Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sometimes I get Frankeneye (bloodshot) if I've been reading or knitting too long. Eye drops can exacerbate it. I noticed it in the bathroom mirror before Hairspray. Fortunately, I'm done with the short-sleeved sweater, which was soft and fuzzy, which makes for poor stitch definition, which makes you strain your eyes. So the condition seems to be gone.

Today I was in Whole Foods and a little distracted, since I'd been reading a book in line. The cashier was unusually cheerful and smiled at me broadly. On autopilot, I said, "Thanks!" Apparently she thought I said, "How are you?" because she replied, "Great, thanks, and you?" At which point I said, "Good, how are you?" not realizing that she thought I already said "How are you?" She just chuckled, though.

On the way home from the market, I saw a woman from my building who could be 85, but is always done up immaculately. I think of her as Zsa Zsa Gabor. Her white hair is carefully waved, she wears coordinating top-and-skirt sets (often sleeveless) and her orthopedic shoes have little heels on them.

The one disturbing thing: her husband is always a half a block behind her. It's like a reversal of Muslim tradition.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Short-sleeved sweater

I finished this today!



Updated to add:

While definitely not form-fitting, the sweater is not as boxy as it appears on the table. You also get to see me slightly cross-eyed ;)


Sunday, July 29, 2007

You can't stop the beat

We saw Hairspray. I know, I see too many movies. But the air conditioning is so enticing. Plus, it looked good.

It was such a fun movie. Tracy Turnblad, the main character, was bursting with energy. The cast was jam-packed with entertaining people -- Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah, John Travolta in very convincing drag, and Michelle Pfeiffer in a Cruella-de-Ville type role.

We saw it in a theater with slightly uncomfortable seats, so my butt was hurting near the end, and the integration/we-all-belong message was a little heavy-handed, but otherwise, I have no complaints. Just a sneaking suspicion that John Travolta looks better in a dress and high heels than I do ;)

Grade: A

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Library crimes

When I was waiting in line at the library today, a sign caught my eye: "Muggers." Upon closer examination, it read:

MUGGLES
If you have placed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on hold, please go to the Circulation Desk. This title will not be on the Open Hold Shelf until after July 25, 2007.

This cracked me up. I guess the librarians are afraid that people will steal other people's Harry Potter copies. The books on the Open Hold Shelf are arranged spine inward anyway, so you can't say, "Hmm. This other person's book looks good; I think I'll take it." They attach your ID number to the edge of your book with a rubber band, and that's the only way you can tell it's yours.

When I put books on hold, it used to take forever. Now they are spewing in, an unstoppable wave of books. The only explanation I could come up with is: maybe a lot of the library patrons are in the Hamptons. But that is unlikely; they probably don't use the library.

(That's a catch-all explanation for anything being faster or more convenient in the summer. No line at your favorite brunch spot? They're all in the Hamptons.)

D thinks maybe people have more time to read in the summer.

In other news, we saw The Simpsons last night. It was nothing to write home about, though parts of it were funny. I was never a fan of the show, but the preview reeled me in. It made me laugh when President Schwarzenegger said, "I was elected to lead, not to read". And Spider Pig was amusing. I would give it a B or B-.

Friday, July 27, 2007

So D and I had lunch with P and his new girlfriend. P is a long-time summer employee of D's and friend of ours; he lives in London and goes to film school during the rest of the year.

P made a great choice of lunch place and girlfriend. I thought they were both fabulous. I told him they should get married. I have a very good sense of when couples should get married ;) I won't push it too hard, however. Mentioning it once is enough, right?

As for the lunch...awesome. They served everything with a light touch, and yet it was utterly satisfying. Small, delicious portions. I had black bean soup, a red wine poached pear salad, and a petite piece of carrot cake. The carrot cake was served with ice cream, which formed a lovely little lake at the bottom of the plate :)

On the way home, I saw two of the cutest dogs ever. They were frisky golden doodles. The girl had a pink leash and the boy had a purple leash. The boy settled down on the sidewalk so I could pat him for a while. "Oh boy," his owner said. "He's a ham."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What do you know...

What color is your soul painted?

Pink

Your soul is painted the color pink, which embodies the characteristics of love, friendship, compassion, femininity, relaxation, ability to overcome evil, honor, morality, general success, gratitude, appreciation, admiration, sympathy, health, and marriage. Pink falls under the element of Air, and is symbolic of gentle emotions and of emotional unions.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz

quiz
Quizzes and Personality Tests


Stolen from Poppy.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Saturday in pictures

Here are some pics from my birthday on Saturday (a day early, but Saturday is more festive, don't you agree?)

Well, first is a very fuzzy picture of the bunny in my backyard, taken on Friday:



Two pics of my sister's dog, with one of my nephews and my niece:





D with two of my nephews:



D with most of the kids:



A necklace my sister gave me:

Friday, July 20, 2007

Back in my hometown

So D and I went to my hometown for my birthday, which is Sunday, but we're celebrating it tomorrow.

The morning was a little crowded because D's business colleague and his wife were in town from the Netherlands. I was worried about the tight fit -- brunch 2 hours before our train departed -- but I was glad I went. The colleague's wife is very bubbly, a little flashier than most of my friends (with bright yellow hair and a lot of chest on display), but a really sweet person. Did I mention that brunch is one of my favorite meals ever? I ordered a fresh fruit crepe, which arrived drizzled in strawberry sauce. D's colleague looked at it and said, "I'll have one too!" He'd already had French toast, but that didn't stop him ;)

The colleague's wife entertained me with stories of how she travels a lot, and went to Johannesburg last week. She forgot it is winter in the southern hemisphere, and said, "It was cold, and I am like this!" (gesturing to her decolletage -- I can only guess it was exposed). So she bought a scarf and vest for her 48-hour stay. I wouldn't have thought of the opposite-season thing, either. She also told me they have a fox and a rabbit near their house back in Holland. I asked her if they named them, and she said she'll consult with her kids about that.

I'm eternally grateful to her for saying to D, "You should go!" as our train departure time edged closer. He actually got on the train a few minutes before it left! I headed right to the train from the restaurant, while he stopped at home to pack. He likes to live life on the edge :)

Once we got to my hometown, I took a long ride on the Giant Sedona, a charming green bicycle we got in May. My mom likes to use it too. Some of the other bikers smiled, waved and said hello to me -- I was in shock. In New York, all the other bikers try to kill you!

Also, I was riding, I heard a dog barking. I said "Woof" back each time it woofed. There was a parked car in the way, so the dog and I couldn't see each other. Then the dog came into view...and its owner, who was laughing because he heard me and the dog barking at each other. A little embarrassing, but also funny :)

My mom and I saw a bunny in our backyard, eating clover from the circle where the pool used to be. I took some pictures, but they were fuzzy due to the screen. Of course, once I opened the door, the rabbit disappeared.

I saw one of my favorite neighborhood dogs, Pinocchio, back in New York this morning. I said, "Hello, sweetie pie!" and his owner immediately said, "What about me? I'm a sweetie pie, too." This had a chilling effect on my communication with the dog...I didn't want the owner to feel bad. But people address dogs differently than other people. He should know that!

And finally, 3-month-old bulldogs are extremely cute.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Addictions and habits (and dogs)

D fell off his bike last night when he was trying to pass some guy (he needs to slow down!). He didn't break anything, but he fractured his clavicle and is wearing a little sling on his arm for support. They prescribed Oxycodon (probably similar to Oxycontin, which is addictive) as a painkiller. The nurse asked if he had an addictive personality. He told her he has an anti-addictive personality, because it freaks him out if he gets addicted to anything bad. Then he takes a step back. He counts bike riding as a positive addiction.

So at dinner he was tossing back the Oxycodon, and got a glint in his eye. "I can tell why people get addicted to this," he said. "I got this little wave of --"

"Euphoria?" I supplied.

"Yeah."

If he gets hooked, I'll flush the rest.

On the way back from dinner, we saw a cute-as-a-button West Highland terrier. I stopped to pat him. Then a waterbug scuttled by and the dog jumped a mile! It really freaked him out. It was endearing.

(Speaking of which, I saw a tiny white dog do a handstand the other day. As you know, male dogs usually lift one hind leg to pee. This dog lifted up BOTH hind legs and balanced on his forepaws, so that his body was a straight vertical line from his front paws to the sky. It was quite impressive.)

And speaking of addictions, I should not cast the first stone because I am still addicted to knitting. (As I write, D is looking up "oxycodon" on Wikipedia.) I knit so much, in fact, that my eyes are becoming strained. So I decided not to knit today. Then I caved, and knit with an eye mask on. Then I took it off.

Another knitting confession: I really do like hats the best. After hats come mittens, scarves and sweaters...in that order. I feel a little bad that I don't like doing sweaters better. But I think I am a hat person. It's probably like a fingerprint...not much you can do about it.

We are traveling this weekend. I always have noble intentions of packing the absolute minimum, and then I'm throwing in my camera, knitting, facial cleanser, and cherries for the trip. I'm just not meant to be a bare-bones packer.

TV musings

I did a search for "Fall Lineup 2007 TV" (yes, I miss my shows) and ended up at Futon Critic. Futon Critic shared a few disheartening things with me:

1) The New Adventures of Old Christine won't be back until 2008. What the heck? It's better than a lot of movies. Evan Almighty, for one. (Wanda Sykes is in both of them so it's easy to compare.)

2) Notes from the Underbelly, which I started to watch at the end of last season, is also delayed until 2008.

3) Something I've been dreading in the back of my mind finally happened: The Office and Grey's Anatomy will be starting at the same time. Since The Office is shorter, I can catch the last half of Grey's.

At least nothing is competing with Desperate Housewives.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Male underwear models

Something happened a few days ago that I forgot to blog about. D and I were walking along and we saw a building with a low rooftop. There were a bunch of men on it. One was fully dressed, and I think he had a camera with a tripod, though I'm not sure.

The other men had bulging muscles and were dressed only in tighty whiteys. One was rubbing oil on his arms and another was posing with his hands on his thighs.

It was such a surreal, New York moment.

And no, I didn't have my camera! :D

Stolen from Bdogg

I'm liberating this from Bdogg, as I'm somewhat short on inspiration right now!

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
My mother's aunt. But I think she also just liked the name.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
I got a little teary watching The Object of My Affection (embarrassing, I know). Great movie, though. Paul Rudd always does a great job and I think it was the best acting Jennifer Aniston has done (aside from some stiffness in the beginning).

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
Yes, I have a backhand slant :)

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
None!

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Hmm. I think it would depend on what other person I was ;)

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
Sometimes, but not as much as a native New Yorker.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Yes indeed.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
No. Did you know that people over a certain age are not allowed to bungee jump? My MIL knows someone who lied about his age so he could do it.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Oatmeal, although as a child I was a Frosted Flakes devotee, and Cracklin' Oat Bran held me in thrall until they changed their recipe.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
It's kind of unconscious, so I'm not sure. I probably don't.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE MENTALLY STRONG?
Whatever that means...

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
The kulfi (Indian ice cream) at Chennai Garden. It comes in a small pyramid, and I always bite the top off first.

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Eyes and facial expression.

15. RED OR PINK?
Pink, of course.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
Sometimes I fly off the handle.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
I try to keep in touch with people so I won't miss 'em. I do miss my dog, who lived a nice long life (17 1/2 years).

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU?
If you want to do it, go ahead!

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Black shorts, barefoot.

20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
Ratatouille. It rocked.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
Nothing. I can hear a bit of traffic outside.

22. IF YOU Were A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Carnation pink. I loved that 64-color Crayola box. Burnt umber or sienna, anyone?

23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Freshly baked cupcakes at Billy's Bakery. They should use that scent as a torture device. Anyone would weaken.

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

25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?
Yes.

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
None, although ice skating can be fun to watch.

27. HAIR COLOR?
Dark brown.

28. EYE COLOR?
Dark brown.

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
Nope.

30. FAVORITE FOOD?
This is too hard, people. I do like a slice of Key Lime pie.

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Happy endings.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
The Object of My Affection.

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Red tank top.

34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
I like fall the best. I'd ordinarily choose summer over winter, but...it's pretty freakin' hot right now. Good for swimming, though.

35. HUGS OR KISSES?
Hugs...I have never been very kissy.

36. FAVORITE DESSERT?
See #13, #23 and #30.

37. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
N/A

38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
N/A

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
Breadfruit by Celestine Vaite.

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
Nada. I have a laptop.

41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT? Nothing, but we'll watch Big Love tonight.

42. FAVORITE SOUND?
Maybe Tori Amos' new album.

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
Depends on my mood...I like "Eleanor Rigby," "Let it Be," "Gimme Shelter" and "Beast of Burden" about equally.

44. HOW FAR HAVE YOU BEEN FROM HOME?
To the north: Canada
To the east: France, Italy, Ireland, England
To the west: California
To the south: Bahamas

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
I can fly over rooftops.

Friday, July 13, 2007

So we visited Rainer in Brooklyn tonight, with DG. Rainer loves me :) He was sitting in the children's section tonight, wedged into a small child's chair. His bum was hanging out. But he seemed to like it. But when he saw me, he wiggled his way out of the chair and sat on my lap. His tail wagged back and forth furiously.

There is nothing cozier than a cat curled up on your lap, even if he occasionally bites his own fur. DG said he was trying to get the knots out. I was tempted to curl up on the floor with Rainer and sleep, but it was too hard to lie down since he was in my lap ;)

When we left, I uncurled one leg and then the other. Instead of moving, he stayed in the center, sitting on my skirt. I had to kind of hobble up like an old woman.

He is such a good cat.

Another notable thing about the evening: at the restaurant, before Rainer, a girl came up to me and asked how long the wait was. She thought I worked there. Then, a girl at Rainer's bookstore asked me, "Do you have [some book]?" (I didn't catch the title.) I explained, "I don't work here, I just hang out with him."

"That's important work!" she said.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cherries and plums

I just had a craving for cherries, which I bought from a fruit man today.

Brief digression. There's a fruit man near me who always greets me and acts pleased to see me...but he calls me ma'am. Isn't that the worst word in the English language (well, one of them)? I should tell him to never, ever use it (very politely of course, so as not to hurt his feelings).

Anyway, these are the first cherries I had this season. I had become a watermelon person. But I saw these cherries winking up at me from the fruit cart, and I had to have them.

And eating them...they were so good...reminded me of a poem I saw on the subway a while ago. The New York City Transit Authority, among other things, puts poetry on the subway. Some of it is not so good. I love this one.

This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast.

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

-- William Carlos Williams

Pool ethics

I have insomnia, so I will share an ethical dilemma with you.

I teach yoga in a fancy building. There's a private club on the 34th floor. It has a gorgeous view of Central Park, Great Lawn with all the treetops and people lying on the grass, the skyscrapers, the sunset, you name it. It also has a beautiful pool that is hardly used.

When I first heard of the position (through subbing), the girl who had my slot at the time said that we'd have full access to the gym. The pool was not mentioned, though it's on the same floor as the gym, and would seem to be included under "full access." Later, when the position became mine, I was looking for a sub and one of the subs mentioned how much she liked swimming there.

So last Friday, I decided to try it. Since I hadn't used the pool before, I called in advance to make sure it was kosher. The person at the desk said, "Actually, nooo....we can't have staff in the pool...but it's dead here today, you can sneak in." Talk about mixed messages.

So I used the pool, it was beautiful, warm, half-empty, no ropes separating lanes, etc.

I don't know if I can go back or not. Does it have to be "dead"? Should I seek out a second opinion? (There are other desk people I could ask.) Should I assume I can just "sneak in" again? The thing is, I don't feel really comfortable with sneaking. But it's a great pool and someone should be using it.

I do have a pool at my gym. It is, however, more crowded and not quite as pretty.

What would you do?

Update:

So I went to the pool at my gym today, not wanting to deal with the other situation, and it was more pleasant than I remembered. The lanes are longer than at the private club, and there was a Jacuzzi, which the private club doesn't have. Also, there were only 2 other people in the pool, so I got my own lane :) The only downside was the lack of a skylight (not a big deal) and the ropes (which I kept hitting when I was doing my backstroke, so I had to adjust my arm movements a bit).

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nature red in tooth and claw

My mother sent me the following e-mail today:

Did I tell you I think my coyote ate my groundhog? I haven't seen the groundhog since the day the coyote was outside the family room window staring at him (about a month).

*Shiver*. I always liked the little guy, though he left holes in my mother's lawn. His handiwork made it hard for her to mow. Also, she may have even tripped in the holes. So she was probably grateful to the coyote. Still, the groundhog was a cute little fellow. He used to stand on his hind legs with his paws clasped, as if in prayer. He liked to eat apples from my mom's two apple trees.

In other news...

I was watching Big Love last night (no spoilers, don't worry) and wondering what is in it for Margene. Barb was roped into it (the polygamous marriage, that is); Nicki is from the compound. But Margene didn't grow up with the Principle, had no prior husband to pressure her into it, and is young and pretty. I'm still half-hoping she'll run off with Barb's son, but I'm sure it won't happen.

And still other news...

Yesterday, I figured I shouldn't have blogged about the pleasant doctor's visit, because I might jinx my health somehow. Sure enough, I stubbed my toe (and foot) HARD last night. You can't break the bones in your foot that way, right? Still...ouch.

Update on the groundhog:

My mother writes:

Actually, this groundhog wasn't bad. He didn't seem to be eating flowers, he would just come up to the pool circle and eat the clover there. The coyote didn't necessarily get him. He (the groundhog) might have just moved on to safer quarters after the close encounter. This groundhog seemed to have a bit of a disability. His hind quarters were very defined, sort of like a rabbit's.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The doctor


So I went to the doctor today for a physical. I haven't had one in a while because the nurse at my former doctor's office was a direct descendant of the Marquis de Sade and would stab me 15 times (okay, 5, but even that can make you queasy) to get a blood sample, all the while chuckling evilly. It turns out that doctor no longer takes my insurance -- maybe a blessing in disguise. Or maybe just an overt blessing!

This doctor was great -- very bubbly and vivacious, and also good at what she does. Her hometown is about 30 minutes from mine. Small world. Also, the doctor's office is next door to my apartment building, and there was no copay.

In other good news, I was both taller and thinner than I thought (5'8 1/2", 122 lbs). D is skeptical about the height, but I like it! Blood pressure was also good - 100 over 60.

The only bad part was the blood taking, and the nurse made it as easy as possible. After the first stab didn't work, she apologized profusely, put a cold cloth on my head (well, cold paper towel, but it works just as well), and found a smaller needle. She was successful on the second try, which was great.

A horrible thought occurred to me, though. "Do they take your blood all the time when you're pregnant?"

Yup.

(I'm not pregnant, but inquiring minds want to know.)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Stripey


I started this hat as a way to use up leftover yarn, but I'm pleased with the way it came out :)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Blog friends and yarn

So today I got to meet Roxanne and her husband, R. Roxanne was instantly likable -- relaxed and mellow with a soothing presence.

We all had brunch at Good in the Village. There was no wait, a rarity. I guess everyone cleared out for the Fourth of July weekend. Roxanne got the batido of the day, which was supposed to be banana pineapple, but it was pink! However, it looked and tasted yummy (I am told). They were on top of their game with the pancakes, too. I checked out the French toast a nearby patron got -- thick slices of bread with cream cheese spread inside, sprinkled with banana slices. I fear it would be too heavy, but it's nice to ogle.

Afterward D went for a bike ride and the three of us continued on to Purl, New York's best yarn store (in my opinion, anyway). I love reveling in the colors and textures. I had a gift certificate to burn, and Roxanne picked up some sock yarn.

Here's the adorable dishcloth Roxanne gave me:


And the yarn I bought:


I'm glad they came to New York.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Secret salad

So tonight we went to dinner at a place we hadn't been to in a long time. D asked if they still had the goat cheese tempura salad.

The waitress said, "Well, it's a secret salad."

This meant it wasn't on the menu anymore, but we could order it. We felt like part of a secret salad society.

Then we saw License to Wed. It was good, but not great. It featured performances from almost everyone in The Office (Mindy Kaling, Angela, the big balding guy, and of course, John Krasinski) and several other fun actors (Lois Hendrickson from Big Love* and the girl who played Marcia Brady in A Very Brady Movie and also appeared in The Wedding Singer). There were a couple of "babies" who stole the show. They definitely created the most humorous moments in the movie.

I would say Knocked Up, Ratatouille and Waitress (other than the heinous ending) are the best movies of the summer so far.

Grade: B

*We caved and got HBO just so we could see Big Love live, as it were. Bill Hendrickson is morally ambiguous this season. We're planning to cancel our subscription once the season is over, since we don't watch anything else on that channel.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The beach

So D and I went to the beach yesterday with DG. D actually rode his bike (yup, 32 miles) and DG and I took the train. We were seated near the bathroom (never optimal), but the girl behind us said she would put up a sign saying "Out of Order" if too many people used it and it started to get icky. (Incidentally, the grossest bathroom I ever saw was on New Jersey Transit. Don't use it.)

The beach itself was beautiful. We were lying near a toddler who kept speaking her own language. I wished I could understand it, but it was cute anyway. We ate on the main commercial strip near the beach and I had a mango martini with my dinner, which consisted of roasted beet salad and a side of mashed sweet potatoes. I love both beets and sweet potatoes, though I didn't mix them together - don't worry.

D took his bike on the train on the way back, and we saw someone from my year in college with his girlfriend. We chatted with them for a while. She's a nurse but doesn't wear the classic uniform, to his chagrin ;)