Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Prepare for a virtual feast

So we had dinner with P and L. I ate more than I do in a week. Here is what I (gulp) consumed:

bread and sheep's milk ricotta
roasted red peppers
beet salad (small)
sweet corn ravioli (small)
some of L's fettucine with pesto
2 small, fresh-baked doughnuts

Dang, it was good. The doughnuts were called "bombolina." The waiter came over to tell us, "Your bombolina will be out in five to ten minutes...we had to put in a new batch." P said, "I thought he was going to tell us they were out of them...and I was going to KILL him." They were divine. You know the kind of dessert where you cry out, "Oh, my GOD" as you're eating it and you're transported to food heaven? Yeah. That kind.

I always eat more with them. I think they have a relaxing effect on me :)

Before dinner, I watched Million Dollar Baby. The acting was great. I thought they all deserved their Oscars. Hillary Swank was really likable and also buff. I was in awe of her arms. But, starting at the 90-minute mark, the movie took a real turn for the worse. As in, seriously depressing. I was chanting in my head, It's-not-real it's-not-real it's-not-real...

It was very well-crafted, scripted and acted...but kind of devastating. Approach with caution.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Crack and socks

So tonight we ate at one of our favorite vegetarian restaurants. The experience was somewhat marred by crack! I'll explain.

A woman was sitting with her back to me. She wore an extremely loose white belt, more for decoration than anything else. Between the belt, and above her waistband, was CRACK. Like an inch of it. I don't want to see that while I'm eating.

It's true, she was reasonably attractive. This was not a hairy, fleshy plumber's ass. But still. Cover your crack!

Moving on.

D had some MRIs done today to monitor his back. He herniated a disc a while ago. A little-known fact: you get a gift with your MRI. The gift of socks. They are very snazzy and have little treads on the bottom.

Walking through Central Park after dinner, I spotted a small gray-and-white cat lurking among the rocks. I headed toward it but it ran away. I hope it's okay and that it knows how to forage for itself. It looked so small and vulnerable. But D assured me that the cat did not look scrawny and probably enjoys being outside. I hope so.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

So we visited Rainer tonight. This visit was somewhat unusual because two people joined me, a couple. The girl was enchanted by the way Rainer kneaded my leg. Then the guy came closer and Rainer's whole body stiffened. He made a huffing sound and I thought: uh-oh. But then I massaged Rainer's side and face and he purred and I thought everything would be okay.

Then the guy stuck his hand into Rainer's face and Rainer took a quick swipe with his claws in the guy's direction. He didn't make contact, but the clear message was: back off. I gently suggested that the guy shouldn't approach Rainer from the front, but rather from the side. Looking back, though, I'm not sure it would have made a difference, because all the relaxation had drained from Rainer's body. He was definitely on guard.

So then the guy stuck his hand in Rainer's face again and Rainer jumped off my lap and hid behind a chair. I couldn't get him to come out again. His green eyes had this vague faraway look that they get when he retreats into himself.

I did pat the other bookstore cat, however. His name is Hayes (after the former president, Rutherford B. Hayes. Both cats have high-falutin names ;) Hayes was amenable to patting. I noticed that Rainer likes to stay on the floor, while Hayes sprawls out over the books on the display table.

So the evening was a bit suboptimal. But I have faith that Rainer and I can have quiet one-on-one time during my next visit, without intruders :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Eventful

A lot has happened today already. I went to meet D for lunch and along the way I spotted a Boston terrier -- one blue eye, one brown. I stooped to pat it and then I heard an ear-bruising screech!! Everyone's head whipped around. Even the dog jumped. A taxi had squealed to a halt and there was a delivery boy on its hood.

Somebody yelled, "Call an ambulance!" The boy seemed fine, even hopping on his bike to finish his deliveries -- but everyone persuaded him to stay. I took out my cell phone but another woman was already giving details to 911. After the woman finished the call, I was satisfied that help was on its way, so I continued. There were a bunch of rubberneckers/supporters gathered around the boy, so he wasn't alone. The dog stayed too.

I was shaken by this, of course, but then something amusing happened. A few blocks later, I knelt down to pat a beagle tied outside a coffee shop, and it let loose with this big mournful howl: AROOOO. Everyone smiled, including a girl whom I realized was Lake Bell. I guess she's not famous enough to be paranoid about being recognized. Susan Sarandon (my first celebrity sighting back in 1999) practically ran when I spotted her. But she didn't need to; I never say anything. I've also seen Ethan Hawke and Edward Norton, and I have to say they are better-looking in person.

After lunch, I walked D to a meeting. We passed a bakery with all sorts of novelty cakes. One had a real Barbie head, but its dress was all cake (about a foot long from the hem to the neckline). There was also a cake shaped like a fluffy white dog. They had cupcakes, too, with frosting in the shape of Elmo's head, Bert's head, etc.

Million Dollar Baby is our next Netflix movie. My mother warned me not to see it. She's usually accurate; she told me not to see Closer, and then I saw it anyway, and didn't really enjoy it. But I do like Clive Owen, so maybe it was worth it ;)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

There's a trend in our neighborhood of girls leaving the bathroom together. Single-occupancy bathrooms. This titillates the men. They giggle and point. Curiously, afterward, the bathroom is smoke free. Hmm.

We met a friend's new girlfriend recently. The two of them have the exact same speech patterns. Their sentences stop in the same places and trail off in the same way. So I asked her, "Are you from the Midwest?" (He is.) She nodded.

It's probably a sign they're well suited to each other. The similar speech, that is.

On the way home from dinner tonight, I patted several dogs, including:

A yellow Lab who liked to sit on the sidewalk after his snack, i.e., "rest and digest."

A foxy dog who licked me on the nose and forehead.

We shared an elevator in our building with a chihuahua that I never dare to pat because he's got a fierce bark on him. Even when he sniffed my legs, I held still. The dog's not much bigger than my hand but his demeanor says, "Don't f*ck with me, man. I'll make mincemeat of you."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

So here's a picture of the pocketbook I finished:



And the shawl I started:



I realized I was really bored with hats.

D and I saw Superbad on Friday. It was good, but as usual with a Judd Apatow production (he directed Knocked Up), stunningly crude. He did recycle one joke from Knocked Up, where it was better executed. But I'd still give Superbad an A-.

Then my college roommate came to visit and we all watched Snakes on a Plane. She kept covering her eyes during the extremely fake murder scenes and for a moment I missed my eighth-grade slasher flick buddy, who didn't like Psycho because she wanted more "gore."

Snakes really exceeded my expectations -- if you were okay with its total ridiculousness and implausibility, then it was kind of hilarious and pretty engaging. I'd give it a B overall but a B+ within its genre.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rainer's new trick

So tonight I communed with Rainer at his home. He climbed into my lap and kneaded my thigh for about 10 minutes. Sometimes he lost traction, but he just hopped back on. He gets into a bit of a trance when he does that; it's fun to watch.

When he stopped kneading and curled up in my lap, I took one sandal off and put it to the side. It's more comfortable to sit cross-legged without shoes. However, I never got around to taking the other one off.

When I had to go, I stood up and he made his way to the sandal and curled up with it. He cleverly arranged it so his paw was holding it down and it was hard for me to get it back. I wondered if he was snuggling with it because:

1) it's mine and he likes me :D

or

2) he didn't want me to go.

I guess it could be both.

Cat psychology is fascinating to me ;)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Inspired by Roxanne's fun striped bag, I'm working on a purple-and-pink knitted pocketbook. I've been doing various projects to use up the yarn I have, without adding new skeins to the stash. It's funny, I haven't made anything on straight needles in a while, since I make hats in the round. It feels like going back to nature or something ;)

D and I tried a new Indian resto with AT. The portions were small and the flavors were interesting. They even had a blueberry tapioca dessert which was delicious, but not heavy. D did not fare as well -- his fried cauliflower with sweet-and-sour sauce (recommended by the waiter!) tasted disgusting to all three of our palates, as if it might have spoiled. They did bring him something else, fortunately, but he still gave the food a B minus. I'm hoping he'll go back; I'll steer him toward better choices on the menu ;) In the background, a Bollywood movie was playing.

I'm reading The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian. While not as good as Midwives, it is definitely holding my attention, and I like the main character and the idea of a talented homeless photographer. However, one thing is jarring: Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby are treated as real people in the context of the novel -- i.e., the narrator talks about the houses where they used to live, and Daisy's daughter is a character in the story.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A place in the sun

So tonight D and I were eating outdoors and a man stopped at our table with a camera. He asked if we wanted to be interviewed about our dining experience. D's immediate reaction upon seeing a camera is always NO. However, I kind of wanted to be interviewed, and by the time the second cameraman came around, I said yes.

I blathered on a bit about the restaurant, my dish, etc., with the camera periodically zooming in on my lasagna or my face. I can only hope there wasn't sauce on it ;)

Anyway, if y'all want to see the clip, it should be online sometime in September at nwhyc.com. The site has not been launched yet.

We saw an adorable Akita (fluffy wolfhound-type dog) approach the outdoor tables. His owner called out to a tall waiter with a dancer's carriage: "I'll have a double Jack Daniels...and your phone number." Later, he lamented, "Where is that hot boy waiter?" His dog needed some water.

Fighting the good fight

So at Whole Foods, they have my favorite yogurt in the world -- Wallaby. The only hitch? Some of their nonfat yogurts cost $1.19, others cost $1.09. As a conscientious objector, I bought only the $1.09 flavors. But they kept ringing up at $1.19. After going through the whole price-check ordeal on several occasions, I asked for a suggestion slip.

I explained the foregoing and added boldly, "Make them all $1.09!"

This was last week.

I went there tonight and they made all the prices uniform.

They're all $1.19.

Bet you could see that coming.

In other news, my college roommate is going to visit this weekend on her way back from music camp. Since she shares an initial with another friend I've mentioned before, we will call her CR.

In book-related news, I finished Girl Sleuth (about the creation of Nancy Drew) and really enjoyed it. My LibraryThing review is here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Becoming Jane

So T and I had brunch this morning -- vanilla buttermilk pancakes for her, lemon ricotta pancakes with strawberries for me. We both admired the banana cream cheese stuffed French toast from a distance, but feared it would be too filling. I think it's the cream cheese that scared us off...the final touch of decadence.

We saw Becoming Jane which was just so good...much better than I was expecting, and more interesting than the poster implied. It was so engaging and charming. At the end though, I was crying, and I looked over at T and saw that her eyes were wet too. We had to stay in the theater for a while!

When we did leave, we passed a poster for Shoot 'em Up (ugh, what a title) in which Clive Owen plays a British nanny. Should be interesting.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Things are getting curiouser and curiouser

My library hired a 12-year-old. Last time I went there, he waited on me. My hold book wasn't on the hold shelf, so I suggested it might be behind the counter. "Books are never back there," he assured me solemnly. In fact, they always are. Maybe they should be on the hold shelf, but "should" is aspirational -- e.g., the president should be a good ruler, the war in Iraq should be over, you know. So I said, "I've been coming here since before you were born, son."

No, I didn't. But he learned his lesson about the way this library is run...the book was indeed back there.

So he waited on D today. Once we got out, I told him, "That was the 12-year-old!"

He said, "Yeah, I was thinking, 'Is that the 12-year-old? Well, I'm doing something really simple. He can't mess it up.'"

Aren't there child labor laws?

I also went to the hardware store. Three things are always true about hardware stores:

1) They are cluttered
2) They have no decor
3) I am the only woman in there.

And lastly, I saw the cutest dog in the world today*. A Wheaton.

*This applies to 40-50% of the dogs I meet.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I was saying to Liz earlier this week that nonfiction sometimes feels like a chore...but sometimes I am in the mood to read it. I have to recommend Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose. At first I was afraid it would be somewhat stuffy, but I'm learning all about these books I never heard of! Case in point: The Marquise of O-- by Heinrich von Kleist. Though Kleist tragically died young, his stories sound lively, racy and full of plot twists. The author of the book taught writing at a university in Utah and assigned the story to her students. She was holding her breath to see how the wholesome Mormons would react. (Of course, I kept thinking of Big Love.) It turns out they loved it! Now I want to read it.

And finally, I'm having brunch and seeing a movie with T this weekend. I suggested 3 movies and she's up for any of them. The Ten, Becoming Jane and No Reservations. Any recommendations?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

So tonight my relationship with Rainer took on a whole new dimension. He was sprawled peacefully in my lap when the bookstore cashier came over with a purple brush in his hand. "Hey there, how do you feel about brushing?" he asked. (It is an eccentric but charming bookstore.)

"Does he like it?" I asked.

"Depends on who he's with."

So I accepted the brush and ran it through his fur, very gently. He seemed to really enjoy it. Later, when he climbed off my lap, he lay down on the floor next to me and I brushed his belly. He stretched out his front legs with pleasure.

I also wanted to mention my neti pot. Inspired by Liz, I ordered one from Amazon a while ago, along with some packets of saline soution. At first I was dumping the salt into the water and not stirring. This really burns up your nose. Now I stir the salt and it works much better. I've overcome that feeling of "This is someplace I shouldn't be rinsing," and I've found it's pretty helpful.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice...I mean, Edith, Emma, Marlo and Harry

So D and I went to a vegan shoe shop tonight. He'd been wanting to visit them for a while. Ironically, I ended up liking it better than he did...but not for the shoes. For the cats. There were four of them!

Edith. She was the first one I patted. She was gray and soft and sprawled on the counter next to the cash register. I patted her and started saying, "Good Edith, good cat," and her tail wagged back and forth like Rainer's does. Then she opened her mouth and made a mewing sound...twice. I don't know cats well enough to know if it was a mew of pleasure or discomfort, so I went away. I might pat her in the future, though.

Emma. Emma was nestled in a cubbyhole. She came out eventually and stared at me in a slightly unfocused way. I guess she wasn't sure what to make of me. She had pretty eyes and nice posture, though.

Marlo. Marlo was my favorite. (Initially, I thought he was probably a girl, like Marlo Thomas. But later the employee referred to Marlo and Harry as "boys".) When Marlo saw me, his eyes lit up like Rainer's do and he came right over, arching his back so I could pat him and practically throwing his head back, he was enjoying it so much. But then...

Harry. Harry was a fun, feisty-looking cat with a big puffy coat of fur. Harry's demeanor said, "Don't even think about it." So I didn't. But when I was patting Marlo, Harry got mad, came over and took a swipe at Marlo with his paw! They got in a little scuffle and the employees separated them. Employee #1 tried to pat him then, and he swiped at her! Employee #2 said, "He wants a piece of you," and Employee #1 said, "He wants a piece of something." I like that Harry is slightly psychotic, but I will definitely give him his own space.

When life gives you lemons, make a hat.

So one of my favorite yoga students is leaving. She and her boyfriend are moving to San Francisco. He got a new job there that he couldn't pass up.

"But you just got a new job!" I said.

"I know," she said. "But I'll get another one."

I'm going to miss her. She's a sweet person, and she's also great at yoga. I wish she would stay.

But, in lieu of that, I made her a hat.



And a word about my post title. Recently, I finished reading Still Life with Husband by Lauren Fox, which was one of those books you can't put down, to the detriment of eating, sleeping or whatever. It had a line in it that I loved, something like: "My father always says, 'If life gives you lemons, bring them back to the store. Who wants lemons, anyway?'"

Friday, August 03, 2007

Animal tales

I saw some cute animals today and yesterday, so I thought I'd share them with you.

I was walking back from Pilates yesterday when I passed a gay porn magazine store. This is not uncommon for the Village. However, I saw something unusual: a stuffed animal tossed carelessly in front of the magazines, just behind the front windows. It's a very small space.

Then I saw its mouth and realized it was a real cat! It was sound asleep, but its features were unmistakable. Then two older ladies approached and said, "It looks just like mine! I have a calico."

"I thought it was a stuffed animal at first," I told them.

"No, it's breathing!" And we saw its belly move, and it rolled over a little bit.

It must have been a funny sight, three women (two over sixty) gazing rapturously at a gay porn magazine display ;) The cat was adorable but probably not visible to the casual observer.

I also saw a pug with my name. I've encountered her before; she travels in a pack of five pugs. I met a pug named Cosmo today, who did a little sneeze in my face when he tried to kiss me. It was strangely endearing. And we can't forget Reba, the Wheaton who sat on my foot. "She doesn't want you to go," her father explained.

Happy Friday, everybody!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Remembrance of things past

Every once in a while I remember something that had been eluding me, and it makes me happy. A while back I was trying to recall a book I read when I was a kid, about a girl who had two British soldiers quartered in her house during the Revolutionary War. Then tonight it hit me...Rebecca's War! I looked it up on LibraryThing, and sure enough, there it was.

(I highly recommend LibraryThing, by the way. Periodically they put up lists of Early Reviewer books, and you can bid on them. Then they send you a free advance copy to review.)

I also found a song. A while back, I tried to find this song on iTunes, typing in "I Could Never Be Your Woman" and "I Could Never Be a Woman" (because it was kind of hard to hear what the singer was saying). More recently, I read a snippet about Michelle Pfeiffer's and Paul Rudd's upcoming movie, I Could Never Be Your Woman, which was inspired by or features the song "Your Woman" by White Town.

Yay! With the correct name I was able to find and buy the song. 99 cents can bring you a lot of pleasure ;)