better go, because I'm making a puddle on the floor" (water, not urine).

For din-din we had pizza with extra cheese and garlic, while P & C had pizza with sausage and pepperoni. We were going to see Bewitched afterward, but it got to be too late and my flip-flop was chafing against my foot.

I'm almost done with Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. It's pretty funny, but I still wish he (Sedaris) liked himself more. I want to give him a chocolate chip cookie or something.

Good night, dear blog...

Friday, June 24, 2005

These are magically delicious

Sweet Potatoes with Raisins and Cinnamon (courtesy of Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian cookbook)

5 Tbsp olive oil, 1 2-inch cinnamon stick, 1 medium onion (peeled and cut in half lengthwise and crosswise into very fine half rings), 3 medium sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into chunky slices), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 3 Tbsp golden raisins (I used regular raisins, I don't think it makes a difference), 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1 to 2 tsp sugar.

Put the oil in a wide saute pan or large frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the cinnamon stick and the onion.

Saute for about 3 minutes, or until the onion has lost much of its water. Add the sweet potatoes and stir. Continue to saute another 6 to 7 minutes, or until the onion begins to turn light brown and the sweet potatoes have also picked up a little color. Add 3/4 c. of water, the salt, ginger, raisins, cayenne, and sugar. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook gently for 7 to 9 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. There should be almost no liquid left in the pan, except for a little oil. (If there is, uncover and boil the liquid off.) Serve hot. You can also sprinkle a little cinnamon on the top (optional).

A note to my friends who are getting married: Of course I am looking forward to YOUR weddings :) Plus, they're next year.

I'm reading Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. Clearly he didn't have the happiest childhood/early adulthood, but it has provided tons of writing fodder. It's entertaining but at the same time you feel bad for him. He often seems determined to present himself at his worst. Pat yourself on the head, David, and do some yoga. You deserve it.

On a side note, he turns out to be 49. He looks much younger.

On aging in general. I'm about to turn a big, nasty age in July. I'm trying to maintain a positive attitude. D really freaked out when he hit this age two years ago. From the smug vantage point of 28, I thought he was overreacting. Now I completely understand. I think I am making my peace with it. Slowly. Buddhism will help :)

I miss my friend Carpe. He's moving from Ogunquit, ME to Rochester, NH so I have not received my usual 45 emails a day from him. I hope he is doing well and drinking responsibly.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

On a more positive note, I really love the blog fuzzworks.blogspot.com. They show pictures of adorable little animals and it always leaves a smile on my face :)

Just when you thought it was safe...

D and I have been invited to another wedding. We've already been to three this year, two of which were in May. Aaargh...

This wedding is for people I've never met, semi-distant relatives of D's. It's a cute invite, with a bride and groom on the front, with a cat on the ground in between them. Arching over their heads are two trees with Hebrew letters in the branches. My neighbor, who was reading the invite in the elevator, tells me it's the tree of life.

The wedding is in Brooklyn, yet the directions from Manhattan are "by car." Why would we rent a car to go to a wedding in Brooklyn? We won't. Stranger still: it's on a Wednesday night. Oh well, at least it's in the same state. I'm a little weddinged-out at this point.

Anywho, I saw Ted Allen on the street. He's the cook from Queer Eye. I know, the show has lost its gloss, but it's still exciting to see a celebrity. In the past, I saw Jai Rodriguez (the "culture" guy) at the Viceroy, a mediocre diner on 8th Ave. He was sitting near the window, waiting for somebody. Or just eating alone. So that's 2 QE sightings in my neighborhood.
Yay!

I may also have seen Chris Noth (Mr. Big, of Sex and the City fame) on the bike path. I'm not sure though.
I saw some MSN headline that said "Giant popsicle melts, flooding NYC landmark." I didn't click on it though.

I cut into my pinky, just slightly, while slicing a mango earlier. The Band-Aid is making typing difficult.

Anywho (as Carpe would say), this blog entry is dedicated to a very special dog, Sarah. She lives on the 7th floor of my building. She's a miniature schnauzer with close-cropped gray fur ("for the summer," her mother says) and liquid brown eyes. When I saw her coming out of the elevator, I knelt down to pat her and she got so excited she jumped across my knees. Clear across. A doggie Olympic event. Yay!

We had dinner at Tien Garden, a vegan resto in the East Village with "Adventures of Tao" comic strips on the wall. D takes issue with the lack of decor but if you like healthy vegan stuff that tastes good, it's hard to beat. I had the "Special Nuggets" - bits of seitan or some other textured vegetable protein, mixed with broccoli, cauliflower and sundry other veggies in a peanut curry sauce. Yum! I also had one of D's seaweed rolls (tofu wrapped in seaweed and pan-fried. Much, much better than it sounds).

We saw the same stringy red-haired guy that my sister-in-law finds attractive. I say he's sweet and homely. He has tattoos on his minuscule biceps. He was saying to one of the other waiters how someone took money out of his bank account, so he couldn't pay his credit card bill, but he thinks "whenever something hairy happens, it's God above." Last time he recommended the lemon cake so much that I got it. It was good.

Special note on T-shirts. I saw a lot of weird ones tonight. A guy in a yellow T-shirt that said DUCKS in black; a guy in a T-shirt that said, "Things not to do on a date: 1) Look at other girls" (there were two other panels, which I didn't get a chance to read); and a guy at the resto whose T-shirt said LARGE AND IN CHARGE.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Okay, yesterday as both my readers know, I got in a bit of a tiff with an agent, whom I felt misled me to think I would be taking part in readings. Reading my stories, that is. And that I might get "agented" from this. Anyway, he sent me a mass email inviting me to a reading where three published authors are reading, with nobody else reading. He never really responded to the stories I sent him this time (though he read a different story of mine in the past). Instead he just said, "Thanks, I'll read them soon" or something like that.

Well, Carpe calmed the waters, saying maybe I should go and network, and D said I didn't have to go, I'd probably be bored :) D seems to think the agent is a good guy and just got swamped. Lots of emails in his inbox. Didn't get to read the stories. Fully intended to let me read. I've decided I don't want contact with the guy, at least for a while...if he wants to talk to D, fine, but nothing good seems to come out of my interaction with him.

Anyway, I read a bunch about Buddhism last night, and that calmed me down too. The book was called Buddhism for Dummies. Despite the silly title, I've found that series is pretty good. As far as I can see, the main point of Buddhism is to alleviate or try to eliminate suffering (your own or others'). And you can take what you want of the teachings, and not follow aspects of the teachings that don't agree with you. The Dalai Lama said so :)

The philosophy is that everything is impermanent, so attachments/cravings cause suffering. Instead, relax, enjoy and don't cling. Another part (harder for everyone to accept/get into) is that there is no separate, permanent, concrete self - everyone is permanently changing. So if someone insults you, the insult is intangible anyway, and there's no need to get all huffed up and defend yourself.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Okay, I know you were all wondering...the paneer came out well. You take two quarts (not gallons, mea culpa) of milk and bring them to a boil. Then you lower the heat and quickly add 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar and stir. At this point, the milk separates into thin green ooze (whey) and white fluffies (curd). If the milk doesn't separate, you add another tablespoon of vinegar and stir some more. Then you dump the mess into the lined colander (the cheaper the dishtowel, the better - more holey). The green ooze will go down the sinkhole and the white fluffies will sit there waiting for you.

Then you tie up the ends of the dishtowel with a rubber band and wring the top of it to get the water out. You put the little package on a cutting board in the sink, put another cutting board on top, and flatten it out with a 5-lb weight for 3 or 4 minutes. Then you cut the paneer into cubes and you can mix it with spinach, tomatoes, etc.

The spinach part is more involved, but if you want the recipe, Carpe, let me know.

Julia Child signing off...
I woke up at the ungodly hour of 7:45 this morning, and wrote a short short about a woman made of stars. This may come in handy as Glimmer Train is having a short short story contest (under 2000 words). I will wait and let the story simmer though...can't send in a first draft!

Tonight before yoga, I will try making Indian cheese, or paneer. You take 2 gallons of whole milk (I felt decadent just buying it), boil it, then lower the heat and quickly add distilled white vinegar. Weird things will happen, wheys will separate from curds, then you pour the whole mess into a colander lined with a clean dish towel. The dish towel in question has an inkstain, but it's the cleanest one we've got...laundry day is coming up. With luck, the wheys pour out; then you tie the dish towel together, so the cheese-to-be is nestled in a nice ball; then you press the bag between two boards with a five-pound weight on top for 5 minutes or so, and then you've got your paneer. I'll proceed to make saag paneer (paneer with spinach and spices).

It's kind of cool being up this early. Too bad it will never happen again. D is still sleeping.

Monday, June 20, 2005

We went to Valdino West with D's parents and sister for Father's Day. There was a yummy dog outside, but he left before I could pat him. The dinner was OK...Italian of course, his parents like that best. Sadly, they split a rack of lamb. I'm grateful my mother always orders vegetarian.

On the way home, my sister-in-law told me about a Hasidic Jew on NPR who led a double life (clubbing, joining a band) but it all ended when he got married and his wife condemned his lifestyle. Bummer.

I disagree with my father-in-law that The Brothers Karamazov is a good book. I thought it was dreadful. My mother-in-law also seemed puzzled when she asked me what I would do this summer. When I said reading, writing and yoga, she scrunched up her face. Needless to say, I find these activities more enjoyable than adding on to a summer house or getting Venetian blinds, but to each her own.

I'm planning on doing yoga school in the fall. If all goes well, I will soon be teaching.

Went bike riding around 11:30 pm. The path was mercifully free of tards at this hour. The falafel man on the corner of 10th and 28th said something to me coming and going (I think it was "Wake up," "How are you?" and "You want [...]?" while pointing to his food), but he was harmless. Even Scores West seemed quiet. Maybe there's not much demand for strip clubs on Sunday night. At one point two skanky women came out...one with black hair, the other one of those Hispanic women who try to dye their hair blonde and end up orange.

Talk to you later...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

So I tried to eat less today. It seemed to work out. Fruit, yogurt drink, etc. We went to Thailand Restaurant for dinner and I had steamed veggies with tofu, rice and peanut sauce on the side. It was good. Everything still fits. I think it was temporary bloat or something. Or the jeans were sized oddly, D says. Last time I checked I was 32-26-33. That's definitely a 6 if not smaller.

All right, I'm now sick of that obsession.

It's funny how blogs can make you very confessional.

I can't get excited about Batman Begins, even though P and his friends liked it. The New Yorker trashed it. They said Batman Begins and Mr. and Mrs. Smith were both so "overdone and underfelt" that no one over 24 would dig them. P assured me that one of his friends, who is 30 with a Ph.D., was satisfied. Still...

Spiderman is my favorite superhero. He has the most psychological complexity. And according to the New Yorker, Batman starts out as a little boy in some kind of Buddhist monastery learning about Eastern religion. What does Eastern religion have to do with Batman? Nothing.

Although I am getting "Buddhism for Dummies" out of the library soon. It's on hold, waiting for me. I'll let you know if I discover anything groovy.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Trauma. I tried on a pair of stretch jeans today at Old Navy. Size 6. Usually they urge me to go for the 4, or tell me the 6 looks fine, but the tiny Asian woman scrunched up her nose and said, "I think they're a little small for you," when I asked her if they fit. Of course, I freaked out (inwardly). I bought some yoga pants and tank tops, and when I got home, I tried on all my size 6 jeans, my size 4 jeans, and the size 4 skirt of a suit. Everything fit. What the #^!*? All the same, I will try to eat more carefully, 'cause I don't want to be an 8. No way, no how.

We went to Jackson Diner with P and tromped our way back to Manhattan...or tried. As we got close to some bridge, P observed we were two islands away from where we wanted to be. Roosevelt Island was in between. Near the bridge, the surroundings got increasingly shady and P pointed out it was a good place for drug dropoffs. We hailed the first available cab. D gave the cabbie credit for understanding more English than he did and said, "If we go south, we'll encounter less traffic." The cabbie was like, "Huh?" so I said, "Go south."

During dinner, P regaled us with tales of Chevy Chase's drunken graduation speech at Princeton. Highlights: "It's hell here...my daughter Sydney is a year behind you...do you know her? She had a nervous breakdown and had to start therapy!" and "I strapped my dong down this morning." Apparently, this means he is very well endowed...at least in his own mind. Everyone was freaking out, not laughing, but the speech is often downloaded. Go to www.princeton.edu for your copy.

P seems happy with his new girlfriend.

I sent "Evergreen" to Zoetrope, Rosebud, Chelsea, Glimmer Train, and Night Train...that should be enough for a while...wish me luck!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Now I feel bad for dissing Leslie Schnur's book. She has a really cute website with pictures of her late dog, Charlie, and her current dog, Milo. Milo is apparently a handful. Charlie was beautiful.

http://www.leslieschnur.com
I'm feeling vaguely sick today, so I haven't exercised. I wonder if I will turn into a gelatinous ball of fat.

We're eating at Jackson Diner in Queens with P tonight. P just graduated from Princeton and works for my husband in the summers. P has reddish hair and fancies himself a Conan O'Brien lookalike. Same impish Irish sense of humor. He also does standup.

I'm finishing "The Dog Walker" by Leslie Schnur. It's reaffirmed my faith in the power of connections in the world of publishing ;) Seriously, she's a decent writer, though she used to work for a publishing house and it probably helped her.

On author blurbs: There are some authors who say they like everything they read, so when they say, "Schnur's book is sooo captivating!", I no longer believe them. Marian Keyes is guilty of this, though I love her books.

I still want a puppy.
This is becoming the personal food blog of bearette24.

For dinner, we had an appetizer of peanut noodles (Thai style, quite good), followed by a "delicious puree of mixed vegetables." This was from Madhuri Jaffrey's cookbook. She's the owner of Dawat, a tony Indian restaurant here in Manhattan. I then had a mango lassi. There were little fibers from the mango in it but it was yummy anyway. I forgot to add cardamom, which was a no-no.

I went bike riding earlier, from my apartment down to Canal Street. This woman passed by, saying, "On your left." I noticed her lower back, visible above her waistband, was spattered with gritty black stuff. I then put my hand to my own lower back, and yep, there was gritty black stuff. That's the problem with riding through puddles.

I am sending "Evergreen" to a Zoetrope contest (that would be tasty if I won!) and Rosebud (a funky literary magazine with a sheep on the cover. A fluffy one.)

I'm reading "Naked" by David Sedaris. He is one strange guy, but pretty funny. He went to Kent State. He knew about the shootings and thought, "At least people aren't dying of boredom." The state would give you free tuition if you roomed with a handicapped person, so he got a quadriplegic roommate and set him on the toilet, clipped his toenails, etc. One thing I've taken away from the book - it's a bad idea to hitchhike. Of course, I knew that anyway.

It's pretty fun writing this thing. Goodnight, blog.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I changed the settings on the blog so anyone can leave comments, not just registered blog users.

Good news: my niece, who is 9 and awesome, got 40 out of 40 on her MCAS. This is some kind of standardized test they introduced in Massachusetts after I left. And my writing teacher's short story, "Sabor a Mi," previously published in Willow Springs, was selected for a Pushcart Prize.

Good times.

I had an onion rava masala dosa for lunch, but they added jalapenos and red chili powder to it. My eyes were watering. D liked it better that way, though.

I recommend Louise Rennison' series about the confessions of Georgia Nicolson. They are awesome YA books that are just as fun for grownups. You can visit Georgia on the web at http://www.georgianicolson.com.
My writing class ended today, and I feel strangely...relieved? I liked the people and the teacher, and I'll miss them. However, it will feel good just to write for myself, not trying to impress the others (which I think is inevitable) and not going through critiques for a while. They're helpful but they can also be harrowing.

Anyway, my teacher comes back in the fall, and he said he'd email all his prior students, so hopefully we can have a group with no strangers. It's cozier that way.

My teacher really liked my short story "Evergreen" and wrote, "Let me know when it is published." I like his confidence.

I hope D & I go to Chennai for lunch tomorrow. I love their onion rava masala dosa. It's like a big square pancake made from lentil and rice flour and folded in half. Inside are potatoes, nuts and peas all kind of mashed together and turned yellow from turmeric (a curry spice). You can dip it in coconut sauce. I love it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I'm not feeling writerly today. In fact, I'm mildly irritated. Maybe it's because tonight is my last writing class for a while (my teacher is taking the summer off, and the other teachers are (a) known far and wide for rushing through 3 people's stories in a hour and a half, and not commenting on their work; or (b) only write about mud; or (c) only write about albinos and blondes. Needless to say, I'm passing.

Tried a new yoga teacher at the nearby center today. One woman in the class tried to leave, and the teacher seemed to want her to stay, so the student dragged her mat near the door and lay down. As soon as the teacher was in a handstand, the student snuck out.

I want a puppy. I'd like to get a Yorkshire terrier, a West Highland terrier, a Cairn terrier, and a Wheaton terrier. Those are the big, wiggly ones.
I ate like a hog when I got back from yoga. A yogurt drink (yogurt, soy milk, sugar and ice), an apple, some watermelon and a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats. But I rode down to Canal Street before yoga, so I don't feel too bad. I'll be better tomorrow ;)

My teacher came over and adjusted me during pigeon pose so I got an almost-painful stretch. "We don't want it to be too easy," she joked. She knows she's having a little girl, and her husband wants to name the baby after his mother. She doesn't seem too keen on that.

Batman Begins, surprisingly, is getting pretty good reviews. 80% on Rottentomatoes.com so far.

There's an article on MSN about people's wedding gripes. No. 8: getting seated at the misfit table. That happened at a wedding D and I went to in Boston on Memorial Day weekend. Every other guy at the table was a Dungeons & Dragons devotee, and the guy next to me had read one book this year: "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star" by Jenna Jameson. Ugh. His girlfriend was nine years younger than him and totally falling out of her dress. She spent the whole time playing with her food, making a little "roll monster."

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Whee! R from chicklitbooks.com is going to send me some books to review. Anything but Red Dress Ink, I told her.

D and I had lunch at Songkran (which means water festival in Thai; they throw colored water at each other or something during the festival.) If you say Songkram, by contrast, that means war.

D got me a bike bell to deter what we call "path tards"...i.e., people who walk in front of you or swerve into you when you're riding your bike on the Hudson River path. I know, it's politically incorrect, but some of these people are really annoying. I've found the bell works best when they're facing me. When I'm behind them, they often have no clue. There's also a "violent horn", according to D. It's an air-filled sac/ball of rubber that sounds like the factory whistle at the end of the day. Guaranteed to scare you off your bike. Since I just want them to move, not collapse, I won't use that one ;)

I wonder how long my pregnant teacher will continue? The other yoga center is more convenient to me...I did just buy a 10-class card for her, though.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Two of my book reviews ("Dixieland Sushi" and "The Wives of Bath") are published on chicklitbooks.com. You can click on the covers at the homepage. R (site creator) emailed me asking for more! Now I can say I've been published somewhere in my cover letters, when I send stories to lit mags :) I figure the story that was published in a newspaper when I was in high school doesn't count. Or maybe it does? My friend G says she still has it in her scrapbook, which is cool.

D and I had Sunshine Burgers with melted Muenster for lunch. Mmm. You can only get Sunshine Burgers at Whole Foods.

In other news, one of my yoga teachers is pregnant! 15 weeks along. Hence, I have no rooftop yoga this summer. It's a good thing I have another yoga center to go to...I wonder how long she will keep teaching.

I read that you only need about 300 extra calories a day if you're pregnant, but Britney Spears is eating to beat the band. Us Magazine says she is having a couple of 1000-calorie chocolate milkshakes a day (in addition to God knows what else). Some nutritionist said her baby will be born with hardened arteries if she doesn't start eating healthy.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

A couple of my book reviews from Amazon.com will appear on chicklitbooks.com! Yay. In case you're wondering, that's a site where they review groovy fiction for women.

One of my reviews from 2000 was also incorporated into a German website, which is pretty funny.

Agents, mass murderers, etc.

I don't really like dealing with agents. I know one who works in a literary agency that shares an office building with my husband's software company. He (the agent, not my husband) told me about a reading where many new authors get "agented". The reading's on June 27. I sent him two of my stories and asked if he thought they would be appropriate for the reading. He hasn't got back to me about the stories, although I'm now on his mass mailing list, along with a recently published author, which is cool.

In other news, here's a quiz sent to me by a friend:

http://www.malevole.com/mv/misc/killerquiz/


See if you can tell which of the men are serial programmers and which are mass murderers. So far, the most common score on the quiz is 7/10.

TomKat

I don't know why everyone is so concerned about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Sure, there's a 16-year-age difference. But there's a 20+ age difference between Donald Trump and Melania Knauss. (At least she's in her 30s and brunette, which is unusual for a Trump wife). And there's a 16-year age difference between Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. Maybe it's because Katie seems so innocent, or Tom seems so maniacal. At any rate, Web sites are springing up to save her:

http://www.freekatie.net

huzzah

I think I'm too shy for a blog, but it's an ideal late night activity. I'm an insomniac. I guess I just won't tell anybody about it, and whoever stumbles upon it can be entertained/disgusted.

The A/C in my building finally got turned on, so I'm no longer coated in sweat just walking around the apartment.