Monday, July 31, 2006

So we went to dinner tonight with some of D's colleagues from Holland. I met 2 of his Dutch colleagues before...one was my age and the other a little older. They gave us a massive painting as a wedding gift in '02.

Tonight, the people were a little older: a couple in their 40s, and the wife's brother, who was wearing an outrageous combo of blue office shirt and bright red pants. However, I think Europeans wear clothing with more style or confidence or something, and he carried it off. The dinner went on a bit too long (about 3 hours), but it was enjoyable, except when they talked shop a bit.

C, the wife, is into yoga and is coming to my "inaugural" class tomorrow. So I am assured of 1 person on Tuesday and 1 person on Thursday (my friend TN). This is a new class in every sense of the word - i.e., the studio didn't have a class in this time slot before. I suppose it is an adventure.

I got dessert due to peer pressure...everyone else got one...and I feel a little overstuffed. It was a nice dessert, though: poached peaches and raspberry sorbet, with a few thin lemony cookies.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

My mom emailed me this morning. She told me my childhood orthodontist is apparently leaving...he was having a big yard sale and "his stuffed coyote was standing tall" and probably his "gila monsters, too." He had an iguana named Lurch that he was very fond of. When Lurch died, he had him stuffed, and Lurch took up residence in his tank again. This may sound creepy, but in reality Lurch moved so little that it was just reassuring, as if nothing had changed ;)

The office also had a jungle mural with giraffes (but cute, not chaotic) and we each had a little cubby with a toothbrush in it. In sixth grade, we used to leave each other messages in our cubbies. (Several of my classmates saw the same orthodontist). In addition, he had a race car which my mom saw his hygienist driving...! He asked me to marry him when my braces came off (I'm sure he asked everyone, but it was funny anyway).

So I don't know whether he's moving to another location or retiring. I guess either is possible. But he was a good, fun orthodontist, so I wish him well.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Peanut butter cookies


These are so simple and so good...from Joanne Stepaniak's Table for Two.

1/4 c peanut butter
1/4 c real maple syrup
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a cookie sheet with oil. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Add the flour and mix together well. Form the dough into small balls and place them on the cookie sheet. Cook for 12 min.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thursday thirteen

I'm borrowing the Thursday thirteen from Elsa...it's an excellent device when I'm not sure what to blog about...and I like reading these little tidbits about others, so...(although the number thirteen is a bit creepy, don't you think? It always gives me a little shiver. Although my college roommate's mother felt it was a lucky number).

So here goes...

1. I would pick a beach vacation over a mountain vacation any time.
2. Unless it was winter and skiing was involved.
3. I like downhill skiing better than cross-country.
4. I haven't been skiing since 1997.
5. My last ski trip was with a guy who had a motorcycle.
6. Senior year in college I had a free-standing single (as opposed to a single in a suite). I really liked it.
7. My favorite herbal tea is cinnamon apple spice (followed closely by Bengal spice).
8. I like multi-cultural chick lit (or multi-culti, as they apparently call it in publishing).
9. I have a somewhat strong bias in favor of female writers.
10. My favorite color is pink.
11. I often say to D, "Let's get a dog and name it ____." I like to fill the blank with silly names like Otis and Mortimer.
12. I have very little interest in math.
13. I wonder what Pluto is like.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My take on Clerks II

So D and I saw Clerks II tonight. It was a rare case of the sequel outshining the original. Then again, I don't remember much about Clerks, except that it was in black and white, there was a girl who, um, liked Dante a lot, and the line: "I wasn't supposed to be here today."

This movie was a lot better and funnier, though equally crude. It's also the first movie I've seen featuring "interspecies erotica". (Don't worry, there's a mitigating, humorous twist.) It was also, in its odd way, a feel-good movie, and kind of sweet. So you should see it.

Did I mention I'm getting kind of sick of my book? I'm going to edit it tomorrow, but I honestly don't know how many edits I've got left in me.

I've already used up my B&N gift cards on the following:

Looking for Mr. Goodbunny by Kathleen O'Reilly
The Secret Desires of a Soccer Mom by Robyn Harding (a mystery)
The Sleeping Beauty by Adrienne Sharp (it's about ballet)
Me vs. Me by Sarah Mlynowski (about a woman leading two lives, kind of a Sliding Doors premise, I think)
Yoga Chick: A Hip Guide to Everything Om by Bess Gallanis (so cute I couldn't resist)
Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith (sequel to 44 Scotland Street)
and that's it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A note on Wheaton terriers

I think Wheaton terriers, more than other dogs in my experience, miss you when you are gone. I patted one tonight and he sat firmly on my foot, as if to hold me down; and when I got up, he leaned against my leg. Then when I walked away, I could feel his eyes boring into my back. I kept turning back and yes, he was still looking; and then finally, he let out 2 sad barks. I wanted to take him home (but his owner might not have liked that).

Long day/field trip

Well, I took a field trip to New Jersey today. My writing class friend, M, used to come to NYC so we could critique each other's work, but she invited me to her house in Glen Ridge because it's hard for her to get away, mainly because of her kids. Glen Ridge is beautiful...lots of trees and a thriving artistic community. Or maybe that's Montclair. Anyway, I had a lot of fun. She loves the book...and her husband read some of the pages lying around the house and said I was a really good writer. However, it's fascinating; no matter how thoroughly one person has combed your pages, another person will find something else. I think I needed a J to look at it (in Myers-Briggs terms); M is an ENFJ, while D, who read it before, is an INFP. M really picked up on a lot of the practical details and logistics in the novel and I was grateful for that. Her book is about a SAHM whose life is kind of on a downward spiral (but written in a lively, humorous way).

I also got to meet her two children, L and S. S is a four-year-old girl who is sharp as anything; you can tell she doesn't miss a thing, and she's filing everything away for later. M told me S would remember what I was wearing a year from now, "no joke". M came in on me reading Thomas the Tank Engine to L, and burst out laughing. L told me he was going to have a dinosaur party, but now he's going to have a train party (for his birthday). Later, M told me, "naked children alert!" They were both jumping up and down on L's bed, their towels abandoned on the bedspread. Later they threw their towels on M's head and mine.

I told M about the "shape of a mother" website and of course she wanted to see it. She was wearing a kind of abbreviated tank top and her stomach was completely normal. Anyway, they had changed the pictures on the site around a bit. She wrinkled her nose and said, "Eww!" at a few of them. She felt that most of them were posted for shock value and assured me she had no stretch marks. She did use cocoa butter; she explained you have to use it because the skin gets so itchy after it's stretched.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

My party

Well, we had my party at Pinch and Hotel QT tonight, and it was almost entirely a success...the only drawback was that the pool at Hotel QT was closed!! Aaargh! It looked so pretty and inviting, a nice ripply sheet of water...but there was a forbidding sign that said POOL CLOSED.

I must say, my friends know me pretty well...with one exception (one friend gave me a cute bracelet), everyone gave me books or gift certificates for books. AT gave me Miss American Pie (a woman's diaries; if I understand correctly, they are essentially unedited) and DG gave me The Merlot Murders and an Erica Jong book. He asked at the bookstore, "Where do you have chick lit?" and the woman got offended! So a friend helped him pick out the Erica Jong. I have actually never read her before, though I read one of her daughter's books (Molly Jong-Fast).

TN took some pictures that came out pretty well. When she emails them to me, I'll put them up.

A disturbing thing happened at the bar (inside the hotel. It really doesn't feel like a hotel at all, just a fun, trendy place). Anyway, this woman took her top down (a tube top) and flashed me! It was freaky. Then AT found her in the bathroom lying in a pool of her own vomit. I guess she had too much to drink.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Feeling meme-y

This is from Friday's Feast; it's an old one, I shopped around until I found one with interesting questions.

Appetizer
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how intuitive do you think you are?

I'll go out on a limb and say 10. I think I am pretty freakin' intuitive.

Soup
What is your favorite kind of gum?

I don't like gum.

Salad
Name a CD you own that you would never get rid of.

There are so many: Tori Amos - Scarlet's Walk, Nick Drake - Pink Moon, Madeleine Peyroux - Careless Love, Zero 7 - When It Falls, Jack Johnson - In Between Dreams, Madonna - Confessions on a Dance Floor...

Main Course
When was the last time you said something you didn't mean?

I remember praising someone's wedding dress even though I didn't like it. I also keep my reservations about friends' boyfriends to myself.

Dessert
What is the sum of the numbers in your birthdate? (Example: 3 + 2 + 1 + 9 + 7 + 9 = 31)

7 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 9 + 7 + 5 = 33.

Also feel free to do the following:

You can recommend
a book
a movie
a CD
to me.

You can also ask me three questions (or one, or none, or whatever!) Of course the book recommendation is the most important part.

I borrowed this meme from Lisa and Bdogg.

It is raining and thundering like nobody's business. I only hope it clears up before tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The heat is sapping my will to live. This helps though: if you take a ripe mango (even super-ripe is okay here), three ice cubes, a bit of honey, a bit of cardamom and a small carton of plain yogurt and blend them all together.

Pupkin (the puppy I liked at Groom-a-Rama) has been sold. Today almost all the puppies in the front window were white. I found this disturbing for some reason. Yesterday they had a wider selection, and one little bulldog kept nipping a pug's tail, or rather, holding it with his teeth. It didn't seem to hurt the pug, however. The puppies seem pretty resilient. Sometimes I go inside and dangle my hand into their space and they jump up and nibble and lick my hand, and I can even pat them if they can jump high enough. To achieve this they sometimes use another puppy as a launching pad! This never seems to bother the under-puppy, though.

I saw a really disturbing website yesterday. If you are curious, leave a comment and I will direct you there. Basically, it makes me not EVER want kids.

Am reading and enjoying Gods in Alabama, a birthday gift from my sister. (My birthday is on Saturday.) The author is Joshilyn Jackson. It has more twists than any book I've ever read. I laid them out for D at lunch. I'm predicting an ultimate twist - that a guy one of the characters "murdered" is actually alive - but we'll see.

There is a park in New York called Gramercy Park that you cannot enter unless you have a key. To get a key, you have to live in one of the buildings nearby. Sadly, the park is always empty. If I had a key, I would use it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The moment you've all been waiting for...

OK, so that was a bit dramatic. But I'm unveiling my good news now...I picked up 2 permanent classes at a yoga studio! Yay! The subbing has been going quite well (12 times in July), but it's nice to have a fixed gig and build a following. I'm very excited.

In other news, I showed D my novel. I was a little reluctant because the people in it, well, behave badly (hence the title), but he loved it. He thought the beginning was a little rocky and made some helpful suggestions which I have already implemented. Other than that, I could tell he really liked it because he just whipped right through it! He put it down after the first 28 pages or so, and then he picked it up and read right to the end (233 pages, approximately...it keeps changing as I edit it.)

So...yay!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

"Catch and release...honor the fish"

So we saw You, Me and Dupree tonight...and what can I say? It rocked. And I'm not the only one who feels this way...I overheard an enthusiastic "That was good" as we left.

It took a little while to get going, but there were some truly hilarious situations and great lines, and Michael Douglas plays Matt Dillon's father-in-law with his trademark tough-guy croak, and Owen Wilson carried the movie superbly.

It gets the Bearette stamp of approval...A+. Okay, maybe A, if only because it was marred by a Boring Reconciliation Scene (BRS) between Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Weekend post

So D and I will probably see You, Me and Dupree tonight...despite awful reviews. There's something charming and winning about Owen Wilson. As opposed to Vince Vaughn, who seems vaguely (or not so vaguely) menacing.

For those who inquired about my good news...there's every indication I should find out within the next few days. So keep your fingers crossed for me :)

Also, there's a kitty, owned by another yoga teacher, who is looking for a home. The kitty currently lives in Brooklyn. Its owner is getting married to an allergic man. The cat is 12 years old, and somehow I feel like it is my mission to find it a home :) So let me know if you would like a new addition to your family. I guess this only applies to New York readers, since I don't know if cats are amenable to traveling.

In other news, I took out some books from the library yesterday, including Babyji by Abha Dawesar. I had the "commentary" librarian, who checked out the other books without comment, but said "Oh...my...god" and let out a deep bass chuckle when she saw the cover of Babyji (pictured in the sidebar). Then, for no apparent reason, she told me that an actor from Criminal Intent stopped by the library last year. She seemed deeply disappointed that I had never seen the show ;)

My melatonin dreams seem to have tapered off, and it's working well. I did have a dream about Grey's Anatomy, but it was not unpleasant. Have I mentioned that I can't wait for that show to come back in the fall? Which show do you miss the most?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Melatonin dreams...and a duel

Before I lose my nerve, I will post about some of the melatonin dreams I've been having. These are intense and sometimes disturbing. So...you've been warned ;)

The first one: I watch a movie on a TV screen with my mother and Elaine and George from Seinfeld. We're all sitting in the family room of the house I grew up in. The next day, I run into George...but it turns out it's just someone who looks exactly like him. He asks me, "What did you do last night?" I said, "I watched a movie with Elaine and George." He sighed and said wistfully, "Elaine is a pretty girl."

The second one: D and I are at the beach with a girl of our acquaintance. She keeps taking her bikini bottom off and walking around. Only...instead of traditional female parts, there's a line of thread, like she was sewn up. (I did sew some tears in my clothes recently.)

Still reading?

The third one: D brings me to some gambling place which looks like an OTB gambling office, except there are long tables. (I've never been to an OTB place, I just pass them by foot sometimes...honest ;) In the dream, D has a totally different personality...mocking and evil. (IRL he is very sweet.) He tells me how he's been going gambling every day after work without telling me, and from the evil glint in his eye, I know there's something more. So I ask, already knowing the answer: "Did you cheat on me?" He says offhandedly, "Yeah, I cheated on you once. She had earrings and high heels."

(Now, here my real-life self, which is conscious somewhere, is giggling a little. Because I don't think a guy would ever describe a woman this way.) But in the dream, I pull his chair out from under him, raise it above him, and...

I woke up a little freaked out from that one. I'm really not a violent person.

And also, I have a question about duels. D took part in a Toastmasters group yesterday; he wants to work on his public speaking. They all gave a two-minute speech on an assigned topic. They talked about the Hamilton-Burr duel, and then they were asked: Who would you duel with?

D took a very rational approach and said duels were too risky, etc. But he asked me at lunch who I would duel with.

I thought about it a minute. I'd never duel with Britney, because you can be sure her daddy taught her how to use a gun when she was 4 or 5. (He shoots at fans who come too close to the house.) So I picked Jessica Simpson. And then I felt bad afterward because she's only a person, after all, even though she's really annoying. D laughed and said I would have won the Toastmasters award.

Who would you pick? (and of course none of us would actually do this!)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Another recipe for you

I always wonder if recipe posts are boring, but I like it when other people post recipes, so I figured, what the hey. This is from Naples at Table by Arthur Schwartz, a fairly meat-heavy cookbook with a few vegetarian gems.

Pasta e Fagioli
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 t red pepper flakes
3 plum or Roma tomatoes
1/4 t salt (or to taste)
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed lightly (leave some of the sauce on them)
8 oz large tubular pasta, such as rigatoni or ziti
2 bay leaves (optional)
Parmesan (optional)

1. In a large skillet, combine the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes over medium-low heat. Let the garlic sizzle gently in the oil.
2. As soon as the garlic begins to color, crush the tomatoes directly into the skillet. (You can crush the tomato in your hand and let it drop into the skillet...but be careful...it will sizzle.)
3. Add salt, and with a wooden spoon, crush or break up the larger pieces of tomato. Increase the heat slightly and sizzle the tomatoes in the oil for about 5 min, stirring once or twice.
4. Stir in their beans and their liquid. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the beans simmer gently for 5 minutes. You can add 2 bay leaves at this point...remove before serving.
5. While the beans simmer, crush some of them against the side of the pot. Taste for salt and add as necessary.
6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling water. Drain and add to the beans. Let simmer gently for 1-2 min, or until the pasta is a little past al dente. Remove the skillet from the heat, cover and let stand for 5-10 minutes.

The melatonin diaries

So...the melatonin was making me sluggish and groggy the next day, and slowing down my metabolism (I never fully appreciated its burn, baby, burn qualities before). Lisa linked to a Wikipedia article about it, where it said that 0.3 mg works just as well as 3 mg (the dose I have). So I chopped the pill in half. And guess what? It doesn't work as well. I slept from 10:45 to 3:48, semi-dozed till 6, and then got up.

Anyway, I made a very yummy rigatoni recipe last night. I'd thought it would be dry and uninteresting, but not so. D in particular loved it (and garnished it with fresh mozzarella - to D, if it doesn't have cheese, it's not worth eating. And Parmesan doesn't count for him.)

From Jeanne Lemlin's Vegetarian Classics:
Rigatoni with Tomatoes, White Beans and Zucchini
1 lb rigatoni
3 T olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 t red pepper flakes
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 16-oz can diced tomatoes
1 16-oz can small white beans (navy or Great Northern), rinsed and drained
1/2 t salt
1/2 c minced fresh basil
Parmesan cheese

1. Boil the rigatoni for 8-10 min, until al dente.
2. Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook gently for 1 min. Do not let the garlic get at all colored. Stir in the zucchini and saute, tossing often, for about 5 min.
3. Add the tomatoes with their juice, white beans, and salt, and simmer for about 5 min, or until the sauce is slightly thickened.
3. Drain the rigatoni and add it to the skillet. Mix in the sauce, basil and a small handful of Parmesan cheese. Toss well. Serve immediately with some extra Parmesan cheese to pass at the table.

AND...there is potential good news in the offing. I will let you know if it pans out.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Saturday notes

I went to the park today (I finished Snowed In by Christina Bartolomeo; she is underrated, I recommend her to any Anne Tyler fans) and sat on a bench and read next to a woman with a snippy chihuahua. I guess they are my least favorite dogs. I did have a nice time with a one-year-old shih tzu named Star. After the chihuahua left, I noticed the woman had left behind an untouched pastry. I unwrapped the pastry and tossed it to the pigeons. They looked at it in disbelief and then they took turns eating it. It was very civilized. You could tell how happy they were; one was even making little purring sounds. Seriously.

I bought some fruit at the farmers' market; the Fuji apples were excellent even if I had to wash the soil off first. I wrote a note to my first yoga teacher (and probably the best). She got pregnant, had her baby and cut way back on her teaching. She dropped her regular gig at one of the places where I'm subbing now. According to a mutual friend, she's planning on opening a teahouse/yoga studio in Hell's Kitchen, if she can get funding. Hell's Kitchen is not very hellish anymore, and she lives there. I sent an email to see how things are going. If she starts it up, I'd love to teach there! Or even take classes.

And, for cocker spaniel lovers...I met a King Charles Cavalier cocker spaniel that licked me all over my face. I think dogs love salt. Also, on the way to Pilates, I met 3 regular cocker spaniels, one of each color (black, red and gold). The black one reminded me of Alex, and took to me the most. I really gave them the full treatment...I didn't know anyone was watching. Then I saw my Pilates teacher, who was talking on her cell phone nearby. She caught the whole thing. I was initially a little embarrassed, but she just grinned.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Melatonin...it does a body good.

Lora recommended melatonin to me a while back, but I never got it. I wasn't sure where to buy it, having never seen it in stores. Then I was assured that it was available at CVS (though I was sure they would give me weird looks). Then my chiropractor told me that he tried it and it made him groggy the next day. That was when I knew I had to try it. It was obviously powerful. Benadryl doesn't make a dent in my insomnia. Neither does wine.

So I bought melatonin at CVS (predictably, the first few employees said "Mela-what?" but I persevered) and took some at 11 last night. Then I took a walk, went to bed at 11:42, and fell asleep in maybe 15 minutes. (It usually takes 2-3 HOURS.) I woke up at 7:50 feeling rested and refreshed. It was fantastic.

This topic has been somewhat done to death, but I will fill you in anyway. I went to the library yesterday to pick up the 4 books that just arrived for me (Paris Hangover, How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life, Charmed Thirds and Once Upon a Day). I got a friendly librarian!! She was wearing a shirt so tight that the material between every button gaped open and I got a clear view of her tummy and bra, and jeans so tight that the zipper was straining and at half-mast, but she was NICE!! Do you know how rare this is at my branch library? Now I have a friend there ;) Anyway, she gushed over Charmed Thirds ("I want this!") and we got talking about the Kaavya Viswanathan scandal, which came up again over dinner at Hangawi.

P said he knows someone "on the inside" and he said that it was actually Alloy Entertainment's fault. They "helped" Kaavya with the book and also, according to P, helped Megan McCafferty as well. So P says it was the doing of an overtired editor who used some paragraphs that had been used before.

This actually makes more sense than Kaavya willfully copying 80 passages from Megan and then denying it, or writing Megan's passages from memory but not remembering where they came from. However, there are 2 big holes:

1) Why would Kaavya take the hit for Alloy's misbehavior?
2) I own 2 of Megan's books and just got the third from the library. None of them cite Alloy Entertainment on the copyright page. If you look at a Cecily von Ziegesar book (does Cecily even exist??), it says: "Copyright Alloy Entertainment 2006" (or whatever year it was published).

I guess some book scandals are more mysterious than others.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Odds and ends

Hello, blog world. I guess there was a little decrease in excitement after seeing Madonna...but I will see what I can come up with for you.

PUPKIN. Pupkin is a small dog, very feisty and cute, that I have fallen in love with. She lives at Groom-a-Rama, a pet store on 6th Ave where I go to ogle the puppies in the window. Yesterday they were all exceptionally cute and I wished I had my camera. But I'm afraid the flash might freak them out anyway. Pupkin's collar says she is a female, red-brown Shorkie Tzu (after a moment's thought, I figured out she's a Yorkie/Shih Tzu mix). Pupkin is very lively; she likes to nibble the other puppies' ears and roll around with them. She also licks the inside of the window glass, trying to lick my fingers. One of those old men who likes to narrate (you know what I mean, don't you?) was standing nearby, saying, "Look at these girls who just want to sleep [indicating a pair of serene cream-colored bulldogs with beautiful eyes]. I bet those are the boys [pointing at Pupkin and the other roughhousers]." I didn't correct him. None of the puppies were more than 2 months old. I just wanted to sneak them out of the store.

P. P is D's employee who is back after an educational hiatus in England. He'll be going to director's school next year. Anyway, D pointed out that P is back and we should have dinner. So that's what we're doing tonight. Note: P has a love/hate relationship with this girl. She invited him to dinner last night and he said, "No, I'm going out to dinner with my real friends." He wasn't going out to dinner with anyone. But he did switch her to Friday. I have a feeling they might get married down the line but they would be one of those couples who bickers all the time.

The Devil Wears Prada. I didn't like this movie as much as everyone else did. Granted, Meryl Streep did a great job. But it just reminded me of various aspects of old jobs and so Anne Hathaway had my full sympathy (whereas the rest of the audience was laughing at her). But D says I took it more seriously than it was intended. I am looking forward to the new Will Ferrell movie on August 4th ("I can't slow down my heartbeat! There's a cougar on my chest!") You, Me and Dupree looks funny as well. And, embarrassingly, so does Little Man.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Just got back from Madonna's concert. I have a sore throat because some girl in the row ahead of me was wearing a bottle of perfume. D told me his mother has some clipping where it says "unattractive women" were split into 2 groups and 1 group wore perfume and the other didn't. The perfume wearers were found to be 20% more attractive by men. I wish they wouldn't do studies like that, encouraging people to wear it, because so many people are allergic. Aargh!

Other than that, it was a good time, although I was bummed she didn't do an encore. The finale was "Hung Up" -- she sang "Lucky Star" to the tune of "Hung Up," then launched into "Hung Up" and had the audience sing, "Time goes by, so slowly." The male couple next to us had been to her concert the night before and warned us that the champagne cost $7.50 and the A/C would be turned off. "She says it interferes with her voice," one of them told me. She's not a diva, no ;)

For the first number, a disco ball opened up and she came out in a leather horse-riding outfit with a riding crop and beat one of her dancers with it and rode his back like he was a horse. It was, um, interesting. She looked great in the horse-riding outfit and I couldn't believe she was a 48-year-old mother of two. Then she wore a navy leotard during "Hung Up" and that was not as flattering. Still, she's in great shape. Her dancers are also awesome, the best that money can buy. All of them were doing handsprings and one girl did a full wheel, flipped into the air and landed in upward-facing dog. (I used a picture of cobra because I couldn't find a picture of upward-facing dog, but they're similar enough.)

D and I decided that "Hung Up" is her best song, and "Like a Prayer" is #2.

You can definitely tell she's a diva. "Stand up to show your gratitude!" she yelled at one point. "Stand up to celebrate this mother#@% city!" Later, she said, "Do you mind if I sit and rest a bit? Some of you have been sitting and resting the whole time. My front-row #@%*&^ are not happy about that."

She did hang on a disco-lit cross for "Live to Tell", while numbers flashed above her head to show how many people have died of AIDS in Africa. Then the URLs "clintonfoundation.org" and "raisemalawi.org" flashed on the screen. While she did costume changes backstage, there were video images of her singing; once she was singing "Don't tell me your stories, your lies" as images of Bush, Nixon and Osama bin Laden flashed by.

She revamped a lot of her old numbers, staging "Erotica" almost like a ballet, and there was another number where all her dancers roller-skated together (and did some handstands, all in a day's work). "Jump" was great as dancers climbed and jumped down from jungle-gym constructions. Every number was lavish and theater-like.

Another of the best numbers was "Music," laid over a "Disco Inferno" track. She came out with two of her female dancers and they were all decked out in John Travolta-style white gabardine suits. Madonna knows her disco moves.

On the way out, we saw Chelsea Clinton. D didn't recognize her, not having seen any of her recent pictures, but I'm sure it was her.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Day at the beach

So we spent a day at the beach - Long Beach to be exact - with DG. It was a lot of fun. I've always liked the beach, and feel very much at home there. It relaxes me a lot. The day was a little bit cloudy at points but overall a good day for the beach. I went in the water, which smacked me around a little. Then we had dinner with DG's parents. It is always interesting to meet someone's parents for the first time. The food was a little heavier than I've been eating lately (summer heat has kind of reduced my appetite) but I enjoyed it anyway. The restaurant was playing Frank Sinatra throughout - I'm not usually the biggest fan but I thought it worked well with the atmosphere and even considered getting one of his CDs.

There was a bit of a delay getting back - we had to wait an hour for the next train - so we walked along the boardwalk. It had stopped raining but there was still thunder and we could see lightning slicing through the sky and dipping into the water. It was very beautiful. I actually like storms a lot, as long as it's not raining. I guess I'm kind of tempestuous ;)

I'm currently reading The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster. I'm of the opinion you usually can judge a book by its cover (not so much with people, but definitely with books). However, in spite of a dull title and cover, this one is a winner. I thought his last two were a bit off - Oracle Night was meh and The Book of Illusions was a little intense and scary. This one pulled me in almost right away. I love how he plops his characters in the oddest situations.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Squirrel, part II and Woody Allen


The squirrel is back! This morning, as I was doing my asanas, I spotted a sleepy squirrel on the terrace. It was a very mellow, zen squirrel, with its eyes half-closed, stretched out on a ledge, with the sunlight painting the tip of its ear red. After I was done with my yoga I ran to get my camera, saw the poor picture quality (because both the glass and screen doors to the terrace were closed), and mustered up courage to open the door. Unfortunately, the squirrel fled...not so mellow after all...and I felt bad.

Also, I saw Woody Allen and Scarlett Johannson on the cover of New York magazine the other day, so of course I popped into the newsstand to peek inside. The article was a bit of a disappointment...only one page...but it was interesting nonetheless. Apparently Woody Allen's upcoming 2006 movie stars her as well, is called Scoop, and is supposed to be really good. Also, he said she was "a sexually overwhelming, beautiful young woman." ! Incidentally, she has her hair dyed brown for The Nanny Diaries, and it suits her. When I told D about that quote, he said, "Watch out Soon-Yi...number 3." (Woody has actually been married twice before Soon-Yi - to Louise Lasser and Harlan Rosen - but I didn't say anything.)

I don't think he'll leave Soon-Yi for her, though. It's interesting - I liked Match Point in spite of her. I think he realized she's not very likable, and made her character unlikable, so it worked out well. But I liked Lost in Translation too. I don't think she's an awful actress, just not one of the best. I was horrified when he said Match Point was his best movie...what about Annie Hall? Or Play It Again, Sam? (Which he wrote and starred in, but did not direct.)

P.S. The squirrel is back...but I'm not going to disturb him this time ;) He's sleeping in the exact same position, just facing the other way.