Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What drug are you?

This is a little inflammatory, but I'll put it up. I've never tried cocaine, I promise...

Your Personality Is Like Cocaine

You're dynamic, brilliant, and alluring to those who don't know you.
Hyper and full of energy, you're usually the last one to leave a party.
Sometimes your sharp mind gets the better of you... you're a bit paranoid!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

This morning Manhattan was like a ghost town. I think this is the beginning of the Hamptons season. I went out to go to the gym and the whole area was nice and empty. Except for a woman who started berating a (stopped) taxi. "Why have traffic lights if you're not going to follow them?" she screamed repeatedly. I jogged lightly for a couple blocks to get away from her ;)

I bought 4 tank tops at Urban Outfitters ($10 each!) and considered getting the yellow panda T-shirt I saw there last time, but it was gone. It's probably a good thing, because yellow is not my color.

Speaking of pandas, my mom just got back from China. It sounds like she and my sister had a fun visit. They did not end up seeing the pandas - I think they ended up going to the forbidden city instead - but she explained that the pandas in Beijing are black and gray, instead of black and white, because of the ungodly pollution. You're encouraged to wear a face mask there if you have respiratory problems.

They also went to Hong Kong. My sister wants to get a summer house in China?!? Somehow my mother also met a girl named Anna, who wants to pay her a visit. Anna is interested in MIT, and her mother named her after the main character in Anna Karenina (she was reading it while she was pregnant). Isn't that cool?

I saw so many dogs today, I lost count.

We also had a very campy Pilates sub today. "Whip the cream! Whip the cream!" he yelled. "Shake your ankle like there's a poisonous snake on it!" Okay.

Friday, May 26, 2006

It's really weird. Sometimes I have nothing to blog about, but I feel as if I *should* blog anyway. It's grossly hot and sticky here. D and I had dinner with a friend and now I am, yes, watching bits of Look Who's Talking on Oxygen. Kirstie Alley looked a lot different back then.

Not too much going on. I taught twice yesterday and there were a few interesting occurrences.

*A guy with a shaved head who kept yawning during backbends, then explained in a British accent that he hadn't slept in three days, and that he's not allowed to sleep. I didn't ask why, as I didn't want to probe. I thought of a number of possible explanations:

--job hours - but he was at a 2:30 pm class, so his work can't be that demanding. At some of these corporate jobs, you're practically chained to your desk.

--baby - but he didn't seem like a father. Besides, the mom usually gets up, right?

--sleep study - but he could always quit.

*During the second class I taught that day, this couple was kissing in front of the door to the studio. Finally I called out, "Okay, we're about to begin!" and they both came in.

*One guy came in wearing a suit and just shed everything on the studio floor. He was wearing an undershirt and boxers beneath, and did yoga in those. It reminded me of the one party I've been to where a male stripper showed up. We were all immediately suspicious. "Who is that guy in a suit, with a briefcase?" we asked each other. Then the suit came off and he did his stuff ;)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rotini with ricotta

I can't sleep so I'll post the recipe I made for dinner. Courtesy of Jeanne Lemlin. Now, if you were going to be stuck on an island with somebody, Jeanne might not be a bad choice. She's a very good cook. Of course, ideally you'd have your husband/wife with you too.

This was quite simple and yummy, and D enjoyed it greatly. (As did I.)

You'll need:

1 lb rotini
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, with their juice
1/2 t salt
1/4 t red pepper flakes
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c chopped basil
1/2 c part-skim ricotta (approx)
4 T olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Then saute the garlic and red pepper flakes for 1-2 min. Don't let the garlic brown. Add the tomatoes with their juice and the salt. Bring the sauce to a boil, and then let it simmer for 10 min, or until it's thickened. You can mash some of the tomatoes with a large spoon. This improves the consistency of the sauce, says Jeanne.

Once the water is boiling, cook the rotini until it's al dente (about 8 min). Drain and return to the pot. Remove the sauce from the heat, stir in the basil, and pour the sauce over the rotini. Cook for 1 min, stirring. Serve in pasta bowls with some ricotta spooned on top.

Yum...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pars and Madonna

Today I met a charming cat called Pars. We called her that because she emerged from the sidewalk dining area of a restaurant called Pars. Anyway, Pars wound herself all around me, then slid under my bottom and emerged on the other side! What a limber kitty.

I read an MSN article about Madonna's new tour which basically gave away all the details of her first concert on the tour. Hopefully I'll forget all the details by the time I see her in July. Anyway, I know that she'll sing 9/12 of the songs on her new album, but will also sing songs from her other 9 CDs; there will be at least two political references; and at one point, she will emerge from a diamond-studded disco ball. Apparently the diamonds cost $3 million and the article speculated, "Perhaps that's why tickets to her concert cost as much as $350." We didn't pay that much, but we did get good seats: one level up from the floor, facing the stage. I can't wait...

P.S. Let me know if you've read anything you really liked lately. I have some blank spots on my library hold list.

P.S. 2: I also met a pug who seemed like a puppy, though he was four years old. He kissed me all over the face :)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Da Vinci Code

Well, we went to see the Da Vinci Code and now I'm really...tired. I don't know what to say about it without spoiling it for people. It's much like The Crying Game: do you know "The Secret"? With The Crying Game, I knew the secret a long time before I saw the movie...and so did the guy in the movie, probably. I mean, he had to have known when he met her, right?

I didn't have any problems with the casting. Paul Bettany (from A Beautiful Mind, also Jennifer Connelly's husband in real life) is a great albino psycho. Audrey Tautou was peaceful, serene and French, as usual; Tom Hanks was, as always, the "good guy". D read somewhere that no matter what kind of character Tom Hanks plays, audiences will like him. He's inherently likable, or something.

The movie was too long. As for the theory behind it, I'll say this: maybe some would say the Catholic explanation is a little too pat; but the alternative theory is a little too crazy. I don't think paintings hold religious secrets, necessarily. Da Vinci could have been bored. He could have thought it was fun to put Jesus and Mary Magdalene in matching colors. You just never know.

When the ticket machine spat out our tickets, it gave us an extra one, at the child's price. So D went downstairs to try to give it to whoever lost it. Then a man offered him $200 for our tickets! D said, "I'd like to, but my wife is upstairs." We had to sit three rows back from the screen...the theater was packed.

Friday, May 19, 2006

So D and I are going to see The Da Vinci Code tonight. It got bad reviews, but D read the book and loved it, and bought the tickets in advance. If it's really bad, I can just leave. Right?

Yesterday was, um, a day to remember. I taught 2 classes in Brooklyn. I've only taught there on the weekends before, and there's always been the same subway mess - take the 2 from 34th to 14th, wait for another train, and the second train runs local all the way to Brooklyn. For that, you have to allow 90 minutes. So I allowed 90 minutes last night...but there was a reverse glitch: the 2 train ran normally, express from Manhattan to Brooklyn, no need to switch trains. So I got there FIFTY MINUTES early.

I decided to loiter in Prospect Park and found a little mommy-baby section (there are many, many nesters in Park Slope) and sat down on a bench. It started raining. So I fled, along with a nanny pushing a stroller. I took shelter under a gazebo near the entrance to the park. There was a guy in the gazebo who offered me a piece of his tangerine. I said no, thank you; and then an old, overweight, leathery woman got into the gazebo. He didn't offer her any tangerine. I thought, someday young men will no longer offer me tangerines. It doesn't matter, I suppose.

Then a homeless guy came in and started haranguing the tangerine guy. "I got a drink here, iss just like Red Bull. You wanna buy it? You wanna?" Tangerine Guy smiled politely and shook his head. "You sure? You sure?" the homeless guy pressed on. I decided the time was ripe to leave and I left the gazebo. I was soaked within moments. I headed toward the center, noticing that the rain had washed the Band-Aid off my toe (I had a little cut there). Deciding not to worry about it, but wondering how much worse the day could get, I rushed to the center.

At the center, I couldn't get the stereo to work. (At this center, you usually just plug your iPod into the stereo, set it to TV/DVD, and then you're good to go.) Neither could the woman at the front desk. So I taught the first class music-less, but it seemed to go well. There were 2 girls who hadn't gone to the center before, and after class they bought class cards so they could come back. So that was nice.

Between classes, I figured, "What the heck," and tried turning the volume WAY up (we're talking like, twelve revolutions of the dial. I didn't want to try it before for fear of blasting out the class.) Guess what? That was the whole problem. So I had music for the second class.

I asked the second class (an advanced class) if anyone had any injuries. One woman explained, "I get numb if I'm in a pose too long." So I made a mental note to keep the class moving along, which you have to do anyway in an advanced class.

Then another woman came in about 10 minutes later, after class had started. It became apparent to me that she should not have been there. Put it this way - she was more basic than anyone in the basic class I had just taught, yet she took an advanced class. I felt really bad for her. She didn't know downward dog, child's pose or Warrior II. I spent some time by her side coaching her through the basics, but I had to get back to the rest of the class. Everyone else was keeping up fine and there were about 12 other people. Then she told me she was feeling nauseous, and I told her to do child's pose. She looked at me blankly and I showed her how to get into it.

Finally she left, saying apologetically, "I don't feel so great." I felt awful about it, although I don't think there was anything else I could have done. I demonstrated pretty much all the poses, and she just looked at me, confused. (Again, no one else was having a problem.) Once I nodded at her when I was in downward dog and THEN she copied me. But otherwise, she just sat with one knee down on the mat, with the other leg stretched behind her, and looked confused. I don't know what pose she was trying to do.

Maybe I should have taken her aside and suggested a basic class. Maybe I'll try that in the future.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Well, I taught at the crack of dawn today. It was fun, though I went through the rest of the day in a bit of a trance. I probably got about 5 hours sleep, maybe less. I am so not cut out for motherhood (though I like kids). I can't imagine operating on this amount of sleep all the time.

Anyhow, I went for a walk after dinner (baked ziti, cooked by me) because I felt like I had a "food baby" after eating that dish. When I came back, D had My Super Sweet Sixteen on. Can I say that show is weird and disgusting? And hard to look away from?

Memorable moments:

*When one girl says, "It is such an heiressmobile" (referring to the BMW her daddy got her).
*When a boy pats a tiger, and the tiger licks his face! This was cute. But then he got all sulky when the tiger trainer explained NJ's strict liability laws for wild animals - got to keep him in a cage. "This will ruin my party," he explained.

Wow.

Then they showed a snippet from Tiara Girls - they were apparently training girls for the interview portion of a beauty pageant. One girl kept saying "liberry" (and yes, she was older than 6) and drew a blank when they asked her to name the president of the US.

It's not rocket science.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The garlic stripper, and other news

I thought you should know, I bought a garlic stripper. It dances on a garlic pole and wears clear plastic garlic heels. Actually, you can roll a clove of garlic in the stripper and the skin comes off the garlic. Isn't that nice? It works very well.

My website is up and running - it's just to show people when I'm teaching. D wanted to show it to a web designer friend of his so it may be tweaked, but I actually like it as it is. Here's the link: katieyoga.com.

There's an additional class I'm teaching tomorrow which I didn't put up because it's at a "private club" - members only. My goodness! I'm probably going to be kicking myself tomorrow for agreeing to teach it, because it's at 7 am. But it can only help my sleep schedule.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Well, we went for a Mother's Day dinner with D's mom, dad and sister. My own mom is in Beijing...I sent her an email but I'm not sure if she's checking. I really hope she doesn't get sick again. She and my sister will go to Hong Kong too (it's all related to my sister's work), and then they'll come home. "Hong Kong is so bright!" my mother enthused before she left. (They went there last year.) "M went out alone at night and I wasn't worried at all. It's like daylight." I guess it's lit up brighter than my own city.

The dinner went off pretty much without a hitch. D's sister's feelings were a little hurt after she described her friend T's matchmaking website. His website lets people get to know each other "on a deeper level" WITHOUT PHOTOS. I think this is an awful idea because:

1) people, especially men, want to know what their date will look like.

2) apparently the people can ask for each other's photos after interacting online and then say, "Sorry, you're not my type." Having the photo up in the first place would prevent these kinds of hurt feelings.

Well, D's mom immediately said, "He's an idiot," and A was a little upset. But other than that, the night went smoothly, and the food was good, if not terribly filling.

Afterward we rushed home to see Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, which were both rife with cliffhangers and sensational events. Martha Huber cut off her own fingers? Edie has vowed to destroy Susan (once she gets out of the hospital)? Carlos might cheat on Gabrielle with Cho Mei, and might even die? Whoa. And on Grey's Anatomy, Izzy stopped the bushy-eyebrow guy's heart. That was so stupid. Of course nothing on the show is medically realistic...from what I've heard. But I love it anyway ;)

A final bit of news. When we had dinner with J and his friend G the other night, G told us about the MS 150. It's a 150-mile bike ride (split into 75 miles a day for 2 days) along the coast of southern New Jersey to Maryland. It takes place in September, benefits people with MS, and will probably be very pretty, along the Jersey shore. And there are no hills to speak of.

D says if I get in the habit of doing 40-50 miles, there won't be any strain. So I took a 30-mile bike ride yesterday. I went up to the George Washington Bridge but not on it. (Maybe next time.) I do wish the bike path were more consistent...some of the parts are, um, SKETCHY. But I would never go there at night.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

So we went to dinner with AT and one of his friends from church, C, tonight. They went on a date before but now they are both pursuing other people. She is from Louisiana and into fashion, so we were sort of expecting Britney Spears, and were pleasantly surprised ;) She was more into drinking than us - she told us about "$2.50 big girls" (17-oz beers) but otherwise didn't seem like a crazy party girl. She has a poodle that she's entrusting to AT in early June. I definitely want to meet it!

We went to the Candle Cafe, which involved two trains for me because I live on the West Side, but it was definitely worth it. I had looked at the menu online and planned on getting either the Paradise Casserole (sweet potatoes, black beans and millet over greens) or the ginger miso-stir fry; but they had specials, which added options. I ended up getting the Indian Plate - potato-cauliflower curry, dal, date-raisin chutney, and slightly sweet cabbage. The description probably doesn't convey the yumminess. It was quite good, especially the chutney.

Afterward we crossed Central Park and went to Columbus Bakery for dessert. Their offerings were somewhat depleted, because it was late at night, but we scored a chocolate chip cookie, a miniature blueberry crumb tart and a slice of carrot cake, and shared. It was really fabulous but if I had eaten any more, my tummy would have hurt. You know, the point beyond mere fullness.

I met a pug on the way home. It was tied up outside a little snack bar. I kept patting it and told it I loved it. It really enjoyed the attention. As I left a guy right inside the snack bar nodded and smiled, and I realized it was his dog. I got embarrassed, figuring he heard me say, "I love you" and "Can I take you home with me?" (The door of the snack bar was open.) D assured me he didn't.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cats

Generally, I like dogs better than cats. This may have something to do with the fact that I'm violently allergic to cats. But mainly, I think it's because they're aloof. They take you or leave you. When you say, "Here, cat," they might come over or they might ignore you. What kind of manners are those?

But today I met a cat I liked. I was on my way back from Pilates and this cat adopted me. It came out of a shop full of crumbling flower pots and I said, "Hello, kitty," fully expecting it to ignore me. But it raised its tail like a greeting (I was hunkered down on my heels) and then started to walk around me in slow circles. It rubbed against me and kept walking in circles. I felt honored, like it was marking me as its own.

I also met a cat I liked in Venice. We were eating in the outdoor dining room of our hotel. It was open air, and this cat was wandering around. Finally it decided to join us, and jumped up on a chair at our table. I have a picture of it gazing at a bottle of water.

Another cat was at the Hungarian pastry shop. It jumped up on the table and two girls patted it.

When I was little we had a cat named Mother Cat, and then I was diagnosed with allergies. I remember my dad in his beige jacket walking away with Mother Cat. I think he was bringing her to a new home.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Tonight we had dinner with D's cousin J, who turned 35 (gasp). He brought a friend G, from work. They're both lawyers but still nice people. I guess now they are doing non-legal work - or at least G is. Claims adjustment. J told G, "She's a lawyer too," when I walked in, to which I immediately said, "NO!" and J amended, "She went to law school." I was thinking it would be nice if I could sell my degree, and its associated loans, to somebody who wants to be a lawyer. But I guess it doesn't work that way.

The dinner was really good. I had aloo tikkiyas (potato cakes) and saag paneer, plus gulab jamun for dessert. At this place I worked one summer, I introduced them to gulab jamun. "Honey balls," they called them. They're kind of like munchkins in honey.

Tomorrow is my and D's anniversary. We'll probably go to Saigon Grill for dinner.

My mother is in China with my sister. She went there for work last year and my mom accompanied her. My mom got really sick last time. I hope it doesn't happen again.

Dogs I patted today:
1) a white Samoyed. Very fluffy! D patted him too. He randomly let out 2 barks as we walked away.
2) I looked at a bunch of Yorkshire terrier puppies in the front window of a puppy store. I patted them virtually.
3) A mini-Schnauzer who nibbled on me gently. I asked the owner if she was teething, but he said, "No, she just likes to nibble."
4) I also patted an 8-month-old French bulldog on Christopher Street the other day. It was so much fun. He really wanted to hang out and play. I asked the owner if lots of people patted him and she said, "Yes, and he loves it."

I'm reading Margarettown by Gabrielle Zevin. I really like it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

My weekend

Here are some pics from my weekend. First off, though, I'll say that we went to see Mission Impossible: 3 with my mom. I was kind of underwhelmed by the movie. It confirmed a few things for me though:

1) Tom Cruise is nuts.
2) Philip Seymour Hoffman is a great villain, and still more sympathetic than Tom, the ostensible hero.
3) Certain conventions are followed in all action movies. Betrayal (good guy turns out to be bad), mistaken identity, implausible plot turns, 10,000,000 explosions, each bigger than the last, time pressure, exotic settings, and macho men rescuing women from difficult situations. Blech.
4) I like rom coms better. Their conventions are: humor, good dialogue, obstacles temporarily preventing the couple from getting together, misunderstandings that are later remedied, and secrets that come out in the end.


Here is my mom with her chocolate frogs.

The chocolate frogs up close. They came from Whole Foods if you are interested.

My nephew waiting in a room at the church before the First Communion began. He and the girl in the back row were in love for a while. Then the boys' and girls' soccer games stopped being held at the same time and they could no longer hug on the field. Maybe they will reunite later...

My niece.

My nephew doing the booty dance.

My nephew and me.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Greetings from northern MA

We had a long day. The Amtrak train arrived early, but a trip wouldn't be a trip without some snafu. The subway supplied it. There was a "disabled car" at the Davis (Tufts University) stop and that messed everything up for several stops. So we were 40 minutes late for my poor mother, who picked us up at Alewife, and I couldn't call her because my cell phone wouldn't work underground.

The chocolate truffle frogs were a big hit...I'll probably upload a photo when I get back to NY. After dinner I went for a walk in the dark. My hometown is actually scarier at night than Manhattan, because it's not so well-lit and all the houses are silent, and occasionally football hoodlums tear by in their cars. Anyway, I sensed some movement as I passed one house, and then I saw TWO BUNNIES on the lawn! They sat stock still, as if that might prevent me from seeing them. Then an evil-looking cat stalked them. It lay on its belly and switched its tail from side to side. I was hoping it wouldn't attack the bunnies. Then each bunny tore off in a different direction - one to the left, one to the right - and their white tails flashed in the night.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Headed north

Aargh! Technical problems. Hate them. It took me TEN MINUTES to reply to an email from my friend Carpe. Ten minutes, people. I called Verizon and they dropped me like a hot potato when they learned I had a Mac...or transferred me, rather. Macs are apparently more popular than Windows because the Mac customer service department was suffering "unusually long wait times".

So I'm going to Massachusetts tomorrow for my nephew's First Communion. I got him a couple of shirts from Old Navy as a communion/birthday gift. I also got my mother her Mother's Day gift in advance because she'll be in China on the actual day. I got her a cookbook called Souped Up and three chocolate truffle frogs. I think D liked the frogs the best of all the presents. (And if you're wondering, Mom doesn't read the blog. I think she's afraid to. Her friend H was all, "Let's look at her blog!" and Mom was like, "No.")

I'm reading Bed Rest by Sarah Bilston, and took a few more books out of the library. I'll let you know if any of them are noteworthy.

Finally, D is working on a little yoga website for me...it's quite cute...I'll give y'all the link when it's finalized.

Have a good weekend! I realized I'll probably miss the next round of Quiet in the Stacks Pictionary because I'll be on the road tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Zombie pinups

This was too strange not to share :) I just finished A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. The jury was out as to how much I liked it...for most of the book. But I guess you have to love a book that has lines like the following:

"Audrey was waiting in the hall with fifty-three squirrel people" (p. 360).

The "squirrel people" were little creatures, fourteen inches high, reconstituted from squirrel bits and sometimes duck claws, etc. I was thinking, wow, Christopher Moore has one heck of an imagination. But he actually drew his inspiration from Monique Motil's sartorial creatures. I particularly like the Victorian Alligator.

Monique also performs as a zombie lounge singer and links to a page that includes a zombie version of Marilyn Monroe.

Ah, San Francisco.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I have had slight blog drought; I apologize. I did, however, win Quiet in the Stacks PictionaryTM. Yay! I was helped by Carolyn's guess.

I taught today (and last night). AT attended my class today and said it was "my best class ever". The class today was in a rather yucky time slot and only attended by 5 people. The class last night, by contrast, was packed with people practically breathing down my neck in the front row. I guess it's good to get practice in all different situations.

After class AT and I swung by 71 Irving Place, a coffeehouse that "is everything Starbucks is not" (according to a clipping on the wall). It's apparently frequented by Ben Stiller, but I have yet to see him there. The same clipping mentioned "early morning spottings of celebs at their worst". I wonder if they stumble in, hair unbrushed, Rice Krispies in their eyes. Sorry about that image.

AT also gave me a book called "Dog Food"...various vegetables carved to look like doggies. Very cute. The back cover lists the vegetables they used. It included quince. I wonder if that's what they used for the eyeballs. I'm not even sure what a quince looks like.