December 29, 2005

Work Work Work

I'm a busy little bee, well not really. This week is slow at work like every other office I'm sure. If I were working retail, I'm sure I'd be running around like a maniac helping customers, folding sweaters and climbing up and down stairs to get that item from the storeroom. I am considering getting a retail job at a nice store somewhere in Manhattan - either Crate & Barrel or Williams-Sonoma.

As I focus more and more on the idea of taking care of a family, the lure of a part-time job is getting stronger and stronger. I so much enjoy keeping a house but it takes quite a bit of work to stay on top of things. Working full-time leaves only the evenings for taking care of business at home. And working out - forget about it. I just can't do everything and I really like working out. I don't know how some women do it. Well, I guess I do. They just do it or they have help.

December 28, 2005

Michael Vale - RIP

The Dunkin Donuts guy passed away. That makes me feel a little sad. I loved those Dunkin Donut commercials. I'm sure he had other acting jobs but I couldn't tell you one without consulting his resume. He was definitely best known as the guy who woke up bright and early every day, dragged himself to work and uttered the famous phrase "It's time to make the donuts" with such dread. You could really identify with him. Sometimes when I wake up early to go to work, I can hear his voice saying that phrase, because his delivery of that line perfectly captures that feeling of early morning obligation. He played Fred the Baker for 15 years.

He was 83 years old when he passed over - family says it was because of complications due to diabetes. RIP Michael Vale

December 27, 2005

Vincent Schiavelli - RIP

Character actor Vincent Schiavelli died. He was only 57 years old. That's too young. He acted in everything from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He used his unconventional looks to his advantage in order to carve out a niche for himself in the acting profession. Of his list of movies, Death to Smoochy was my favorite performance because of the contrast between his looks and his character. He played a former star of children's television turned drug addict/killer for hire. I thought it was inspired. You would have to see Death to Smoochy to understand. The humor came a little bit from his odd looks - you can't imagine him as a star of children's programming.

Lung cancer got him in the end.

Rest in Peace.

(not Vincent Schiavelli's actual lungs)

December 25, 2005


Zoey is our guest. She is visiting us from a NYC neighborhood known as Hell's Kitchen. We are letting her stay with us while her roommate visits London and Paris for the holidays.

As you can see she is doing well, but just before I took this picture she told Jon and me how much she misses her roommate and wishes that she returns soon from her travels.

We're trying hard not to spoil her. But it's very difficult. We feel bad that she feels abandoned by her roommate and we want to make this visit as pleasant for her as possible.

December 22, 2005

The MTA Strike Is Over . . .

. . . and trains and buses should be up and running for tomorrow morning's commute. I'm glad that the situation was settled and that we don't have to walk these long distances any longer. Things will go back to normal or will they? How am I going to feel when I see transit workers tomorrow? I'm always going to resent the TWU Local 100 and the employees they represent for inconveniencing the city this way.

There never should have been a strike. When a child throws a temper tantrum, the usual advice is to ignore the child as long as he/she isn't hurting himself or anybody else around him/her. Eventually the child will calm down.

What happens when grownsups throw tantrums in the form of a strike? Do you give in or do you let the tantrum play itself out?

I resent the TWU and I always will.

December 21, 2005

59th St. Bridge - After Dark

The cold walk home in the dark was very difficult. I thought it would have been the same as this morning but it wasn't. It was more crowded, colder and felt longer. My good friend Dave met me at my office at 5pm and we headed out. By the time we got to bridge my legs were starting to stiffen up. As we were descending the Queens side the arch in my left foot started cramping painfully. Wouldn't you know it? There at the base of the bridge on Northern Blvd. was a Red Cross van handing out coffee and hot chocolate to the cold and weary pedestrians. It warmed my heart but unfortunately not my body which was stiffening from the feet up.

When I walked into the front door at 7:15 I was achy everywhere. I sat down on the bed and slowly reached for my toes to release my locked up lower back. A few minutes later I hobbled over to the tub and ran myself a hot bath. Before the tub was even full, I was in there soaking. Slowly, my muscles warmed and everything loosened up. The only casualties remaining are my feet which are pretty achy. I'm not sure what fallen arches feel like or what that expression means but I think my arches may have fallen. Because every step I take is painful.

I won't be walking in again tomorrow. As a matter of fact, I worked it out with my boss that I work from home. I packed a few projects in my bag pack before I left with Dave. If the weather were warmer I really think I could do it but this cold weather makes it too difficult.

I really, really thought I could pull it off without too much trouble.

It's Cold Out There

Well. I did it. I walked to work. It wasn't surprising to see so many people, after all what else are they going to do? I was surprised to see so few cars in town. The city is locked down pretty tight to traffic. Fifth Avenue was barren, Madison practically empty. Second Avenue was the only place I saw any real traffic - coming off the Queensboro bridge.

So here's how it went.

At 8:30 my Vidiot knocked on our door and we all ventured out together into the freezing cold. And it was freezing cold. We walked straight down quiet 29th Street all the way to Northern Blvd. where we hung a right for the bridge. That's where all the people were. Walking together into the city like a great big community of walkers. Except nobody was talking to each other outside of their own little group, so it really wasn't so much a community as it was a bunch of people walking across a bridge at the same time.

Thanks to Vidiot we have this great picture of us before we starting walking over the bridge. Sadly, I didn't get any good pictures of Vidiot.

We were up and over the bridge by 9:40 when we decided to stop for a moment at the RED CROSS van that was set up on the Manhattan side of the 59th Street bridge, to give commuters TLC by way of coffee and hot chocoloate. I guess it was around 9:50 when we parted ways with Vidiot at Park and 60th.

Jon and I continued down Park until Grand Central where we cut through the Met Life building for warmth. At 42nd Street we walked west to Madison which was completely abandoned. Madison Avenue has been designated for use by Emergency vehicles. I left Jon at a coffee shop on 37th and Madison and continued alone on to 25th and Broadway, my final destination.

I arrived at work around 10:30 or so. I was sweating in some areas while other parts of my body were freezing cold. My thighs are still warming up. Tonight I'll walk home with a friend who is meeting me at my office later on today. It should take us two hours or so.

But I'd rather do that than have the city give in to the ridiculous demands of the TWU.

People Walking

I'm biting the bullet and walking into work today. I stayed home yesterday. I wanted to see how the city's contingency plan worked out before giving it a go. There weren't any reports of people getting hurt walking through crappy neighborhoods so, I figure it safe enough. This morning I'm walking with two escorts - my husband and my neighbor.

All day I watched and listened to stories about how long it took people to get to work - the people who walked did it in less time. The people who tried to get rides with others in cars, vans or busses took up to 4 hours. I know from experience that Jon and I have walked to my work neighborhood in two hours and sometimes less depending on how quicly we're hoofing it.

We're lucky we live so close. If I lived further out in Queens there is no way I would walk to work. The way it stands now, it's about a three mile walk. That's far but it is doable.

Good luck to all of my fellow New Yorkers fighting to get their way to work. If it's real bad for you take the day off. Your boss will understand. He may not pay you, but he will understand.

December 20, 2005

We Saw the Messiah

Last night, before NYC MTA delivered its apocolyptic strike, Jon and I went with a couple of friends to see Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall. My uncle is a member of the Oratorio Society of New York and I've been going to see him perform the Messiah since even before he was a member of the society. Last night, I think may have been the last time I go see it. Now don't get me wrong. It's a beautiful piece of music but it's kind of slow and even though Carnegie Hall is the best place in the world to see chorale music performed, it's often crowded and uncomfortable.

Our party decided we would leave after the famous Hallelujah chorus. The thing is with the Messiah is there is a lot and I mean a lot of repetition. So, if a passage is slow there is a good chance that it is going to be slow for at least 5 minutes (which in Messiah time feels like half an hour) because the passage will be repeated about 6 times. There was one point where the Mezzo Soprano repeated the phrase "acquainted with grief" about 15 times during one of her solos. When she was done I whispered to Jon "Now we're all acquainted with grief". It was a particularly ponderous passage. While watching the performers I had a wicked thought - that Handel knew his piece was slow but still wanted people to hear it so he buried the most popular and entertaining part, the Hallelujah Chorus at the end of the second movement.

What would have improved my experience greatly was watching the performance from the comfort of the big bed I share with Jon. I was pooped by the time we got to Carnegie Hall. I had had a particularly draining day both emotionally and intellectually. But it was nice to get out. I've been a little complacent lately - staying indoors, keeping to myself.

Here we are outside Carnegie Hall after escaping from the Messiah.

How Toussaint Stole Christmas

The idea that the NY City transit workers are on strike is offensive. If the people who worked in the token boths were friendly; if the trains ran on time; if the conductors could give good explanations for why stuck trains are delayed; if the N or W train ever came before during or even after 4 R's and 2 Q trains before finally stopping so I can take it home to Queens - then I might even the least bit sympathetic. But I'm not.

But I'm sure New Yorkers will prevail in spite of the inconvenience. And I'm sure Times Square will be just as crowded as if the trains were still running. It'll be just like the scene in How the Grinch Stole Christmas where the Grinch is looking down on Whoville after stealing presents from all the Whos and he sees them holding hands and singing. But instead it will be Toussaint watching the happy bustling crowd on a rec room TV in the prison where he'll be spending Christmas.

New York City - Bahoo Bahoo. Well you get the idea.

December 19, 2005

It's Time Bill Gates and Bono Got Some Recognition

Wow. If these three people hadn't been put on the cover of Time Magazine I would never have known who they are, why they are famous or that Bono is a member of the Gates family.

December 16, 2005

Fuddy Duddy Alert

Drunk Santas
This is a special holiday decoration set up by the owners of our neighborhood diner. Do you get it? The Santas are supposed to be drunk from drinking too much wine - because they are carefully arranged in haphazard positions on the wine rack -that's how you can tell.

I never find this kind of humor funny. Finding drunks funny goes back one generation to people around my parents' age. This generation found Dean Martin's drunken shenanigans on stage irresistible and the drunken humor of Foster Brooks hilarious. It's the same kind of humor that led to those WB cartoons where the comedic circumstance is derived from a drunk STORK dropping a baby off at the wrong house.

People getting so drunk that they are making huge judgment errors is not funny. Maybe it was a reflection of the seemingly repressed times (the 40's and 50's) that made people appreciate this just a little bit more than should have been acceptable. Cultural fictional time capsules in the form of advertising, television and radio would have you believe that the 50's were a time of staid responsibility and finely structured social confines. To see someone behaving in a way so against the norm was probably funny - perhaps even envied.

But it's not funny now that we know about addiction and the health risks of too much tippling in addition to the number of people killed each year by people whose driving ability has been impaired by too much imbibing.

I find this display offensive.

What?!? No Transit Strike?!?!?

The Transit Workers Union (TWU), representing employees of the MTA in NYC has called their strike against two private bus lines, while negotiations continue for goodness knows only what. I'm baffled that anyone with a decent paying job that offers a pension and benefits would go on strike. I've been working for four years without insurance and I'm working full-time and in decent offices. I'm not going on strike. I haven't even had the option of paying into an insurance plan, which is one of the items being discussed at these contract negotations for the MTA. I was a city employee for a short time. The city takes care of its people. As a teacher I had a choice of at least 10 different plans with all different kinds of formulations. . .and people complained about that. Even if you have to pay into a plan like that, it's still worth it - especially if you can get regular checkups, tests, dental and as in the case of the teacher's insurance plan a free pair of eye glasses every year.

You would think we lived in a country where everybody is entitled to insurance. Well. We don't and we aren't. Small business owners DO NOT have to provide insurance for their employees which is why these cheap guys I've been working for of late have been able to get away with not providing benefits. And forget about raises. By a show of hands, how many of you out there get raises every year or every other year or even every five years? That's right. Not that many because you either don't have a job, work part-time or work for cheap people like me but do you quit? No. Because you need the job - because as much as the news reports that the economy is doing much better, it's still impossibly difficult to get a decent job.

Anyway, I am a little disappointed they didn't go on strike because I didn't want to go into work today.

December 15, 2005

Chicken Soup - Mmmm, Mmmm Good

Yesterday, I bought Norton's 2006 Antivirus program with a $20 rebate. Final cost - $19.99. Last night was all about making soup and installing Norton's. My new Tripp*Lite 10-outlet surge protector arrived yesterday from Overstock and I was going to do some work that would allow me to add my computer to our current computer set up but it was just too much.

My soup turned out great. I got home at 6:15 and started working on it immediately. I was preparing it for an hour. I quartered my chicken and diced all of the ingredients before adding them to the stock pot. Then when the chicken was practically falling off the bone, I pulled it out of the stock pot and ripped it shreds by hand. I strained out all of the bits and pieces that added to the soup's flavor, added the chicken and it was done.

Here's what I used.
7.5 quarts of water in an 8-quart stock pot
One small Murray's chicken
5 stalks of celery (diced)
4 carrots (diced)
5 tomatoes (diced)
2 onions (diced)
1 leak (minced)
1 green pepper (diced)
Old Bay seasoning
3 Herb Ox bouillon cubes

December 14, 2005

Oratorio Society of NY

My uncle is performing with his singing group (the Oratorio Society of New York) at Carnegie Hall on December 19th, 2005. Every year they get together and perform The Messiah. If you've never seen or heard chorale music performed live, it's an absolute must and The Messiah is a good piece of music to start with; especially for the holidays.


Just call me sniffles this morning. My nose is running - both backwards and forwards.
I use Mozzilla Firefox as my browser and one of the cool little programs you can add to it is an Accuweather program that shows you the forecast for today and the following two. Little symbols tell you what you can expect. For example , tomorrow is going to be freezing cold so the symbol is a little thermometer with ice on it. Very cute. You click thru those symbols to get to the Accuweather site but if you roll your mouse over them, you get a mini-forecast.

I also have another weather bug from the Weather Channel (called Desktop Weather) that sits in the tool bar on my desktop, that just flashes the temperature for my locale. And it's flashing 15 degrees. Isn't that special?

How am I supposed to leave the comfort of my warm bed and go to the gym in 15 degree weather? That's why I didn't go this morning - well . . . that and I was sleeping.

December 12, 2005

Forbes Fictional Fifteen Richest

Forbes published their list of the fifteen richest fictional characters for 2005.

Santa Claus tops the list with a net worth of infinity. Also on the list are Willy Wonka, Mongomery Burns and Thurston Howell III. How do they determine who makes the list? You can read about their methodology here.

One Way or Another

Please visit my guest blogger's site - One Way or Another He keeps a slice of life blog like so many of us.

December 10, 2005

Guess What I Did Today

Here is a pile of my hair.
My Old Hair

Here is my new haircut.
My New Haircut

Winter In New York City

I recently posted a couple of pictures of flowers I took on our trip to Jamaica? Why? Because winter has settled in early this year and it's already starting to get cold. Friday morning we had snow. Snow makes everything look pretty - at first. Even the subway tracks.
Fri AM Snow

The morning commute went on undisturbed.
Morning Commute

Yellow Shrimp or Pachystachys Lutea

This cold weather is making me long for tropical flowers.

December 09, 2005


Just because.

Reach Out - Reach Out and Touch Someone

Someone reached out to me - someone from my past. A year behind me in High School, he was a unique, quirky and interesting boy. And now he is an interesting adult. He reached out by email and sent me pictures to show me how he is. Granted, he looks older but he looked well - he's married and he has interesting hobbies and it looks like he's carved out a nice niche for himself in this modern day life. It was nice to hear from him.

I wonder who I could reach out to. I wonder who reads this site and how many people have found me by typing my maiden name in Google Search and ending up here. Actually, I know of one - another friend of mine that I keep in touch with from time to time. Another friend of mine from high school, two of his three children are already teenagers. YIKES!!!

If you are someone I used to know a long time ago and you've gotten here by Googling me, then please make contact. I'd be interested to hear from you. My email address is

December 08, 2005

24 Degrees of Separation

It's cold outside. Not as cold as Minnesota, which according to Minnesota blogs I read has had temperatures just above 0 degrees all week, but cold by New York standards. A hot bath awaits me as I drag out my morning routine over a longer period of time to make sure I'm actually feeling better.

Thor's Day

I've survived the week thus far, in spite of my stomach flu which never fully made its presence felt. See? I told you. My body DOES NOT want to lose weight. It won't even capitalize on an opportunity like stomach flu to shed a few pounds. And on top of that it took advantage of my illness and kept me from going to the gym. But I'll go now that I'm feeling better. Just because the wedding is over doesn't mean I can stop working out because I still have weight to lose.

Now if you know me, you might be thinking I look fine or you might agree I need to lose weight. I guess it depends on your perspective. But I really do need to lose weight because Jon and I would like to have children and it's healthier to go into a pregnancy thinner than heavier. Inevitably pregnant women gain weight. I had this fantasy that the baby could just live off my fat reserves and I could lose weight during a pregnancy but it doesn't work that way. I would ultimately like to lose 50 pounds before a pregnancy but if I got pregnant before that so be it.

December 07, 2005

America's Next Top Modeling Apprentice

Instead of going out with most of my friends to see another friend debate who between men and women have a harder time dating (DEBATE: "Is Dating Tougher for Men or Women?" The Anonymous Blogger vs. Hillery Borton (Moderator: Evanchik; Host: Seavey), I stayed home and watched the finale of American's Next Top Model. I also watched Martha Stewart's The Apprentice.

If I were feeling better I probably would have gone. But I've got this ill feeling that isn't quite like being sick. My stomach is cramping but nothing is happening. My eyes are burning but my nose isn't running. I'm on the edge of some kind of flu or virus - just enough to make me
uncomfortable but not enough to make me sick. But you don't want to hear about that.

This is the pretty girl that won America's Next Top Model. Her name is Nicole and she's a 19-year old student from Grand Forks, North Dakota. The only difference between her and the other pretty girls on the show was that she was the prettiest and most photogenic. She wasn't any more or less talented. She just took the best pictures. So all those stupid tasks they made the girls do - making collages that expressed their trueselves; ad libbing chocolate commercials; modelling like statues while pigeons pooped on their heads - didn't mean poo poo because in the end they picked the girl that was the prettiest which is basically a good lesson for life. The best looking people often have the best advantages. I never thought I could hooked on a show like this but I did.

Maybe it's because of Tyra Banks mission to prove she's more than just a pretty face by hosting two shows with little to no talent. Maybe it' s the bitchy runway coach Miss Jay, that was born a man but dresses like a woman. Maybe it's the involvement of Twiggy - the fashion model who made anorexia all the rage. Maybe it's the human drama, the conflicts between the girls competing for the top spot. Or maybe it's the lack of narrative and story line. Nothing to follow, nothing to think about. Not too demanding on the aging Val brain. Yeah. It was just the thing.

I ate tuna and crackers, leak and potato soup and lemon jello while watching America's Next Top Model and then The Apprentice with Martha Stewart. Martha Stewart's Apprentice only requires a little bit more thought than the model show. And that thought is "I'm glad on not competing on either of those shows" because that would require too much thought and effort.

Now, I've got Law & Order on the boob tube and Bernie Koppel of Get Smart and Love Boat fame is playing a presumable murderous rabbi. I could watch Law and Order all day long if it weren't fattening and didn't' kill brain cells to do so. I've lost a lot of brain cells watching Law & Order because it's like TV crack. It's on every day; ev-er-y day on TNT. And now? SVU is on every day on the USA network. It's so familiar and comfortable - the producers hardly ever stray away from the format.

I might have to join a support group.

Please Say It Isn't So

Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli are getting divorced after 24 years of marriage citing irreconcilable differences. They are going to share custody of their 14 year old son Wolfgang. They named their son Wolfgang. Admittedly it's not one of those NEW weird names famous people give their kids. Instead it is an OLD weird name, but at least it's for Mozart. Weird, original and intelligent.

I thought their marriage was solid. I thought they were going to make it. This news saddens me. I remember when they got married. Eddie had pretty much peaked with the band and Valerie's career was slowing down a bit. They were both so good looking and talented and of course they still are but at the time that was like Heather Locklear and Tommy Lee getting married. It was a HUGE deal. A real rock-n-roll love story.

December 06, 2005

I Didn't Love the 80's

I stayed home today because of my brain fog. I've been alternating sleeping with watching episodes of I Love the 80's. I watch this show and I wonder, where the hell was I during those years? I literally came of age in the 80's. I turned 12 in 1980, graduated high school in '85 and was finished with college by 1989. I remember the movies and SOME of the music, mostly the New Wave stuff, but I hardly remember any of the fads.

Oh yeah, I remember now. Most of the fads from the early '80's involved spending tons of money on crap designer clothing with large and obvious labels - money my family just didn't have to waste. Most of my parents money went to giving me musical training on flute and piano, which in retrospect was fine with me, but boy those other girls could be so cruel. I used to get made fun of for not having designer jeans and for being studious and for practicing music. Amazing, isn't it?

The other fad - music videos - was completely lost on us because my parents chose not to spend money on a cable connection for their house. My mother's philosophy was that we were watching enough TV without it - why should she make it more tempting. My parents were ahead of the times. But it would have kind of been nice to fit in just a little bit with the other kids.

I didn't have '80's hair until '85 when I went from ass length hair to a modified Flock of Seagulls haircut above my ears. I missed all that early 80's hair feathering and excessive hair spray use - always disliked hairspray - intensely.

They just a showed a segment from '85 on neon colored clothing. I guess the closest I ever came to jumping on that trend was fluorescent eye shadow in 1986. I recall trying to be very counter culture in the 80's. I never wore shoulder pads because lord knows my shoulders were big enough. But I LOVE wearing army clothes. I used to wear those draw string army pants where you could draw them at the waist AND the ankles. In the late 80's I never shopped in a regular store, it was always thrift stores and army surplus.

But after a couple years of that, I realized that being counterculture was becoming fashionable but that didn't stop me. I continued to dress unconventionally all the way through college. It all came to a crashing halt when I moved to New York and had to find work. At first, I didn't think it mattered because I was working for a caterer and then I worked as a waitress. But when I started moving into retail jobs and then eventually office jobs, I had to improve my wardrobe.

That was no easy thing. I didn't know how to dress at all. Dressing counter culture for five years for me meant dressing in clothes that really stood out. I learned eventually that sometimes it's okay to fit in and that dressing differently from everyone else isn't the be all and end all of self expression.


This morning I feel like I was hit by a truck. My body aches, my stomach is queasy, my mouth and ears feel dry. Yuck.

But I am selling this wonderful pair of shoes on ebay. Check them out. Maybe it's something you absolutely, positively need? By the way, this was not an easy picture to take.

December 05, 2005

Only 3 More Weekends Left in 2005

The weekend is over and it's time to go back to work. Although, I was considering calling in sick due to a sinus headache and the aches and pains that come from exercising. But what's the point, the city is doing some unnecessary and unspecified road repairs on our street so the apartment will be noisy all day anyway. Not too much relaxing you can do with jackhammers going off every 15 minutes.

So, instead I'm sitting at our desk, eating a light and delicious strawberry 8 oz., 120 calorie yogurt. If I'm lucky, I'll burn those calories within the next 5 hours but who knows. My body burns through calories like fire through water. Soon, I'll be soaking in a hot bath and donning clothes, initiating my weekly routine.

I worked out both Saturday and Sunday and while I am proud of myself, the old familiar aches and pains of working out have replaced the old aches and pains of atrophying muscles after a day of trying to hold up my head. I'm pretty stiff but it's that good kind of stiffness where you know exactly why you are stiff because you pushed yourself a little too hard at the gym.

It was a productive weekend. I put my kitchen through another revision - condensing, reorganizing, throwing away stuff we no longer need. I also reorganized our filing cabinet. It's amazing the things you find once you start looking. I found things I completely I forgot I had - like postcards I bought from the St. Joseph's Oratory on our trip to Montreal last year. I also found a charming certificate with a raised seal signed by the people who witnessed my birth.

We got back the pictures from the table cameras at our wedding. Amazingly, the same people keep showing up in every pack which leads me to believe only a few people realized there were cameras at the table.

I didn't mention that Jon met with our photographer last week and received the proofs for our wedding. Here is why I love our photographer. He printed every black and white photo he shot in his darkroom to provide us with proofs and they are all beautiful and we get to keep them. This is a great photographer and good person. My advice to anyone considering photographs for their wedding or any big event, is to practice some different smiles. I consistently have the same stiff smile in every photo - although if you saw the pictures you would probably just think I look happy.
Last night, before seeing our friend in a play called Ban Republican Marriage, we went for dumplings at Rickshaw, a great little dumpling place on 23rd St. between Bway and 6th. It's wonderful. Here you can see Jon enjoying one of nine shrimp dumplings which he ordered with Peanut Sate soup. At this restaurant they have a choice of 6 varieties of dumpling (in quantities of six or nine) which you can order with a choice of 6 salads OR 6 soups. So, I had six chicken/basil dumplings in the peanut sate soup and Jon had the shrimp.

December 04, 2005

A.M. Snowflakes

Snowy Morning
The weather report told us to expect snow. I woke up this morning and looked out the window like an excited kid. And sure enough, 2 inches of snow fell over night and it was still snowing. I gathered the laundry, got ready for the gym, packed up my camera and went out - early. Because I knew it wouldn't take long before the beautiful white snow turned into slippery slush.

It was exciting. It's the first snow of the season (well for New York City anyway).

Normally, I find the X-mas tree stand annoying but this morning it was transformed. Some of the trees looked like they were growing right out of the sidewalk. It was a beautiful morning until all turned into mush.

December 03, 2005

Up and Almost Ready

I've fully accepted that I am going back to the gym. I'll be going in the mornings to start - trying to get back into that habit. Also, I dread going to the gym. If I do it first thing in the morning, at least I won't have the whole day to talk myself out of going.

The only problem now is actually putting on the gym clothes and facing the icy cold blast of arctic air that seems to have covered New York City like a blanket over night. My apartment is warm but not hot - comfortable. The super finally got the heat situation under control. Instead of feeling like summer in the middle of August, it actually feels like an apartment heated economically in winter time.

If I could get into the habit of NOT smoking every day; of eating three meals a day; of drinking 2 liters of water a day then surely, I can get back into the habit of going to the gym. After all, that's good for me as well and I know within a week my back and neck are going to feel much better - but boy, do I NOT want to go this morning.

5 minutes later

Deciding what to wear is always a challenge, so I've been very careful lately to fill my drawers up clothes that I just LOVE to wear. This is the case with the T-shirt I'm wearing on the left.

Yes. That is a photo of me taken just moments ago at 7:30 in the morning. I decided to wear a t-shirt I bought on honeymoon as inspiration for facing the winter like weather in order to work out for an hour or so. You can see how utterly thrilled and awake I look. If you examine the photograph not so closely, you'll see the puffy darkish circles under my eyes (which are always there but moreso in the morning).

Okay. You didn't happen to see where I put my sweater, did you? It's the big gray one with the white snowflakes that I bought on ebay for $10 like three years ago. That's another one of my favorite items. It's working. . .I really want to put on that huge warm sweater and head out doors.

I'll let you know how it went later.

December 02, 2005

Today is Friday

Today is Friday, Friday, Friday.
It will be a fun day, fun day
All day long.
My body is literally aching to go back to the gym. I've got familiar old aches and pains in my back and neck which plagued me for years until I started working out seriously. I checked my measurements last night and for the most part they are a smidge smaller than before my wedding but still, I would hate to gain back wait or lose some muscle tone which I'm probably doing as we speak - my muscles are most likely losing their ongoing battle with time and gravity.

Instead of going to the gym last night, I cooked up a storm. Because of my schedule I have to choose between activities I enjoy because I can't do everything. If I go to the gym after work, I don't cook hot meals. It's just too much for me. Anyway, I cooked something wonderful.

I used my new food processer to turn a pineapple into mush. I threw that mush into some well sauteed onions and after cooking the onions and pineapple together for 10 minutes or so, I threw in some chicken thighs that had been boiled in a stock pot to remove some of the fat. That worked out really well. I then cooked some macaroni in the light broth and after cooking the macaroni, threw some barley soup mix into the stock pot - which I haven't yet taste, so I can't speak to the results of that concoction.

The chicken turned out great.

December 01, 2005

Psychic Tarot Card

Somehow, yesterday's post about my experiences with psychics diseappeared entirely. So, I'm sorry if your comments have been lost. I don't know why this post is so important to me that I need to make sure that it's read but I guess I'm just proud of it.
The Anonymous Blogger posted an angry letter to a psychic that gave him bad information. This reminded me of a time in my life when I was lonely, sad and vulnerable to the charlatans that claim they can help you solve all of your problems with a simple cure.

There was one who really got to me when I was in my early 20's. I was so naive, I believed everything she told me. It started with an initial reading. She was able to read my life in the cards. She figured out that I was unhappy, lonely and lacking direction. At the time, I had just graduated college and moved in with a girlfriend into a cheap apartment on the upper east side - a ridiculously cheap apartment. The job that had been promised to me by my friend's brother-in-law the summer previous to graduation was gone. I found out by going into work and seeing someone sitting at the front desk, my desk - no one had bothered to tell me that I had been replaced even though they knew I was moving into the city and coming in. So there I was - living in the city because I thought there was a job waiting for me. Anyway, I ended up working for her sister instead as a caterer's assistant because I guess her dickhead brother-in-law and the rest of the family felt sorry for me. I was so green.

Also, I had little to no self-confidence. I didn't know what to do. I felt alone, so alone in the extremely intimidating big city, three or four companies had just let thousands of employees go (early 90's) because of cutbacks making finding a job next to impossible and I had made such a strong stand against my parents to be on my own that I just couldn't go home. In addition, these people, this friend and her family whose "care" I fell into had this way of making me feel like I had no natural talent or ability, like I was this alien who fell to earth from the planet "average" - they were all uber artists and lived in some strange world where normal people didn't even register on their snob meters. I must have reeked of eau-de-pathetic.

It was under these circumstances that I went to see a psychic to see what my future held for me. She read my cards and told me that there was a curse on me, but we had to do some work to figure out what kind of curse it was, who cursed me and how we were going to remove the curse. She told me to take a tomato and hide it in my apartment for several days and then bring it back to her. For a few more dollars she looked inside that tomato, at the rotten core, and knew what needed to be done.

When I was a small child, unbeknownst to me, someone had taken a piece of my hair and locked in a dark place. This was how they placed the curse. The curse was that I would never be able to see what life truly had in store for me; that I would never be able to see my ability or know what my place was in this world and this life. That sounded very serious to me and like exactly what was happening to me. I didn't know who I was or what I could do or where I was going. I thought for sure it must have been true.

But it wasn't until after she proposed the antidote for this curse that I realized she was in it for the money and that was she was saying might not be true. To figure out what was to be done I had to sleep with a rose under my pillow for a few days. I brought it back to her. For every petal that fell off the rose I was to give her $100 toward payment for a remedy to the curse. She offered to put some piece of me - hair or nails - in a gold box. She told me that she would burn candles around that box for days on end and have people pray for me. She also told me that she could make a representation of me in wax and burn candles around that. (side note: if anyone ever offers to make a representation of you decline. That is some seriously dark magic and if you don't believe in it, don't agree). This was supposed to ligthen my aura which was presumably mud-like and clear my vision.

I told my friend's brother-in-law about it and here is reason #300 why I hate these people in retrospect. He never said "WAKE UP. THESE PEOPLE ARE CHARLATANS." He never advised that she might be a phony or took the time to talk to me to see what might be bothering me. These f-ing people who told me they cared for me and made me believe it never looked out for me. Instead, this brother-in-law asked me if I really thought this cure was going to make a difference and that no one could decide that except for myself. In other words, he left me hanging.

It was also at this time that I developed a dislike for armchair therapists. Anyway, I finally realized I was being rooked. I envisioned myself as a fly on the wall for these "consultations" and saw how ridiculous I looked. I never gave that woman another penny although I did continue getting readings with other readers here and there, for some time there after. When you're lonely and you don't know where to turn to for advice, a small fee of $5.00 - $10.00 doesn't seem like too much money for some tea and sympathy.

I learned to read tarot cards on my own. I became quite good at it. I do believe in the mystical and the unseen. I also believe that life is for the living and that if you want to communicate with spirits, they'll be plenty of time for that in the afterlife. I don't read cards anymore.

The lesson here is to live your life, make your mistakes, take risks and rely on your gut instinct. Trust yourself and if you like how you were raised, trust your upbringing. Eventually you become more polished and even your gut starts maturing a little giving you better instincts on which you can rely.

Most people know how to solve their own problems. They just have to face them and solve them. That's the hard part. You have to be ready to tackle the big life issues but it's you that has to do it. That's what it means to work on yourself. But it's work.

Can't Edit My Previous Post

Like most writers, I want to go in and edit my last piece of writing but for some reason, that last post is listing in the "edit posts" function on blogger. I want to correct the spelling of wreaked. The word is spelled correctly but it should be reeked. Also, I want to add three little words to one of the closing paragraphs. They are important words and will change the meaning or clarify the meaning of that little section.

1 minute later

I went in to "edit posts" to see if I can edit this one and wouldn't you know it, I could see it but the Psychic Tarot Card post was missing from the list.

Is it possible that the post was just too long?

November 30, 2005

Bury Me In This Dress

I would like to welcome a guest to my blog this week. Please visit her site. It's Bury Me In This Dress.

You know me. I like those slice of life blogs and I just really like hers. The young woman in question lives in the Philipines and from what I can tell she seems interesting enough.

Her recent purchases on Ebay have me convinced I should try to sell her my other pair of sexy shoes, but I personally don't want to have to deal with international shipping.

I managed to sell my other shoes for a whopping $18.00. I don't think it's possible to get rich off ebay.

November 29, 2005

Haunted House

Arrived home around 6 to the not so dulcet tones of my caterwauling neighbor who practices her opera singing three hours a night - Mozart no less. Boy she sucks. Every night between 6 and 9 our apartment sounds that old Halloween screensaver that was so popular in the 90's - you know, the noisy one with the haunted house.

November 28, 2005

Post 4-Day weekend Depression

I'm feeling a little down this morning having to return to work after a wonderfully relaxing four-day weekend.

Thanksgiving Day
Rode a crowded LIRR train out to Long Island to celebrate my brother's first Thanksgiving in his new house. My brother and his wife were kind enough to extend an invitation to a friend of mine, who joined us in the celebration. There was the mandatory turkey, mashed potatoes, string beans with portabello mushrooms, brussel sprouts (I passed on those). My mother brought one of her delicious soups. For dessert our plates ranneth over. My sister-in-law baked an apple pie from scratch. She also served us cookies, a fruit platter, a chocolate pudding pie with piles of whipped cream and coffee.

The Day After Thanksgiving
I kind of did nothing the whole day. Except for the following:
Introduced Jon to the wonders of that so-bad-it's-good movie Zardoz; took all of our beautiful China out the boxes it came in and put it away; threw away three whole sets of dishes; opened and seasoned our new wok; read a little bit more of Wicked. I'm exploring fiction influenced by the Wizard of Oz, in case you were wondering.

I posted an outrageously sexy pair of shoes on ebay with a description that was so raunchy, ebay took the listing down. My original post referred to the shoes as PATENT LEATHER BDSM shoes given to me by a friend of mine that was a dominatrix, that wanted to adopt me as one of her submissives. (Of course, this is all made up so if you are my mother-in-law and reading this, the above NEVER HAPPENED so don't worry. I am still and always was a nice Jewish girl.) Apparently, my original description violated some kind of decency clause or the other - here is the link to the current listing. As you can see, my new copy isn't as exciting and probably won't generate much interest at all and possibly no sales.

After that, I laid around until late in the afternoon when I decided that I needed to do something else, anything else but lay around so I went food shopping. After the food was delivered I started getting really bad cramps and had to lay around some more. This time with a heating pad and two motrins in my system. By the time Jon came home later that night, I was feeling better and we went out to my favorite restaurant for a late dinner. Then we watched Hero - one of the most beautiful movies ever made. Gosh that movie is sooo pretty and soooo interesting.

I woke up around 6 with such bad cramps that I had to get out of bed and lay on the couch with a heating pad until the motrin took effect but after it did, I slept until about 11am. Jon and I had great day out and about New York City. When we got home, I cooked up some pepper steak in our new wok and just chilled out with my hubby.

It was a good weekend overall.

November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving.

I like that the holiday celebrates immigration and imagination. The holiday IS tainted by the sad history of what the original settlers ended up doing to the Indians. But before all that there was the hope that the two cultures (Europe and Native American) could combine and make a greater civilization. Imagine what the country would be like had the Europeans decided to work with instead of against the Native Americans. I'm sure given the opportunity they would have chosen not to be wiped out.

But if the two cultures did blend would we be as techologically and medically advanced as we are now? Probably, but I'm not sure. Would a Native American influenced culture have agreed with sending a man to the moon or even conceived of it? Probably, but I'm not sure. Would this culture be warring and able to defend itself against other nations and compete in the global economy of today? Probably, but I'm not sure.

I see the downfalls of this theory as I write it. This theory assumes that the Native American healthy respect for Mother Nature would have slowed down the murder of the planet but who am I to say that given the opportunity they wouldn't have evolved into the same greedy people we are today. These weren't stupid people. They didn't really have an idea of land ownership but they would probaby have come around and they probably would have become the same as we are today had they been given the opportunity to evolve sociologically, techonogically, politcally, etcetera without the constant worry of being killed.

Or maybe the original settlers would have become nomadic instead of settlers. They probably could have integrated themselves with the Native American tribes they ended up protecting themselves against and we could all have cool names like Running Deer Smith and Runs With Rabbits Smith.

Either way - if the two cultures had combined instead of clashed we would still probably be celebrating this holiday.

If anyone knows of any essays, fiction or non-fiction, that also shares this historic speculation, please feel free to suggest it, to point me in that direction.

November 23, 2005

Waxing Mnemonic

Does anybody remember that little mnemonic device for remembering the planets?

It goes like something like this.

My Very Educated Mother Just ___ ___ Nine Pizzas.

I can't remember the words for Saturn and Uranus.

Can anyone help me? Is it Sent Us?

November 22, 2005

It's Raining; It's Pouring

This rain reminds me of that weather we had in October, where it rained and rained and rained and rained and rained e - except it's about 20 degrees cooler. Supposedly we are having a Nor'Easter - why can't it just be bad rain? Does it have to be named and qualified? I like weather as much as the next weather geek but I don't agree, necessarily with the marketing and promotion of it. There's been a lot of that lately - especially with this miserable hurricane season.

Weather doesn't need publicity. We can't package it, sell it, buy it, trade it or commodify it in any way.

So - let's just call today's weather what it is - a fall thunderstorm.

November 21, 2005

Xmas Culture Fatigue

Yesterday, Jon and I walked from the Woodside station at 61st and Roosevelt Avenue in Queens to our home in Astoria. We stopped at CUP along the way and met up with my good friend Dave. That's a long walk but can be done in less than an hour if you don't stop at Best Buy or Old Navy or any of the other fun stores on Northern Blvd.

It is soooooooo quiet in my office that all I hear is the tapping of reluctant fingers against eager keyboards. I just turned on my phone's music/radio function. We can listen to the hold music but we can not change the channel It seems that 106.7 FM is playing Christmas music - already.

Two seconds later

I just turned off the music because Christmas music makes me kind of crazy. Santa Clause is NOT really coming to town. We all know it - yet that song is going to be thrust upon me at least 3 times a day until Christmas comes.

Now it's quiet again. I wish the phone would ring or somebody would say something, say anything (and not in the John Cusack kind of way).

Happy Birthday Matthew

I rode the Long Island Railroad this weekend and caught these men actually at work on the renovations at Jamaica Station - the LIRR platform. It's very rare to see people actually working after hearing conducters claim construction as an excuse for train delays.

So, I took the train into Long Beach (photo on the left is a picture of L.B. on the approach from the train) this weekend to visit with my folks. Earlier in the day, my mother and I drove out to Fortunoff to pick up the vegetable turine from my China set - a gift from my mother's cousin. We got it home and alas it was the wrong piece. My pattern is 4397 and Fortunoff sent a piece from 3497. So, that trip was kind of in vain. My mother and I spent a nice afternoon together running errands and catching up. We made a delicious chicken dish for dinner. Rather I prepped the vegetables that she used to make our delicious dinner. Potted chicken with haricots vert, small peas and baby carrots. Quite yummy.

We headed out to my brother's house afterwards to help him celebarte his birthday. There were two cakes: A cheesecake

and a cake from Carvel.

After Matthew ceremoniously blew out his candles (and I ceremoniously just missed the shot) we all shared coffee and cake - my brother's mother-in-law is in from Florida - it was nice to see her and catch up with her. We'll be seeing more of her on Thanksgiving. My nephew had long been in bed. That baby sleeps like a log - 12 hours a night. It's amazing.

Here is a gratuitous shot of my very pretty mother, for your enjoyment.

November 18, 2005

Aisha Taylor

Does anybody remember when Aisha Taylor was the host of the late night show TalkSoup on E Television? She took over after Hal Parks and John Henson.

Since then, she's been a regular on Friends, CSI and now she's co-starring in the Ghost Whisperer with Jennifer Love Hewitt. More power to her.

I always liked her, always thought she was funny.

Just wish they would bring back TalkSoup. That show was great.

November 17, 2005


Anybody sniffling yet?

As the weather gets cooler my sinuses are filling up. Last night, I had to walk in the rain which didn't help either. Not that I don't like walking in the rain. I do. I like it. It's one of the remaining memories that can transport me back in time and make me feel like a 12 year-old. But it also seems to have increased my sniffling.

I'm getting older. You know how I can tell? I'll tell you.

Last night, Sarah went to a party, a benefit for her job and it looks like she had an amazing time. There would have been time, when I would have read that and felt sad that I couldn't be a part of it. But all I could think when I read her post was "A party in the middle of the week? That's crazy. I would rather have stayed home."

But seriously, if you want to read about a great party and see some really great pictures of a really good person then check out Finishing The Hat.

November 15, 2005

Lunch time

I chose the meatloaf platter special from Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop or should I say it chose me. When I saw that meatloaf was the special for Tuesday, the meatloaf spoke to me - from down on 5th Avenue. It told me it was delicious and that I must eat it. It lied. It wasn't delicious although it was filling. Sometimes you just need something in your stomach to fill the hunger void.
This morning's train ride was crowded and uncomfortable. At every stop, it seemed people only got on - not off. This is not unusual except for one fact - I rode the train between 9 and 9:30. It wasn't too long ago when a commuter could ride between 9 and 9:30 in relative comfort with lots of elbow room and sometimes even finding a seat. But lately it's been crowded. It's like when I used to ride the train between 8:30 and 9 in the morning, which leads me to conclude that 9 - 9:30 has become the new 8:30 to 9.
The weather - overcast with rain looming in the near future. The temperatures are still not too cold. In the upper 50's you can still get away with NOT wearing a coat. It's pleasant. I like the drama of expectant rain.

November 14, 2005

Morose Monday

Facing Monday morning is becoming increasingly difficult. I know I'm not alone. When I got to the subway this morning, I walked into a crowd of about 20 people - all with that thousand yard stare. We walked weakly as a group to the turnstile and together trudged up the stairs to the platform. No one was smiling. No one seemed motivated or happy about going to their jobs. I don't even recall making eye contact with anybody.

I withdrew into a book, listening to Howard Stern on my headset. It's been a while since I've listened to Stern. I remember first listening to his show, sitting in my car in the parking lot of Nassau Community College in 1985 - my first semester. And now - a little more than 20 years later - he is retiring bits that I and so many other fans have been listening to for years. It's weird that he won't be on the radio anymore - I'm so used to his show being on the air.

I really don't see myself buying a portable satalite radio and then buying a subscription just so I can listen to Stern. It's not practical and I'm not THAT big a fan. But still, it's a shame and I'll miss Stern and his crew.

November 13, 2005

Roosevelt Island

Jon and I joined at least 30 other New Yorkers on a Forgotten NY tour. I've been looking at the Forgotten NY website for a couple of year now and I was excited to finally take a tour with its founder Kevin Walsh. He started the tour at the base of the Roosevelt Island Tram on 59th St. and Second Avenue. I learned that there used to be a trolly that ran over the Queensboro Bridge between Manhatten and R.I. The next time your at the NY side of the bridge look for the little kiosk that looks like it's being dismantled. That was the first time I'd ever heard of that.

Anyhoo, once we got to the island Kevin brought us over to the Blackwell House - the oldest house on the island. It does have an interesting history but you can read about it on Kevin's site.

Blackwell House

Before the tram and the subway, if you wanted to get to Roosevelt Island you could take the trolley or you could drive over this beautiful bridge.

Roosevelt Island Bridge

My favorite part of Roosevelt Island is the north end where this beautiful lighthouse is. The last time I saw it, it was a mess but since I've been here last it's been renovated.Lighthouse

At the end of the tour, I caught this seagull in the act of admiring the view.
59th St

Chiseled Products

Apparently if you use these products you will look like an Adonis or so they name would have you believe.

Look What I Found

Here is a giant snowglobe on display for the holidays at RiteAid.

November 10, 2005

November 09, 2005

Harry's Burritos House Red

Here are some notes I took at dinner last night before going to trivia.
I'm sitting in Harry's Burritos at a table by myself.

Across from me is a woman - also sitting by herself. She's wearing too much makeup, too much hair spray, too much shiny clothing. She's a white woman. Her hair is four shades of blonde. Her eyes are lined both top and bottom with thick black liner. Her poofy hair is held together with at least a quarter can of hair spray. Her lips are caked with lipstick and she is drinking the house red at Harry's Burritos.

Her outfit - black sequined pants and a gold/black lamay mandarin collar jacket.

She's talking on her cell phone and dropping names like Dr. Brown and Dom Deluise. It sounds like she's planning some event.

This is where my notes stop. My dinner came and I put everything aside so I could enjoy my BBQ Burrito with chicken, jack cheese and pinto beans.

I couldn't believe it when she asked the waitress about the winelist because she also asked for a recommendation. Face it. She looked out of place there. She looked like a cross between a southern belle/beauty queen about 25 years past her prime and an event planner that's kind of lost her mind.

The waitress was sweet. She told the woman that Harry's has two wines - a house white and house red - and then she recommended the white because she liked it better. Naturally the woman chose the red.

I was utterly fascinated by her. She was still talking on the phone and dropping names loudly enough for everyone to hear when I left the restaurant.