Friday, December 30, 2005

A nice new friend


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

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

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

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Ramblings of a diseased mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas and the aftermath










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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 22, 2005

My favorite Christmas present

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

OK, things are getting crazy here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The nicest book

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A recipe for you


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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I am...

a certified yoga instructor. Finally!

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Strange, but thoughtful, gifts

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

I think LC was inspired by our lunch conversation.

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The puppy heist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bear with me, my O is hurting

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 11, 2005

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

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

Saturday, December 10, 2005

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

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

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

Friday, December 09, 2005

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 05, 2005

James Frey and a blogger encounter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Friday's feast

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

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

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

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

Pink!

Soup
Describe your voice.

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

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

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

Dessert
What was the last television show you watched?

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

The first snow

















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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Squash and the undead

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

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

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

I want to eat butternut squash all day.

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

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

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

Thursday, December 01, 2005

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

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

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

Only in New York.