Friday, December 29, 2006

A cat took a nap in my lap

D and I discovered a burger joint in Brooklyn, DuMont Burger, which serves a delectable chickpea burger on a brioche bun with tzatziki sauce. We're willing to make the trek to another borough for it. Another attraction: a nearby bookstore that I like not so much for its pulpy, kitschy selection, but for its plump, sweet cat.

The cat is grey with black stripes and has a soft, ample midsection. It is very cozy. The last two times I made its acquaintance, it was sleeping on (a) a chair and (b) a stack of books. This time, it was awake and prowling. I put down my pink Strand tote bag to pat it, and it promptly curled up on the bag. I patted it some more and then it stepped off the bag, climbed onto my lap (I was sitting cross-legged on the floor) and fell asleep there. It was so warm and comforting. I was sorry that I'm allergic to cats because this one was so delightful.

Eventually we had to go; I carefully unfolded one leg, then the other, and the cat curled up between my knees. We finally left, but not after much patting and some piteous meows from the cat. I have no doubt it is well-loved and cared for :)

However, the cat left its scent on my mittens, and a dog I patted later barked at me (after sniffing the mittens)! D says I need two pairs of mittens. This remains to be seen, though, because I patted another dog who was just fine with it.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Some jokes for you

A man walked into a bar with his dog. "My dog can talk," he told the bartender.
"No, he can't," said the bartender.
"Yes, he can."
"Prove it to me," said the bartender.
The man asked his dog, "What lies on top of a house?"
"Rff," said the dog ("roof").
"Any dog can do that," said the bartender.
"Ok, I'll ask him another question. Who was the greatest baseball player of all time?"
"Rff," repeated the dog ("Ruth").
The bartender was not impressed. He threw them out of the bar. On the way home, the dog tilted its head, and asked its owner: "Maguire?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What should you do with a blue whale?
Cheer him up.

~~~~~~~~

What is the most musical bone?
A trombone!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Yumminess

My mother gave me Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers, and I think it may be the best Moosewood cookbook yet. Each recipe is beautifully illustrated and easy. Some reviewers trashed it on Amazon - they were upset that no caloric value was listed - but do you really want to know that, anyway? Whenever they do that, I find myself skimming over the more fattening recipes, and possibly missing out.

Anyway:

Spinach Cheese Burritos

5 tortillas (7 or 8 inches)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
10 oz baby spinach
1 tsp coriander
1 generous pinch nutmeg
1 small slice of cream cheese (I used Neufchatel)
2 c sharp cheddar cheese
1 T canola oil

Preheat the oven to 375. Put the tortillas on a baking sheet (it's ok if they overlap) and place them in the oven for a few minutes, so they won't crack when you roll them.

Saute the garlic and scallions in the oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Stir in the nutmeg, coriander, cheddar cheese and cream cheese. Take off the heat.

Prepare the tortillas by placing a scoop of filling on the lower half of each tortilla, rolling it up and folding the edges over. Place the tortillas seam side down in an oiled 9 X 13 pan. Spray the burritos lightly with oil. Cover with foil and cook for 20-25 minutes (15 minutes if you have a fast oven).

D received several ducks: a floating one with a glass in his back, a small orange one and a little one with a magnetic croquet...if you put it in the tub and wave the croquet, it will follow you...like an imprinted duck. My nephew also made us a snowman and penguin out of crafty bits and pieces.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Travels

A while ago, Amtrak called and asked if I wanted to be part of a focus group. I would be paid $100 to talk about my experiences with Amtrak...during dinner hour! Nah. But when we took the train today, it occurred to me that they could use a yoga car. The car would have no seats, and lots of floor space for mats. Of course, they will never do this because they could pack the car with people instead and make a profit. But I think they should! Once I tried doing yoga in the aisle (on a different trip) and a well-intentioned girl asked, "Are you lookin' for somethin'?" So now I'm too self-conscious.

On today's trip, the conductor kept announcing, "Claire Kirby, this is your stop. Get off now," and repeating that with different names. I didn't know they had a reminder service. They did have a number of elderly people on the train who may have asked to be reminded. One of them, a woman behind us, struck up a conversation with D. "Do you smoke?" she asked, out of nowhere. (He doesn't.)

When we got off the train, my niece and nephew came running to greet us. They were both wearing Santa hats. Then my brother drove us all home. Emotions ran high when I asked my nephew if he had a girlfriend. He's in love with a girl, J, and they have discussed commitment and having children. They want to name their daughter Alexandra. The problem is, J can't date till she's sixteen, and they're currently nine. So my nephew is going to wait for her. Romantic, no?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sampson

Tonight I met the lovely Sampson, a butterscotch-colored pug. He lives with my writing friend, K, and is very charming.

K and I had dinner at a Thai resto and talked about the writing life, etc. She was working overnight shifts on a Good Samaritan hotline, but she quit because most of the people calling were perverted instead of depressed. Which reminded me of the movie theater pervert, all those years ago:

Me (college kid in the box office): Hello?

Pervert (man with intense, whispery voice): Hi. I'd like to see The Lion King. What is it rated?

Me: G.

Pervert: Do they say bad words in The Lion King?

Me: ? No.

Pervert (breathing heavily now): Do they say FUCK in The Lion King?

Me: Um, no. Bye!

Anyway, back to 2006. I was going to take a picture of Sampson, but I forgot my batteries, and K offered some, but my camera is a diva and insists upon fully charged batteries, freshly cut roses and bowls full of red M&Ms. Maybe I can get a picture of him next time. He enjoyed licking the camera, anyway.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas wisdom

I was shopping at Whole Foods (I'm making saag paneer with tofu, a good opportunity to use the asafetida and garam masala waiting in my cabinet) and they were piping in Christmas music. Guy Cashier swoops in and sings, "It's the most wonderful time of the year..." Girl Cashiers shake their heads, ask him what's wrong with him (but they're laughing).

Guy Cashier (with dignity): Nothing is wrong with me. My inner child is alive. That's what keeps old people going.

Girl Cashiers: ?

Guy Cashier (warming to his theme): My grandmother, she goes bungee-jumping on her birthday.

Me: How old is she?

Guy Cashier: 65.

So Merry Christmas, and remember to go bungee jumping on your birthday...it'll keep you young. (I'm not going to take this advice -- too much of a scaredy-cat -- but it seems sound.)

List of bests

This is so end-of-the-year-y, but I thought y'all might like to get some recommendations. Also...at the bottom...my thoughts on Justin Timberlake and cupcakes (2 separate streams of thought ;)

Books


Model Student
by Robin Hazelwood

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi

Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik

Pug Hill by Alison Pace

Mommies Who Drink by Brett Paesel

The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery

Snowed In by Christina Bartolomeo

The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Movies

Capote

Failure to Launch

Clerks II

You, Me and Dupree

Borat

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I've been taking an informal blogger survey and it seems that most of you like Justin Timberlake, i.e., Roxanne, Bdogg, Poppy, Belle, and I think Liz has one foot in that camp, having found his latest video kinda yummy. (I haven't seen it, can't comment.)

I feel like the only two on the side of the Righteous are me and Carolyn.

Does no one remember the "wardrobe malfunction"? The ungentlemanly snicker when some interviewer commented on Britney's, um, virginity? (OK, it was probably hard to keep a straight face on that one.) The way he dated Jenna Dewan and Alyssa Milano at once, stringing them along until Cameron Diaz came along? His general shifty-eyed, sleazy look? The embarrassing songs and moves of 'N' Sync?

Okay, I think that is enough provocation for one entry. I am fully expecting the skies to rain down frogs now.

Also, there is a Burgers 'n' Cupcakes branch opening near me. They have a large, rotating, backlit cupcake above their awning. It is tacky but mesmerizing. If I ever have my camera with me (I am not much of a shutterbug), I will take a picture.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The holiday

So T and I went to see The Holiday today. We talked a bit about her boyfriend first. Things seem to be going really well. She did confide that she gets frustrated about the "little things." "When he blows his nose, it's more like a honk," she said, "and he always has his hand near his crotch."

(This reminded me of D's college roommate (I'll call him Buffin), whom I never met because I met D after college. D and Buffin were randomly matched, since it was freshman year. Buffin was a football player who liked his drink a bit too much. Once his friends had to call the paramedics. When he came to, he was throwing punches at the paramedics. He had to have his stomach pumped. Finally he said, referring to himself in the third person: "A lesser man might stop drinking after something like this, but not Buffin!" Oy. When I studied for the bar, we were told to put up a picture of someone unlikely who had passed the bar, to boost our confidence; we duly put up a picture of Buffin. It's down now.)

I liked The Holiday. I'm always charmed by the British habit of calling it a holiday, instead of a prosaic "vacation"; they also call L.A. Lotus Land, which I didn't know before. The characters weren't extraordinarily well developed, and the script was just serviceable, but I didn't have these thoughts until later. I like most Nancy Meyer movies (Something's Gotta Give, etc.) and this one was no exception. T gave it a B, while I gave it an A or A-. I don't think it would hold up to rewatching, but it was a fun, feel-good confection. And I liked the candy cane/gingerbread cinematography in London; Kate Winslet's house was so cozy. (I guess it was technically in Surrey.)

There was a subplot where Kate was going to dinner and working out with a 90-year-old man, and I was wincing a bit and expecting them to sleep together. Thankfully, they never did. He just taught her about empowerment, or as he called it, "gumption." Dustin Hoffman also had a cameo.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday thoughts

D and I tried to see The Good Shepherd tonight, but it doesn't come out until December 22. My enthusiasm is dampened by the fact that it's 3 hours long. But we'll probably see it anyway.

"Coupling," which used to show at 10 pm on Fridays (we managed to catch it once), seems to no longer be on. Tonight they had "Secrets for Aging Skin with Dr. Denese" (who should really not be spelling her name that way).

It's hard to get into the Christmas spirit when it's about 50 degrees outside and people are running around in shorts, but Sarah McLachlan's CD "Wintersong" is helping. It's really good.

~~~~

The crossing buddy is a New York phenomenon. It is a friendship that is formed without words and lasts only a few minutes. Yet it serves an important purpose.

Walking is the best way to get around New York. Cabs take too long and eat up your cash. The subway is cheaper, but you have to wait for it, and half the time you end up sitting in someone's lap (not literally, but there's definitely thigh overlap).

But when you walk, you face the twin perils of bikes and cars. Bikes are much worse, but cars can take the corners hard.

So, when you cross the street, you fall in step with a crossing buddy. The more, the better. We all think the car is less likely to hit us, if there's an us instead of a me.

Thin, heavy, short or tall people of all ages and races can be peaceful crossing buddies. But I realized a woman and a shorter man are not the best combination. I had a crossing buddy who was shorter than me and the cars were not properly intimidated. I think they wanted to run us over anyway.

~~~~

Maybelline's Moisture Whip lipstick has been replaced by Moisture Extreme lipstick. The Moisture Extreme shade names are the same, but the hues are different. D cleverly went to eBay and bought some for me. So, Moisture Whip fans, you can head over there.

We heard about P's dinner with the Vogue editrix. She is no longer working at Vogue and she is dating (well, periodically, um, visiting) a guy who sounds like Trump II.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Strange tales

We had dinner with P last night. He's stopping in NYC between London and Ohio...he goes to film school in London. He came back looking thinner, more cosmopolitan and contact-lensed. The weight loss is apparently explained by the quality of convenience food...he says all the supermarkets are like Whole Foods, but cheaper. Not bad. The Londoners want everything organic and preservative-free and apparently the difference shows.

(Which reminds me - on a plane we were served "real cheese" and crackers. I remember thinking the Europeans would never label anything that way...they'd be horrified if it wasn't real.)

Anyway, P is always bursting with stories (he also explained what a dolly-grip is - someone who moves the camera around. Also, the director is seldom behind the camera; they just like to be photographed that way). He told us about a girl he is into, who has a boyfriend.

The Boyfriend is very rich and invited her to live with him and his parents while she goes to grad school in London. She gets a whole floor to herself, so she gets privacy and so on.

Anyway, she was in a black cab, which was hit by a double-decker bus. She and the driver were fine, though the car was totalled. Not wanting to hop into another cab to go home, she called the Boyfriend and asked him to send the driver.

The Boyfriend: No.

So the girl took a cab home and found the Boyfriend in a dark room, draped despondently over a table.

The Boyfriend: I do not love you enough to pick you up at the scene of an accident.

The girl: That's ok, it's not a big deal.

The Boyfriend: No. I realized that I am indifferent.

So the Boyfriend took off, not revealing his whereabouts, and she stayed there, having nowhere else to go, and had dinner with the parents.

Parents: How is the Boyfriend?

Girl: I don't know. We broke up.

Parents: Oh, really! Pass the peas.

She started receiving one-word postcards from the boyfriend, and it emerged that he was brooding at his parents' ski chalet in Vail.

Now they are back together.

Personally, I think P will end up with The Love of his Life, a Vogue editrix. They are getting together on Thursday. But I think it might not happen for many years. They will have a "silver wedding."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Strange dream time

I'm borrowing a leaf from Kitkat's book and recording a couple of my dreams from last night.

Dream #1: A certain someone who will remain nameless (not a blogger or family member) was yelling at me in an auditorium. She wanted me to sit in a certain section, while I wanted to sit in another. There was an impasse. Finally I slipped out of the auditorium, ostensibly to visit the restroom, and when I came back, she was gone. I sat where I wanted to sit.

Dream #2: I was at a restaurant with D and some other people (not anyone from real life, although one of them resembled a blogger, a little bit). I saw Diane Keaton at a nearby table and went over to chat. (In real life, if you see a celebrity in a restaurant, in NYC anyway, you never go over to talk to them. It's just not on.) Anyway, she was glad to see me, and we talked. She had a very young face though she was her current age. When I got back to my table, there was a fracas. The other people at the table were bent on stealing our stuff. We tackled them and sat back down to eat with them (?). The girl apologized profusely. I told her, "It's ok, people do all sorts of things, but try not to do it again." Then she explained she was in some kind of play in Middleton, MA, near where I grew up. She was playing a naked part and wanted to know if I wanted to trade off (i.e., she would play it some nights, I would play it the other nights). I told her I had to think about it.

Then I went to the restroom and saw Diane Keaton again. I asked, "Have you seen Woody Allen lately?" [In real life, they are still friends, and one of my yoga students saw them together.] She said, "I knew you were going to ask me that! He sent me an email, and I never got back to him." She explained that he was mad about something to do with her adopted child (who was named Sam in the dream).

"That is the kind of thing he gets mad about," said D, when I told him.

In another part of Dream #2, which is more hazy, the girl from the play was standing on the side of a busy thoroughfare, across from me. It actually looked a bit like the road near Grimaldi's, a Brooklyn pizza joint. Anyway, it was choked with cars, and she yelled, "I hate trucks!" but she started to make her way across. I did, too, because it seemed like this would prevent her from being hit. (Dream logic.) In the end, everyone was fine.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The place

We went to The Place last night with DG. It really is a fabulous/groovy/yummy restaurant. D and I were both pleased with the decor. The walls were kind of cobblestone-y (I'm sure there's some technical term for this that interior decoration mavens will know) and the dining room was underground so it felt like you were eating in a charming little grotto.

I was surprised when DG commented favorably on the waiter's biceps. He said he envied them. Then the waiter said, "It's all genetic," though it emerged that he's a personal trainer as well. I also admired the short cap of hair one of the waitresses had, but both men urged me against cutting my hair. Plus I am a short hair virgin.

The food was very good, though in small portions. I had sweet potato ravioli and a frisee salad with candied pistachios and bits of apple. Then we all had dessert: DG had a chocolate cake sprinkled with confectioners' sugar, D had white chocolate mousse with raspberries, and I had the warm spiced Bartlett pear (whenever there is a pear on a menu, I gravitate toward it).

Fortunately/unfortunately, I had two glasses of Pinot Grigio. They didn't have my very favorite wine, Riesling, but I was in a wine-like mood.

(Tangent: I'm very stereotypically girly when it comes to drinks. The sweeter, the better. I remember I was in France once, visiting my roommate who was studying abroad that year, and she was friends with a British guy who spotted the (probably pink) drink I was carrying. "That's a bird's drink," he said with that authoritative British accent.)

So I had the Pinot Grigio, because I like white wine (no unsightly tooth stains, and doesn't feel as heavy in your tummy) and I read that PG is good for vegetarian food. Apparently Cabernet is good for red, bloody meat. FYI.

I like being tipsy; I feel more confident and colorful and articulate, but then, lying awake at 4 am, I thought:

"This is why I don't drink."

"Or, when I do, I stop at one."

I have to remember this next time.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Three things

I've been tagged by Irene!

3 things that scare me:
Upside down roller coasters
Super-dominant women
Blogger beta (do we have to change? Am I a Luddite?)

3 people who make me laugh:
D
My nephew
Carolyn
(these are not the only ones, of course)

3 things I love:
Books
Food
Being with friends/family

3 things I hate:
Driving, especially in unfamiliar areas
Confrontation
Danger

3 things I don't understand:
Calculus
Trigonometry
The rules for Yankee swap at my family Christmas party

3 things on my desk:
I don't have a desk, so I'll talk about my pocketbook instead.
Keys (with a "Hug a Dog" keychain from my sister)
Burt's Bees chapstick (though not the honey kind; I have been warned)
My wallet

3 things I'm doing right now:
See, is this a trick question? I'm doing the meme, of course. And drinking water. And typing.

3 things I want to do before I die:
Have a baby! Yes, the bug has bit.
Publish a novel.
Travel, I guess. I wouldn't mind going to London and Miami again. Or Italy, though D hates it.

3 things I can do:
Cook.
A headstand.
Type very fast with two fingers.

3 things I can't do:
A handstand without assistance.
Swim underwater without pinching my nose shut.
Run a marathon.

3 things I think you should listen to:
Billie Holiday.
Astrud Gilberto.
Madonna.

3 things you should never listen to:
Bush.
Annoying people.
Justin Timberlake.

3 things I'd like to learn:
Play the piano.
Maybe knitting, but wool is so itchy.
The Running Man (kidding).

3 favorite foods:
Indian.
Baked ziti (my recipe, with muenster instead of ricotta).
Spinach (I know, it's weird).

3 beverages I drink regularly:
Water
Almond milk (well, I cook my oatmeal in it).
I like the honey wine at Awash (local Ethiopian restaurant).

3 shows I watched as a kid:
Sesame Street
The Cosby Show (when I was 10)
Golden Girls (ditto)

3 people I'm tagging:
I will tag Belle, Jules and Roxanne, but it is not obligatory. And anyone who wants to should do it!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Daisy chain

Before I moved to New York, I never experienced a dog park. My dog had no truck with other dogs (dating from the day a furry torpedo shot out of its house and bit her; it was a Welsh corgi, but still) and there are no dog runs in suburban MA (to my knowledge).

Anyway, D and I often have lunch at Red Bamboo, a vegetarian mecca that offers up faux chicken Parmesan and grilled soy chicken salad (grilled over open coals; fabulous). Nearby is Washington Square Park, with a special enclosed run for small dogs. A sign on the door warns against various things, including people without dogs, but I slip in anyway.

Today I went there after lunch (D had a doctor's appointment) and visited with the wee dogs. One was Jack (wearing a sweatshirt that said WAGWEAR 2). Another was Frank, a delicate soul in a knit sweater. "He likes you better than the other dogs," his owner observed, before firing off questions: "Do you have a dog?" "I used to." "Are you going to get another?"

The dogs gathered around me got a bit rowdy, and then one humped the other, and then a third one humped that one, all in a row so it was like a daisy-chain of humping. One of the owners said, "Jack, you don't want to do that. Oh, I guess you do want to do that. They're competing for your affection," he told me.

Sounds nicer than establishing dominance :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

From the mouths of babes

My niece and nephew (well, they are hardly "babes", I suppose; my niece is eleven, and my nephew is eight) said a lot of interesting things this weekend. So I figured I'd memorialize them here.

To start with, they are both fascinated by our vegetarianism. We are peppered with questions every time we go home. My nephew, B, wrote in an essay for school: "I like Thanksgiving because you get to see people you don't usually see, like my Aunt Bearette and Uncle D. They are both vegetarians. They adopted two turkeys." His teacher crossed that out and wrote something to the effect of "They bought two turkeys for Thanksgiving," and B crossed that out.

So B likes to ask why we became vegetarian. For D, it was when he was 16, at summer camp. For me, I was 21, shopping for dinner, and realized I didn't want to cook with slabs of raw meat. (Plus, I honestly don't like fish, and the only meat I'd been into for a while was chicken, though as a twelve-year-old on her growth spurt I ingested a lot of Big Macs.) So it was an easy decision for me.

B: Did you want to marry a vegetarian?
Me: Well, it wasn't a goal of mine, but it worked out well.
B: So you met someone you really loved, and he was vegetarian.
Me: Would you marry a vegetarian?
B: Maybe.

When I repeated this to the others, he said, "I wouldn't mind."

Later, in the pool, he said, "Nice bikini," but in an admiring-fashion-choices way, not a prurient way. He has lots of little girlfriends and goes to beading parties, so my brother has said he expects to go to B's commitment ceremony in Vermont one day. But I don't think so. That boy's hands used to roam like Bill Clinton's! He was always patting your butt after a hug (but again, in a kind of reassuring way. He seems to have outgrown it, though).

Then he asked, as I was lounging in the hot tub, "Would you like a shoulder massage?"

Me: Sure. Does H [my niece/his sister] get one?
B (kneading my shoulders): No, because you're my aunt and you're nice. She's my sister and she's evil.

!

B also asked D, "When do you start to grow stubble?", indicating the little hairs pushing out of D's face.

D: Why?
B: Because I don't want to be surprised. I want to be prepared.

I guess my niece, at eleven, does not say as many kid-like things. She is, in fact, more like an adult. When I forgot my bathing suit and had to drive back to get it, she said, "That is unbelievable." However, she did tell us, "You guys are good parents" (after I directed B to put his sneakers on, now). And when we got lost driving from the pool to the mall (they were going to church there--remember, I have not lived there in many years), H calmly directed me, saying, "I want you to turn left at this light," etc.

I think she should be running a small company. D says she should run a large company, but I know she would prudently start small.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Adventures in flying/Massachusetts

So we just got back from Massachusetts. We had a nice time at the party. The food was good and the Yankee swap was tame. I noticed my niece did not participate, though she did call out people's numbers. D ended up drawing the 101 Margaritas book that we bought, and although some people said, "That's a keeper," no one took it. So we have many margarita recipes; each one has either a salt shaker with a check mark or a salt shaker with a line through it.

I really like flying to Boston. It only takes an hour. And they feed you. Curiously, they made me surrender my toothpaste, but allowed me to keep my razor. I guess they want you to be able to defend yourself in case there are crazies on the plane.

I also patted a bomb-sniffing dog. I could tell how nice it was, and the security officer was saying that the dog is best friends with a 10-year-old girl. Finally I got close to the dog and it wagged its tail and licked my hand. It also engaged in some recreational sniffing.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Arrivederci, auf wiedersehen, etc.

I'm going to my little hometown this weekend. There is always a little bit of culture shock involved. Suddenly we have to drive everywhere instead of walking, and there is no longer a gym/library/CVS within a few blocks away. But, on the upside, it is much quieter, and you can see the stars.

My family's Christmas party is this weekend. They rent out a hall, Knights of Columbus or some such, and all 60 or so of my mom's side of the family shows up. She is the youngest of five, and they all had kids, and their kids have kids, so it's a nice, big crowd.

Among the events are Santa (played by one of the men, it changes each year. One year, embarrassingly, Santa had presents for me and D, so we had to perch on his lap, one per knee. I think Santa was my BIL that year) and the Yankee swap. I'm still fuzzy on the rules of the Yankee swap, but it is basically a Darwinian game where people give each other presents, but someone else can take yours away (and give you theirs).

One year my sister's boyfriend brought a fruitcake, to be silly. My niece, who was maybe six at the time, got a lottery ticket and was very excited. Then my aunt got the fruitcake and swapped it for the lottery ticket! My niece started to cry. Eventually my sister's boyfriend solved the problem by taking the fruitcake from her and giving her a candle.

Hopefully no one will bring fruitcake this year.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tuesday twelve

1. I've never read a Harry Potter book. I probably never will :D
2. P, who works for D during the summer and is currently in England, left a library copy of the first Harry Potter at D's office. Maybe he bought it.
3. I like bunnies.
4. I used to be really into Britpop - the Cure, the Smiths, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, etc. - but it's wearing off a little. I like the Smiths and Pet Shop Boys the best of the bunch.
5. I'd like to get my tarot cards read. D is against it, though, as he thinks they are self-fulfilling prophecies. I guess I'm always a bit afraid of what they will say.
6. On the other hand, I think the tarot card readers often speak in generalities that could apply to anyone.
7. But I'd like to know the future.
8. I like the idea of destiny better than free will. I want there to be a plan.
9. Of course, some free will is nice.
10. In history class, in high school, Mr. H explained that Oedipus Rex's destiny was like a box (i.e., he was going to sleep with his mother, like it or not). But he had the free will to choose what he wanted to do, within that box. (He chose to blind himself and wander around in exile...not the best idea.)
11. Sometimes I like to go to people's blogs and read their archives.
12. When I was non-veg, I liked my mother's chicken sandwiches. She would pack them for me when I worked at the movie theater (college summers/winter breaks).

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kibbles and bits

I feel like blogging, but I have no overarching topic, so this is kind of a premature Tuesday twelve/Thursday thirteen.

We had Thanksgiving at my in-laws'. My MIL made two chocolate Statues of Liberty as centerpieces. Upon hearing that the statue contained rum, my SIL became excited and broke it in half (to get to the rum). Unfortunately, the rum had been soaked up by the chocolate.

I met one of those foxy dogs (you know, the ones that look like foxes) and found out he was 15 years old. I told him he was an elder statesman.

I read Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi recently. Although the premise might strike you as ultra-depressing -- it's the story of her great-uncle, whose wife broke his tar (lute); he couldn't find a replacement, and ended up starving himself to death -- it was really a beautiful story. I also love the way she draws. She did a really cool thing in this book where she put the flashback panels in black with white ink (instead of the other way around).

The agent thing is really a drag. I'm currently waiting for one to respond; it usually takes them about a month if they're reading chapters (as opposed to just skimming your query letter). I like writing itself, but the trying to get published bit is not fun.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

What makes this Thanksgiving different from any other?

The answer is: hair.

This year was our turn to have Thanksgiving with the in-laws (next year we'll be in Massachusetts with my brother's mother-in-law's fabulous pumpkin pie, with brandy in the filling). Anyway, D has two male cousins. One of them has told us in the past, "It would take a weed whacker" to cope with his body hair. So both of them took off their shirts and we compared. It was determined that M was hairier than J; M's chest and back hair was denser, while J's was more artfully distributed. J even had "eagle tufts," small puffs of hair on his shoulders.

How hairy is your man? (Or woman.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A confession

I went to Whole Foods today, which was one of the dumber things I've done in my entire life. You see, I forgot that everyone has the day before Thanksgiving off, and accordingly heads to the store. With nothing but zucchini in my cart, I found myself trapped in the bean aisle. (I'm making the rigatoni-white bean-zucchini-and tomato concoction that Liz likes.) I couldn't take it any more and I fled. I've never done that before, and I'm sorry to whoever finds it and has to put the zucchini away, and I hope the zucchini finds a good home.

However, it's still better than those who leave used Kleenexes or worse in their grocery carts.

Also, I found out something scandalous about one of the places where I work. I'm finding it hard to keep it to myself. I told D and Carpe, but no one else knows.

I wish I could do one of those "My best friend lives in Canada, and she works at a ____ where they were ______," but I'm not a good liar.

The only occasions when I freely lie are:
a) the ugly baby situation.
b) the ugly wedding dress situation.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tuesday twelve

1. This is a late night, or rather early morning, Tuesday twelve.
2. Have I mentioned I have insomnia?
3. I got a fabulous Astrud Gilberto CD...one of those 20th-Century Masters comps...and it rocks. I love how at the end of "The Girl from Ipanema," she keeps saying softly, "She just doesn't see..."
4. I really want to see The Holiday (Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz).
5. I'm also a little hooked on Pongal, an Indian restaurant where they give you special chapatti bread.
6. I was never able to do the Running Man (a dance popular in 8th grade).
7. I discovered a small dog run in Washington Square Park, with an excellent selection of doggies.
8. I'm starting to notice babies almost as much as dogs. This worries me.
9. I always wonder how much editing should go into a blog...should I really admit this stuff?
10. I went through a phase where I was really into corduroy.
11. That phase is over.
12. I missed spinach a lot during the time we couldn't have it.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Innies and outies

Just spent the day in Philadelphia. I had a good time with D's cousin's daughter, Dalia. She came in, looking shy around all the big scary people (I felt the same) so I whisked her to the hall, where we played with her Little Mermaid doll and talked. In case you're wondering, the doll has detachable red hair, a small purple bra and a turquoise-green sea tail. I wondered if Little Mermaid can switch hair colors...why make it detachable, after all? Dalia explained, "Belle has brown hair, Cinderella has blonde hair and Snow White has black hair."

I now consider myself an expert.

At any rate, I tickled her at dinner and felt a small protuberance on her belly. She has an outie! D asked me if I knew any adults with outies, and I could remember a childhood friend who had one. I don't know if she still does. And so, I ask...do you have an innie or an outie, and has it always been that way?

:)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday thirteen

1. I feel bad when I turn down subbing gigs at awful hours. E.g., 6:45 am-7:45 am. I have a permanent class at this place, and I like to allow thirty minutes to get there by subway, so I'd have to leave at 6:15 am, and get up at 5:45 or so. If I were desperate to teach, I'd do it, but not now. Bear in mind I fall asleep at 1 am, *with* the help of melatonin.
2. We tried a new Ethiopian restaurant with D's cousin J last night. It is so new that it's not even on menupages yet. It was good, except for the vegetarian meatballs that D started to use as hockey pucks.
3. I have an old "boom box" that I can't bring myself to get rid of. It stopped playing tapes in 1997 (that is, it began eating them) and it still plays CDs, but it skips and stalls.
4. Sometimes I play Donna De Lory's music in my yoga classes. She used to, and maybe still does, sing backup for Madonna.
5. The other day I patted a dog named Gracie, and two other people patted her in a span of 15 minutes. She was one of the cutest dogs I've ever seen.
6. D says 90% of dogs are in the top 10% for me.
7. In New York, they have doggie spas...one is Wet Nose Doggie Gym, another is Biscuits & Bath Doggie Gym. The Wet Nose is better, I think.
8. I told D about Let's Go to Prison. I'm kind of hoping we don't see it. It wasn't screened for critics, which is always a bad sign.
9. D was shocked to discover that Owen and Luke Wilson were brothers.
10. Some agent gave me an enthusiastic response to my query and he's currently reading 3 chapters. Hopefully he will say yes.
11. My college reunion is coming up.
12. Apples are my favorite fruit.
13. I've never been to most of the "fly-over" states.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Famous people, and an accomplishment

I'm reading I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron (after a mega-long library wait) and I'm enjoying it. She has a fun, witty, snappy style of writing that I admire. Among other things, the book includes a list of advice to younger people. She says that any part of your body that you hate at 35, you'll miss at 55. I wonder if this is true. D feels that people involved in the movies are super-preoccupied with appearance, and chances are we won't even notice our necks at that age. We'll see :)

Anyway, I got to thinking how I had the opportunity to meet Nora Ephron, and didn't. She came to speak at my college. So did Hillary Clinton. And what did I do? I worked a shift at the campus snack bar. I don't think it was even my own shift; I agreed to sub for somebody. Meanwhile, my roommate at the time not only went, she was so excited that she liberated some of the POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS yellow tape and stuck it on our wall.

One person I did take the opportunity to meet (or rather, see and hear him) was Ray Bradbury. He was not at all what I expected. The story I remember best of his was about rain, how this little girl didn't want it, and there was a drought. So I thought he might be kind of sad. Not so. He was one of the most cheerful, energetic people I've ever met. He was practically bouncing around the room. It was cool.

My accomplishment (stop reading here if you're squeamish) is: I finally got an appointment with a certain kind of doctor. Ashley calls it the PM. In New York, PMs are a rare and elusive breed, and you have to hunt them on the savannah, much like agents. It's a competitive sport. Sometimes it takes four months to find one. Sometimes you get an appointment for four months from now, then they cancel it without explanation. (It's true.) I was demoralized by the whole savannah hunt (I haven't been to the PM in six years), but I opened my Aetna directory and called a PM today just for the heck of it. And what do you know, they had a Friday appointment.

Miracles do happen.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Zzzzz

I'm very sleepy but I will write a review of Stranger than Fiction, because I promised to ;)

The movie was surprisingly dark and morbid, given that Will Ferrell and Queen Latifah were in it. The premise: Emma Thompson is a writer, and Will Ferrell is one of her fictional creations. She's about to kill him off. Queen Latifah is a subdued author's assistant who helps Emma meet her deadline; Dustin Hoffman is a professor/faculty lifeguard who listens to Will's complaints of a voice in his head (which is Emma's voice, narrating Will's story).

Dustin encourages Will to find out if his story is a comedy or a tragedy (happily ever after, or will he die in the end?). Armed with a notebook, Will goes to Maggie Gyllenhaal's bakery (he's auditing her) and puts check marks in the tragedy/comedy columns.

The last quarter of the movie was pretty disturbing. It was cute and quirky up to that point, and then it takes a dark turn. And the ending doesn't really fit with what came before.

D didn't like it. He thought it was a downer, "and you don't see Will Ferrell and Queen Latifah for a downer." He also thought Dustin Hoffman was talking "a lot of pretentious literary mumbo-jumbo" and that Emma Thompson was "fakely angstful." However, the literary "mumbo-jumbo" took me back to my college days, and I thought Emma's dark moods were typical of most artists. So it didn't bother me.

But I didn't like the sad part.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tuesday twelve

1. I recently re-read Jane Eyre, but Little Women didn't hold up as well for some reason.
2. Of the Anne of Green Gables books, my favorite was Anne of the Island (when she goes to college).
3. I visited Prince Edward Island when I was 12 or 13, and bought volume one of L.M. Montgomery's diary; it seemed as if she didn't really love her husband. It was kind of depressing.
4. Maybe I will dress up as a bumblebee or something next Halloween.
5. When I was little, the old Mighty Mouse was my favorite cartoon. They revamped it later on, and it was never the same.
6. I often wonder about people I have fallen out of touch with, what they are doing, etc.
7. D just bought the new Dave Eggers book from the Strand. I'll probably read it when he's done.
8. My favorite Dave Eggers piece is a short story written from a dog's point of view.
9. I can't wait for the new Will Ferrell movie, Stranger than Fiction. D and I will probably see it this weekend.
10. I also want to see Volver, the new Pedro Almodovar movie.
11. D is not a Pedro fan.
12. My favorite Pedro movie is Talk to Her.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Borat

Interesting tidbits about Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Borat):
He's engaged to Isla Fisher, the redhead from Wedding Crashers.
He got his start in Madonna's video, "Music".
He will only give interviews in character.
While he was in character, promoting Borat, he explained that his eleven-year-old daughter was pregnant and he hoped the baby would "be adopted by the singing tranvestite, Madonna."

AT, D and I all liked the movie, though parts of it were unsettling/disturbing. With some of his subjects, Borat didn't even have to say anything; they just revealed themselves in a way that no reporter would ever get them to do.

The movie also showed that Sacha Baron Cohen is pretty smart; he knew exactly how to act in each situation to get the desired response, and he was able to make a bored man in an elevator the visual punchline to a joke.

I don't want to give too much away, but it's the only extended man-on-man nude wrestling scene you'll see all year.

And also, though some people revealed some pretty scary aspects of their personalities, others were very patient and kind to him. So it was an interesting view of how America would seem to an outsider (and a kooky one at that).

He also tried kissing men on the New York subway (not wise).

Friday, November 03, 2006

A bit of this, a bit of that

I went to a farmers' market today (there is often one set up in Union Square) and bought some "new crop" apples - Braeburn and Gala. All the "new crop" signs made me wonder if there's an old, moldy, worm-eaten crop somewhere...but if so, they weren't selling 'em. The apples were magically delicious (yes, I've eaten them all already).

Then I went to Whole Foods-Union Square to get an oatmeal-raisin cookie - I had a craving - and then I slipped into the Strand (pernicious crack den) and got 3 books (all half-price, though, enabling me to feel somewhat virtuous).

I also have a good flow of library books now. I realized it's better to put books on hold if (a) they aren't new, (b) the library has many copies of them and/or (c) they're not in much demand.

Whole Foods presented me with a dilemma. There's a Pilates studio in town that is offering a special deal: get one class for free with this flyer (from the foyer of Whole Foods), and then get additional classes at a discounted rate (still expensive - $15 per class, down from $25 per class). You see, I can take Pilates "for free" at the gym. The problem is, there's only one instructor I love at the gym. And she abandoned me, taking off for Turks and Caicos for 2 weeks.

So should I go to the beautiful, light, airy, expensive studio and risk getting sucked in? Or take the high road and just go to the gym, even though I can't take the favorite instructor's class right now?

I guess I should go to the beautiful studio and resist its siren call (with regard to future classes).

We're seeing Borat on Saturday with AT. I'm still not sure whether I'll find it offensive, funny or both. Finally, I told D that if I find it totally offensive and unfunny, I reserve the right to slip out...he won't be alone, after all.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Yevgueny Kepushkev

D always told me how mature he was, even as a kid. So imagine my shock when he told me how he and Lobo used to make prank calls.

"It was only one afternoon," he explained. "We'd call the parents of kids we didn't like too much."

This is what they did to these poor answering machines.

[in a thick Russian accent]

"Hello, this is Yevgueny Kepushkev from American Communist Party. Your son, ___, expressed interest in Party. I call to deliver rap message to you."

Then one of them did a breakbeat while the other one sang:

"My name Yevgueny
I am a Russian.
I talk to you
I no am moshin'.
If you find yourself in pickle,
You can count on hammer and sickle.
I hope you give our party a try
If you don't...you might just die."

Then they said in unison:

"Call 555-USSR"

and hung up.

I'm not sure what "moshin'" is, especially since these prank calls predated mosh pits. And the "might die" part is a bit much. But I love the idea of "you can count on hammer and sickle." I might make it my personal motto.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tuesday twelve

1. I'm copying Lisa.
2. It's always kind of stressful for me to do it on Thursday, because it's my busiest day of the week, teaching-wise.
3. I like kids' Halloween customes the most.
4. I say this because there were a bunch of blonde-wigged people (one definitely male, the others probably female) tottering down the street on high heels. The one who was definitely male shook his fist at someone nearby and bellowed, "If you're gonna look at me, bitch, at least be nice!" Ooh-kay.
5. On the other end of the spectrum was an adorable little girl in striped tights and ethereal fairy wings.
6. I kinda want to see Little Children, but it's hard for me to get up the energy, especially since D doesn't want to see it.
7. It's not my favorite Tom Perrotta book, anyway; that would be The Wishbones.
8. Sometimes I miss being 9.
9. On Sex and the City, Samantha seems a bit like a drag queen to me.
10. A friend recommended Coupling (the British version) but it's on Friday nights at 10 pm. WTF?
11. It is my firm belief that Friday night is the sinkhole of network television; to wit, the Anne Heche show about stealing trees or something.
12. I'm looking forward to the new Will Ferrell movie.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Poached pear

Tonight we had dinner with DG at Arqua. Arqua is a special, yummy place that we haven't been to in a while. They serve you white beans with focaccia before the meal, and the walls are a cozy terra-cotta color. Because the walls are "high and unadorned", as the New York Times puts it, the noise bouncing off of them can give you a headache. But that didn't happen tonight.

They had a special tonight of taglierini with truffles ($80!). D asked the waiter, "When people eat the truffles, do they walk away looking as if they had an illicit drug?" The waiter looked dumbfounded, then he got giggly. Later, I licked the plate after eating my poached pear with warm vanilla gelato, and he offered to get me more sauce. DG, who is apartment hunting, regaled us with tales of apartments shaped like boats, complete with portholes, for $6,000 a month. New York rents are something else.

On the way home we saw several Halloween costumes; one of the most noteworthy was a man with a long, shaggy black wig and tight white boxer shorts. He was running. I asked D, "Is he supposed to be a runner or something?" D said, "Maybe he's a superhero. Or just someone who wears underwear."

Speaking of which, did you hear about the Captain Underpants costume that got banned at some school? So much for freedom of expression ;)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Grey's Anatomy...and a confession

The last time I went to the chiropractor, we were talking about Grey's Anatomy and he told me, "McDreamy and Preston Burke had a fistfight." He went on, "McDreamy has a temper."

Well, today I saw Us Magazine at the grocery store and had to pick it up, because they had a super-dramatic cover touting fights on the set of Grey's. And Us informed me that Isaiah Washington wanted Patrick Dempsey's part, and it doesn't sit too well with Isaiah that Patrick is late on the set every morning.

So to make a long story short, it was actually Isaiah who started the fight. He's mad because he wanted Patrick Dempsey's part. AND Isaiah called T.R. Knight a bad word. (T.R. Knight is one of my favorite actors on the show.) Now there is talk that Isaiah will be fired. I think he should apologize, but I like the current cast. I do wish Izzy would just cash her $8.7 million check, though.

As Erica Jong says, "Gossip is the opiate of the oppressed."

Now for my confession. I saw a Seeing Eye dog with its owner this morning. The dog had the saddest eyes I'd ever seen. I know you're not supposed to pat them, but they were waiting for the light to change, so they could cross. Without saying a word, I kneeled down and held my hand out. The dog licked my hand and wagged its tail as I patted its head.

As I walked away, I could hear the owner gruffly commanding the dog to cross the street. I wanted to unclasp the dog's leash and run away with it.

A further confession. I saw another Seeing Eye dog once whose owner was berating it openly. I couldn't help myself, and said, "You should be nicer to your dog."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Breaking the rules...

1. I'm posting a Thursday thirteen on Wednesday. Because I can :)
2. Cooking-wise, it's been a blogariffic day...Vernicious Knids' carrot soup for lunch, Lindsay's Asian black bean soup with long-grain brown rice for dinner.
3. I've become a food renegade...when cooking, I change ingredients around freely.
4. I used to follow recipes strictly. When I lived in Newton, I once drove to the supermarket to get cumin. My roommate couldn't believe it.
5. When I told my mother, she said, "Cumin is distinctive."
6. We're having an unusually social weekend. We're getting together with M & M (she's pregnant! due in February) and a few other people. M (the guy of the couple) is one of those people whose rolodex must rival War and Peace. (In terms of length, not upheaval and bloodshed.) Saturday we're having dinner with DG.
7. It's probably good for me to be social; I need to be reminded that I'm an extrovert. My tendency is often to curl up with books or a Woody Allen movie.
8. Or your blogs.
9. I didn't wear bikinis as an adult for a while because I used to wear them when I was 3-5 (my mom's idea) and once the little triangles on top slipped to the side. My mom took pictures. I was traumatized.
10. It's weird, I used to want to be shorter but now I wouldn't mind being taller. Maybe 5'8" in bare feet.
11. I respect Madonna for starting up her Malawi charity, raisingmalawi.org.
12. I wonder if Paris Hilton will ever do anything constructive with her money.
13. I saw an illustrated edition of Jane Eyre at The Strand (aka "the crack den") that I was tempted to buy, but I think the drawings might detract from the story.

Monday, October 23, 2006

French fry

Today D and I had lunch at one of our favorite spots, Red Bamboo. They're vegetarian and have the best fake chicken parm in town (perhaps the only one; I think the other place closed). Anyway, a little kid caught our attention during the meal.

D asked me how old I thought she was. I pointed out that she was standing, and could probably toddle around, but she was tiny, so maybe two? When I walked by their table to the restroom, I saw her close up, with a French fry in her hand. She had bitten the top off and was staring at it contemplatively. She was wearing tiny gold earrings (interestingly, so were both her parents). Very cute.

D said then that an infant boarding school might not be a bad idea. They come back when they're toilet trained and sleeping through the night.

I agree. I like kids, and spending time with them. In some ways, I prefer them to adults. But the pregnancy, diapers and sleepless nights scare me.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Best of...

I have to wonder if god hates me. I have insomnia and I still have remnants of allergies (though not the full-blown coldish-fluish thing I had recently). Also my back is a little twinge-y.

But my loss is your gain. I can't sleep, so I'll go to allconsuming.net (nifty site that tracks the books I read) and share with you some of my favorite books since February 2006 or so.

Here they are:

Girls' Guide to Witchcraft by Mindy Klasky. A Virginia librarian moves into library-owned housing to save on rent and discovers a trove of witchcraft books in the basement. She's got the power.

My Latest Grievance by Elinor Lipman. Lipman's latest sarcastic/sweet tour de force. Some of it is borderline offensive but most of it was very enjoyable.

Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik.

Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith. This was one of my favorites of his. He's disgustingly prolific and churns out about 5 books a year. This one includes a chapter from a dog's point of view. Groovy.

The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery. True story of a pig kept as a pet. Tugs the heartstrings ;

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Very cool and creative account (nonfiction dressed as a comic book) of a girl's coming of age in Iran. Her sense of humor and ability to tell a story will keep you turning pages.

Teacher Man by Frank McCourt.

Pug Hill by Alison Pace. This is about a woman who goes to Pug Hill in Central Park whenever she feels down. I tried to find Pug Hill with a friend, going to the area indicated in the book...but there doesn't seem to be one :( Still, a good read.

TTFN by Lauren Myracle. This is a young adult book written entirely in instant-message form; the title stands for "ta-ta for now". Although I've never done instant messaging, I liked this book a lot (as well as its predecessor, TTYL - "talk to you later").

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. A really fun and inventive look at the afterlife.

At Roxanne's request

This is a sweet potato soup recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons. I didn't get around to trying it for a while, because I thought the combination of ingredients might not work. It is, however, quite good.

Note: you can double this if you want; I've halved it from the original because D doesn't like sweet potatoes, so I just make it for one.

African Tomato and Peanut Soup

1 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
3/4 tsp ground cumin seeds
3/4 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 tomato
1 large sweet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
2 1/4 c water
1/2 t salt
1 pinch cayenne
1/8 dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 tbsp peanut butter

1. In a large saucepan or small stockpot, heat the oil over med heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 min or until the onion browns around the edges. Add the garlic, ginger and spices (but not the cayenne), and cook for 3 more min, stirring often.

2. Add the tomato, sweet potato and carrot, and cook for 5 min.

3. Add the water and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer the soup for 30 min.

4. With a food processor or blender, blend the soup (in batches, if necessary) almost to a puree. Taste, and add the cayenne. Add the peanuts and peanut butter, and whisk until the peanut butter is fully incorporated.

5. To serve, reheat the soup, and ladle it into bowls.

I usually don't reheat the soup, but if you like it steaming hot, you might want to. There is also an optional cilantro garnish that I never bother with :)

Thursday thirteen

1. There are three Woody Allen movies I watch over and over: Annie Hall, Manhattan and Play It Again, Sam.
2. I've walked out of one movie in my life: The Pick-Up Artist.
3. My mom walked out of The Witches of Eastwick.
4. One of my favorite soups has sweet potato, tomato, onion and carrot in it. It sounds like an odd combination, but it works.
5. I have 3 bottles of nail polish: pink, cranberry and purple.
6. I wonder how much birth order affects a person's life.
7. I'm afraid to go to countries if I have to get inoculations first.
8. My veins are hard to find.
9. I liked going to New Hampshire and Maine when I was little.
10. I still would, but they're further away.
11. New England winters can be brutal; I remember when I owned a car there, the manual instructed me to maintain it on the same schedule as a Canadian.
12. The TV shows I like the best are: Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, The Office, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and How I Met Your Mother.
13. In high school a friend and I made a dessert for French class. It called for a nip of rum; it felt so daring ;)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Target (and turkey) love

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession to make. I have never bought anything from Target.

*collective gasp*

Until today. You see, there is no Target in New York. Well, there is one in the Bronx, but it is a bit of a hike, and there's a Target boat that floats up the Hudson at some point...but I like to be able to make a quick exit when I'm shopping. No boats for me.

So I ordered two pairs of boots from Target.com!!! Yay. They arrived today. One is a pair of black weatherproof boots with puffy tops. These will bring me so much pleasure when New York is transformed into a snowy/muddy swampland and jumping over puddles becomes a pedestrian sport. The other boots are Uggs...I can feel Liz cringing, all the way from D.C....but they're soft and cozy. I know she can find it in her heart to forgive me.

Also, my latest issue of Yoga Journal told me about adopting turkeys. The Farm Sanctuary rescues them and for $20, you can sponsor one. They send you a photo, biography and everything ;) The article included a gratuitous picture of a lamb snuggling with a turkey. Of course I couldn't resist. My turkey is named Sunflower.

If you would like to adopt a snuggly turkey of your own, the URL is:

http://www.adoptaturkey.org/adopt.htm

We can start a new Thanksgiving tradition.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

It's tough losing Scrabble

I just read Kim's entry about how it's tough being a mom (although I have to say her dog is adorable). Well, I'm here to say, it's tough losing Scrabble.

Bear in mind that I was an English major. D didn't take any English classes in college. Sniff.

Yet he manages to beat me anyway.* My husband is a %&^# Scrabble genius. Damn it. I can be winning a game all the way through and then he makes some move that, like a sword, has the effect of slicing my winning score in half.

Case in point: tonight. I'd made some fine maneuvers, like "frog" on a triple word score. Twenty-four points, people. And then D had to write the word "condoms", simultaneously creating the words "my" and "sum".

So what? you ask.

Well, he used all seven of his tiles when he wrote "condoms", so that means he got 50 points in addition to the value of "condoms", "my" and "sum".

So he got 81 points for those words. (And he was on a double word score, he perkily reminded me.)

I guess I have one thing to be thankful for. He feels so guilty that he's cleaning up the board (putting the letters away, etc.)

*I did beat him in Scrabble once, the very first game we played back in '99.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Thursday thirteen

1. On Sunday night, I came down with a cold, and threw my back out getting up repeatedly from bed to blow my nose. How glamorous.
2. My back has mostly repaired but my cold is hanging in there. Well, the diminished voice part is. Teaching this morning was interesting.
3. I said to one of my students, "See you next Thursday; I hope I'm in better voice then," and she said cheerfully, "It didn't matter, the message got through."
4. She is a kindred spirit, as Anne Shirley would say.
5. I remember in college a friend and I were discussing favorite guys in literature. At the time I picked Heathcliff. She said, "Oh, he's a basket case," and picked Darcy. I still have an un-PC fondness for Rochester.
6. In college I wrote a paper about the Victorian woman's revenge fantasy, citing Jane Eyre, Aurora Leigh and maybe a couple of others.
7. The professor loved it.
8. I've never seen a number of popular shows from the past and present: Survivor, Ugly Betty, CSI, Law & Order, Alias, Project Runway, The Bachelor, Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210.
9. I did, however, see Baywatch once.
10. It was with a friend who really enjoyed it; later, she came out.
11. I learned from one source that these are the twelve best foods for you: salmon, oatmeal, blueberries, sweet potatoes, black beans, spinach, broccoli, onions, chocolate, tomatoes, walnuts, and soy.
12. I just don't like fish (eating them, that is).
13. I used to be uncomfortable with my height, but now I like it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Irene's meme

Got tagged by Irene! Unfortunately, I don't have cool pictures of past Halloween costumes, like she does. But I will do my best :)

1. What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?

This would be a toss-up between Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist. The crown would probably go to Rosemary's Baby, because I can never watch it all the way through without turning the lights on.

2. What is your favorite Halloween costume from childhood?

Again, two choices: either Garfield or Strawberry Shortcake. My mom was a skilled costume maker. In addition to the outfits, she drew red freckles on my face for Strawberry Shortcake and black cat whiskers for Garfield. I was obsessed with Garfield when I was 7. She also made me a Garfield birthday cake with orange frosting.

3. What would your fantasy costume be for this Halloween?

I'm not sure. Somewhere along the line, I lost my enthusiasm for dressing up :(

4. When was the last time you went trick or treating?

When I was 17. I was at my current height (5'7") and got some funny looks.

5. What's your favorite Halloween candy?

These are hard questions! A toss-up between Kit-Kats and Reese's peanut butter cups. The worst was one year when someone in my neighborhood gave us stale, plain doughnuts. We went home and tossed them off the wall in the living room; they were hard as rocks.

6. Tell us about a scary nightmare you had.

I have some really scary nightmares, y'all. In one of them, a rat was lying on top of me and I was screaming, "Get him off me!" I'm afraid of things crawling on me.

7. What is your supernatural fear?

I don't really have one, though if hell exists, I really wouldn't want to go there ;) Or Purgatory, for that matter.

8. What is your creepy-crawlie fear?

Anything involving rats.

9. Tell us about a time when you saw a ghost, or heard something go bump in the night.

I've never seen a ghost :(

10. Would you stay in a real haunted house overnight?

NO. One of my sisters helped create a really scary haunted house when she was in college. You had to crawl on your hands and knees through passages where the floor was covered with noodles (but seemed like worms in the darkness). In one room, there was a man with a neon noose and an axe. It freaked me out. I was 9 and with my mother, and I wanted them to let us out...I kept saying, "Beg, mama, beg!" (I didn't usually call her "mama"). This has become part of family lore.

11. Do you carve jack o' lanterns?

No, but I admire them :)

12. How much do you decorate your home for Halloween?

Not at all.

13. What do you want on your tombstone?

I'd prefer to be cremated. (This meme is taking a morbid turn ;)

Anyone who wants to do it, feel free! This is a bonus for moms because you can put up cute pictures of your kids' Halloween costumes :)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sniffles

It is definitely the sniffles time of year. In class tonight, there was a whole fusillade of them. (Okay, I just wanted to use the word "fusillade").

On the subway on the way over, a father and child sat next to me. The child, a little boy, was upset because he wasn't on the side of the car where there are windows. (Never mind that we were going through a completely dark tunnel...he wanted a window!)

Child: (in injured tones) Those people have windows.

Father: (sympathetically) I know.

Child: They're not even using them. It's not FAIR.

Father: A lot of adult maneuvers aren't fair.

Child: Adults are badder than kids.

Father: There's more than a smidgen of truth in that.

Then the train went above ground...it goes along one of the bridges between Manhattan and Brooklyn...I think it's the Williamsburg Bridge. It is a pretty view. The kid and father stood up and went to look out the window. I was glad he was getting so much joy out of it. I remember when we went to Venice and took a water taxi (we had just arrived), and I couldn't stop snapping pictures of the sunlight reflecting on all the water, and a girl laughed at me. It hurt my feelings...but I kept taking pictures anyway.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thursday thirteen: the grape and water edition

1. I bought a pound of red grapes from the fruit man this morning. He said, "Thees is what pretty woman eats, no? If I eat this, I be pretty, too." The thing is, grapes are very exciting to me lately...my friend Carpe's doctor told him not to eat them. So they seem like a forbidden fruit, and I eat them more often.
2. Growing up, I had an above-ground pool in my backyard. I used to go underwater with my friends and have underwater tea parties. We would sit cross-legged on the bottom of the pool, open our eyes to see all the blue wavy water (tinted by the pool walls, of course), and raise imaginary cups of tea. I was telling D about this and he never did it. So I thought maybe it's a girl thing. Did you do it?
3. I played Billie this morning at yoga and it seemed to go over well.
4. Two of my regulars had an animated discussion about bedbugs and spiders (before class).
5. Bedbugs are on the rise.
6. I hope we don't have any.
7. I dreamed that a rat was lying on top of me and I was screaming, "Get him off me!"
8. That was enough to wake me up...at 3 am.
9. Melatonin sometimes gives me nightmares.
10. I only take it when I have to get up early the next morning.
11. I still have a fantasy about the library in Match Point (not the circulating kind, but the in-house kind).
12. D says I am a good jazz singer :)
13. I like Fridays.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Lisa's meme

I liberated this from Lisa. D always says "liberate" instead of "take" ;)

1. FIRST NAME? Katie

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My mother had an aunt with the same name. But I think she also just liked the name.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? I can't remember.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Yes! It's unique. I'm a lefty so it has a little backhand slant.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? I'm veg!

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I've often wondered about this. I might want to read, and the other me might want to talk ;) We'll see.

7. DO YOU JOURNAL? Online, frequently; written journal, not so much. I guess as an extrovert, I like an audience.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? NO!!!!!!!!!

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Does oatmeal count?

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Yes, as long as they have ties. A lot of my shoes don't.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Yes, but I wouldn't mind a little more upper body strength. Then again, I wouldn't want to be built like Arnold.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? This requires careful thought.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory: Banana or pumpkin. Probably banana, but pumpkin gets originality points.
Ben & Jerry: Chunky Monkey, though Cherry Garcia has more subtlety. Chunky Monkey is like a punch to the head in terms of sweetness....a bit much.

14. SHOE SIZE? An 8.

15. FAVORITE COLOR? Pink.

16. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I just finished a Buddhist book my roommate gave me...one of the ideas is embracing the rejected parts of yourself :)

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? I miss my family.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Fill it out if you please :)

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Pajama pants, no shoes.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Currently eating oatmeal with raisins.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? A Billie Holiday CD, but it ended.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Carnation pink. (I remember my Crayola set and many of the names: burnt umber, magenta, etc.)

23. FAVORITE SMELLS? I'm kind of sensitive to smells due to my allergies. I do like the smell of things cooking, though.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? D.

25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU'RE ATTRACTED TO? Eyes, shoulders, height. For some reason I'm most attracted to men who are 5'9" or 5'10". 5'11" sometimes.

26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Yes, although she should blog more!

27. FAVORITE DRINK? Water, although I liked the plum wine at Franchia.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? Yoga.

29. EYE COLOR? Dark brown.

30. HAT SIZE? Not a clue.

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? No.

32. FAVORITE FOOD? That's too hard!

33.SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings.

34. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Kind of a turquoise-mint green tank top.

35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Fall.

36. HUGS OR KISSES? Hugs.

37. FAVORITE DESSERT? That's impossible.

38. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? Invisible Lives by Anjali Bannerjee.

39. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? No mouse pad; I have a laptop.

40. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? A few minutes of Friends.

41. FAVORITE SOUNDS? Good music (Billie Holiday, Madeleine Peyroux, etc.)

42. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Beatles...but I like some Rolling Stones songs too. Maybe I secretly like them better.

43. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? Venice.

44. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Spelling! Or reading fast. Does that count?

45. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Massachusetts.

46. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Lisa.

47. NEWEST THING YOU'VE TRIED? I tried a new restaurant yesterday...Franchia.

48. ONE THING YOU'D CHANGE ABOUT YOURSELF? See #16.

49. WHO DID YOU LAST SEND A CARD OR LETTER TO? I'm about to send a card to my roommate for her birthday.

50. WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO VISIT IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT? I'm not sure. I'm not really into the process of traveling (packing, paying bills, watering the plants, you get the idea) but I like seeing new places, as long as I don't stay too long. I am pretty attached to New York.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Dog encounters of the third kind

Most dog owners (D insists on calling them "caretakers"; no one can "own" a dog, he says) are thrilled if you pat their dog. They'll even urge him on if he's reticent. "Say hello," they'll coo. However, there is a brand of owner I detest. The Impatient Owner.

(Disclaimer: I know sometimes people are in a rush. But this one today rubbed me the wrong way...literally.)

Anyway, I saw a beautiful white dog. It looked like a petite, snowy wolf. I squatted to pat it and it looked at me tenderly. It was one of those dogs I have a special connection with. The owner tugged on its leash, and it held its ground. I was mid-pat when the owner yanked the leash. Ow! It was one of those chain-link leashes, and it hurt my shoulder. I looked up and the owner was completely oblivious. But he cut short my dog time and my shoulder is still sore. He is on my bad list.

Then I saw a man sitting on his stoop with a dog on his lap, belly up. The dog plainly had cataracts. He invited me to pat her, explaining that she couldn't see or hear. Her name is Gracie. I patted her tummy and her head as she lay peacefully on his lap. I got into a nice conversation with the man, whose wife takes yoga, and even gave him one of my yoga cards so he and his wife can come to class. (He asked me where I was from...he had an Irish accent...and I said Massachusetts. He said, "Oh, I thought you were Israeli...") He didn't own the dog, but looked after her a couple times a week. He was very affectionate with her.

So he helped make up for the other owner, but my shoulder still hurts.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I have a singular lack of things to write about. Here's what's going on in my life right now.

1) I have a new schedule for October at one of the places where I teach. They're a little scatty with details, and their print schedule is, um, a little different than what the director and I agreed upon. So I emailed her and she confirmed that what we agreed upon was correct. The thing is, tomorrow I'm supposed to teach there at 5:30, but the schedule says 4:30. I'm thinking maybe I should show up at 4:30 and 5:30 until they get things worked out.

2) I got some more Billie Holiday CDs. You gotta love the bargain rack at Virgin. I got three CDs at the following prices: $4.99, $6.99 and $8.99. (This is turning into a very numerical post.)

3) D is fasting because it's Yom Kippur. I'm not fasting because I'm not Jewish and you would never catch me fasting for any reason. However, they do this thing called "breaking the fast" and this year we will be going to Teresa's, where I'll get a blueberry and cheese blintz and an arugula salad. It should be good.

4) A former ballerina came to my yoga class today.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

So I've become a little bit addicted to Billie Holiday. People in my classes always ask, "Who's that? Is that Billie Holiday?" when I play Madeleine Peyroux, so I was curious. I love the music. It's so atmospheric. It makes me feel like I'm in some Depression-era speakeasy, and Billie's up there with a flower in her hair, singing, and everyone is laughing and forgetting their troubles :)

We had dinner with DG at Brick Lane Curry House. They're either connected to London or they just like it...there are references to the Underground (British subway), etc. I hadn't been there in a while. They have a spicy, tomato-coated cauliflower appetizer (lasuni gobi) which is quite good. And I don't even like cauliflower, usually. I also had dakshini korma (veggies in a nice coconut-milk sauce, which is a cozy green).

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thursday thirteen

1. I was never into jazz before, but now I like Diana Krall and Madeleine Peyroux.
2. I'm not into Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera et al.
3. To my immense shock, I might see a Jessica Simpson movie (and it was my idea). Employee of the Month looks funny.
4. I like crunchy peanut butter the best.
5. When we were in Orlando once, we discovered that a steakhouse had some of the best vegetarian options.
6. I've been to Disney World three times: once with my mother and aunt when I was 10, with the high school band when I was 14, and with D when I was 25.
7. I like the Magic Kingdom better than the Epcot Center.
8. We stayed at the Polynesian, which had the best Tonga French Toast (French toast with bananas inside). It was dangerous.
9. The hills I biked up in my childhood look smaller now.
10. At my last job, I didn't take part in the Secret Santa swap, and then I wished I had.
11. I like teaching yoga.
12. Anne Tyler is probably my favorite author.
13. This was drafted on Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Air hockey was my life...it was everthang"

Sometimes, life leads us in circuitous paths. We were supposed to meet Lobo to see the original Superman (Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, none of this Kate Bosworth-as-Lois-Lane nonsense) at the Ziegfeld. The Ziegfeld is the last old-time movie palace in New York; once we went there to see The Incredible Hulk and a man in our row grabbed us after the movie and told us that. He talked about the Ziegfeld for a good ten minutes. I think he was just lonely.

Anyway, we got to the Ziegfeld, and the place was packed with limos that had tinted windows, security guards milling around, and policeman directing us to stand on the other side of the street. We waited for famous people to materialize...it was the New York premiere of The Departed, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg. But none of them showed up. D thought it would take much longer. Lobo, who is 6'2", said of the security guards: "Suddenly I didn't feel tall. I felt average. I guess the 5'6" security guards are not intimidating enough."

However, the evening was not a failure, because Lobo gave D a birthday gift, wrapped in reflective paper: Foos, the documentary. We are now watching it. A man with a Southern twang said in wistful tones, "Air hockey was my life. It was everthang." I guess air hockey is a gateway sport for foosball.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

As I walked after dinner tonight, I was thinking about the discreet nose kiss. This is when a dog kisses you very neatly and respectfully on the tip of your nose. (A dachshund did that to me tonight.)

Then I met a pug, a butterscotch one with the trademark curly tail. (A pug owner once told me that you can gauge the dog's mood by the curl of its tail: a tight curl is optimal, a medium curl is not so good, and no curl means he's asleep.) So I walked toward it, saying "Puggy! Puggy!" or something of the sort. It was absorbed in sniffing a hedge and then it saw me, and it was like, OMG! I DIDN'T SEE YOU BEFORE! SOMEONE IS SAYING HI TO ME! YAY! and came over and basically gave my face a tongue bath.

Whenever that happens, I think:
1) What a sweet, affectionate dog. I am honored to be shown so much love.
2) As soon as I get home, I'm going to wash up with my St. Ives Facial Cleanser (sagely recommended by my friend Carpe.)

So now that the important stuff is out of the way, let's talk premieres.

Grey's Anatomy. Sorry, but after keen anticipation, I was not blown away. The myriad flashbacks killed the forward motion of the show. Also, I find both McDreamy and Chris O'Donnell kind of dull (although this answers my question of what happened to Chris O'Donnell; he now guest stars on Thursday night TV shows). I like George. However, I think next week's episode will be better. It looks happy, trashy, and not weighed down by unnecessary exposition. (Let's face it...the show is #3 or something...how many people watching it this season are new viewers?)

Desperate Housewives. That's what I'm talkin' about. DH is firmly back on track with a fun new plotline (Kyle MacLachlan as a sinister man who killed his wife and his bird, and really excited Bree with his special dish cleaning formula). I think Bree has the best storyline so far. My only complaint so far: Eva Longoria's frosted hair. Please, please just bring your old hair back. Thanks. I'm a fan :)

On a more minor note:

The Office. This was funny as Steve Carell again tried to be appropriate and corporate and just failed (arguably the central motif of the show). I do think it was silly to move Jim to another office, and I hope he comes back.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Pudding wrestling

I'm reading a book, Reality TV Bites by Shane Bolks, that features pudding wrestling. I told D about it and of course he had many questions:

D: Do they get to clean off afterwards?

Me: When they get home.

D: Does anyone get hurt?

Me: At one point she sees "red through the brownish-orange".

D: Where does this book take place?

Me: Chicago.

D (grabbing his laptop): I'm gonna see if this really happens.

And, behold, it does. I'm not sure if this is in Chicago, but feel free to view the slideshow.

It looks messy.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

New ducks

So a box arrived for D today, covered in Mickey and Minnie stickers, with a return address in Massachusetts. So I knew it was a birthday present for him, from my mother. He wondered briefly whether it was ok to open it in advance of the day (of course it is!) and then he was delighted with his 3 new ducks:

In other news, a man bit a panda in a Beijing zoo! The man, who was drunk, clambered into the panda's enclosure. The panda bit him, and then a scuffle ensued, with the man returning the favor. "I think I bit his back," the man said. "I thought they liked humans!"

I saw this on MSN and thought it was amusing. D laughed, but said the man shouldn't have bitten the panda back!

I met a dog yesterday who didn't like me. I was a little hurt, but then I met a chocolate Lab who licked my hand and jumped around. So I felt better.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

So I taught two classes tonight. It's interesting, I recently remarked to a friend that no one has cried in my class, though I'd been to classes as a student where people cried during savasana (final relaxation, at the end). I must have had a premonition...because at the end of the first class, while we were lying on our mats in the darkness and music played, one girl was crying.

I was torn...do I talk to her now and disrupt the others' savasana?...and decided to wait till the rest time was over. It was hard to listen to and not do anything, however, so I ended up shortening the savasana, turning the lights up and asking her (subtly so as not to attract undue attention) if she was ok...she said yes, and seemed calmer. After class, she stayed for a bit and I told her she could stay and meditate if she'd like, since the next class wasn't starting for 15 minutes. She thanked me, but explained meditation would probably make it worse, since when she's moving or working, it's ok but when she's still, it hits her. She told me there was a tragedy.

I felt bad/relieved about the crying, because I think it was cathartic for her. It was very intense, though...to lighten up the mood for the next class, I played Brazilian music and Madeleine Peyroux's new CD (which rocks, by the way).

On the subway, as I headed back, a man startled us all by yelling on the train. He said he was a Vietnam vet and we should show our gratitude by giving him money. But there was something menacing and scary about him, and we all shrank into our seats. He harangued us some more, introduced his wife (a tough-looking woman), and then said:

DID SOMEBODY LAUGH? I HOPE NOT.

Then, right before they were about to walk into the next car, he whirled around and said:

THE ARABS ARE COMING, YOU KNOW, AND WHEN THEY DO, US VETS WILL BE READY...SO THE LEAST YOU COULD DO IS GIVE US SOME MONEY. WE GOT ^&@#^ WHEN WE CAME HOME BEFORE. JUST GO ON SITTING ON YOUR @&(^*#.

I felt like giving him tips on panhandling:
1) Don't yell at riders.
2) Don't scare them.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday thoughts

D went to the Central Park rally to support Darfur today, and came back a little disheartened...apparently the rally was a "failure", though Suzanne Vega sang and Mira Sorvino spoke. I served up broccoli with feta and glass for dinner. That's how it's known ever since, a long time ago, I broke the oregano bottle while making it and blithely used the oregano anyway. (I would not do the same today, but I was a paralegal and money was tight ;)

Anyway, I went on a bike ride after dinner. As I passed the strip club (I really wish there were some more aesthetic way to get to the bike path), I saw a rat the size of my foot with something pink in its mouth. D joked that it was a finger. It was just a harbinger of the horrors to come.

Ok, that was dramatic, but it was a rather scary bike ride. There is a certain contingent of bike riders who think they're Mario Andretti on 2 wheels instead of 4. Doesn't matter if it's dark, the path is crowded, or children and dogs are wandering around. They pride themselves on their ability to turn tight corners at 125 mph.

Although to be fair, it was a roller blader who screeched to a halt behind me and a couple carrying a baby (in a dark tunnel). I had only just recovered from that when it was time to turn off the path. A scary spandex biker decided to pass me on the left as I was taking a left turn. Our bikes nearly collided. And instead of saying "On your left" like a normal person, he said bup bup BUP, until I saw him and screeched to a halt. (Sorry, it's the only expression that describes it. My bike brakes could use a good dose of WD-40).

So, I'm glad to be alive.

In other news, my college class is organizing "7 simultaneous cocktail nights through the country (Boston, NYC, DC, Chicago, SF, LA) and the world (well, London)." I'm a little curious, but it coincides with the premiere of Grey's Anatomy. And you all know I can't miss that. Besides, I have a reunion coming up in May, so I'll see everybody then.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thursday thirteen

1. I'm contemplating buying Madeleine Peyroux's new CD and Asian Lounge (supposedly good for yoga).
2. I like Asian Groove (a birthday gift from my college roommate) very much, and they played part of it at the restaurant where we met Ashley and her husband for dinner.
3. I'm getting a little bored with Pilates.
4. I still like yoga, of course.
5. My back seems to be doing a lot better...apparently my problems were caused by a tight psoas (flexor connecting the hip and back). So I've been stretching it.
6. On Friday night we're trying a Thai restaurant called Pukk with T&A (yes, they have unfortunate initials ;)
7. On Saturday night we're going to my SIL's birthday party.
8. I wish it would stop raining.
9. I've been teaching a lot (31 times in August, on schedule to teach 24 times in September).
10. I'm still not sure if I ever want a kid.
11. D got a new duck recently; we named it Lemon.
12. I like Erica Jong's writing.
13. Thai and Indian food are my favorite cuisines.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Adventures in voting

I feel kind of mean writing about this, but I thought it was blog-worthy.

I went to vote in the Democratic primary today. It was a busy day (I taught 3 classes and didn't have time to go grocery shopping, so we ate out for lunch and dinner). I feared I would have to make a choice between

1) washing my hair
2) voting for Spitzer, Cuomo and Clinton (Hillary, that is).

Happily, I was able to do both. With 10 minutes to spare until I had to get on the subway to teach, I went to the voting center (marked helpfully with 10,000,000 VOTE HERE/VOTE AQUI signs).

A cop was doing a crossword puzzle. I asked him which table to go to and he asked, "Where do you live?" I gave him my address and he pointed to a man next to him.

Man: What's your last name?

Me: B-o...

He wrote down Vo.

Me: No, B as in "boy."

He wrote Vob.

Me: No [writing down the correct version].

He flips through the pages with agonizing slowness, and points to D's name.

Me: That's my husband.

Him: That's you?

Me: IT'S MY HUSBAND.

Him: Oh, well, you can't vote for him.

Me: I know. I want to vote for myself.

Him: When was the last time you voted?

Me: I don't know, but the right to vote doesn't expire.

Cop: [laughing] It might be under your maiden name.

Me: Good call. It's L-e...

Clueless man writes down La.

Me: No, e as in elephant...

Clueless man writes down "La___".

I write down the correct version.

Clueless: Anyway, it's not here. It would be right under your husband's name.

Me: ???

Cop: [gently, to Clueless] L___ was her last name. You know, her maiden name.

Clueless: Oh. I thought it was her first name. [Starts flipping to the A's]

Me: The other way. [I flip to H for him, then he grabs the pages and flips painfully slowly to the L's.]

Then he finally finds me. The cop raises his eyebrows and mouths "wow" at me.

Wow is right.

In other news, I picked up another permanent class, this one on Saturday! Yay.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

So tonight we had dinner with DG. The restaurant we were going to go to was closed!! How mean. But we found a Chinese ("Shanghainese", to be specific) restaurant where the male waiters all spoke in a stentorian, kind of Nazi way. I was scared of one of them (until we both stood up and he turned out to be 5 inches shorter).

Side note: once D and I went to a Cuban/Chinese place that had a waiter of the "women should be seen and not heard" variety. D had finished ordering, so I started to say what I wanted...and the waiter turned to me and said (loudly), "SSHH!" I was humiliated and scarred. Ok, that's putting it a bit strongly...but I never wanted to go back there again. Now it's closed.

DG got a big fish for his dinner. They peeled it open in front of us. It was kind of graphic and scary. But not as bad as chicken/lamb/veal. I don't know why.

D passed on dessert, but DG got fried banana, and they brought these strange deep-fried balls. I had fresh pineapple which was pretty good.

Oh, and DG got contacts. It took a few minutes to get used to but I think it suits him.