Sunday, July 31, 2005

Shower

Don't you love it when things turn out better than you expect? I went to a wedding shower today. I was secretly dreading something. A relative of D's always comes up to me and says, "It's so hard to get published, without contacts," etc., etc. in a discouraging vein. He's a relative so I feel uncomfortable asking him to stop bringing it up every time I see him. Anyway, he talked to me today, but didn't say anything discouraging. And then I was talking with his son (D's cousin), who said his father really liked my story! It was a story I had shown D's aunt a while back. And his son added, "You know he wouldn't say he liked it just to be nice." I know :) And I told my mother-in-law about it and she said, "That's a real compliment."

Anyway, there was an awesome cake (strawberry shortcake on the inside, with frosting roses, the whole deal, soooo good). I love cake. And it didn't go on forever either. At 3:00 (the shower started at 12) my mother-in-law said, "I'm going to change into something more comfortable and go now if you want to come with me." By way of backstory: my mother-in-law sometimes stays at weddings until the caterers are folding up the tables. So it was really nice to leave at a decent hour.

All the guys (there were a few) at the shower went downstairs to play pool while the bride-to-be opened her presents. I said something like, "You guys get away with so much because you have a Y chromosome," and D's cousin said, "Yeah, but we have to go to bachelor parties and that's hard for us." :)

Anyway, we're going to San Fran soon (I'll most likely update faithfully because D always makes sure we have DSL at hotels) and maybe I'll put some pictures up too. I hope everybody had a good weekend.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

We saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tonight. 2 movies in one day! It was better than I expected, given that some folks fell asleep during it. We both gave it a B+.

I always think of The Fantastic Mr. Fox as my favorite Roald Dahl book, but I'd forgotten about the enticing weirdness of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The whole movie was like an acid trip, or what I would assume an acid trip is like...I've never had one. All these bright Technicolor dragon boats and prancing Oompa Loompas. The Oompa Loompas kind of steal the movie. Their first three musical numbers are the best, while the last is a throwaway. They gave the movie a Bollywood feel.

We had dinner at La Chinita Linda beforehand. I got fried plantains and broccoli with garlic sauce. Very good. My fortune cookie said, "The star of riches is shining upon you." When I read it to D, he thought I said "tower of bitches." I guess I need to enunciate better.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Shameful confession

I must admit I go to Quiet in the Stacks sometimes to look at her dog.

Of course, when she updates, I do some reading there too :)

I know, I need to get a dog. However, I'm slightly allergic to dogs. I'm most allergic to the ones that shed. So I'd like a Cairn terrier or a Yorkie. Or a Westie. Do we see a theme emerging ;) ?

D, on the other hand, likes chow chows and Samoyeds. I like them too, but I grew up with a terrier. And D is more allergic to dogs than I am, though he has expressed a willingness to get allergy shots.

Also, our apartment building isn't fond of dogs. If they find out you own a dog, they sue you. The good news is, the dog owners always win. But it must be stressful to be sued. And imagine even facing the prospect of losing your dog.

Of course, the powers that be don't always find out that you have a dog. The info has to be leaked. But knowing the Gestapo-like nature of the people in this building, I'm sure it would be. Before D and I got married, we were living together. We got reported - someone thought he was subletting to me. People actually came to the apartment to check out the situation! New York housing is something else.

I know who did it, too. It was this old woman with gimlet eyes. I don't even know exactly what that means, but it expresses how narrow and pinched they were. Anyway, she cornered me in the elevator.

Her: How long were you on the waiting list?

Me: I don't know. [It's true, I don't know how long D was on the waiting list, and frankly it was none of her business.]

Her: That's because you weren't on the waiting list. There's a lot of hanky panky that goes on around here.

Me: Bye! [stepping out onto my floor.]

This was a few years ago, before I learned the New York art of telling people off. I still don't like to use it, but sometimes I am drawn in. An example from yesterday:

I was on the crosswalk, on my bike. A taxi driver turned onto the crosswalk and stopped, waiting for the light to turn in his favor. I had to get off the bike and wheel it around him because he didn't leave enough room for me to ride by.

Me: [muttering] What is wrong with you?

Him [overhearing]: Why don't you obey traffic laws, like you should?

Me: I have the light, #@*&!

Him: I have the light, #@$*$#$ %#@%^!

Me: [I considered saying, "Since when is a left on red permissible?" But instead I made an elegant gesture.]

I usually don't say things like that, but I couldn't believe he accused me of violating traffic laws. Too much.

A conversation from the hairdresser's yesterday:

Her: How can I help you?

Me: I'd like to get a hair cut, but no blow dry.

[after the haircut]

Her: Do you use mousse when you blow dry?

Me: No, I never blow dry.

[She turns on the blowdryer.]

Me: I don't want a blow dry!

Her: But you SAID you wanted a cut and a blow dry.

Me: No, I said I didn't want a blow dry! I guess you misunderstood.

Her: Okay, I'll just give you a blow dry. [I am not making this up.]

Me: I don't want a blow dry !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Her: Okay, whatever you want.

A groovy day (and my review of Must Love Dogs)

Well, T and I went to see Must Love Dogs today and we had a great time. We went to Tick Tock Diner beforehand. I was a little late because of an anxious call from my mother-in-law about tomorrow's shower ("Yes, it's all worked out, I'm taking the 12:14 train." New Jersey Transit, in case you were wondering).

Anyway, Tick Tock Diner was a pleasant surprise. I had chosen it because it is close to Port Authority, where T was coming from. It's also close to a movie theater. So imagine my surprise when the pancakes were actually good! More than good! Yummy. I had Granny's pancakes (apples, raisins, walnuts) and T had the "banana upside down", which were really just banana pancakes. We got 3 pancakes each and we swapped one of mine for one of hers.

T is 27 but got carded buying a lottery ticket! It's because she's so petite (5'2" and 101 lbs).

And the movie was really good! I gave it an A, T gave it a B. At first John Cusack and Diane Lane had a suspicious lack of chemistry. But then they got more comfortable with each other. There was also a kind of realistic scene, the kind you seldom see in movies, where 2 people had no condoms. They had to drive all over the place, most of the drugstores were closed, and by the time they got that little box...they weren't in the mood. In movies everything seems to go smoothly in that department so it was kind of fun to see that scene.

Dermot Mulroney looked good but was such a slimeball. Stockard Channing was pretty funny (Rizzo from "Grease") but she looks much, much better as a brunette. Elizabeth Perkins also made an appearance (I liked her in "Big").

Some girl a row in front of us kept laughing and gasping in between, e.g., "Hehehehehe aaaaah hehehehehe." This made the girl next to me start laughing uncontrollably. I was giggling too.

The previews looked good also. There was one for "Prime", with Meryl Streep as a therapist and Uma Thurman as her patient. Uma tells Meryl all these intimate details about her sex life, then it turns out Uma is dating Meryl's son, who was kind of cute. Oopsie.

Then there was a preview for a movie with Mark Ruffalo (who I like) and Jennifer Aniston. Mena Suvari was also in it. She never seems to branch out beyond bimbo roles. But it looked good.

After I walked T to Port Authority, I walked back and mulled a bit about my city. I have mixed feelings about New York. It gets too hot in August, but sometimes I love the chaos that is Manhattan. Sometimes I want to be someplace calmer.

But all in all, it was a super day.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Who says a ghost can't run for prom queen?

That's the tagline of the book I'm reading, How Not to Spend Your Senior Year by Cameron Dokey. If you like YA, it's very cute. I'm also waiting for the new Melissa Bank book and the new John Irving book from the library. I'm more excited about the Melissa Bank book because it seems to have more positive word-of-mouth so far. The New York Times trashed the John Irving book. Although I just noticed that it got a positive rating at Amazon (4 stars). In my experience, if you read something that gets less than 4 stars at Amazon, you're taking a risk ;) My favorite John Irving book is A Widow for One Year. I actually didn't like The World According to Garp that much, but after reading A Widow for One Year, I've been with John ever since. (In an author-reader type way.)

Another note: How Not to Spend Your Senior Year is a Simon Pulse book, which I assume is an imprint of Simon & Schuster. I'm very happy with their Downtown Press chick lit imprint. So Simon & Schuster has the bearette24 stamp of approval.

I felt in a more bike-y mood than a yoga mood (plus, I've already been to yoga 3 times this week) so I hopped on my bike and rode up to 83rd Street or so (on the bike path so it was hard to tell), down to Canal, and back up to my street. I saw an ice cream truck get onto the West Side Highway with its music playing. Why do you need to play ice cream music on the West Side Highway? Answer: You don't. I think he just likes the song. Then he pulled off in front of Chelsea Mini-Storage and the music kept playing. There was nary a kid in sight. No rats either. I was grateful.

A word on the felafel man. I pass 2 felafel men on my bike rides. I think they switch shifts around 6:00. The pre-6:00 felafel man never says anything to me. He looks down at the eggplant and chickpeas he is grilling. He is a dedicated worker. The post-6:00 felafel man is a bit of a Lothario, a Casanova. He likes to yell, "WASSUP, MY LOVE?" Tonight I must have looked weary after walking my bike across the crosswalk while weaving in and out of honking cars, because he just said, "Hey! Are you all right?" Once, memorably, he asked me if I wanted some water and when I said no, he said, "WHY NOT????"

OK, that's all for now...We might see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If we do, I'll let you know. I did hear there was a scene with a roomful of real squirrels sorting peanuts.

Haircut

I'm ashamed to admit that I have not had my hair cut since August 2004. So, when I found that the library was closed today and I couldn't return my books (and D's Clear and Present Danger, on CD), I decided to walk a block from the library and get my hair cut.

I hate getting my hair cut because

a) I worked with a woman who used to be a hairdresser and she told me they all secretly want to cut off your ears (I guess it would make their job easier for them),

b) they always cut off more than I want,

and

c) why pay someone to take something away? I am still wrestling with this piece of illogic.

Anyway, I succumbed to the scissors. I told her only an inch. Then she said, "It has been so long since you got your hair cut...the ends are so dry...I leave it as long as possible."

In the middle of the cut, she had a cell phone conversation in another language (I think Portuguese). I got annoyed, which I tried to convey through body language, and she said, "Oh, I am sorry," and got off. She explained, "That was my daughter. She call every morning, she say 'Good morning.'"

:)

Also, her daughter is looking for a job.

So thankfully my hair is still longer than shoulder length. When my hair is shorter than shoulder length, I look like a mom. Hopefully the kind from a Lifetime movie that's up to no good :)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

100 things

I noticed a lot of folks have a list of 100 things about them on their blogs. Jurgen Nation, Jules, and Grown*Up Girlie, to be exact. So, without further ado:

1. I'm a lefty.
2. I'm the youngest of 4, and I was born 10 years after the next oldest.
3. I have twin sisters (identical twins).
4. I wrote a novel called Patricia Strom when I was 7. In it, the mother decided she wanted to have a baby. She gave birth that day. (I didn't know the facts of life yet.)
5. I was raised Catholic, but I married Jewish and I like Buddhism (or aspects of it; it can be depressing).
6. I had a Def Leppard song on my iPod for a while, but I deleted it. The song was "Photograph."
7. I own 200+ CDs and periodically "spring clean" my collection. The CDs that are out of favor are tucked in my closet.
8. For some reason, I feel very close to Tori Amos. I feel like she might be my third sister or something.
9. When I see pregnant women, I get envious. I think they look so curvy and glow-y.
10. I have dark hair and sometimes feel threatened by blondes.
11. I wear a size 8 shoe.
12. I wear a size 6 in most clothes, sometimes size 4.
13. I hate suits.
14. I was an English major in college.
15. I got married when I was 26; so did my mother. I met my husband when I was 23; so did my mother.
16. I got into every college I applied to.
17. I did not get into every law school I applied to.
18. I actually like ending sentences with prepositions.
19. I went to the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in 1989. I was eliminated when I spelled "impresario" with two s's. That's one word I won't forget.
20. I had a Cairn terrier whom I still miss. She lived from 1983-2001 and her name was Pepper.
21. I feel shy wearing a bikini around my family.
22. Math was my worst subject in school.
23. I write with a backhand slant.
24. I was a lawyer for eight months and a couple of weeks.
25. As a summer associate, I worked at the law firm that defended Martha Stewart.
26. My favorite actors are John Cusack and Colin Firth.
27. I love the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth.
28. My favorite scene in Love Actually is when the guy with sandy hair holds up a sign saying, "To me, you are perfect."
29. I love Molly Ringwald.
30. My brother is 6'3".
31. I'm 5'7". So is my mother.
32. I have dark brown eyes.
33. I like painting my toenails, but never my fingernails.
34. I had mono in 2001.
35. I like to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
36. I go to yoga 3-5 times a week.
37. My favorite fruits: strawberries, apples, oranges, pears, watermelon.
38. I like blueberries best when they're mixed with other things.
39. I'm allergic to cats.
40. I wanted to be a vet when I was little, but decided this was a problem. See #39.
41. I grew up in Danvers, MA, population 25,000.
42. I currently live in New York City, population 7,000,000.
43. I think I was a mermaid in a past life.
44. I love dogs, especially small ones.
45. I'm vegetarian. Sometimes I go vegan for a few days.
46. Angelica Kitchen is one of my favorite restaurants.
47. For a while in college, my roommate and I liked the same guy.
48. I lost my virginity to someone I worked with.
49. I never wear earrings.
50. I sometimes wear bracelets.
51. I like to buy Betsey Johnson dresses on eBay, and wear them to weddings.
52. I'm always careful to make sure I don't run out of books.
53. I learned to read when I was 3. My father tested me by having me read a passage from Time.
54. I failed algebra in junior high.
55. I was valedictorian of my high school class.
56. I went to Brown and I want my kids to go there (if I have any).
57. I kind of don't want to be pregnant twice, though my husband thinks two kids would be nice (when we get around to it).
58. During junior year of college, I gained weight because I ate a lot of pizza bites at a nearby snack bar. I lost it thereafter.
59. I own 9 '80s compilations on CD.
60. I know the lyrics to most '80s songs.
61. "Tenderness" by General Public is one of my favorite '80s songs.
62. Napoleon Dynamite is one of my favorite movies.
63. I'm partial to books with pink covers.
64. I came to New York City for the first time when I was 20. I saw Hamlet with my mother on Broadway. Ralph Fiennes had the lead role.
65. I was following the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie/Jennifer Aniston triangle. I think Jennifer is cuter, but Angelina is probably more interesting.
66. I have a pink iPod.
67. My astrological sign is Cancer but I prefer "moon children" - no disease connotation.
68. I like Belle & Sebastian.
69. I like the Indigo Girls' latest CD better than their earlier ones. It's called All That We Let In.
70. I'm an ENFP.
71. My father died when I was 18, but I never talk about it.
72. I own a lot of cookbooks.
73. I like introverts a lot.
74. I really want to become a yoga teacher.
75. I'm working on a novel.
76. It would be really hard for me to pick a favorite book.
77. Once in college, my roommate and I deliberately messed up our room. We were both tidy and thought it would be fun to create some chaos.
78. I wish my college roommate lived in New York. But she lives in D.C.
79. I like Audrey Hepburn, but I don't like Jennifer Love Hewitt and I was annoyed when Jennifer played the role of Audrey in a TV movie. (I didn't watch it.)
80. My favorite John Cusack movie is Say Anything.
81. My favorite color is pink.
82. I have a T-shirt that says "Cowboys make better lovers."
83. People have told me that I look like Katie Holmes, Faye Dunaway, Jennifer Jones (an older guy said that), Natalie Portman and Alanis Morissette. I was not happy about the last one. I'm not sure any of the above are accurate, but I was flattered by the Katie and Natalie comparisons.
84. I tend to obsess about things.
85. I'm a hopeless romantic.
86. After my dog died, my mom gave me a stuffed animal that looks like her. The stuffed animal's name is Pepper II and has Pepper I's red bandanna around its neck.
87. I don't want to work in the corporate world again.
88. I think everyone should go to Texas at least once, so they can see things like "chicken-fried steak" and the blue flowers that grow by the highway.
89. I used to fantasize about opening a restaurant. One of my neighbors in my hometown said she would make tomato sauce for my restaurant.
90. I liked fourth grade a lot.
91. I love chick lit.
92. I liked Anna Karenina better than War and Peace.
93. I hated The Brothers Karamazov.
94. I hated Mona Simpson's book Anywhere But Here. After reading a scene of child molestation in this book, I threw it down the garbage chute in my building.
95. I love San Francisco.
96. In San Francisco, I love the restaurant Mama's on Washington Square. I like to get the banana bread French toast there.
97. I like South Beach, although I get insecure there sometimes because everyone has breast implants. But I don't really like the way breast implants look, so it doesn't really make sense.
98. On one ring finger, I wear my diamond engagement ring and wedding ring. On my other ring finger, I wear a $15 silver ring I bought at a mall in St. Louis.
99. I never wear a watch.
100. I like yellow roses.

Lobo's bicep


Warning: this post contains 2 mini-rants.

One is about blondes. Lobo mentioned at lunch that he felt blondes get higher ratings than they deserve on hotornot.com. He said brunettes and redheads get high ratings too, but it's because "they're really good looking." What's so freakin' special about blondes? D has this friend who always raves about them. I'm tired of it. Also, I have to ride by a strip club to get to the bike path. There are currently pictures of 3 sleazy blonde women on the outside of the strip club. Could we have some equality in the sex industry, please?

Rant #2. One of our friends just sent an email inviting us to the beach this weekend. One option is Saturday afternoon, when I'll be seeing a movie with T. The second option is Sunday afternoon. That day I have to go to a shower for D's cousin's fiancee. He's exempt because he's male. If he gets to go to the beach while I have to go to this shower...well, life is NOT FAIR, that's all I got to say.

Which Napoleon Dynamite character are you?

This is one of my favorite movies. "I caught you a delicious sea bass." And I love the song they play at the end: "The Promise" by When in Rome. Though I have been unsuccessful at putting it on my iPod. I would have to buy the entire Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack. I also checked When in Rome's album on iTunes...they cut off the only song I want. *sigh*

Anyway, here are my results!

You can take the quiz here.

Which Napoleon Dynamite character are you?" - Results:
You are Napoleon Dynamite and a buttload of gangs are trying to recruit you.

The New Yorker v. Us Weekly

I just finished reading parts of D's New Yorker and have some entertaining news to share with you.

1) Apparently for $19.95 you can join a service where you get a recorded message from Britney Spears each month. Sadly, many of the subscribers are grown men. Typical messages include "If I had a party, I'd totally invite you!" and astrological predictions.

2) I started reading an article about W's new Supreme Court nominee, but I didn't make it to the end. Apparently W wants a new justice in the mold of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. *sinking feeling* Although I remember in law school, I didn't agree with Scalia's politics, but I found his opinions the easiest to read. He's a very clear, concise writer. Reading this article (at least in part) marked a milestone for me. My distaste for law (after working in the field) is pretty much complete, so I haven't read anything pertaining to law in a long, long time.

3) I read David Sedaris' "Reflections", which was my favorite part of the magazine. It was really funny. He just keeps getting better.

4) The Oompa-Loompas in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" had to undergo grueling auditions and diets. One of the Oompa-Loompas, named Deep Roy, danced to the song "It's Not Unusual" and "did the little hop that Tom Jones does." Tim Burton loved this and hired him. But then Roy had to give up beer - too many carbs - and get measured every week to ensure he didn't gain weight. Roy started out at 4'4", weighing 77 pounds.

I also read Us Magazine and it's been pretty dull lately. Samples:

1) Angelina adopted a baby girl. That's good, and heartening, but not particularly entertaining.

2) Tom Cruise appears to have brainwashed Katie Holmes completely. She's now followed around by a Scientology handler named Jessica. Katie visited an orphanage in Rome and hung out with the children. When asked why she did this, she responded, "I had heard about the orphanage and the children and I wanted to visit the children." Doesn't this sound like a canned response? Like she's programmed or something? Her interview responses are starting to freak me out. I think she can find someone who won't take over her whole life. Maybe Katie Holmes and Michael Vartan? Or Katie Holmes and Scott Foley? Not Vince Vaughn.

3) Britney's pregnant and got her hair cut.

I think the New Yorker is winning. This week, anyway.
I just came back from a bike ride, in a much better mood than when I left. My tummy was hurting before (inexplicably, after a peanut sauce-veggie-tofu-rice dinner). I was also dreading an obligation I have this weekend. Now I realize it's probably not a big deal. I'll go, deal with it and come home.

And Saturday I can have some fun. D and I saw the preview for "Must Love Dogs" (starring John Cusack and Diane Lane). He refused to see it after a scene in the preview that shows some middle-aged women kicking up their heels to an oldies song. It didn't bother me. Anyway, my friend T from New Jersey agreed to see it. She may bring her friend A along. A is getting his Ph.D. at Brown, which is where I met T, back when I was 21 and she was 19. She lived on my floor senior year. We used to eat cereal in the hallway.

We'll go to brunch beforehand. A weighty question: should we go to Tick Tock Diner or Bright Food Shop? Tick Tock Diner is cheap and easy (like your mother ;) Bright Food Shop takes a long time and is more expensive. BUT they have delicious strawberry pecan pancakes that I can get more excited about than the Tick Tock Diner fare. Stay tuned.

When I got back from my bike ride (which was rat-free, and the air had cooled off nicely), I found D's New Yorker in the mailbox. There is no Malcolm Gladwell article (that's the reason D subscribes), but there is a piece by David Sedaris. I realize I have read all of David Sedaris's books at this point. I think Naked and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim are his best books.

I'm currently reading The Bad Mother's Handbook by Kate Long. It's quite good. It's one of those multi-generational sagas, but quick and quirky instead of slow and draggy. I'm really enjoying it, but I don't want to give away any of the plot points. It's her first novel, but you can't tell.

Yay! Have a good night.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005






Not too much to report today. There was a violent thunderstorm during yoga and we could hear it thumping outside. The teacher was great. She had us do a headstand against the wall. Before class, I ran into C, and she did get my email and will do my recommendation soon. So I guess I'll end up with 3 recommendations ;)

I read a thought-provoking post from Poppy Cede today. She was talking about a friend, a girl she used to help out at work. Now the girl has "purged" her from her life, and Poppy Cede is understandably hurt. What struck me, though, is when Poppy Cede said this was the first time a friend had "dumped" her.

I found this interesting because I don't know how old Poppy Cede is, but I'm 30 and most of my friends are in the 28-32 range. Most of them have been let down by friends. And then you have really great friends who never let you down. I don't know why this is, but I think work-related friendships are especially tenuous. You can't really count on them to last once you leave the job (with some exceptions). And I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. I think people pass in and out of your life, and the people who are meant to stay, stay.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts. Feel free to chip in with your own $0.02.

Ecological footprint quiz

See how earth-friendly you are. I got a total footprint of 11 (they said if everyone lived like me, we'd need 2.6 planets). Not bad, I guess. Let me know what you get.

http://www.earthday.net/footprint/index.asp#

"The nicest game in the world"

...says Lobo. You can check out the following:

http://www.ferryhalim.com/orisinal/g3/tea.htm


It's kind of like a video game set in a Victorian parlor, with reassuring music. And mice.
From an MSN article:

Most people have heard about Moon Unit, Dweezil, and Ahmet Rodan, but did you know Frank Zappa has a daughter named Diva Muffin?

I love it.
Great class with J tonight, though it continues to be so sticky and hot that you can't even walk around and stay dry. San Fran should be a relief in this regard. Anyway, J had us do "layers," by which she means moving from one pose to the other: toe-finger (where you have your leg straight out in front of you, and a yogic toe-lock with the first two fingers of your hand around your toe), then tree pose, then interlocking your hands behind you and leaning forward, still in tree, and aiming your hands at the ceiling; then moving back into a lunge.

We also did half-moon (left foot on floor, left fingertips on floor, right leg perpendicular to floor, right arm straight up). We did a variation where you catch hold of the right ankle, bend it back, and open your chest. J came by and opened me up even further by pulling my right shoulder back.

I got my recommendation from her. It seems good. She has certifications from two places, one in Santa Barbara, one in NYC, and is working on another. She's been teaching for 7 years. So I'll go to D's office tomorrow, print out my yoga essays, and pass them in along with J's recommendation and AT's recommendation.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The best cookie in New York



D and I went to Big Booty Bread Co. after lunch today. We split one of their peanut butter cup cookies. These are peanut butter cup cookies with chunks of peanut butter cups in them! They may also have chunks of peanut and chocolate, I'm not sure. Anyway, here's the cookie...and a picture of me posing with it (D's idea). He also asked me to pose while eating the cookie and "looking blissful", but it's too silly to post :)

John Cusack

My friend Carpe sent me this link, and I had to put it up. I am one of the girls mentioned in the article who saw Say Anything and yes, I'll admit it, I was in love with JC from approx. 1989 to 2003. There is a gross-out rumor in the article...I wonder if it's true? I certainly hope not.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8645142

Monday, July 25, 2005

I'm so tired, but full


Here is a picture of our dinner, courtesy of poco-cocoa:

This is one of those "what's not to like?" dinners. It would never have occurred to me to mix cottage cheese into marinara sauce, but I was very pleased with the results :) I used Light 'n' Lively cottage cheese, which is D's favorite kind.

I'm so tired, I'm almost delirious. But I don't know when I'll be able to fall asleep. Any other insomniacs out there? I'd try sleeping pills, but I'm afraid I'd be like, "Whoops, I forgot I took 5 of these earlier." Plus I would definitely get addicted.

Interestingly, Benadryl (allergy medicine) is the same chemically as most sleeping pills, according to my sister-in-law's father (he's a doctor).

I'm reading The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella, and enjoying it a lot. It has a cheerful yellow cover. For those of you who don't know Sophie, she wrote the Shopaholic series. Every book she writes is a bestseller.

I turned on my cell phone today and there was a message from my college roomie. I was relieved because I hadn't heard from her on my birthday and she usually calls or emails then. She's sending me some books! I'll call her back when I'm more coherent.

Fantastic Mr. Fox


When we went to Danvers this weekend, I dug up my copy of Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl so D could read it. I have a really yummy edition. I think I read it when I was 7. It has super line drawings of foxes and a really nice cover with a fox wearing a red jacket and green breeches. (They look fancier than regular pants.) So D wanted me to post this paragraph to my blog:

Then Mrs. Fox got shyly to her feet and said, "I don't want to make a speech. I just want to say one thing, and it is this: MY HUSBAND IS A FANTASTIC FOX." Everyone clapped and cheered.

-- Fantastic Mr. Fox, p. 76

Yay!
I was up until 7:47 am (or at least that was when I shut my computer). I couldn't sleep. There was nothing pressing on my mind, I just couldn't do it. So I went out in the living room and read What Would Buddha Do?, a library book that tries to relate the Buddha's teachings to contemporary situations. Buddha, for example, was against dieting :)

I thought one of the most interesting things in the book was the idea that we have all been reincarnated so many times that everyone has been your mother or father at least once. The practical point of this is that when you really can't stand someone, you try to reciprocate the love they gave you as a parent.

Anyway, I also dog-eared the pages with good recipes in Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon. The cookbook is quite big and frankly a little overwhelming, so if anyone has it and has favorite recipes in it, feel free to let me know :)

Another interesting thing in the Buddha book was that you should stop talking when you're angry, and not talk again until it's passed. I guess this could save a lot of fights.

On the yoga application front, J is going to give me her recommendation Tuesday night, when I go to her class, and my friend AT already gave me a very nice recommendation. So I'll pass in the application, complete, on Wednesday. If C remembers to pass in my recommendation, then I'll have three. I feel like asking C may have been a mistake because (a) I don't know her that well, (b) she doesn't know me that well, (c) she never responded to the email about why I want to be a yoga teacher (an email that she asked me to send), and (d) she got a sub for her Wednesday class last week, so I couldn't check in with her to make sure she got the email. So, it seemed like a potential disaster area and I'm glad I can pass in the application before I go to San Fran on August 1st.


Pasta salad with pesto

I know I have already posted 5,000 times today, but Lora left a comment about her basil plant so I thought I'd share this recipe with y'all. I got it from my sister.

1/2 lb. penne or pasta shells
12 cherry tomatoes

pesto sauce:
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. pine nuts or walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. fresh basil leaves
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. romano cheese

Place oil, nuts, garlic and salt in a blender or a food processor. Process until nuts and garlic are finely chopped. Add basil and process until finely chopped. Stir in the cheese.

Gross biking incident

Tonight D and I went out to the Hudson River bike path. He went north, I went south and all went smoothly until I was on my way back to the apartment.

Although the path itself is quite nice, there is no beautiful way to get there, and you have to pass a strip club, etc. Anyway, while I was on that savory block, an ENORMOUS rat shot out in front of my bike. I braked and swerved to the left. Somehow I fell off my bike and fell onto the pavement. Two bouncers and a woman who may or may not have been a stripper were staring at me, open-mouthed.

A man who was walking nearby with a red case in his hand said, "Are you all right? You shoulda run him over. You woulda killed him!"

That's what I was trying not to do :) And was the rat even grateful? Probably not. :(

My right palm was pretty much unscathed. My left palm has one of those cuts with dirt and blood mixed in. I just washed it and applied about a pound of antibiotic ointment and a band-aid. Couldn't the rat have just waited? I'm vegetarian, for pete's sake. I would have done it no harm.

Sundry pictures




Here are some pictures from my weekend: my niece and D; my nephew; and me with my niece and nephew. All the pics were taken at the park, near my old high school. Aren't they idyllic and bucolic? Sorry, I had an SAT-word moment.

A cooking meme

I have been tagged for a cooking meme :) Good stuff. By the way, I am back in NYC.

The Cooking Meme

What is your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?
The first real meal I made was Potatoes Anna (where you chop up potatoes and layer them in a cast-iron skillet with butter, salt and pepper. I'm sure I used margarine because it was in my mom's kitchen.) I rounded it out with blueberry muffins from Dunkin Donuts :) As a child, I liked to make crazy eights. You took those canned biscuits, rolled them so they were shaped like eights, dipped them in butter, then rolled them in cinnamon and sugar. They made an appearance at many family Christmas parties. And when I say family parties, I mean my mother's side of the family - an enormous gathering of 70 Irish people in a rented hall.

Who had the most influence on your cooking?
This is actually embarrassing. I had graduated college, was living at home and used to ask my mom, "What's for dinner?" One night she was like, "Why don't you make dinner?" This also coincidentally turned me into a vegetarian. I saw the bloody chicken in the produce section and couldn't bring myself to miss it. Coincidentally, chicken is the only meat I miss, and sometimes crave ;)

Do you have an old photo as “evidence” of an early exposure to the culinary world and would you like to share it?
Nope...sorry. I do have a photo somewhere of my niece digging out pieces of cantaloupe with a melon baller.

Mageiricophobia – do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?
It's funny, I just copied the recipe for chocolate meringues this morning. The recipe is at my mother's house. The first time I tried it, the batter would NOT peak. I was discouraged. Then my mom had me try it again. We realized that the beaters have to be totally, completely, clean for it to work.

What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown?
I love my food processor. I use it for pesto, curry sauce, you name it. I can't really think of any letdowns. I bought a little honey-dipper thing a long time ago, which was meant to help you get honey out of the jar, and the top snapped off.

Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like – and probably no one else!
This made me think of my sister-in-law, who loves ketchup on salad. I know, it's gross. I like pretty conventional things in this regard...I do love a sweet potato, tomato, and peanut soup that might turn some people off, but trust me, it's delicious.

What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don’t want to live without?
Baked ziti, sweet potatoes and peanuts/peanut sauces (though I would never combine these three things ;)

Any question you missed in this meme, that you would have loved to answer? Well then, feel free to add one!

What's your favorite ice cream flavor? Banana or pumpkin, at NYC's Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (which, belying the name, is tiny and cute).

Three quickies:
Your favorite ice-cream…Oh! I didn't look ahead. Banana or pumpkin :)
You will probably never eat…Veal. (I'm keeping Lora's answer here because I agree completely!)
Your own signature dish…Probably baked ziti.

Now I tag...Ms. Dork!

Happy memeing, everyone. Feel free to chip in.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

We had a very nice second day in Danvers. The pace of life is much slower here (including the internet connection), so I'll put up pictures tomorrow. We went to my sister's house in Bridgewater, splashed around in the pool with my niece and 4 nephews, and devoured chocolate cake with white roses. My mom gave me a teddy bear that was holding a little book entitled "The Joys of Being 30 by Bearette24", except she put my real name of course :)

My presents included two funky bracelets, a set of wind chimes shaped (loosely) like fish, a plaque that said "Put on your big girl panties and get over it!" (from one of my sisters, as a joke; I guess she was referring to my semi-angst over turning 30). Several cookbooks and books were sent to me via Amazon. Back in NYC, D gave me a cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon (that's the author's name!) and several mysteries by Alexander McCall Smith.

There's no Target in Manhattan, but there's one in Danvers. We went there to get D a bathing suit because he forgot his in New York. He also got a Pac-Man T-shirt (selected by me). There was a silly T-shirt that said "Life's good when you have a big banana!" and it showed a smiling monkey with a banana. I got 2 cheap books there...their titles have escaped me. One is about two red-haired twins who solve mysteries in Beverly Hills. It's the first in a planned trilogy.

My niece likes John Stamos and has been watching bunches of Full House reruns. She also likes Manny Ramirez (Red Sox), and built a bear in his likeness at Build a Bear (the site of many kids' birthday parties around here). In the pool, she asked me, "Why do you have to live so far away?" Hopefully as she gets older it will be easier for her to come to New York. She's only 9.

My oldest nephew's voice has changed...hard to get used to! He's playing football, which I think is a good outlet for him.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Hello from Danvers, a small town north of Boston. My mother's computer makes me grateful for DSL. Dial-up is really slow. I'll put some pics up later.

My brother's family got a new dog, a black standard poodle named Shelby. As soon as we got inside, the dog stuck her nose inside my open suitcase, grabbed a pair of panties and ran around with them in her mouth. I don't think I'll be wearing them this weekend ;)

We went for a walk to a nearby airport after dinner. My sister-in-law made banana ice cream with bananas, corn syrup and fat-free half-and-half (a seeming paradox). It's thundering violently outside now. Anyway, on the walk, my nephew told me about his ex-best friend, who "dumped" him on the last day of school. He didn't seem too upset about it though.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Yay! Well, I turned 30, and it doesn't feel too bad. I woke up before D and went out to the kitchen to mix together some yogurt, strawberries, blueberries and maple syrup for breakfast. Many of our stuffed animals were sitting on the kitchen chairs - a large teddy bear named Muffin, Elmo, Grover, and a small biscuit-colored dog he won at the Jersey Shore one year :) The table was scattered with presents, including some from his parents. I saw his mother's handwriting, "Please open immediately :) " on a UPS box off to the side. He must have set it all up before he went to bed.

I think it is true, 29 is worse than 30.

We had dinner with AT tonight. It was yummy! We had our favorite tattooed waiter. I had 2 of D's seaweed rolls (much, much better than they sound; it's crispy tofu rolled up in nori sheets and pan fried. Each one is about the size of a quarter.) Then I had the special nuggets with veggies and the sauce on the side. I am a big fan of sauce on the side. Otherwise they tend to drench it.

I feel bad because AT has not heard from his girlfriend in 2 weeks. She's in Phoenix. In the past, she went to Australia, then quit her job and broke up with her boyfriend of 5 years over the phone.

After dinner we walked home. It was maybe a three-mile walk. The nights are cooler, which makes it possible to walk around. It's like walking around in a wet Kleenex during the day, though. I am looking forward to going to Danvers, where it should be a little cooler (though maybe not). San Fran will be awesome (August 1st through 8th). I've never seen the famous fog though. It's always sunny when we go. And I like the sea lions.

Here is a pic of me and AT at Penn Station. We decided to do a silly back-to-back pose.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Where have you been?


You can go here and click off boxes to show which states you've visited. I didn't count states that I flew over, or states where I didn't leave the airport. D told me about this little gizmo.

I'm a little worn out from running around. We're going to Danvers, MA (where I grew up) for my birthday weekend. We're leaving tomorrow and getting back on Sunday. My mother has dial-up...I'll try posting on Saturday though.

So I got my mother these little jelly fruit slices which she loves (I'm not sure why) and a six-pack of oatmeal raisin cookies from Whole Foods. I like their monster cookies the best (oatmeal, raisins, peanut butter, chocolate chips, some kind of nut, etc.) but they didn't have them in six-packs today. Besides, they're for her, not for me ;)

Saturday, the day after my birthday, we'll all gather at my sister's house in Bridgewater, MA. She has a pool for the kiddies to swim in. They like to dive in from the ladder and yell, "INCOMING!" It's an above-ground pool. I'll probably take some pictures of my niece, who is awesome. She plays softball. She likes to come up to me and say things like, "Let's do something together. Should we do some stretches?" She can do a nice backbend :) Her little brother is a little perverted, but very charming and smiley. D says he will grow up to be like Clinton. Well, I don't think he'll be involved in an Oval Office scandal, but he might break a few hearts. I hope not though.

Tonight we're having dinner with our friend AT, who's about to go to Spain. His girlfriend is doing some kind of internship to prepare for med school. She helps "scrub up" for surgeries. Once a doctor told her, "You're not dirty enough," and tossed some blood on her scrubs. I can't believe that. I don't think people should toss blood around. But maybe that's just me.

We'll be having dinner at Tien Garden, a vegan place in the East Village. I like the special nuggets, which are some kind of textured vegetable protein mixed in with a light peanut curry sauce and a bunch of veggies, including broccoli and cauliflower. D likes their cookies. I do too, but I might try to be good.
I'm feeling better about my novel (the one I'm writing). I kinda feel like I should call it a story. It's about 74 pages at this point. So...story. It's less intimidating. I've written novel-length pieces before, but never anything I've loved.

I think this one has potential. I think it's funny and engaging. It's not perfect, but I have time to revise it. So I'll keep going. I like the characters.

D is out bike riding. I think I will either keep reading The V Club (a cute YA book) or watch When Harry Met Sally.

I really want a puppy. I saw a Yorkshire terrier with a little ponytail on the top of its head today. I kind of wanted to steal it.

It was interesting, in yoga class today I was next to a teacher, who was taking the class as a student. I was shocked to see that she couldn't get her head on the mat during straddle and that she had to use a block in many poses, including the half-moon. There's a physical final at the end of yoga school, before you get certification, and I just assumed you would need to be able to do those things.

I miss Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy. I have a soft spot for one of the doctors. It's the guy who likes Meredith (Ellen Pompeo). He's kind of gawky and sweet. On Desperate Housewives, my favorite character is Gabrielle (Eva Longoria), but she's pretty ruthless.

I heard that for the next season of The Apprentice, Donald Trump might pit black and white candidates against each other (i.e., an all-black team and all-white team). I think he has gone too far...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The best cookie of my life

I usually try to be a good bearette24 and avoid dessert, but coming home from yoga I couldn't resist. I passed Big Booty Bread Co. (yes, it's a ridiculous name) and got their peanut butter cup cookie. I'm still floating in cookie heaven right now. Don't even want to think about the calories.

If you're ever in NYC, you should try it. It's on 23rd Street between 7th Ave and 8th Ave.

Pigeon variation


Here's the pic I'm planning to put on my yoga application.

What novel should you write?

Hmm...not really a surprise. I got this here, and she got the same result. You can take it yourself here...and let me know what you get :)

By the way, I had been reading a blog, http://bonnieferguson.blogspot.com, and then one day I tried to go there and it was gone. I wonder what happened. Can people get kidnapped in the blogosphere? Oh nooo...

Sorry, I think I'm mildly delirious because I got to sleep around 5:30 and woke up around 10:50.

"What Kind of Novel Should I Write? " - Results:
CHICK LIT! - Sweet, funny and sarcastic. You are driven to write of real world career girls with just a touch of romantic fantasy. Will a handsome executive walk into your Heroine's life? Will your Heroine ever reach that corner office in the sky? You broke your teeth on Cosmo magazine and Sex in the City is your inspiration!
Just got back from yoga with J. As usual, it was a great class. She slowed it down because it's so freakin' hot in this big, sweaty Apple. So it was more of a flow class than a strong, rigorous, strenuous class, which was just as well because I think most of the students would have collapsed. As it was we were all pausing to wipe off our faces on a regular basis.

I asked her after class if she could write my recommendation. (C is writing the other one.) She was really enthused. She'll bring it to class next week so the whole deadline mess (i.e., the fact that I'll be in California on the application deadline) doesn't matter. She plans to teach through November (her baby is due in December). She did a handstand the other day! I wonder if the baby will be born incredibly limber.

I have to turn in a picture with the application, so D is going to take a picture of me doing a pigeon variation. I'll put it up if it comes out well :)

I'm having some watermelon now. Yummy. On my iPod is Billy Idol, "Eyes Without a Face." One of the great songs of the '80s.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Another good quote

I'm poaching from the blog of another, but this quote is too good to resist.

"You should feel, when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountaintop, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten - happy, absorbed, and quietly putting one bead on after another."

-- Brenda Ueland

She wrote a book called, "If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit." I haven't read it. I did like Elizabeth Berg's writing guide, Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True. She talks about something similar, how you should have fun while you're writing. She knew a guy who told enchanting stories aloud, then sat down at the typewriter and all this stiff crap poured out.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Something blue

I just finished Something Blue by Emily Giffin. I didn't know if it would live up to its predecessor, Something Borrowed. But it may have even surpassed it. I loved the other book, but this was one was great too.

Something Borrowed is about these 2 best friends, Darcy (the beautiful one) and Rachel (the smart one). Although it's less hackneyed than that. Rachel is attractive in a less obvious way, while Darcy is quick and clever, but never really got into school that much. Anyway, Rachel has always been a goody-goody but she finds herself falling for Darcy's fiance, Dex.

Something Blue picks up where the prequel left off. Darcy is pregnant and goes to London. Without giving too much away, it's about Darcy's journey from being an extremely self-centered person (in a way that is sometimes amusing, sometimes kind of horrifying) to someone who can be in a real relationship.

Both books have a lot more going on than the pink and blue covers imply. I recommend them :)
Your movie star double is Cate Blanchett

An intellectual like you needs to be played by someone who understands how to be deep without being boring, someone who can grasp complicated subjects and make them seem clear cut, someone like Cate Blanchett. Whether bringing to life Elizabethan stories or playing an undercover WWII courier in Charlotte Gray, Cate has shown the world that being smart can be sexy.

Were you sometimes the kid in class who realized when the teacher made a mistake — even if you didn't always point it out? Now that you're grown up, it wouldn't surprise us if you still liked the challenge of banter or enjoyed staying up late talking about the latest in political, social, or celebrity circles. Your glamour comes from your head first and radiates out through your looks. Cate's a natural to star as you because she, like you, has a good head on her shoulders. And she isn't afraid to use it.

Huh. I'm not a big Cate Blanchett fan. Couldn't I be Drew Barrymore or Kate Beckinsale or something? You should check to see which movie star you are :)

http://web.tickle.com/tests/stardouble/?test=stardoubleogt

In other news, four days until my birthday (the Dirty Thirty, as my mother calls it).
What the heck, I'll do another food entry. D and I went to Angelica Kitchen for dinner. Hopefully I will get the cookbook for my birthday. Some of the recipes in it use hard-to-find ingredients, like amaranth, while others are less exotic.

Anyway, dinner was delicious. We both got the Masala Ringwald special (hehe). I am a huge Molly Ringwald fan. The other special was called the Raab Lowe because it contained broccoli raab. I guess they were in an '80s Brat Pack mood :) Which is fine by me 'cause I love my Brat Pack. I heard Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, etc. might reunite to make a sequel to Pretty in Pink. Which would make my world ;)

The dinner consisted of a little container of dal (nicely spiced lentils), a cucumber salad with what tasted like a yogurt dressing (but it couldn't have been, because this place is vegan), a little container of perfectly cooked veggies including tender zucchini and sweet corn, and a little pile of rice. We also had little helpings of cauliflower soup with sorrel. D scraped out his sorrel. Then we shared a banana split with peanuts, served in a parfait glass. I liked this better than the usual banana split presentation.

I wonder if we will ever move to San Fran. D talks about coast sharing, but I don't think that's really practical. Our apartment is a steal by NY standards, but it would still be expensive to maintain two apartments. And if the yoga thing works out, I'll have a job (beyond writing). I'm totally open to visiting San Fran every year or something. And maybe moving there someday. But all our relatives are on the east coast. Also, everyone we know who moved to San Fran has moved back.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Yay! I asked C if she could write me a recommendation, and she agreed. She just asked me to send her an email describing why I want to be a yoga teacher, which I did. I was a little nervous about asking her because I've only been going to her class for a month or so. On Tuesday, I'll ask J for the other recommendation. I'm not really worried about that because I've been studying with her for over a year. :)

Last time D and I went to the movies, we got free tickets because the projectionist had some trouble with the film at first. The free tickets were given to everyone, and they never expire. So maybe we'll use them to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I've heard good things about it. Even though Johnny Depp looks alarmingly like Michael Jackson...in the poster, anyway. They're both really small-boned and pale.

I feel like a load has been lifted off. I finished my essays for the yoga application and now I'll just polish them up a bit and maybe show them to D.
Yikes. I woke up, stumbled into the bathroom, and closed my left ring finger in the door.

OWWW.

I hope this doesn't happen to any of my readers. But, if it does, you can fill a small bowl with cold water, then float some ice cubes in it.

Thanks Sasha and Capybaras United for your comments on my last entry. I'll ask C for a recommendation after class this afternoon.

Last night at the Strand (bargain bookstore; you can get new reviewers' paperbacks for half price, which works out to $4.49 for YA books and $6.50 for adult), I got the following books:

Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran
Happiness Not Included by Libby Street
Faking 19 by Alyson Noel (YA)
The Principles of Love by Emily Franklin (YA, about boarding school; looks like a kinder, gentler "Prep." Which was a good book, by the way.)

Also in my reading pile:

Baggage Claim by David E. Talbert
Cold Feet (a short story collection from Downtown Press; the authors include Elise Juska, Heather Swain, etc.)
Late Bloomer by Melissa Pritchard (another half-price copy, from a few weeks ago. It doesn't look great. But it got named as one of the best books of the year by some newspaper or another.)
Holidays on Ice and Barrel Fever by David Sedaris (both from the library. I may be David Sedarised out, but I'll probably read them).
Something Blue by Emily Giffin (also from the library. The prequel, Something Borrowed, was awesome and highly recommended. Factoid: I had already decided to leave my law job, but a certain paragraph in Something Borrowed moved me to do it.)

La! So that is good. I'm currently reading The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Though I think it's usually hard to write from the opposite sex's point of view, he does a pretty good job. Also, it's set in Botswana, which is exotic and interesting. And the mysteries she solves are fun. I am usually SO not a mystery reader but this is a cute, charming book. You might like it.
I'm thinking I might not apply to yoga school this fall. I don't really feel ready. I only have a year and a half of experience. And it also seems like bad timing. We're going to San Fran on August 1st, and I have to go to a wedding shower on July 31. The wedding shower is in New Jersey, which effectively wipes out the day.

The reason this is bad timing: the application is due on August 5th. We won't get back from San Fran until August 8th. So I would have to turn in the application a week early (July 30). AND I have to get 2 recommendations. I could ask J for one - she's been my teacher for a long time - but the teachers at the other center, I've only been with for about a month. That means I've only had about 4 classes with them. So I don't feel comfortable asking them for a recommendation. Especially when it would be a rush job. "Uh, hi, could you write me a recommendation? I need to have it in 2 weeks. Thanks."

Also I don't have the handstand, headstand without the wall, or the crow (an arm balance) pose down pat yet.

And there's a wedding in September, 3 weeks into the program. I can't get out of it. The directors were very serious about skipping class...they said no one should miss class, there's no way to make it up, etc. They even mentioned weddings as a reason people skip (without condoning it).

On the one hand, I'm skeptical. People MUST skip. At least sometimes. But I want to do it the right way. And the last time I had a job, it was a disaster. The law thing did not work out. So I'm timid about putting my toes in again.

And I like my novel, at least parts of it, but I don't love it. It's a first draft, so maybe it's only to be expected.

After I cooked dinner - broccoli, tomatoes, feta cheese and rice with oregano and garlic - I went off to the Strand and bought some half-price reviewers' copies.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Yay! I wrote a few more pages of my novel and did a handstand last night, with D's help. We're going to try to get me to a place where I can kick up my legs on my own. I can hold the handstand once someone flips me up into it, but I can't kick up. Yet. I also did research for some yoga concepts for my yoga school application.

The application is surprisingly philosophical. It asks you to relate all these ideas - satsang (chanting), mudra (hand positions in poses), etc. to your practice. I had to look a lot of words up online. There are only three practical questions (What's your name, address, email?; How long have you been practicing, and where do you go?; and Please get 2 recommendations from a non-family member). The last one isn't a question, I know, but you get the picture.

They said they can't take everyone. But some of their teachers got dinged the first time, then reapplied, and now they teach there. They said if you don't get in, it's probably a numbers thing (frustratingly, they didn't say what their limits are), or not putting enough effort into the application, or not having practiced long enough.

Anyway, in keeping with the first paragraph of this post, let me know if you have done anything groovy that makes you happy, makes you feel like you're moving closer to a goal or keeps self-doubt at bay. Eating a brownie counts.

Tonight we went to Lasagna for dinner. The waitress was well-trained in upselling techniques and tried to foist bottled water, salads, appetizers, drinks and desserts on us. It was unsubtle. However, next time D will say no to her so I don't have to be the baddy. The lasagna itself was good (lasagna primavera) but I felt like she was going to spit on it because I said no to all the upselling techniques. D said I was very nice about it. But next time he can say no to them :)

Then we went to see Wedding Crashers, which was really good. Seriously. It was one of the best movies I'd seen in a while. It had some gratuitous nudity and violence that I wasn't thrilled about, but it had good, snappy dialogue and humorous situations. Also, Rachel McAdams comes across as a smart actress. Owen Wilson has the good-hearted scoundrel schtick down to an art. Vince Vaughn is less appealing, but he was funny and was a refreshing change of pace because Ben Stiller is usually Owen's sidekick. There was also a surprise cameo from a fun, freaky actor (I won't spoil it).

Among the previews, there was a Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo sequel (it looked awful, recycled jokes, tasteless, etc.) and a movie called The 40-Year-Old Virgin which actually looked good. Let me explain. It had that guy from Anchorman who says, "I ate a large red candle". He stars in the American version of The Office (I know, no one watched it, I only saw a couple of episodes because Tuesday night I have yoga with J). If you know his name, feel free to jump in :) Anyway, it looked entertaining and that guy who was Alicia Silverstone's stepbrother in Clueless is in it too. Paul Rudd.

After the movie we went to Barnes & Noble so D could pick up his reserved copy of Harry Potter. The line snaked around the block (and then there was another line for the poor souls who didn't reserve). I got a good picture of a wizard inside the store.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Amazing yoga class today. I'm so glad I went. I was stressed out about getting into yoga school before and now it seems silly. The class was a self-esteem booster (no handstands). Instead we did pigeon variations and backed up against the wall, bent our right knee and put our right foot against the wall, then arched back. I love the stretchy stuff.

Also, the teacher recommended a pose for people with sciatica, which made me think of Lora. You put your butt against the wall, with your feet wide, then just dangle down between your legs till your arms touch the floor. And hang. It's good for your back.

D and I are about to eat at Songkran. Yay!

YES

You know I love the '80s. Well, Lora (bless her soul) put up an '80s quiz. I rocked it!

Final Score: 76.5


Your 80's Music Score

Wedding pic


Here's a picture of me and D from a wedding we attended in May (pre-blog). I look a little goofballish, but otherwise it's a good picture, I think. Factoid: this was the last time I got drunk. I had 3 Cosmos at the wedding (yes, my tolerance for alcohol is really low) and then D had to stop me from doing headstands against the wall in my dress.
I saw the grossest thing involving a homeless person today (something he was doing). I won't elaborate, except to say I've been in the city since May 1999 and this is by far the grossest thing I've seen. Ugh. And I could have avoided it. When yoga was over, I walked downtown instead of up, in search of a "Kiss My Face" oatmeal mask. CVS no longer carries it. I was looking for a particular place. I found a place that might have been it, but I wasn't sure. I decided to cut my losses and turn back. And then...I saw IT. I tried to feel compassion but I was also shocked and horrified. And I did feel sorry for him.

Anyway, yoga was good today. It was taught by B, who has kind of a relaxed, flowing, poetic style. Then she springs little surprises. At one point she had us hook our right leg over our shoulder, then lean forward and balance on our hands (both feet off the ground). Then we crossed our ankles. Then I fell! But it was cool being up there for a few seconds.

Still nervous about the info meeting. I don't even know why. If they turn me down, it's not the end of the world. I guess it's just that I'm so passionate and excited about yoga.

Anyway, here is a recipe that D loves. D is DRUNK right now. He usually never drinks but he had a few mojitos too many at an office party. I was invited, but a) I had yoga and b) there was someone there I didn't want to see.

So here is the recipe. This is real comfort food and it's almost impossible to have just one helping.

1 pound ziti
1 1/2 c. tomato sauce (I like Paul Newman's marinara, and the proceeds after taxes go to charity :)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp oregano
2 Tbsp dry red wine
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 c. grated Muenster cheese
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook the ziti in a large pot of boiling water until al dente, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly in a colander and place in a large bowl. Pour on the olive oil and toss to coat well. Let cool.
2. Combine the tomato sauce, basil, oregano, red wine, and pepper. Pour onto the pasta and mix well.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
4. Spread half the pasta in a large, shallow baking dish, such as a 9 X 13 (3-quart) Pyrex. Sprinkle on half the Muenster cheese. Spread on the remaining pasta, then top with the remaining Muenster cheese and finally the Parmesan cheese. Cover the dish with foil.
5. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (I opt for 30, because we have a hot oven and I hate dried-out ziti) . Remove foil and bake 5 additional minutes.

Also, you can prepare the dish in advance...although I never do. Just bring to room temperature before baking. The source is Jeanne Lemlin's Main Course Vegetarian Pleasures.

Now, if I can just get this image out of my mind...and get through the meeting tomorrow...

Also, I just started TTYL (IM-speak for Talk to You Later) by Lauren Myracle. It's a YA book and seems cute and fun so far. I have never IM'd in my life, being an old-fashioned email person, but it seems like a groovy book.

Au revoir...

Oh, and I patted a black cocker spaniel today. The owner explained that he likes to eat frozen vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower. "They're like vegetable popsicles," she explained. She also said the dog was mixed with "something big," because he had big paws!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Three for one!

I borrowed these from Bonnie's blog, http://bonnieferguson.blogspot.com. It feels like Friday to me too.


In a Past Life...

You Were: A Lazy Belly Dancer.

Where You Lived: North Africa.

How You Died: Decapitation.


Your Career Type: Artistic

You are expressive, original, and independent.
Your talents lie in your artistic abilities: creative writing, drama, crafts, music, or art.

You would make an excellent:

Actor - Art Teacher - Book Editor
Clothes Designer - Comedian - Composer
Dancer - DJ - Graphic Designer
Illustrator - Musician - Sculptor

The worst career options for your are conventional careers, like bank teller or secretary.

Your Superhero Identity For Today Is:

Name: Angel Flame
Special Power: Bionic Push
Transportation: Quantum Train
Weapon: Psionic Blunderbuss
Costume: String Bikini
Sidekick: Clarence
Nemesis: Jasmine the Flatulent
Tragic Flaw: Addicted to noodles
Favorite Food: Ritz Crackers

I do like noodles! Especially peanut ones.

Movies

I am psyched that some good movies are finally coming out. For a while, there was nothing D and I wanted to see, and we kind of went to see Batman Begins out of boredom/as a social event.

But now Wedding Crashers is getting good reviews (http://www.rottentomatoes.com). It apparently has the "heart of a chick flick," according to two reviewers! A stupid movie, done well, warms my heart :) For example, Wedding Singer and Deuce Bigalow...though the former is superior...

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is also impressing critics. I liked the book so much that I am always reluctant to see movie adaptations though. I thought the one with Gene Wilder was kind of disappointing. My favorite Roald Dahl book is Fantastic Mr. Fox. My edition had a really nice cover with a fox peeping out of a cave. They have some cheesy cover with squiggles on it now.

So we'll probably see Wedding Crashers on Friday. I'll write a little review.

AND Must Love Dogs is coming out later in July! I already have plans to see it with my friend T from New Jersey (I know several T's so I have to differentiate). I love John Cusack!

All about Jennifer Weiner's reading


Whew! I just got back from the Jennifer Weiner reading at the 82nd Street Barnes & Noble. I had a good time, although I got there an hour early (following the bookstore person's advice). I think half an hour in advance would have been fine.

JW is very down-to-earth and quite funny. Highlights:

1) She says she's like Chris Farley (may he rest in peace, she says) when she's around famous people. Remember when Chris Farley said to Paul McCartney, "Remember when you were in the Beatles? That was COOL." JW said, likewise, that when she met Cameron Diaz (who's starring in the movie based on JW's book), JW was like, "Remember when you had ____ in your hair? That was COOL." I'm sure she didn't really say that...

2) She says her daughter is really cute, "not that I have anything to do with it. She looks like my husband. People think I'm the nanny. They're like, 'How long have you been taking care of her?' and I'm like, 'Forever.'"

3) JW's mother is a lesbian, and when her grandmother found out, her grandmother said, "Your mother was always difficult." Now "difficult" means "gay" in the Weiner family. JW said, "I saw Tom Cruise on Oprah and I was like, hmmm...DIFFICULT. Poor Katie."

4) Before meeting Cameron Diaz, JW saw her name in the tabloids, on a list of celebrities who don't bathe. So when Cameron gave JW a hug, JW sniffed her. Later she called her husband and said, "I met Cameron Diaz and she smells really good!" Pause. "Please tell me you didn't sniff Cameron Diaz," her husband said.

5) JW's first book was based on a painful breakup. Her boyfriend at the time left her for a social worker. She said she used to hope she'd see him on a street corner, with four stumps, turning the pages of her book with his tongue, but then she said, "I'm not about vengeance. I'm about getting published. Much better for everyone."

6) When asked who should play Kelly from "Little Earthquakes," JW said, "Reese Witherspoon. She has that brittle, desperate quality."

7) JW finagled a role for her grandmother in the movie based on JW's book. Her grandmother lives in Century Village, a retirement community in Michigan. Before they left for filming, her grandmother sneaked away to make a phone call. Turns out she was calling the sheriff - "The Call of Life" - to let him know that if she went out, ahem, the ambulance that circles the retirement community wouldn't have to make a stop. (I know, it's awful, but everyone was laughing.)

8) JW's grandmother likes JW's mother's new girlfriend, Claire. Claire is a nurse and takes Nana's blood pressure. This makes Nana happy!

9) JW commented on the "constant tension of writing sex scenes" while her mother is still alive.

10) At the screening of her movie, JW saw the part where FOX comes on the screen, burst into tears and said, "That part was really good!"

11) JW read a scene from her new book for us :) It's coming out in September or October (the movie, In Her Shoes, is also coming out in September or October). Without giving anything away, the new book is a mystery, which is a bit of a departure for JW. But it seems quite good.

OK, that's about it for now. Oh, and finally, here's a picture of me and JW. It was taken by the girl who was behind me in line at the signing. She was sweet but very inept and had a hard time with D's picture phone. So it's fuzzy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Harry Potter game

This is kind of evil, but I couldn't resist. Don't forget to try the helicopter...I think it's all the way over to the right.

http://www.geocities.com/standardaddress/main.htm

Groovy quote

From Steve Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford:

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

For the full speech, you can go to http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.

I must confess I usually find commencement speeches dry as sawdust, but this one resonated with me.
Great class with J tonight. She is the pregnant one; I will miss her when she goes. She's due in December.

Anyway, she mixed things up tonight by having us go into tree pose, then sliding the foot into half-lotus against the opposite hip. Then we leaned forward and touched the ground with our fingertips...foot still in half-lotus! Then we put both hands down and hopped back into a one-legged downward dog, foot still in half-lotus. Then you pop down into pigeon, and I got to do my favorite variation, when you lean back, catch the opposite foot in your elbow (knee bent), and clasp your hands together. It gives you a nice dancer-y arch in your back.

J is an awesome teacher. She used to dance with a company in Chicago, and has a very rigorous approach to yoga. She insists on absolute precision. Lately I've been sliding my shoulder forward when you do the knees-chest-chin thing before baby cobra, and she made sure I corrected it! Part of it is, at my other yoga center, we always lower through chatauranga and then do an upward dog, eschewing the knees-chest-chin altogether. So I could be out of practice with knees-chest-chin...or maybe I just like chatauranga and upward dog better :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Dare I say it?

I don't like Harry Potter. D reads every single book in the series. I tried the first one but I just found it flat and dull.

I was getting worried I was the only one until I found a comment from Steph T. on Bonnie Ferguson's blog, http://bonnieferguson.blogspot.com.

Amen.

In Lobo's honor

Here's a quiz from my friend Lobo, who's a classical music person. It tells you which dead German composer you are. I'm an '80s music person and I don't even know who Hugo Wolf is. But the quiz told me I am he. Apparently, he had many issues :)

Hugo Wolf had serious issues. He had wide mood swings and many illnesses throughout his life. His creative periods were also very sporadic, and while he constantly strove for musical perfection, he has few major works. As he grew older, his mood swings and illnesses turned to manic depression, and finally culminated in a complete mental breakdown. He was committed to the insane asylum under the impression that he was royalty, and thus didn't recall or have the facility to compose any more.
A few key works: Moerike Lieder, Goethe Lieder, Der Corregidor


Check it out:
http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/jlozos/gercomp/

I have a feeling you won't be seeing this quiz on Blogthings. BTW, Disco 3, by the Pet Shop Boys, is worth checking out. "If looks could kill..."
Just finished "Lexi James and the Council of Girlfriends" by Melissa Jacobs. It was the second book R sent me to review for chicklitbooks.com. It wasn't the best book in the world, but it wasn't terrible either. It was kind of like a knockoff of "The Dirty Girls' Social Club" by Alisa Valdes Rodriguez. I read a bunch of that one in a bathtub in Miami :)

Monday, July 11, 2005

D and I had penne with kale and white beans for dinner. Quick and dirty. You cook 1/2 lb of penne, and in another pan you saute 6 cloves of minced garlic and 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes for 2 minutes, then you add 1 1/2 lbs of kale (torn up) and 1/3 c. of vegetable stock. You cover the pan and cook the kale till it's wilted but still bright green, about 7 minutes. Then you mix together the kale, penne, a 15-oz can of cannellini beans, and 1/4 c. of Parmesan. Of course you should put extra Parmesan on top.

I think I'll go to the gym now. This will make me feel like a good doobie (wow, does anyone actually say that anymore? or maybe they never did) and is also good at reducing stress.

Which book are you?

I didn't really like my results on this because it said I was Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. I guess it is somewhat apropos because I like yoga and some aspects of Buddhism...but I never read the book!

Anyway, you can take the quiz at:
http://bluepyramid.org/ia/bquiz.htm

This link will also bring you to a "Country Quiz." I took that one and found out I was Thailand. Hmm...Anyway, feel free to let me know your results!

My desert island CD would probably be Under the Pink by Tori Amos. Or Scarlet's Walk by Tori Amos.
The yoga school information meeting is on Friday. I'm a little nervous about it. I think it's because a) I don't know how much inversion skills matter (headstands, handstands and the like) and b) because it's my first real "venture" since I left my law job in July 2004. There's my writing, of course, but that's not a paid job...at least, not yet :)

So wish me luck. I do believe, corny as it may be, that things work out for the best...so I shouldn't worry.

My lunch


This is what D and I ate today. Excuse the plastic fork. I should probably go to some kitchenware store and buy a bunch of forks, but I haven't got around to it. (We have some, just not many.)

Anywho, I was inspired by Crystal's food blog - http://www.poco-cocoa.com. She has beautiful professional-style photography to accompany her recipes, so I decided to copy her just for today :)

If you want to make the above:

Felafel (from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook)

2 15-oz cans of chickpeas
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. finely minced onion
1/4 c. (packed) minced parsley
1/4 c. water
1 Tbs. lemon juice
a few dashes of cayenne
1/3 c. flour

1. Rinse the chickpeas, and drain them well.
2. Combine all ingredients except flour in a food processor and process until you have a uniform batter. (You can also use a potato masher but it's more labor intensive.)
3. Add flour, and stir until thoroughly combined.
4. Heat a heavy skillet and add about 3 Tbs oil. Drop tablespoonsfuls of batter into the pan, flattening each slightly, like a small, thick pancake. Saute on each side until golden and crisp.

Tahini-Lemon Sauce (same source)

3/4 c. sesame tahini
5 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 small to medium clove garlic, minced
3/4 to 1 1/2 c. water (I use the smaller amount)
1/2 to 1 tsp salt (I use the smaller amount)
A handful of very finely minced parsley
Optional: cayenne, to taste

1. Place tahini, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor or blender.
2. Keeping the motor running, slowly drizzle in the water. When it is as thick/thin as you want it, turn off the machine.
3. Transfer to a small bowl or container, and season to taste with salt, parsley, and, if desired, cayenne. Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready for use. (According to the cookbook, it keeps for weeks in an airtight container.)

Yay!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Coffee quiz

I got this from Lora's blog, http://blackcurrantjam.blogspot.com...


You Are a Soy Latte

At your best, you are: free spirited, down to earth, and relaxed

At your worst, you are: dogmatic and picky

You drink coffee when: you need a pick me up, and green tea isn't cutting it

Your caffeine addiction level: medium

It's funny because I never even drink coffee. It makes me hyper. I know that's shocking ;)
Hello! I just got back from yoga with C (who is becoming one of my favorite teachers). We did lots of bendy twisty things. Revolved triangle, bound triangle, pigeon variations, etc. A couple of teachers were in the class and I was gratified to see they weren't as flexible as me :) No, I'm really not being petty, I just like confirmation that I'm ready to be a teacher. This is because my inversions (headstand, handstand) are not quite where I want them to be...i.e., I can only do headstand with the wall, and I need to be flipped up into handstand. But most of yoga is bendy, twisty things anyway, and I know a teacher who can't do headstand without a wall.

Anywho, I saw a long-haired dachshund on the way back from yoga. It was moving slowly, like an ancient man. But it was only 3 years old (21 in human years). I patted him and he rolled over so I could rub his tummy. He nibbled on my earbud cord (for the iPod) so the right earbud fell out and dangled over the sidewalk.

I'm using the earbuds because my regular headphones gave out. They're only transmitting sound through one ear, which is yucky. The earbuds hurt my ears a little. But they're more compact (you can stuff them in your pocketbook during yoga, and they don't take up too much space), they sound better, and I think they look better. But pain is a dealbreaker...I'll have to buy new headphones at CVS.

Have a groovy rest of the weekend...

Saturday night (Bay City Rollers)

Tonight we went to Thailand Restaurant (the in-the-shadow-of-the-courthouse place) for yummy eats including a salad with tofu and steamed veggies with peanut sauce. I love the peanut sauce, which I had on the side, so I went a little overboard with it and combined it with rice. On the plus side, I didn't feel hungry afterward.

We had a nice time with DG. He's an INTJ who clashes with ENFPs in the workplace ;) I assured him I was harmless. He broke up with his girlfriend (due to leaving Chicago for New York). She had the gall not to like Wicked by Gregory Maguire! One of the best books ever. Although D, and my friend A, didn't like it either. Come to think of it, Maguire's books went downhill after that. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister was pretty good, but Lost wasn't. Neither was the one based on Snow White. However, my brother always gives them to me for Christmas, which is a nice thought :) He introduced me to Wicked, for which I am grateful.

I think there is only one person for each person.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

New quiz

http://www.okcupid.com/tests/take?testid=16336235046633759176

This makes me sound like an alky, which I'm not :) Really ;) I haven't drunk anything alcoholic in a while, due to empty calories and wanting to stay in good shape for yoga school.

But:
Bourbon
Congratulations! You're 106 proof, with specific scores in beer (40), wine (133), and liquor (43).
Screw all that namby-pamby chick stuff, you're going straight for the bottle and a shot glass! It'll take more than a few shots of Wild Turkey or 99 Bananas before you start seeing pink elephants. You know how to handle your alcohol, and yourself at parties.



My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 11% on proof
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You scored higher than 68% on beer index
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You scored higher than 98% on wine index
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 68% on liquor index