Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I temporarily like Brooklyn better than Manhattan...though I suppose it's fading already. Whenever I teach there I succumb to the charm of the cute brownstones with people and dogs gathered on the stoops (and you know I pat all the dogs) and the quaintness of the yoga studio being over an old-fashioned bike shop. The people seem friendlier - they smile as I pass - and Union Street at night is a veritable Doggie Way, with a dog to pat every few feet. You can imagine how awesome that is.

The only thing wrong with that studio is the stereo. The stereo and I do not get along. I gave up trying to hook up my iPod to it (which works everywhere else I teach), so I tried CDs tonight. However, the volume kept getting louder, even as I tried to turn it down, so I ended up turning off the music. I've taught more "silent" classes there than anywhere else. AND fireworks started going off in Prospect Park in the middle of class. This one woman looked truly rattled and yelled, "Is that thunder?" I thought of Liz's dog and hoped I wouldn't need to give her a sedative. I managed to calm her down and someone else explained that it was fireworks. In the back of my mind, I was wondering if it was gunshots...but no. It's in a nice area of Brooklyn.

Then I got home, after some guy stepped on my foot in the subway, and emerged into Manhattan where two cars almost ran me over (and I was crossing very lawfully on the crosswalk, with the light) and a waterbug scuttled in front of my apartment building. At least it didn't run toward me.

It got me thinking of the first time I came to Manhattan. It was my 20th birthday and my mother and I went to see Ralph Fiennes in Hamlet, on Broadway. It was high summer and the city stank. I don't think it smells so bad these days. Anyway, we really liked the play...and Ralph, in an Oedipal twist, began dating the woman who played his mother. They broke up a little while ago.

Also, I was in midtown yesterday, going to a studio where I hadn't taught in a while, to pick up a check. I had to go past my old workplace - well, not the office building itself, but close enough. It was funny, though, I didn't feel icky; I just felt a little out of place because I wasn't wearing the Ann Taylor skirt suits I used to live in then. So I guess I finally exorcised all that stuff. I was relieved.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I had lunch with AT today at Wai (a tasty little somewhat healthy diner on 6th Ave). Much of the conversation was of a confidential nature, and I am not allowed to blog about it :( However, I can tell you what we ate. It was one of those rare lunches you can split exactly down the middle, without unfairness. Here's what we had:

2 Wai salads (greens, avocado, chickpeas, tofu, carrots and carrot-ginger dressing)
1 order of steamed vegetarian dumplings (shared)
2 cold ginger teas
1 slice of warm apple crumble pie (shared)

I've gotten the pie cold before, not wanting to be Sally-like; but having it warm really makes all the difference.

Anyhow, I'm reading a Whitney Gaskell book (see sidebar), and the heroine is regretting how she used to slather on baby oil as a teenager and bake in the sun. I did the same thing. In fact, I listened to the Spice Girls as I baked in the sun (the resulting brain-fry probably made the music seem better than it was), and then I jumped in the pool. We had an above-ground pool behind the house.

The pool is now gone, leaving behind just a flattened circle of dead grass. Which is too bad, because I have some good memories associated with it. The summer after high school, for example, when I worked at Taco Bell, I would take off the hideous uniform (navy blue shorts and purple shirt, which my mother insisted was "cute") and dive into the pool for a midnight swim. It was really fun.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Basement Jaxx - Romeo

I love this video. I first saw it at New York Sports Club (before I switched to Crunch) a few years ago. To heighten the randomness of it all, Basement Jaxx is actually a pair of British DJs...with a Bollywood fetish, I guess. My favorite part is the interlude 2 minutes in where she's sad and wistful but then, in the next frame, jumps around dancing...in a different outfit, no less.

Enjoy!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Click...and waterbugs

Well, we saw the new Adam Sandler movie. I kind of have mixed feelings about it, which I guess is appropriate because it was kind of a genre bender...comedy for the first half, tragedy for the second. (I'm serious.) Then a cheap plot twist made it all ok...but it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It was unexpectedly similar to "The Monkey's Paw." I guess there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Also, the waterbugs are out. I had the good fortune to never see one when I was living in Massachusetts or Rhode Island...but I see them all the time in New York, and they're not pretty. They're large, flat bugs with reddish shiny wings. They can be as large as your hand (almost). The worst thing about them is, they scurry toward you instead of away. Some missed connection in the brain, I'm sure. Once I saw one in the lobby of our building, lying on its back. I was worried someone was going to step on it but no way was I going to touch it to flip it right side up. I have my limits.

I also got a little worried because I met a dog in the park on the way back. It seemed a little afraid. Its owner seemed like a druggie. D assured me that the owner doesn't beat the dog. But I kind of wanted to take the dog with me.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fave authors

I came up with a list of favorite authors. I decided I should do this so I can be on the lookout for books by these people and not fear that I'm missing them.

Here goes:

Cecilia Ahern
Maeve Binchy
Elizabeth Berg
Jennifer Coburn
Megan Crane
Emily Giffin
Marian Keyes
Sophie Kinsella
Cara Lockwood
Liane Moriarty
Sinead Moriarty
Anne Tyler

Nick Hornby
Eric Jerome Dickey
Patrick Sanchez

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Alison Pace
Meg Cabot
Jane Green
Lisa Jewell

Valerie Frankel
Melissa Senate
Jennifer Weiner

They are in no particular order. Also, I'm a little fickle...if someone's last book wasn't the best (e.g., John Irving, Gregory Maguire), they might not be on the list right now, but I might put them back later. Especially if they write something yummy.

I'm teaching tonight at a private club. I'm relieved that tonight's class is 6:30 pm, not 7 am like the last class I taught there. Bearette is just not a morning person. She wishes she could be, but it's not meant to be.

We're probably going to see Click (Adam Sandler) on Friday. He has really come a long way since Billy Madison. He's going to be in a 9/11-based drama, called Empty City. I'm not sure how it will turn out. But I guess he's trying to expand his repertoire.

I'm still revising "The Book", otherwise known as Behaving Badly. I feel like it's getting better and better and I can *envision* it being published someday (which does not mean I think it's ready yet, and I know it will take a lot of work and some luck to achieve that). But I do enjoy the writing itself. And I'm getting together with M in July to critique each other's writing. She's a little upset because she hasn't been able to write lately. I think everything is harder when you have 2 small children. And her husband doesn't like to be left alone with them.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hammer time (I mean, meme time)

Shamelessly stolen from Kitkat.

1. Which curse word do you use the most?

%*#&^^.

2. Do you own an iPod?

Yup, it's pink.

3. What time is your alarm clock set for?

It's not set, unless I'm teaching in the morning.

4. How many suitcases do you own?

Two. One is carry-on size and the other is slightly larger.

5. Do you wear flip flops even when it's cold?

No, though I have been known to wear Birkenstocks in November.

6. Would you rather take the picture or be in the picture?

Take the picture, usually.

7. What was the last movie you watched?

Billy Madison (I can't believe I'm admitting that ;)

8. Do you or any of your friends have children?

I don't, but my friend AT from high school has a little girl and is currently pregnant with twin boys. She sent me pictures of the ultrasound via email. Someone had drawn little arrows on them, labeled "boy".

9. Has anyone ever called you lazy?

Not that I can remember.

10. Do you ever take medication to help you sleep?

Benadryl.

11. Which CD is currently in your CD player?

I listened to Morcheeba's "Charango" this morning.

12. Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk?

Soy milk!

13. Has anyone told you a secret this week?

Nope...

14. When was the last time someone hit on you?

I was patting this guy's cat and said it was cute and he said, "You too." Now I'm afraid to visit the cat. (It lives in the guy's shop.)

15. Can you whistle?

No. I can't curl my tongue either.

16. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?

D, last night (making dinner plans). We went to Pinch (pizza by the inch). I like the sundried tomato/pesto pizza.

17. Do you think people talk about you behind your back?

Probably. I don't know what they say, though.

18. Did you watch cartoons as a child?

Yes. I loved the old Mighty Mouse, with Pure Pureheart tied to the train tracks. Does anyone else remember this?

[question missing here]

20. Are you shy around the opposite sex?

Sometimes.

21. Which movie(s) do you know every line to?

Currently, When Harry Met Sally. In high school, we all knew the dialogue in Heathers.

22. Do you own any band t-shirts?

Not now; I used to have Tori Amos and Elton John/Billy Joel shirts.

23. What is your favorite salad dressing?

All over the map :) A lemony dressing can be nice, but I also like peanut dressing at Thai restaurants. Balsamic vinegar is good too.

24. Who was the last person to make you mad?

Probably D, but it passed quickly.

25. Do you do your own dishes?

I wash pans by hand and put everything else in the dishwasher.

26. Ever cry in public?

Yup.

27. Are you on a desktop computer or a laptop?

Laptop.

28. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoos?

No. In the back of my mind I kind of want a rose tattoo on my ankle. I'd never do it though.

29. Would you ever date someone covered in tattoos?

No.

30. What did you do before this?

Went to the gym, grocery store and the library (where my copy of Digging to America was waiting for me).

31. When is the last time you slept on the floor?

I can't remember.

32. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?

7-8 (though I'm running on 4 hours of sleep right now. I woke up at 6:35 for no apparent reason).

33. Do you eat breakfast daily?

Yes.

34. Are your days full and fast-paced?

Some are, some aren't.

35. Do you pay attention to the calories on the package?

Yes.

36. Do you use sarcasm?

Sometimes, not too often.

37. How old will you be on your next birthday?

No comment.

38. Are you picky about spelling and grammar?

Yes.

39. Have you ever been to Six Flags?

Nope.

40. Do you get along better with the same sex or the opposite sex?

Blog world = same sex
Real life = opposite sex, or evenly split

41. Do you like mustard?

Not really

42. Do you sleep on your side, stomach, or back?

On my side with my knees bent (this is good for back problems).

43. Do you watch the news?

No.

44. One of your scars--how did you get it?

I have a scar on the second toe of my left foot. When I was younger, my brother was chasing me around someone's inground swimming pool and I tripped and cut my toe on the brick path that surrounded the pool. Ouch!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

We just saw Nacho Libre and it was fabulous! I am going to add it to my favorite movies list (in my profile). I was in a semi-bad mood when the movie started and it cheered me right up. It had the same writers and director as Napoleon Dynamite, and the same endearing strangeness.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New skirt

So I bought a new skirt today. I was on my way to the library to fetch my copy of Elements of Style by Wendy Wasserstein, when a sale at the Gap caught my eye. I'm not much of a shopper, except where the Strand is concerned; however, I do like sales.

I picked up a black eyelet skirt and congratulated myself for not buying it a few weeks ago, when it was twice the price:



In other exciting news, my copy of Digging to America by Anne Tyler is now in transit (meaning, it should get to my branch library soon). Yay!

D and I were planning on seeing Nacho Libre this weekend but the critics gave it a mild pounding. We'll probably see it anyway. It's getting compared to Napoleon Dynamite, which I love.

In a secret, shameful way, I was planning on seeing Lake House, but it got slaughtered. Did you read on MSN about how Keanu Reaves wants to get married (though he doesn't have a bride yet)? He seems sweet.

Finally, the librarian who disapproved of my choices was working again tonight, though her supervisor waited on me. The disapproving librarian was fighting back tears, telling her supervisor, "I'm tired of friction with the patrons...they act like my brain is stupid...I told them, the computer's frozen, and they're like, can't you do something about it?" The supervisor just said to her, "Sorry, I wish I could help ya" and added, "Have a nice night now" to me.

I feel bad for the disapproving librarian now. I think D is right, she didn't know she was being inappropriate.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sweet potato quesadilla

D doesn't like sweet potatoes, so I've been fitting them in while he's away. Here's a picture of the sweet potato quesadilla I made tonight, before it went in the oven:



If you want to try this, the recipe is adapted from Nava Atlas, and it goes as follows:

2 tortillas
1 sweet potato
1 4-oz can mild green chiles (you may want to get medium)
cheddar cheese

You microwave the sweet potato for 10 minutes, peel it, and slice it in 1/4-inch slices, which you arrange on one of the tortillas. Then you sprinkle the chiles and cheese on top. You can also add baby spinach as I did in the photo. Lay the other tortilla on top and cook the quesadilla in a 400-degree oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden.

For some reason, cooking this recipe made me remember Bridget Fonda in Shag, saying in a thick Southern accent, "Jimmy Valentine is a sweet patata." Has anyone else seen both Shag and Singles? If so, did you notice that Bridget looked like a different person in Singles, which was only about two years later? I wonder what the deal is. (Trying to be delicate here) Did she get things, um, taken out, or did she just lose a little weight?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

So it's kind of weird with D gone. I know he was anxious about the sleeping situation. He was also worried that he might eat too much at the pizza buffet tonight. (Can you tell this event was planned by a guy?) I told him he could call me if he wanted me to stop him. I didn't hear from him so I guess the situation was under control.

On Sunday I saw The Break-Up with TN. I have to say I was kinda disappointed (though I had fun with TN as always). I don't know why I keep going to see Jennifer Aniston movies. They're never good. Although this one had a surprise ending. I was waiting for it to creak to its inevitable conclusion, and then something different happened. So that was interesting, I suppose.

I watched Seinfeld on TBS earlier. I was never into the show during its original run, though my mother watched it regularly. I guess my reasons were as follows:

1) no romance
2) I didn't find anybody on the show attractive
3) they all seemed kind of despicable

For some reason, none of this bothers me now, and it's like an original series to me since I never really watched it before. Tonight, though...this woman wanted to break up with George and he was avoiding her, because his heart was set on going to a ball and making a grand entrance. He figured if she didn't break up with him, they could still go to the ball. So Kramer broke up with him on the woman's behalf. Kramer took him to Pomodoro. As an aside, Jerry said that everyone breaks up at Pomodoro.

Now, I've never been to Pomodoro, but I know it's an okay restaurant on the Upper West Side. I wonder if it really has that reputation. And I wish they would go to better restaurants on the show. But the Upper West Side is not really known for its eateries.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Spectator

This morning, I woke up and went to the living room to do yoga in my pajamas when I saw that I was not alone. There was a little squirrel with black beady eyes and a fluffy tail crouched on the terrace. He cocked his head and stared at me for so long that I felt like I was the intruder. Then I started doing my yoga warmups, but by then he had lost interest and was staring right ahead.

It was here I had some internal dialogue:
You should get the camera.
You shouldn't get the camera, it will scare him.


He looked so cute that the desire for the camera won out...but when I returned with the camera, he had gone.

I wonder if he knows yoga now.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Elephants and other thoughts

I like elephants. I'm going to put up a picture of a baby elephant over at my sister blog, Capybaras United. In the meantime, here are some fun elephant facts from elephant.elehost.com:
  • Elephant trunks can get very heavy. It is not uncommon to see elephants resting them over a tusk!
  • Elephants cry, play, have incredible memories, and laugh!
  • Elephants are sensitive fellow animals where if a baby complains, the entire family will rumble and go over to touch and caress it.
  • Elephants have greeting ceremonies when a friend that has been away for some time returns to the group.
  • Elephants grieve at a loss of a stillborn baby, a family member, and in many cases other elephants.
  • Elephants don't drink with their trunks, but use them as "tools" to drink with. This is accomplished by filling the trunk with water and then using it as a hose to pour it into the elephant's mouth.
  • Interestingly, the Asian elephant is more closely related to the extinct mammoth than to the African elephant (see evolution).
D has a blind friend who is in the civil service; he visited recently with his wife. They're going to be in Thailand for two years, and his wife told me about how you can ride on the back of elephants there, but apparently the trainers are mean to them, so I wouldn't support the riding industry. They do have an elephant sanctuary called Elephant Paradise, which I'd like to visit. It's run by a woman who rescues elephants and then she pampers them :)

I'm waiting for D to get home from Long Beach. He likes to bike out there. It's a fun beach. I taught two classes today and picked up a banana nut soy bundt afterward. They're quite yummy. Tuesday through Friday afternoon, D will be in Chicago. He invited me along but explained he'd be in business meetings most of the time, so I declined. The guy in charge booked one suite for three guys, including D. D is hoping he'll get his own room.

This reminded me of when my high school band went to Disney World and the conductor economized, putting four people of the same sex in a room with two beds. The girls complied, sleeping two in a bed without complaint (though my best friend at the time kicked in her sleep and I got bruises on my legs :( The men, conversely, refused to sleep together...I remember being in one of their rooms. Two boys took two beds, another slept in the bathtub, and another put a pillow and some blankets on the floor. Sheesh.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Picture post

Tonight my mom sent me some granola in the mail, plus some presents from China. Since the camera was already out, I decided to bust out some yoga moves for y'all. Leah had asked to see a headstand a while back so I decided to oblige.

Here's the fun, wild Chinese T-shirt my mom sent:


The small golden pig and pineapple had chocolates inside them. D ate his already. The keychain is from Tsinghua University, which my sister is somehow affilated with.


Here's astavakrasana:


And headstand.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Disapproval

The librarian disapproved of my reading choices today. I handed back the newest Eric Jerome Dickey (not worth the bother) and took out French Kiss by Aimee Friedman (a young adult book; they tend to be fun) and Tight by Patrick Sanchez (about three women; the title refers to plastic surgery). She looked down at them, clicked her tongue and said: "I can't believe you read these books. You don't look..."

(Meaning: the books look raunchy and I look like a "good girl".)

I thought it was rather out-of-hand for her to comment on my choices, but I protested: "It's YA, it's just silly."

The librarian muttered something else under her breath, looked at D and said, "Well, I bet he doesn't mind."

When we left, D said, "I bet she liked the books. It's what she would read if she could."

OUCH!

Bear in mind I have a somewhat troubled history with this librarian. My local library is, um, special, and some of the librarians have a bit of a 'tude. The troubled history goes as follows (this happened a couple of weeks ago):

Me: Hi. I'm returning these and checking these out. They were on hold. I'm giving this one back, though. ["This one" was on hold but I decided I didn't want it because it turned out to be 1000 pages.]

Her: OK, I'm going to have to check it out to you though.

Me: You're going to check it back in, right?

Other librarian: Why don't you just delete it?

Me: Yeah, that seems to make more sense.

First librarian: No! That won't work! (Getting all worked up.)

Me: OK, I believe you.

First librarian: Here's my supervisor! She'll back me up. Do I check it out to her or just delete it?

Other librarian: I always just delete it.

Supervisor: Either one.

Oy.

But anyway, I assured D that she is able to read, because she has to have a degree in library science!! I learned this from Party Girl. D thinks the clerks don't have to, but I think they do.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Well, I went to the chiropractor today. He told me I was easy to adjust and gave me 2 gold stars. (Not literally.) Then he told me about his next patient. "He's a skydiver. He's broken every bone in his body," he said in awe. He's terrified to adjust him for fear of breaking something else. I got to meet the skydiver, btw...he was waiting out front when I left. He looks a bit like Billy Crudup, with a slightly crazed look in his eye. Janeane Garofalo lives in the building where my chiro has his office, though I have yet to see her. My chiro has seen her and says her dogs "are like ponies. They're bigger than she is!"

Speaking of animals, I'm into cats now. I still wouldn't want to be around them for long periods of time - I'm sure I'd get very allergic - but I saw Pars again today. His stomping grounds are on 26th Street. He had a pretty gray friend with him today and they both glided over to me and purred. When I tried to leave, Pars put his paw on my jean jacket! It was a cute gesture even though one of the threads came loose ;)

I also met a pack of pugs. I've seen them before. The owner explained that one was the ambassador, one was the "daddy" and one was the "shy one". The shy one was actually very friendly.

I'm seeing Madonna on July 3rd. I can't wait...la la la.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

It's a dangerous world

So I'm reading Stupid and Contagious by Caprice Crane. It's a good book, and I'm enjoying it, but parts of it scare me a little. One of the protagonists works as a waitress (until she gets fired) and talks about the things her coworkers do:

1) spit in food (I've heard of this before)
2) putting credit cards where the sun don't shine
3) most horrifically, in my opinion...dipping used utensils into the water pitcher to "clean" them and pouring people water from the pitcher. She advises everyone eating at a restaurant to get bottled water.

#3 bothers me the most because #1 and #2 are only done in anger, but #3 is a routine practice. According to the author, anyway. I've never worked in a real restaurant -- Taco Bell in high school doesn't count. They had plastic forks and knives. And I can assure you that the vats the beans are kept in are washed. I know because I did it myself.

I'm scared to eat out now.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Well, I had a fun if long day. I taught 2 classes. Then I got stuck on the subway and witnessed an almost-fight between a woman and a guy who was playing a boombox. "Shut off that $#&*^ music!" she yelled. "You come over here and turn it off," he said menacingly. I actually liked the music but did not want to get involved. He was playing "Funky Town", "I Feel For You" (Chaka Khan), etc.

So after we got moving again, the subway stopped again, only this time the doors were open. Realizing I was already late to meet our friends for dinner, I popped out and walked home, only to get rained on. Ugh. Fortunately, AT was running late too - his college roommate G, who was visiting, also got stuck on the subway - so it all worked out and no one was waiting.

We ate at Zen Palate where I engaged in random entree selection, just picking "Red Mist" in part because G and I couldn't visualize it and we were curious. Well, it was a bad choice. It looked like a fish. I made it swim across my plate. Then people made jokes about how it was swimming in my tummy.

Then we went to Hotel QT to celebrate DG's birthday. It was a fabulous place with a pool and a bar. I had a vodka cranberry and wine and was just a wee bit drunky. I walked into the glass door of the sauna and banged my head. It hurt. Otherwise, it was a lot of fun. Oh, and some freak kissed me on the ear.

Then I got home and found my new mat had arrived! It's super fluffy, rose-colored with white flowers. I got it from Wai Lana. I love it already. It's 1/4-inch thick instead of the standard 1/8-inch. Actually, my old mat is probably 1/16-inch now.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

So I went shopping today! One item has to remain a secret for now (I'll explain later). I got the following books at The Strand:

(Did I mention that I love The Strand? Half price or lower on every book, and they get stuff early. Heaven.)

Stupid and Contagious by Caprice Crane (despite negative title, looks like a fun book with many '80s references)
Finishing Touches by Deanna Kizis
The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
The Right Fit by Sinead Moriarty (about adopting a Chinese baby girl, not something I plan on doing but am nonetheless intrigued by.)