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.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Tiredness

So we went out with Ashley and her husband G last night. Ashley is petite, fun and animated; as for G, I knew he was good people as soon as he said he loved Woody Allen (in a platonic way, of course). Conversation ranged all over the place, from Neil Labute to a strange website called "X Peeps" to our novels.

Tonight we went out with A & C. A is pregnant; I found out at a party we went to recently, but they were still in the "quiet" stage. Now they can tell everyone. I felt like I should be careful when hugging her so as not to crush the baby, but she told me not to worry. They are planning to name their baby after their grandparents (with girl's and boy's names picked out accordingly). They'll find out in October what gender it will be.

I got up at 7:15 this morning, which was just as well, because I had to teach at 9:30 in Brooklyn. So you'd think I'd sleep like a baby tonight. But no. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, there's something weird going on with my neck. The skin at the base of it feels tight. It's driving me crazy.

You see, I hate the feeling of anything around my neck. This is why I generally wear V-necked shirts (for some reason turtlenecks are ok, but some T-shirts are not) and it's the #1 reason I'm glad I'm not a man. Wearing a tie would be certain torture.

Ok, now you know about my weird neck thing. If any of you have advice on this sort of situation, feel free to share it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Friday thoughts

I might as well tell you all...I'm a little preoccupied. Here are some of the things that are happening:

1) 2 agents will be reading my novel. I've approached 2 so far and they both want to see it. So far, good odds. Bear in mind that I know one of them, and the other is a friend's agent. One of them is Meg Cabot's agent. I don't know what will happen. But I'm glad they're reading it. I got some suggestions from a girl in my former writing class; she's a book editor and her comments rocked. So after I put in those changes, I felt ready. But having it out there...it's nervewracking.

2) I've had trouble sleeping lately, partly because of the above, and partly because the skin at the base of my neck feels strange. Does this ever happen to anyone else?

3) We had lunch with P. P's stories, though funny, are probably bound to offend any number of people and so I can't repeat them on my blog. Oh well. He and D both had desserts while I looked on. I didn't feel dessert-y, and they both got the solid chocolate kind, which never really grabs me.

4) We're meeting Ashley tonight, having dinner with A&C tomorrow, and dinner with DG the day after that.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thursday treize

1. I'm digging the beautiful fall weather.
2. I'm meeting Ashley (aka Pop Scholar) this weekend.
3. I took a type A/B personality test and came out almost exactly in the middle, but closer to B.
4. I seem to remember winning a Scrabble game with D early in our relationship, so maybe next time.
5. I got an email from a friend (the woman who introduced me to yoga) quoting her hairdresser, who had just taken a Sunday class at a yoga studio: "The teacher was real young, really creative! Dark hair, her name was Bearette..."
6. This is funny because I've never taught there on a Sunday and no one with my name does either. There's a girl with a variant of my name, but she teaches early morning classes on weekdays, and she has sandy hair.
7. So I'm mystified.
8. I'm still debating whether to see Snakes on a Plane.
9. I saw a cute baby on the subway yesterday. It had black socks with white polka dots.
10. I patted two of my favorite neighborhood dogs yesterday: Sarah (a miniature schnauzer, but without the "beard" cut, she looks more like a Cairn terrier) and Mr. Adam (a Brussels gryphon).
11. I figure the dogs don't mind if I fail to preserve their anonymity ;)
12. I always forget there are 13 items on this list.
13. I just finished a book that made me want to go to France. I haven't been since college (when I visited my roommate there for a week).

Sunday, September 03, 2006


So last night, in the pouring, pounding rain, we went with T (my visiting college roommate) to Angelica Kitchen. The waiter was impressed that we showed up. "I can tell who the true fans are," he said, looking out at the dismal atmosphere. Inside it was cozy and warm, and slightly 70s co-op, as people nibbled on their raw cashews and dragon bowls around us.

We all got sweet corn croquettes with red kidney bean sauce, summer corn soup (comes with the entree), and then for dessert, D and I shared the plum-almond upside down cake, while T branched out and got the rice pudding. "It has actual rice in it!" she said. "Instead of being all pulverized." I was so taken with the cake (and the almond sauce) that I licked the plate afterward. I asked D if he minded, and then made sure none of the waitstaff was looking. T couldn't stop laughing.

Then we set off into the monsoon once more and went to the Union Square Barnes & Noble to buy some Scrabble. Long story - we tried to play it the night before, but after D pulled the hall closet apart, we realized we didn't have one. (Although we do have 4 different versions of Trivial Pursuit, given to him by the same cousin. At B&N, we saw a book lovers' version...finally, the one I might win.)

D is something of a genius at board games. He whupped us both at Scrabble. He even got that 50-point bonus for using all his tiles at one point. "This is the biggest Scrabble upset I've ever seen," said T. At another time, T wanted to challenge him for using "quo" but let it go, not wanting to lose her turn if she was mistaken. Later she did look it up, and found that it was not in the dictionary (my American Heritage dictionary from my high school English department, anyway). T maintains that we need a Scrabble dictionary (something I never knew existed).

We ran into our friend SH (actual initials) at the Union Square B&N. Though he lives in Brooklyn, we frequently see him in that area. We've run into him on the elusive 4th Avenue before (so called because it doesn't last very long before blending into Broadway or something). We all got into an animated conversation about Snakes on a Plane and even considered seeing it. T thinks her boyfriend, burned out from his anthropology Ph.D. program, may be up for it.

Friday, September 01, 2006

So my college roommate, TK, came to visit today. We hadn't seen each other in a while, but we fell right into our old patterns, which was nice. In fact, I had planned things for us to do between her arrival and dinner, but we ended up talking for 3 hours.

For dinner, T, D and I went to Il Bastardo, a restaurant we hadn't tried before, but we'd noticed their menu earlier. It was quite good, though D was disappointed with his dessert...somewhat bitter chocolate mousse. Mine looked like a tower. It sounded innocent enough - apple tart with warm puff pastry and a small scoop of vanilla ice cream - but the puff pastry came up high like a castle wall. T had creme brulee with some fruit baked in.

T brought me some birthday presents - a Buddhist book and two CDs, Asian Groove and Arabic Groove. This was very timely...I've been rotating 4 CDs for my yoga classes and I needed something new. Feel free to recommend music for my yoga classes, btw...long, elastic rhythms/slightly trancey/female voice usually works best.