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.

November 08, 2005

France - State of Emergency

Tonight marks the 13th night of violence in France. Although accounts of violence are slightly down, France is imposing an old state of emergency law from the 1950's to help in some areas.

Maybe other countries are looking down their noses at France but it's not only in France where poor immigrants have been so disenfranchised that any excuse will do to riot and wreak havoc. It should be a wake up call to all countries that have big cities and bigger immigration problems.

The problem isn't the immigrants per say but a country's abiity to absorb immigrant populations and provide jobs and housing for its unemloyed residents and aliens alike. Poverty in all it's guises is a bad thing - dehumanizing at its worst.

The same thing could easily happen New York City - except our disenfranchised are most often citizens - born and raised here and many of them stuck in an endless cycle of poverty. The inequalities in our system are many and great.

Cake Space

I found this site procrastinating this morning, instead of getting ready for work.

This person makes beautiful cakes.

Check it out.

Cake Space

November 07, 2005

Processing Food For Thought

Tonight I used my brand new Cuisineart blender - one of the many cool appliances we recently received as gifts. (This model also doubles as a food processor which I'll probably try out tomorrow.)

Look at that thing.

It's awesome, sexy, clean, new, easy to use.

I used it to make my first soup of the season - potato/tomato soup. I can't say this was my best soup ever but I'm going easy on myself being that it is the first of many to come over the cold months ahead. Potatoes, tomatoes, onion, heavy cream, salt and pepper combined together made a creamy yummy concoction but the soup was a little too heavy on the potatoes.

Is it wrong to enjoy cooking so much?

Are women still allowed to enjoy taking care of a husband and house?

Women receive mixed messages all the time.

So, I'm willing to take a stand here and now. If that is what you enjoy doing as a woman then go for it. If you don't enjoy it then don't.

The Women's Liberation movement was about giving women choices and equal opportunities.

Monday Mourning

This morning, I am mourning the loss of free time. Heading out to work after a beautiful weekend takes discipline.

The weekend was wonderful.

My mother came by Saturday morning. Our new refrigerator was delivered Saturday morning. I spent Saturday afternoon doing absolutely nothing and the evening with a good friend I hadn't seen since the wedding.

Sunday was wonderful. Enough said.

November 06, 2005

Sweet Reunion

Last night, Jon and I went with Sarah to St. Andrews on 44th Between 6th avenue and Broadway, closer to 6th. St. Andrews is a great Scottish type pub. Most of the bartenders and waitstaff are Scottish and everyone wears a kilt. The food was great. I drank a beer which I hardly ever do. But it was Scottish beer and therefore better than most beers available on tap in American bars and restaurants.

I went over to Sarah's house a little earlier in the evening to catch up with my friend Zoey. Zoey is sporting a fashionable fall hair cut. She looks great and seemed and happy to see me. I love that little Lhasa. She's so unbelievably sweet.

We headed over to St. Andrews with the intention of meeting Jon after his work shift. While waiting Sarah and I perused the menu.

There were so many good dishes to choose from. I was torn between the New Zealand Rack of Lamb and the Hazel Nut Crusted Sea Scallops. I resorted to eeny meeny miney mo to make my choice and ended up with the Hazel Nut Crusted Sea Scallops.

Here is what we ended up with in the end.

Crispy Calimari for the table. Sarah went with the Scottish Smoked Salmon on a Warm Potato-Chive Blini. Jon after joining us had the Pan-Seared Shetland Isle Salmon and I had the above. For dessert we ordered something absolutely out of this world - like nothing I ever had before. Sticky Toffee Pudding with caramel sauce and fresh whipped cream. Just wonderful. Absolutely delicious.

I recommend this restaurant highly.


November 04, 2005

Serpentine Aviation

You're probably like me. You have blogs that you like to check every day to see if something new has been posted. Some are by random people and some are written by your friends. Well, I go through my blog roll mostly every day to see what's happening in the lives of my friends.

Several weeks ago, one of my friends wrote about Snakes on a Plane. I thought it was an amusing post because Chico Bangs is a good writer - I generally like everything he writes because he writes well. But sometimes it takes me a few reads before I really get what someone is writing. My reading comprehension is good but not what it used to be. Maybe stress or age or whatever have contributed to my intellectual decline but I didn't get it until now just how ludicrous an idea it is to make a movie about snakes on a plane.

Here is the plot. (found at
On board a flight over the Pacific Ocean, an assassin, bent on killing a passenger who's a witness in protective custody, let loose a crate full of deadly snakes.

So - if we are to suspend our disbelief, an assassin (presumably a contract killer) is going to try to kill someone on a plane with snakes. So someone who is smart enough to be a murderer for hire without ever getting caught is killing someone on a plane. Instead of waiting until he gets to the final destination to kill him with something conventional like one of those rifles with the laser site from a rooftop, he is going to go through the time and expense of getting a license to transport snakes, getting a false I.D., figuring out how to get the snakes into the plane from the cargo hold, etcetera.

It's possible that this movie is being made as a combined spoof of airplane disaster and horror films and if that's the case then the premise is just perfect.

But if not, the producers could be going for some kind of "worst movie ever made" award.

I don't know. I know I'm late to the game on this one. That people have been taking pot shots at this movie even though it hasn't yet been released.

But that's what I felt writing about.

November 03, 2005

A Boring Thursday

Today was a good day but a dull day.

Work. Dull. Administrative work in the morning. And invoicing in the afternoon. The monotany was broken by a quick visit from Jon and sending out a press release via email.

This evening. Well. Let me tell you. I had to be home early so I could let in the super so he could look at our broken refrigerator and let in the exterminator.

The super came at 10 to 10 tonight. Three hours later than I thought he would be here. So. . .I basically spent my evening waiting for the late super and an exterminator that never came.

But that's okay. I had my reality TV friends to keep me company.

First there was the ever fun Survivor and second, there was The Apprentice.

What is about these shows that has me in their grips?

November 02, 2005

Horse Play

Jon and I went on two different horseback riding excursions while in Jamaica.

The first time was in Negril at Rhodes Plantation. Here I am mounting my steed - Screwface - named for the bad guy in a 1990 Steven Segal film called Marked for Death.

Horseback Riding

This was my first experience on a horse. Our route was to climb up the mountain property that is part of the plantation - which we did. We saw beautiful trees and flowers and bamboo growing to 300 feet tall. I struggled with my horse a bit because SCREWFACE kept putting his head down to eat but we finally made it to the top of the destined peak and EVANS, our riding instructor/tourguide took this picture for us. Aren't the bicycle helmets adorable?


Jon took this nice shot. He was in charge of the camera because he was just a better rider than me and I had to focus on keeping my balance and not falling off of the horse.
Val and Screwface

The ride ended on the shore. Down by the shore, we saw the crocodiles the Plantation keeps as pets and we got to take our horses in the water - though only just for the sake of this shot. When we went over to the swamp or pond or whatever it was to see the crocs all of our horses took a simultaneous piss.
Horses in the Water

The second place we went riding was at Pineapple Stables.

Here is a picture of the nice horses we had to choose from. They were younger and fitter than the horses at Rhodes.
Pineapple Stables

Here I am petting the second from the left (see above).
Val Petting Horse

And here is JON on the back of BRAVE DANCER. We stopped in this nice area (with a breeze) so the instructors could take pictures of everyone. And wouldn't you know it - all the horses started pissing. It turns out that when one horse pees, they all pee. That is quite a sight - unfortunately one I did not catch on film. But anyway, here is Jon on the back of his horse after Brave Dancer took a big piss.
Jon and Brave Dancer

November 01, 2005

Back To Reality . . . TV

It was interesting riding the subway this morning after being in a country that has virtually no public transportation. To get around in Jamaica, you either drive your own car or get driven in a taxi. I didn't even mind that the train was crowded because I was actually thrilled to be on the train. Go figure.

I returned to work today to a clean, neat and inviting desk. My boss was nice in that he kept all of the work he had for me at his own desk. It was a pleasure to be given the luxury of easing my way back into the busy life. However, I did leave work with piles on my desk. I got home around 7, plunked down on the couch, looked at my mail, caught the tail end of Jeopardy.

I just had a cheeseburger and fries for dinner while catching up on the Biggest Loser on NBC. Have you seen this show? It's a very emotional program. What they put these contestants through . . . my goodness. Somehow, the producers of the show have found a way to make the American tradition of exploitating fat people simlutaneously entertaining and motivational.

Now is the time for all good brides to write thank you notes. Jon and I powered out almost half of our thank you notes last night. We split them down family lines and we'll be writing notes to our friends together. So, I basically have to finish my own family and whatever cards Jon started from our list of friends. We should have them done by Friday at the latest. We're trying to be real prompt. Of all the books we've read the consistent piece of advice has been to send out thank you notes promptly. The AMAZING RACE is on the TV right now. I'll wait until the show is done so I can really focus.

Going to Negril

Jon had our new travel arrangements taken care of by early the next morning. And we couldn't get out of Kingston soon enough. Look at this sky. It was a dangerous sky.
Weather Porn
I was frightened that all the roads leading to the airport were going to be flooded and we would be stuck in that crummy weather.

But we made it to the airport with no problems. When we got to the airport in Montego Bay, we signed up for our transportation and two hours later, we were there. Our driver thought it would be fun to mess with me. He took pleasure in demonstrating complete darkness by turning off his lights while we driving around hairpin turns. When he turned off his headlights, it was pitch black outside. I almost kissed the ground when we got to the resort that night because people drive crazy in Jamaica.

But imagine my delight walking into this beautiful and spacious lobby. It was such a relief after the earnest but dingy Mayfair.
Riu Lobby

Granted the above was taken the morning after we arrived but I just didn't have the wherewithall to take pictures upon first arriving. Especially since we were greeted with hugs and handshakes by the staff. I was completely thrown by the first hug but understood it later when the hugging bellman put his hand out for a tip at the NO TIPPING NECESSARY resort. That's okay. He deserves a tip - I just would have preferred it if he wasn't such a phony.

Anyway, it didn't take us long the next morning to get into the ALL INCLUSIVE resort swing of things. Our room had a free minibar which the resort refilled every other day. This included four different liquors, all the beer you could want and mixers like tonic water and Pepsi. Pepsi is really big down there. They must have SOME fantastic contract worked out with the RIU organization.

Here are some shots from our first day at RIU.

Val in the SunJon enjoying some Sun

Here is a picture of the pool which was ridiculously lavish with a jacouzi and swim up bar. You could have your drink at the bar or bring it back to your seat where staff came around and collected your empties, making it SO easy to just sit and relax.
pool bar

Here is Jon having fun in the pool. Later in the week, he would use that volley ball in a vicious game of Water Polo - a matchup between guests and staff which guest won. It is our suspicion that the extremely skilled staff may have let the guests win - Jon's effort not withstanding.
Jon Pool