December 10, 2008

December Post

It's been while since I've written a blog post.

Since we've been back from Italy, we have made a trip to Cortland, NY and a trip to Atlantic City.

I've made a lot of new monsters which I've been posting on both my monster blog and my etsy site.

I'm working this week at In The Heights.

And I've sold four sock monsters in the last two weeks.

Okay. That should catch us up.

November 29, 2008

Italy Pictures

I pretty much gave up on making a Flickr album for our Italy trip. I was able to make an album on Shutterfly.

If you are interested in our vacation photos, you can see them here.
http://italytripjonandval.shutterfly.com/

November 26, 2008

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch . . .

We arrived late Monday night after a spectacularly long day of travel about which I have no right to complain. But it was a long, long day.

Our connecting flight from London was great because we had a row of five seats to ourselves.

Anyway, we're back and it's 5 in the morning and I've been up for an hour. I'm obsessed with getting every single last one of our vacation photos uploaded to Shutterfly, so I can share our pictures with my in-laws later today when we get up to Cortland.

Did I mention we are going upstate for the holiday weekend? We are leaving the house at 6 am, so we can be at our bus at 6:30 - a full hour before departure. We were advised that today is a big travel day and that the buses would be crowded. Hopefully, an hour will be enough time to get us on that early bus.

It's taken me hours to get the photos loaded - all 818 of them, but I'm almost finished.

I tried loading them up to Flickr, but Flickr kept telling me that my photos weren't loading and I kept having to reload my batches, so I only got so far. Eventually I'll get the photos onto my Flickr page but that's going to involve some more serious editing than I was capable of doing on Tuesday.

Anyway, I'll post some pictures as soon as I can. There are some really great shots and then there are some really incredibly average touristy shots.

November 23, 2008

Our Final Days in Florence

Yesterday morning, after my early rise due to insomnia, I got Jon up and we started out on a long day of walking and exploring. The first thing we did Saturday morning was walk up a hill side, past the Ponte Vecchio to the Piazzale Michelangelo where we (and many other tourists) took in the most spectacular view of Florence you can imagine. We then walked further up the hill to the San Miniato church. It is a 10th century church with old frescoes and wonderful old statues and great murals - you know, the usual.

We then walked to the Basilica of Santa Croce which had even more amazing, wonderful religious art and the tombs of Michelangelo, Dante and Galileo to name a few. Within the church was an amazing museum with lots of frescoes and DellaRobias. There is so much in that church, I had trouble absorbing it all, which is probably why I took so many pictures. I will have to go back and look over everything.

Then, as if that was not enough, we went to the museum that houses the great works from the Duomo. There were works by DellaRobia, Donatello among others. But the best piece has to be Michelangelo's last sculpture, The Pieta which he sculpted for his tomb but then destroyed because he didn't think it was good enough. Fortunately for all of us, one his students put it back together. His face is on one of the figures holding up Christ. It's moving.

That was a lot for one day and we had a nice rest before going to dinner. We wanted to be well rested for our final push today. We saved the best for last. Today we went to the Uffizi gallery and I am glad we were well rested. They have the absolute best examples of Renaissance artwork in the world. The Botticellis were breathtaking. Michelangelo's only free standing painting was there. Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation was beautiful. There was a whole exhibit dedicated to Giotto and his followers. The Metropolitan Museum of Art would love to have any of the pieces we saw today. Caravaggio, Hans Holbein, Memling, Raphael, Titian. A super collection.

This trip has been great, just superb.

Tomorrow morning it is finished. We start our long trek back. Florence to Rome by train. Then Rome to the airport by train. Rome to London and then London to New York.

I will be sad to leave. But when I get back, I'll start the daunting task of editing the hundreds and hundreds of photos we took this week so I can share our trip with you. But be warned. There is going to be a lot of art.

November 22, 2008

Florence is Lovely

Friday morning Jon and I hopped a train for Florence. It was a quick ride. But a long walk to the hotel when we got out. But that's okay because it was a long walk in Florence. We walked past the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore with the landmark dome for which Florence is famous, mostly.

Our hotel is great, even nicer than the one we stayed in Rome. Every room has a computer. There is a jacuzzi and a sauna. And it's right around the block from the Dome.

We hit the ground running. The first site we saw was the Basilica. That Dome is remarkable. The painting on the underside is almost as amazing as Michelangelo's Last Judgement at the Sistine Chapel. The scene is also of the Last Judgement by two painters named Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari. You ever hear of them? Me neither. But Vasari did a lot of work here. And I'm sure I'll always know his name now - I might even be able to recognize his work after our visit to the Uffizi gallery. I tried to take pictures in the Basilica but it was next to impossible. My flash renders everything reddish brown in a dimly lit room and I had trouble capturing non-blurry images in that light.

After we saw the interior of the main building, we visited the separate and totally amazing baptistry building. I was able to make many pictures in there. The baptistry also has a dome with scenes from the bible and scenes from Christ's life. Among those scenes is another amazing Last Judgement on the main panel. Those painting were remarkable.

After being awed by the Baptistry, we walked over the Academy Gallery. Their most famous piece of art is the Statue of David by Michelangelo. It is as amazing as you think. Taking pictures is forbidden in that museum, yet quite a few people were able to get off a shot. There were two guards watching the statue, but they were engaged in quite a lively discussion. I also took advantage of the situation.

But the Academy had other great pieces as well. Mostly altar pieces from the 14th to 16th centuries and quite a few amazing paintings. The subjects of most of the artwork are Saints and the lives of Saints. I saw more than one painting and/or altar piece that depicted the Coronation of Mary. For the first time, I am seeing Christ represented as the Man of Sorrows. Those paintings are interesting because they show the tools the Romans used to torture him.

There was also a special exhibit on a 14th century painter whose name escapes me now. His work was remarkably well preserved considering most of it was oil on wood. Wood doesn't always keep that well.

We didn't stop at the Academy. We continued our stroll through Florence. Jon took me to the Ponte Vecchio - a beautiful bridge. It was romantic. It was raining. The cobble street was slick and shiny. The Arno river provided beautiful photographs. But the rain started to fall too hard yesterday and the temperature was dropping so we headed back to the hotel where we watched a movie before we went out to dinner.

Today, we're going to hit the free churches. I specifically used the word free because some of the churches here are also museums and they are not all free. And Florence really seems to want our money.

Tomorrow, we'll visit the Uffizi gallery and then Monday we come home. Sigh.

November 19, 2008

Rome Today

This morning we took an early morning stroll around the Forum. Then we went to the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains and saw Michelangelo's statue of Moses with horns. I have learned that when you are presented with a FREE opportunity to see great works of art, you should go see them. That is the case here because churches are FREEEEEEEE!!!!

Then later in the day, we saw the Piazza Navona. The great Bernini fountain that we went to see was blocked off for restoration. Still a beautiful place to visit.

Then we saw the Pantheon. That was super, duper amazing.

I left Jon while he went to the Capitolene museum and took a nice long nap. I definitely have to go there tomorrow because it has really amazing pieces that must be seen.

We did our laundry and while it was washing we went to see the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, where we finally got to see Bernini's extremely modest tomb.

Now we are contemplating dinner.

November 18, 2008

The Vatican Museum

Jon and I just finished our four and a half hour exploration of the Vatican museum. They have the most spectacular collection of art - seriously.

All the art was incredible but there were some standout pieces.

There was the Transfiguration by Raphael. This was his last painting before he died at the tragically young age of 37.

There was the Entombment of Christ by Caravaggio - which is masterful, brilliant and genius.

There was the School of Athens also by Raphael.

Finally, the exclamation point to the whole collection was the Sistine Chapel - which was mostly painted by Michelangelo but also featured paintings by great masters like Botticelli and Perugino.

I am resting now, drinking a Coke and typing this account. I am trying to gather the intellectual energy to see St. Peter's Basilica. We were already in St. Peter's square earlier this morning, before we went into the Vatican museum. And now it's time to see Michelangelo's Pieta.

Rome never ceases to be interesting.

November 17, 2008

Valerie Does Rome

Jon and I arrived in Rome on Saturday morning and we have been on the go seeing all that we can see. The first thing we did was walk over to see the Coliseum although we did not go inside until today. Then we walked over and saw the church where Bernini the sculptor is buried. And Saturday night, we walked all the way to the Trevi fountain. I must be a big wuss, but I got a little weepy looking at the fountain. It is a lot bigger than I thought it would be and there were all these people there enjoying the fountain. It was a completely uncynical experience.

Yesterday morning, we had a scheduled visit for the Galleria Borghese. That collection was breathtaking. They boast 5 Caravaggio paintings and lots of Bernini sculptures. Oh and then there were the two Rubens. But the Caravaggio. He was a really, really good painter and I got to see a painting I had only before seen in books which is of St. Jerome writing at a table next to a skull. It was lovely.

In the afternoon, we visited something I never even knew existed - the Basilica of St. John Lateran. That is by far the most amazing religious structure that I have seen - to date. Seriously Rome is lousy with art. Last night, we took the metro to the Spanish steps which was another nice communal experience.

Today, we visited the Forum which covers the Sacred Way and the Palatine. That took about three hours. Then we visited the Coliseum. The Coliseum might be the least interesting thing in Rome. And now we are feeling a little beat up.

So tonight we are resting because tomorrow we are visiting the Vatican and we want to be fully rested to see one of the world's best art collections and who knows - maybe we'll get to meet the Pope.

November 05, 2008

Atlantic City

Jon and I went to Atlantic City this past weekend. We found a great deal at Resorts Int'l. When we got there we signed up for a TRUMP ONE card and each received a free night's stay at the Taj Mahal for doing so. I also signed up for a comp card at Resorts.

I did not know about these comp cards. I told some ushers at the Barrymore theater where I was working last week that I was going to Atlantic City and they taught me a lot. You see, this trip was only my third one there, so I have a lot to learn. Apparently, when you sign up for a comp card, you get all sorts of offers in the mail from the hotel/casinos enticing you to come down. They also told me that they serve free booze and other drinks while you are gambling. This might seem like something I should have know - but I had no idea. Sunday night, I had two free apple martinis that practically knocked me out. They were good. Monday night, I drank free soda and water.

I played the slot machines. I LOVE SLOT MACHINES. Oh my gosh!! They are so much fun. Well. They were so much fun on Monday night when I won back the money I lost on Sunday night and then some. Did you know there were slot machines that offer bonuses if you get the right combinations of stuff and junk. So, I played this one slot machine where I got 100 free spins and ended up winning oodles of money as a result.

I still don't have the guts to play Black Jack even though we found $5.00 tables at the Showboat hotel and casino on Monday night. I'm pretty good at Black Jack but I still feel a little intimidated. Next time, I'm going to play Black Jack.

The other thing we discovered were the outlet stores. There were stores selling clothes at deep, deep discounts and by deep I mean 70%. That is probably the most fun I've ever had buying clothes.

I hate spending money but I LOVE GAMBLING AND I LOVE DISCOUNTED CLOTHING!!!!

We had a great time. We took the 8:30 bus back up on Tuesday morning and I was sad to say good bye to Atlantic City.

Why didn't anyone ever tell me before how much fun drinking and gambling could be? I spent so much of my life being a goody two shoes. But that's it. I'm cutting loose now.

I've made a decision to have as much fun as I possibly can.

Congratulations President Obama

October 28, 2008

Central Casting

Central Casting now has an office in New York City. I registered with them today. I am non-union. We'll see if I can get any work. I'm kind of sort of doubtful. Several people referred to me as ma'am which I found distancing and made me feel old.

I arrived 20 minutes early which worked to my advantage. I was in the first group of four to be register. It also helped that I had already filled out my paperwork.

Three out of four of my group had headshots. I was not one of them. Also, I dressed in office attire because those are the best clothes I have. The two other women in the room were wearing dresses and they were younger than me. One was short and fat. The other was tall and lean and showing lots of cleavage.

We all had our photos taken. I went last to see what the other people did. The girl showing the cleavage managed to get one more shot than the rest of us.

I left feeling that I would never get called.

We'll see.

October 24, 2008

Who Wants to Be a Millonaire - 3rd time's a charm

Standing On Line
October 23rd, I stood on line outside of the ABC studio where Who Wants to a Millionaire is taped. Frustrated by my last audition experience, I had immediately signed up for another day of testing and taping. Standing outside yesterday with the 200 or so similarly minded people, I listened to many conversations. This time they didn't annoy me. This time, the people were normal and were discussing the fun things they would do if they won a million dollars. Standing with all those people, listening to them dream out loud, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of help. Being raised Jewish, my parents never took me to stand in line to see Santa Claus at the mall but I imagine it must have felt a lot like the line I was standing in yesterday. The line to audition for Millionaire is the most hopeful place on earth.

Testing
Inside the studio, we all had a chance to warm up while everybody got settled and once we did, the test was administered. Production assistants handed out #2 pencils, Scantron sheets, and closed envelopes containing the multiple choice test that would determine who moved on. We had 10 minutes to complete 30 questions. I finished in about 6 minutes and looked over my answers twice. Because I hadn't passed two times before I was expecting not to do so well and I felt ambivalent about how I did. I didn't expect to pass.

Taping
After the tests were collected, the rest of the studio audience was shown to their seats. Paul Mecurio warmed up the crowd and explained what was expected of us as a Millionaire audience. He's quite funny and very handsome. He's good with the crowd. He is a professional comedian and has won awards for his writing the Daily Show. I advise you check out his website. Anyway, he got us in the mood to cheer and clap and behave as if the Who Wants to be a Millionaire studio was the most exciting place on earth. This week was Movie week so all of the questions were about movie trivia and all of the contestants were movie geeks. Because it was movie week, we were given a free subscription to Netflix. Yee hooo. Three months. Nothing to sneeze at.

Some of the questions were ridiculously easy and it was frustrating to see people miss them. However, there were some real doozies. I don't want to give anything away. You'll have to wait until March to see those shows. But we did get to see one guy walk away with $250,000. He was a nice guy and everybody was rooting for him.

Results
Paul Mecurio did not announce who passed the test until the third taping. At the first commercial break, he announced the first three contestants moving and I was the third one. When he called my name I wooted and almost choked on the butterscotch candy they handed out before the third taping. After the taping was finished, I was interviewed in the same studio by a production assistant. She liked the fact that I was smiling and she liked the fact that I met my husband playing bar trivia. She liked me enough to recommend me for the on camera interview.

I kind of remember what I said. But I was so excited, I can't remember how it all came out. And on top of that I was slighly hungover from the night before and I wasn't wearing any makeup (because I didn't think I would pass) and my skin was breaking out a little bit. Ack.

Hopefully, in two or three weeks I'll receive a post card telling me they want me for the show. But it could go the other way.

Everyone I know, has their fingers crossed.

October 14, 2008

Who Wants to be a Millionaire - 2nd Audition

I woke up early this morning so I could get to my 10:15 am audition on time. When I got there I stood on line for an hour. While I was standing on line, I started imagining what it would be like to touch the big hair of the woman standing in front of me. I could see myself reaching out and patting it like a fluffy fur coat but I resisted the temptation.

Standing on line, I heard several conversations. There were some women talking about their families and their home towns. And then there were three whackadoo guys talking about the weirdest shit. The weirdest of them all was wearing a dirty old blazer covered with his dandruff and he sounded like a complete nut. Guess who I ended up sitting next to in the studio. That's right. Dandruff guy. That's right. He's pretty bright but like many super bright people, his social skills are severely lacking.

Today was his 60th time auditioning. He's passed the Millionaire test 23 times including today but still hasn't made past the interview stage. Hmmmmmm. Could be the dandruff. He was nice enough - just severely lacking in the social filter department.

I did not pass the test. Again. But I sat through three shows full of contestants who could not have possibly done better than me on the test. It was very frustrating to watch people blow big bucks on easy questions. Jon was with me and I feel bad that I dragged him along. Not only did I not pass the test but the three tapings took WAY longer than I thought they would.

My tickets called for the audition at 10:30 and for the tapings to begin at 11:30. The test was administered at 11:10 and the tapings didn't begin until noon. We stopped taping at 3. That was a lot of sitting around but they get you to do it by announcing who passed the test during the third taping. Actually, I didn't find out that I didn't pass the test until the last commercial break of the third show.

My butt still hurts from sitting.

October 05, 2008

Dress Shopping

Jon and I went to the Carousel Mall in Syracuse so I could buy a dress for a wedding we're attending this coming Saturday.

Around this time last year, I went on a similar shopping trip. It was a much different experience.

Last year, I tried on dresses that were size 18 or size 20. Today, I bought a dress that is size 12.

Yeah. It was that kind of day. I also bought a pair of size 12 pants and a vest in size 12.

It was a good day.

Cortland

Jon and I are up in Cortland visiting with my in-laws. Last night we celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary at a lovely little Italian restaurant favored by the locals. I think I ate more last night than I have in a week. I'm scared to get back on the scale.

Their guests were interesting. The couple sitting across from us has been married since 1943 - that's 65 years in case your brain isn't working yet this morning. (I know mine isn't.) The husband is from New York City and he served during WWII as a dentist for the armed for the armed forces. He's 93 years old. His wife is from Vienna and her family came to the States before everything got crazy for Jewish families in Europe - most likely saved her life. She was a model and is still gorgeous at 86. I'm hoping to visit with them some more tomorrow - they live down the block from my in-laws. It was hard to speak A -- because he wears double hearing aids. Because we were in a restaurant he had trouble differentiating our voices from the general hubbub around us.

There was another holocaust escapee sitting next to me. Gosh, she is lovely. Another stunning woman and not even for her age. She is just beautiful. At 82 years of age, she keeps current by reading New York and New Yorker Magazines and she's sees a new movie once a week at the theater. Also from Vienna, she was married to a man who survived the Holocaust thanks to the Kindertransport. The Kindertransport was a British program where English families hosted Jewish children that were in danger during WWII. That story had a happy ending in that he was reunited with his family.

It was nice to be able to celebrate a happy occassion with people we love.

Jon and I should be married for 40 years.

September 30, 2008

Looking for Work

I've come to the point where I am bored witless with my job on Broadway. But not only am I bored with it, it's making incredibly nervous.

For example tonight, I am working at August Osage County. It starts at 7:30 which means people will be coming to get headsets at 8:oo after the show has started. People always come late to a show with an unusual start time. Not only that, it's a play that attracts old people. Actually, all long and drawn out plays attract older people. So, theyll be a large demand for my headset product.

I've done busy shows before but they always make me nervous. It's the possiblities of confrontations that make me more nervous than anything. More demand means more people to argue about leaving their licenses behind in place of headsets. Some older people are convinced that leaving your license anywhere automatically leads to identity theft. If they thought it through, they would figure out that the theaters where I work could find me if they thought I was guilty of a crime.

Anyway, I am now interested in finding a new job. But who is going to hire me? I've been out of the full-time, day time workaday world for so long, I'm afraid I've become completely unhirable.

I had enough problems finding the last two office jobs I had.

I was so obsessed with finding a new job this morning, that I was up at 5:30 reconfiguring my NY Times/Monster.com profile.

Ack

September 24, 2008

Something I Can Relate To

Tonight on my way to work, a woman started yelling to no one in particular. When our train pulled into 57th Street she looked out across the platform to find no Q train waiting for her. She shouted out, "This is the last stop. There should be two trains here at all times." Just as she finished that sentence, a Q train pulled in.

I totally related to her frustration about the train.

September 16, 2008

Another Birthday

Remember last year how excited I was when I turned 40? That didn't happen this past Saturday when I celebrated my 41st birthday.

It's not like I had a bad day. It was a quiet birthday which is what I like. My mom took me out to brunch, then we drove out to my brother's house where we had birthday cake. I received plenty of warm wishes and nice birthday cards.

But 41 is turning out to be a really depressing birthday. I'm doing that thing people do when they compare themselves to others and I know I shouldn't be doing that. It's self-defeating.

I'm not wriing this to get a pep talk. I'm posting because I wanted to share my feelings. Feel free to express your similar feelings in the comment section.

September 11, 2008

September 11

I send out blessings to all the people who lost loved ones during the attacks on September 11, 2001. In my family, we are blessed because we didn't lose anyone close to us.

September 03, 2008

September

September is here, which means back to school for everybody who has children. That is not us yet, but hopefully will be one day.

As a kid, September used to fill me with dread. Not that I hated school. I loved school actually. But I was terrified of other children. I was never one of those kids who looked forward to going back to school and seeing all her friends. At some point in high school, I finally started to feel comfortable in my own skin, but to this day I get that sinking feeling in my stomach when the calendar pages change from August to September. A lot of that has to do with having been bullied. I never quite learned how to NOT get bullied.

Anyway. September is here and it's my birthday month. In a little more than a week, I will be celebrating end of my 41st year on this planet. You may remember how non-chalant I was about turning 40. 41 is really bothering me. 41 is making me feel old. Blah.

Yesterday, I spent the entire day out of our apartment because the building shut down our water to work on the pipes. Yes. That meant no toilets. So I made plans to be out of the house all day. First I went to see my doctor because of a problem with my hip which turns out is a result of all the new exercise I've been doing this past year on my bike. Then Jon and I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We saw the special Turner exhibit and the Koons sculptures on the roof.

When Jon had to go to work, I decided to treat myself to Hamlet 2 which I saw at the AMC theater on 42nd Street. That was a super fun movie.

I took myself to dinner at Red Lobster (an idea put into my head by Hamlet 2) and had a salad which was neither diet friendly or delicious. I'm kind of sorry I went to Red Lobster for dinner actually.

I finished the day by working a shift at Xanadu where I saw Project Runway winner, Christian Siriano, Mario Cantone and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. I took a chance and spoke to Elisabeth Hasselbeck who as it turns out is really, really nice. I was so happy I spoke with her. At the end of the conversation, she shook my hand and introduced me to her husband. She was friendly, warm and down to earth.

I told an usher that I had met her and she was surprised to hear how nice she was. This person had assumed that she was a BI**H simply because she is a Republican. How narrow minded is that??!! Republicans are people too!! And I'm always impressed with Hasselbeck when she holds her own against Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters. Can you imagine standing up to Barbara Walters?!?!? Especially as such a young woman? I may not agree with everything she believes but I sure do admire her. Talking to her was the highlight of my day.

When I got home last night, my toilet was in constant flush mode. But the super came up and fixed a washer that had gotten ruined when the contractors fixed the pipes.

It was A+ day!!

August 26, 2008

Atlantic City, New Jersey


Jon and I spent a couple of days in Atlantic City and boy was it fun!!! We got back last night and I'm still working on the pictures. I'll replace this post with a summary of our trip, later - after I upload our pictures to Flickr.

Gosh. Blogging is a lot of work.

August 23, 2008

Etsy Treasury

Etsy gives members opportunities to show off their favorite items in their treasury. I made one yesterday. This is it. Please visit my treasury and support the great artists who made the great pocket mirrors that are featured. Stuff and Things

Senator Joe Biden

So. What do you think? Will Joe Biden be our next Vice President?

Saturday Morning

It's early Saturday morning. I'm fooling around on the Internet. The blue sky is dotted with cottony white clouds. I hear birds singing. And I also hear an intermittent beeping sound that's been going on since last night. Every thirty seconds - beep. I'm sure the whole neighborhood can hear it. I wish it would stop.

In the last two weeks, I've discovered Facebook. I know I'm the last one to the party on this one. Facebook is great. It's better than MySpace and it's way better than Friendster. But the novelty is finally starting to wear off.

I've been keeping up with my diet. I'm not journaling every day but every other day and that seems to be working. My nutritionist offered that up as one of the solutions to my problem of having stopped keeping track of my diet altogether. But I'm still having trouble breaking the 35 pound barrier. Sometimes, I'm down 40 pounds but then the next day I'm back to being down 35 pounds. It's annoying.

ILouis Lapin sent my grandmother in France a rabbit like monster that I named Louis Lapin (pictured right). I received word through my mother that Grandma really liked him. And that she was laughing when she was describing it to my mother.

I sold three more monsters last week, Which prompted me to call my accountant to make sure I'm doing everything right. I honestly don't know what I expected when I started my Etsy site. I certainly never thought that I would sell anything. Mostly, I thought I would just showcase my work. I'm surprised anyone has bought anything but totally pleased.

August 19, 2008

Olympic Judging

I'm disappointed with the Olympic judging in gymnastics.

If a gymnast deserves a high score then they should get one, but when a gymnast makes obvious mistakes that even a lay person like me can recognize, they should not receive a high score.

This is what seems to be happening with the Chinese gymnasts. Again, I don't want to begrudge anybody who is actually performing well but in the case of the women's vault and the uneven bars, there was a clear bias toward the Chinese gold medalists.

Not fair.

August 18, 2008

August 14, 2008

Central Park - Very Hilly

Jon and I rode our bikes in Central Park yesterday. We had to carry our bikes up two flights of steps to the subway platform at 30th Avenue and then up and out of the station at 60th St. and 5th Ave.

I completely forgot how hilly Central Park is and I struggled through the entire 7 mile bike ride. We stopped and rested at this lovely pond at 100th Street on the west side of the park as evidenced by this photograph.


I am feeling the after effects today mostly in my right knee.
I figured a hot shower would set me right, but today the boiler is working in improperly, meaning no hot shower. I just took shower and the water did warm up after five minutes but by then I was already finished. The water wasn't freezing, just a little cool to start. Not the hot shower experience I was seeking.
Tonight, I'm working at Gypsy again. That show is sooooo long. Go see it, but don't go see it that often. If you see it too many times you won't like the show anymore.

August 07, 2008

Nutritionist

Good news from the nutritionist. I'm down another five pounds since my last visit two months ago. Now that I've lost a decent amount I'm ready to tell you what my starting weight was.

When I first saw the nutritionist October 18, 2007, I weighed 195.6 pounds. Two weeks before that, I was a couple of pounds more. I had also attended a friend's wedding and looked heavy in the photos. At my checkup, shortly after the wedding, I had my yearly checkup. My doctor told me I was obese. And when I told him I wanted to lose weight, he told me about my current nutrionist.

Today I weighed in at 159.6 pounds. That's 36 pounds that I've lost since October. My body fat percentage is down to 36.4% from 43.9%. And BMI is now 26.6, down from 32.5.
My weight loss has slowed down but the nutritionist wasn't concerned because I'm still losing weight. We discussed why my weight loss is slowing down. Basically, I've gotten lazy about keeping track of my food and to tell you the truth, I'm not eating enough. When I don't eat enough, my rate of weight loss slows down. I asked her to remind me of all that I'm accomplishing health wise by losing weight. And she did.

The risk that concerned me the most, my chance of contracting diabetes is now greatly decreased. My resting blood sugar was very high at my last checkup and could have been considered pre-diabetic by some doctors. There are other health benefits as well that I won't bore you with. Diabetes was my concern because that's in my family health history.

I don't underestimate the value of the vanity benefits. Generally I feel better about myself. Physically, I'm in the best shape I've been in since I finished college and I like the way I look now.

I feel good because my weight was a problem that bothered me for a long time but I took responsibilty for myself and found a way to solve the problem. It gives me the confidence to tackle other ongoing problems. Yay me!!

In The Heights

This week, I'm back at In The Heights at the Richard Rodgers theater. The show has been out a while, so I wasn't expecting to see any celebrities this week. But I saw a couple of big time celebrities on Tuesday night and one amazing pair of shoes.

John Lithgow - who I just love. He's really talented and he's incredibly hard to miss because he is a very tall man. He looks good for his age but his age is showing. He won a Tony for his lead role in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Funny, funny, show. And of course he was in Third Rock From The Sun, in which everybody remembers him. Speaking with people that night, I pointed out to several of them that John Lithgow was there. When they asked me what he was in, I offered the movie with which I thought they would be most familiar - The World According to Garp. Alas, most people only remembered him from Third Rock. I'm not sure if that's sad or not. But I do know that he deserves remembered for his greater body of work. He's a good actor.

Isabella Rosselini - She's just lovely in person. I saw her on a talk show the other day talking about a project she's done recently where she had herself filmed dressed up like bugs. I'm not sure what the film was about honestly because I was distracted by the fact that she felt like she had to explain to the host and TV land that her mother is Ingrid Bergman. I guess I could let her get away with that because it's possible not everyone follows the famous children of famous people. What was truly amazing is how she explained that her mother was in Casablanca. To me that was completely unnecessary. But she was very nice and unassuming and down to earth and like I said earlier, just lovely. Sure enough, I was working with people who didn't even know who she was when I pointed out to them that she was there.

A pair of Christian Louboutin shoes - I suspect that most people know about this designer and his shoes. The only reason I know about them is because one day I watched Oprah Winfrey give away a pair of his shoes on her talk show. Did she interview him that day? My mind is never fully on these shows when I have them on the boob tube. Usually they just provide background noise when I'm doing other things. But I remember that they are expensive and that the shoes are unique and easily identifiable as Louboutin. All his shoes have bright red soles and incredibly high heels. They are the kind of shoes starlets like to wear on the red carpet because they are very distinctive. The signature red soles came about because Mr. Louboutin ran out of the necessary materials for the bottom of a pair he was making. The rest is history.

Anyway, I saw the shoes on a tall, impossibly thin woman. The heels were four inches high and the bottoms were distinctively red. Somehow she was walking around in those shoes like they were sneakers. Amazing. Actually, I didn't like them because they were made from leather with an animal print. If they had been solid colored I probably would have loved them.

August 05, 2008

Subway Spider

One of the absolutely coolest things we saw yesterday was a spider making a web in the subway. Jon got this picture. I tried to get a better one but that was just the competitor in me trying to show him up. He definitely got the best shot.

Coney Island

Jon and I went to Coney Island yesterday. We saw many cool things. For a New Yorker, it's inexecusable that I haven't been to the boardwalk in 18 years. We were there last year for a baseball game but that was not quite the same because we didn't walk around.

The weather was perfect and the clouds contributed to some great photo captures. To look at the whole set of photos check out my Flickr set. But here are a couple of shots to get you started.
Coney Island
Coney Island

August 03, 2008

The Beach

I shot this a week ago Friday - the day I came down with the flu. It's also the day that someone drowned in Long Beach. Sad. It was blamed on rip currents and I can attest to the fact that the currents were very strong that day. Anyway. Here's a moment of relaxation for you.

August 02, 2008

Cirque Dreams

With all my whining about my cold, I forgot to tell you about the show I'm working on this week. Cirque Dreams is playing at the Broadway Theater. If you've got kids who can sit still for two hours, then definitely take them to see this show. With the exception of the music which is geared towards children, Cirque Dreams is a wonderful experience. If you throw out the cheezy costumes and turn off the sound track, what you have left is a good old fashioned circus.

The acts include contortionists, aerial artists, trapeze artists, clowns, balance artists, etc. And everybody is phenomenal (with the exception of the singer whose maple sweet voice is hard to swallow and meant for children, but even she is well trained singer).

My favorite act is the Froggler - a juggler dressed up like a frog.

Slowly Feeling Better

Today I felt better than yesterday. My cough has been deep enough to give me a back spasm. Oy. But I had a little more energy today. I almost went bike riding, but I'm still having some trouble getting air. Monday. I'll go out on Monday.

August 01, 2008

Water on Mars

Hey. There's water on Mars. Great news.

Now I can continue living the rest of my life knowing that there is water on Mars.

July 31, 2008

Worse Than Before

The doctor was right. I do feel worse than I did yesterday. I'm coughing like crazy, breaking through the effects of my cough medicine.

I just don't feel good. Ach!!!!!

Hopefully this is the worst and I can start biking again tomorrow. I miss biking.

July 30, 2008

The Doctor

I went to see the doctor, because that is what you do when you don't feel good. Turns out I have a flu-like virus. Anti-biotics are not recommended or required because they don't do anything for viruses.

He said to continue resting and that I would get worse before I got better.

Dr. E had never heard before the complaint of someone's scalp hurting. I didn't realize how unusual that was. Because my mother also complains sometimes of her hair hurting or her scalp hurting. Dr. E. said that my tender skin was a reaction to this virus and recommended anti-inflamatory medicine like Advil, which I'd already been taking.

He didn't really help me much but I'm sure glad I went to see him.

July 29, 2008

Dark Knight

Staying home to take care of yourself when you're sick is boring. And yesterday I was getting really bored. Jon and I went to see a movie to break the tedium. See. Jon had already gone on a great bike ride, one that I would love to have done myself so his need to get out of the house was not as great as mine.

In the late afternoon, we decided to go see the Dark Knight. Not the best movie ever made. I can't strongly recommend that you see it.

I will say that Heath Ledger delivers a top caliber performance as the Joker. He was a tremendous actor. He's unrecognizable as Heath Ledger. He changed everything about himself to play the Joker - his posture, his voice, his mannerisms. He gave the Joker life.

Regarding the movie, it felt like it went on for four hours. Just when I thought the movie was going to end, the filmmakers tacked on another ending. This is not my favorite film making technique. And whether or not it's intentional I couldn't tell you. But if it is CUT IT OUT film makers. I don't like fake endings.

Feeling Better?

I'm not really feeling better, but I'm not feeling any worse. My temperature never goes above 99.5. I've started a mildly productive cough. My ears hurt but I don't think they're infected. And I'm tired. Really tired. I slept pretty well last night. I was asleep by 10.

I called my doctor just to be safe. I'm waiting to hear from him about whether or not he thinks I should come in for a visit. You don't always have to see your doctor when you have a problem. From what I know about the flu, it doesn't last more than a week. And my flu is right on schedule in terms of symptoms.

The only thing that doesn't make sense is the sore skin. I still don't get that.

July 27, 2008

Dream Omelet


Chef Cooks 'Dream Omelet' From Recipe That Came To Him In A Dream

Summer Flu (con't)

Did I mention the part about my skin hurting? That is probably the weirdest symptom I've experienced during an illness. I've had the sensation before when you're hair hurts but not the skin.

My fever went up since this morning and I started aching all over the place. My skin started to really, really hurt so I took four Advil. Then Jon and I went for a walk around Astoria. We must have been gone an hour. My legs were really weak. But when we got home, my fever was gone. And I felt good for having walked even though it tired me out a bit.

Hopefully, my skin will stop hurting soon. If not, I'm going to the doctor.

Summer Flu

I have the flu. Can you believe it? Jon and I went to the beach on Friday morning. When I woke up super early for the trip, I wasn't feeling quite right, but I attributed that to waking up too early. I figured I would sleep on the beach. We got to the beach okay. I was still fatigued, but not so bad that I couldn't enjoy myself. We frollicked and rambled and had a good time. Then we left so Jon and I could have a final lunch with my relatives from France. They were leaving that night.

At lunch, I started feeling light headed. I reasoned that I got too much sun, not realizing yet that I was coming down with something. We finished lunch. My mom and I took Jon to the train so he could go to work. I drove both ways. I have to practice when I can. While I was driving, I wasn't paying attention to how I was feeling. It was nice to drive in my bathing suit and flip flops because I haven't done that in a long time.

When I got back to my mom's, I went next to door to hang out with her neighbor and my friend. She has a pool and two kids. My cousin's kid was one of the visitors. So I went into L's pool, with my cousin's kid and her two kids and we splashed around a bit. We made a human whirlpool, which is something I hadn't ever done before. L understood that because I grew up on the beach, I never played in pools as a kid.

Anyway, a "whirlpool" is when everyone in the pool walks in a circle until you build up enough momentum that you can float in a circle. But we didn't do that. Instead we changed directions and walked against the current we had created. It was fun but it wiped me out. I was exhausted after that. I had to get out of the pool. I sat with L for half an hour on her screened terrace discussing life and movies. And I started getting really, really sleepy and achy. I had to leave.

I got back to my mother's and that was it. I knew I was sick. Once my neck and shoulders start to get a specific kind of achy I know I have a fever and I was that kind of achy. I took a shower and took a nap. The aspirin helped me feel good enough to go with my parents to the airport to send my family on its way.

The airport was nightmarish. For a variety of reasons, most attributable to the fact that the check-in agent was brand new and unsupervised, check-in took an hour. But my family eventually made it on to their flight.

I stayed at my parents. I wasn't feeling well enough to go home.

I took the train yesterday afternoon to come back to the Astoria. That 50 minute train ride felt like an eternity. After I walked through the door, I took my temperature. 99.9 degrees. I know that's not very high but it was high enough to make me uncomfortable. Two hours later, my temperature was 100.5. I took some tylenol. I slept. I watched some TV. I went to dinner with Jon and had some Japanese soup. Yum. And then I went to sleep.

This morning. Not a smidge of fever. I looked up the symptoms for summer flu. And sure enough, the discription matches what's happening to me.

Two days of fever followed by upper respiratory complaints -sore throat, congestion, coughing, etc., which is what I am now experiencing. This is the second time in my life, I've had the flu. So while this story may seem unremarkable to you, it's pretty remarkable to me. Summer flu. Whodathunkit? Not me. I've had summer colds but never a summer flu.

July 21, 2008

There Will Be Yawning

Jon and I just watched There Will Be Blood. He really liked it. I really did not like it.

I thought it was long and boring. It's like the director Paul Thomas Anderson was trying to channel Orson Welles via Citizen Kane and anything by Kubrick.

Visually, it was stunning, but between the script and the overacting . . .

If you liked it, then that's great. I'm glad you found a film you like.

But I think it was a little overrated.

July 20, 2008

Perez Hilton

AOL Entertainment News is all over Perez Hilton this morning. I have completely missed the boat on the Perez Hilton phenomenon. Maybe someone could explain it to me.

Here is what I know of him. His website is unreadable. In interviews, he comes off as the bitchiest man. And his speaking voice - och - it's like listening to nails on a chalk board.

From what I can tell, he aspires to be like Matt Drudge, if Matt Drudge were a horrible little troll.

July 15, 2008

Statue of Liberty

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Crinkle Fries
Yesterday, Jon and I took my visiting French relatives to the Statue of Liberty. We left early enough in the morning so we could meet them at 9:30 at Penn Station. I was smart. I made reservations for the boat via the interweb, so we had tickets for an 11:15 ferry to Liberty Island.

It was on the subway down to Battery Park when I discovered that I didn't have my camera. Later in the day, I found it in on our coffee table where I'd placed it so I wouldn't forget it. So, sadly I don't have any pictures to illustrate are fun outing.

It's been a while since I've been to Liberty Island. That security check really dampened the fun atmosphere. But once we got through the security check the ride over was quite nice. We all sat together on the top level of the ferry. It rained ever so slightly. Aside from that bit of drizzle the day was rain free.

Liberty Island didn't seem terribly crowded. We were able to see that great view of downtown Manhattan, even through the haze. But we didn't go into the monument itself. Turns out you have to buy the tickets for that in advance because the security check they perform in Battery Park, to get onto the island is also the security check for entering the Statue. This was not a tragedy. I've been in there plenty of times, Jon's been in there also. And my relatives, with the exception of the 10 year old, have also seen the inside. The 10 year old is not really the museum, plaque reading type and it turned out to be a good thing.

We had lunch there which was eh, but my relatives were hungry. The mediocre food filled the void.

Then we had to get off of Liberty Island which took a little over an hour. (It felt more like ESCAPE FROM LIBERTY ISLAND because it seemed so difficult). Who knew there were so people on the island with is. All of a sudden it seemed like there were thousands of people standing on line with us. We got on line and at 2 and disembarked at Battery Park around 3:15. That time includes missing the ferry we got on line for and then waiting for another one. This time, I was feeling a little sea sick and sat below with my aunt.

It wasn't until we arrived at Battery Park that we discovered the 10 year-old lost his bag with money and a disposable camera he'd bought for the adventure. I felt so bad for him. He was very upset.

Transition
Everyone was hot so I took them into the Museum of the Native American at Bowling Green. If you haven't been there you should go. It is also the Alexander Hamilton US Custom House. And the building is beautiful. You've never seen a rotunda like the one build into this building. It was free and it was cool inside. But guess what we had to do before we could enjoy what the museum had to offer? That's right. We had to go through another security check. Belts, keys - everything.
I guess I can't blame them.

I sat with my aunt in the rotunda, while the others checked out the museum. The 10 year old calmed down. It was a nice transitional activity.

After the museum we took the 4 train at Bowling Green up to 42nd Street and we did an abbreviated tour of mid-town. I showed them Grand Central station. Then we walked across 42nd to Broadway.

The Surge
Just before we got to 5th Avenue, walking west, we spotted a bunch of police cars. Walking further we saw a bunch of cops standing together in a clump. They kindly posed for my uncle when he said CHEESE and took their picture. Then they got in their cars and drove off together toward the West Side Highway. The police do this all the time. They pick an area, gather together and then drive off together. It's usually about the same time every day, around 4:30. My friend Sam called it "a surge" once and I'm not sure if that's officially what it's called but I liked that description. (I just did a quick search and found this.)

We walked past the library and then at 6th Avenue we started walking up town. The goal was to show the 10 year old Toys R Us because he'd actually heard of the four story toy store in New York City. It's entirely possible he'd heard of FAO Schwartz but Toys R Us was closer. Besides I think Toys R Us is way neater. That's at 44th Street and Broadway if you're wondering. So, we showed them Times Square and Toys R Us. They saw Grand Centra Station, the NYP library from the distance, the Chrysler building behind them. Not bad for a one hour tour.

Getting to Penn Station
We walked down 7th Avenue to get to Penn Station, so my relatives could take the train back to my parent's house. That was difficult. I never knew before how crowded 7th avenue is during rush hour. But we managed to stay together and they made a 6:00 train home. Jon and I stood on the platform until we saw that everyone was seated. And then we went home and vegged out.
We watched the All Star Homerun contest on ESPN. After Hamilton hit 28 homeruns, I started falling asleep so I went to bed. (I don't know who won, so don't tell me.) I was pretty tired.

July 14, 2008

Worry

Worry is a worrisome thing. I am worried about something, probably not worth mentioning, so I'm not mentioning it. But my mind is seized on this one thing and won't let it go.

I hate when I get like this. It's always about the stupidest things.

Argh.

July 11, 2008

Celebrity Spottings

This week at Gypsy, I've seen
Robert Townsend (looking very sexy)
Valerie Bertinelli (absolutely stunning in person)
Doris Roberts (asked me for directions to the stage door)
Clarke Peters (going into a restaurant next to the St. James theater)

July 08, 2008

Engaged

My friend just got engaged. I'm so happy for her. People deserve the happy moments they get in life. And that's all people. But especially my friend, because she is a very special person who deserved everything good thing that comes her way.

I'm also happy for me because reading about her engagement, reminded me of Jon's proposal. That was certainly a happy, happy day. I remember smiling so hard, I thought my face was going to break. And I couldn't stop smiling.

Jon started the proposal by presenting me with a Valentine's Day card that he made. Inside was a poem, that described the trajectory of our relationship. The poem ended with a proposal. I still have the card. I'll probably keep the card forever.

It was romantic.

July 05, 2008

Bullets on a Fifth of July

* Tuesday, in addition to the Millionaire debaucle, Jon and I helped a couple of friends move in together. In spite of the hard work, it felt good to help them.

* Jon and I went on several challenging bikerides this week. They were challenging because it was both hot and windy.

* I am sunburnt.

* There is a new X-Files movie coming soon to a theater near me. WAHOOOO!!!!!

* Yesterday was the 4th of July. It rained on my plans of going to my friends rooftop to watch Macy's fireworks display in the east river.

* Today I'm working at Passing Strange at the Belasco theater. I've been invited to the staff's 4th of July BBQ which will take place between shows. I may or may not go. Everybody, including the stars of the show, will be at the BBQ. I'm too shy for that.

July 03, 2008

Cloud Formation

Jon and I went on another bike ride to the Flushing Bay Promenade. I took a picture of this amazing cloud formation. If you look closely you can also see the new Shea Stadium under construction.

July 01, 2008

Who Wants to be a Milllionaire?

I do. But unfortunately, I did not pass the test or so they say. Who knows what a passing score is? The most I got wrong was two questions on a 30 question multiple choice test. Seriously. I am so Disappointed (notice the capital D).

I really thought I'd passed.

They suck.

June 28, 2008

Work Your Way Through The Pile

I just read this article about how multi-tasking is making us less efficient.

I have a friend whose work philosophy was work your way through the pile, one paper at a time. This was a very efficient person who used to get lots and lots accomplished but not someone you would ever consider a multi-tasker. My friend may have been on to something.

I have a different friend who claims to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - whines about it quite frequently actually.

Perhaps this friend is showing signs of a new condition identified as "Attention Deficit Trait".

Read about it here - The Myth of Multitasking"

H-H-H

Hot, hazy and humid weather plagues us. Hopefully, tomorrow's rains will clear the air and next week we will enjoy nicer weather.

I have not been bike riding - mostly because of laziness, sometimes because of nervousness.

But I went out twice this week, both times with Jon. On Wednesday we rode all the way to Flushing Meadow Park. We stopped to rest at the Unisphere and while I was drinking some water I spotted a red tail hawk. It was perched on the branch of a tree located next to the entrance to the Queens Museum of Art. That was cool. Apparently, there is a pair nesting in the Unisphere.

Today, I'm working my last show of the week at In The Heights.

I've been lucky with my work schedule. Last week, right after the Tony's, I worked at Gypsy. Patti Lupone, Laura Benanti and Boyd Gaines all won awards for playing, Mamma Rose, Gypsy Rose Lee and Herbie respectively. When Patti Lupone made her entrance on Tuesday night within the first five minutes of the show, she received a standing ovation. She broke character for one second, bowed quickly to the audience and then said, "Save your energy." I know breaking character is bad, but she had to do something. It's a three hour show, and unions demand overtime if show runs long. It worked. Everyone sat down and the show continued.

This week, I've been working at In The Heights, which won awards for Best Musical, Best Choreography, Best Original Score and Best Orchestration. All the awards are well deserved. I wasn't particularly surprised that this show won for Best New Musical because it is. It's been selling out since before the Tony's. It's the hot ticket to get - all discounts have been discontinued. But I bet if you wait a few months (the show is not going anywhere) you'll be able to see the show at a discount. Tickets cost $122 for orchestra. If you're got the money go for it, but if not, just wait.

Next week, I'm working at Passing Strange which won a Tony award for Best Book of a Musical. I really, really like this show. And I also recommend this one.

Go see a Broadway show this summer.

June 27, 2008

Vexillia Sock Monsters Blog

I started a blog for my sock monsters, so you don't have to read about that here anymore.

Check it out.

Vexillia Sock Monsters

June 26, 2008

Pfli is a Star


Pfli has been featured in an Etsy treasury. Treasuries are chosen by Etsy members.

Check it out here. Ack!! Monsters!!!!!!!!

Who wants to be a millionaire?

I do. And I'm auditioning to be a contestant for that show on Tuesday night. I am starting to get really nervous and excited. First, I have to take a timed written test. Next, if I pass that test,I will be interviewed. Then, if that goes really well, I may be interviewed on camera.

*Deep breath*

I've been watching the show these last two weeks. The early questions can be really tricky. I'm hoping that if and when I get on the show, the tricky questions will be ones that I know the answers to or that I can guess correctly.

*Deep breath*

On my questionaire, where they asked what about me makes me unique, I answered that I make sock monsters and that I met my husband playing bar trivia. What makes people unique? Unless they are dedicating their lives to building wells in Ethiopia, people are pretty much the same. So hopefully, sock monsters will make me unique.

Schmooey


Schmooey and me.
Schmooey is my smallest monster yet. He's only 5 inches tall.
{You could see I got a little sunburn yesterday bike riding}.


June 24, 2008

New Monsters

HipHop looks like a bunny but surely he is not. He doesn't have a white fluffy tail. And he is missing a bunny's characteristic whiskers and pink nose. However, his monster genus has the same origins as a bunny. That's why they look so similar. HipHop likes carrots and is fiercely protective of whoever is taking care of him.


This is Pfli. He's a social monster which is why he is hanging out with the other monsters pictured. Although he is pink, he is very much a boy in that he likes to get into trouble - on purpose. We caught him rearranging the shirts in my dresser right after we caught him in the bathroom unrolling all the toilet paper.

June 23, 2008

We Had A Party

We had some people over on Saturday night and I think it went okay. If you weren't invited please don't feel bad. I was trying to keep the numbers down, so we could keep the noise level to a minimum. Everyone took off their shoes at my request, although I'm not sure how much that really helps. I offered socks to anyone who needed them. One pair of socks went home as a gift and the other - well, the other will be converted into a sock monster. We haven't had any negative feedback yet, so I guess we're in the clear. The last guest left around 11:40 so I think we succeeded in keeping within reasonably party hour guidelines.

Again, please don't feel bad if you weren't included. We'll be planning more intimate get-togethers with the people we couldn't invite, which is the type of party I prefer anyway. I'm not really into large social gatherings - especially hosting them. I find that very difficult. And you don't really get to talk to anyone. And very often you don't get to eat when you host a party. I think I ate more at my wedding than I did on Saturday night.

And no. I didn't take any pictures. It didn't even occur to me.

June 17, 2008

Tonight

I'm very excited to have my camera back. I plan on taking some pictures later tonight. Of what, I'm not sure but I'm taking pictures.

Pink and White Sock Monsters

This is Petunia. She always does what we tell her and she never misbehaves. Note that she has fingers, which is a new feature I'm adding to my monsters.


This is Pflur. Pflur likes potatoes. And she loves talking about them. Last night, I ordered lemon potatoes from our local Greek eatery and she couldn't stop staring at them. I offered her one, but she can't really eat. Her mouth is sewn shut.

Camera Update

Our camera is finally back and it's working just fine.!!

Lost Season Finale

Jon and I finally watched the finale of the latest season of Lost.

I realized, probably weeks and weeks after everyone else, that the story that takes place after the Oceana 6 were rescued, was being told backward while the island story was being told forward, until they met up. That's pretty good story telling.

Then there was the present day story, the cliff hanger from last season that left us wondering who was in that coffin. We finally found out.

If you're like me, you may still be waiting until you're ready to watch the season finale and it's sitting in your DVR queue, waiting to be watched. I'm not going to tell you who is in the coffin. But I'm sure that spoiler can be found somewhere on the internet.

If you want spoilers, read this article by favorite TV critic, Alan Sepinwall.

June 16, 2008

Regarding the Neighbors

It occurred to me that I might have given the impression that the situation with the neighbors is more grave than it really is.

1. We knew moving in that there was the possibility that we would have to get carpeting if the neighbors complained about the noise.

2. We do not have to carpet the apartment wall to wall - just 80%.

3. We were advised that no further action at this point was necessary because the neighbors did not complain in writing. Speaking with the neighbors at this point would be premature. They have to get use to us. We have to get used to living on the fourth floor as opposed to living in a first floor apartment where there are no downstairs neighbors.

4. We haven't heard any knocking since last week.

5. Worse comes to worse we put some carpeting down or spread out some throw rugs, which is something we were considering anyway. It's not the end of the world.

Thank you to my friends for your advice and your concern but this is not what I would consider a serious problem. Although, I did appreciate the opportunity to vent.

June 15, 2008

Those Dagnab Neighbors

The neighbors skipped past talking to us and talking to the super and complained directly to the our building management about all the "noise we're making". The super informed us today that they called in a complaint this week and requested we get carpeting. But they did not make the request in writing, which is basically like NOT COMPLAINING AT ALL. Until they complain in writing, we don't have to do anything but once they do, we have to comply and get carpeting.

I asked the super if they were aware of this and he was pretty sure that they didn't. According to the super we have the right to talk to each other in our apartment. He also advised us not to do anything yet and just wait and see if there are any more complaints. I asked him if I could complain about the cigarette smoke that rises up out of their apartment and into our open windows. He shrugged and laughed because obviously I can't complain about that. But I would if I could.

He was upset that they didn't speak to us or even to him before bothering management. They really should have tried speaking to us first. Don't you think?

June 14, 2008

New Monsters

Jupiter
Jupiter likes to pretend he is from Jupiter, but he's just a regular old monster from Queens. I admire him because he has a great imagination. He also likes to pretend he's a robot.
Jupiter

Slurp
"Slurp, slurp", he said. Slurp can only communicate by licking you. If you know morse code, you should be able to understand him by paying attention to his licking patterns.
Slurp

Cy
Cy likes to tell corny jokes. He's outgoing and funny but one gets the distinct impression that he's overcompensating for his inadequacy. He only has one eye which makes him feel a little self-conscious.
Cy

Goose
Goose's neck became stretched out when he kept looking over the back fence to see what his neighbor was up to. Goose's snooping behavior got so bad, that his owners sent him to us.We run a school for mischievous monsters where they learn how to co-exist with others. Goose is totally reformed and looking for a new home.
Goose

U-Vlee
I was trying to make a very small monster and in doing so, I made a little monster with no torso. He looks like an upside-down U.
U-Vlee

Brargh
Brargh is named for the sound he makes. He has a speech impediment. We tried to enroll him in speech therapy classes but he pouted and stamped his feet. Now he's home with us but we don't have any room for him. There are a lot of monsters here.
Brargh

Glick
Glick likes to eat fabric. My husband and I think he's part moth.
Glick

June 12, 2008

Our Camera

The repair center in Laredo has our camera again. UPS shipped it back to them because they had the wrong information attached to our camera.

Well. We spoke with them again. They definitely have our camera and correct address information. They even have Jon's name in the system with a record of the repair. They told Jon this morning that they'll send us a replacement if they have to.

We should have it by next week.

I'm starting to think they suck.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

I do. I'm auditioning for the show next month!!

Dancing on the Ceiling

Last night after midnight, Jon and I were sitting in bed talking to each other, quietly. The lady downstairs banged on her ceiling five times which shut us up mid-sentence and we heard her screaming.

We were told that if anyone complains about our noise level we may have to carpet the place, so for me the cheapest solution would be the best.

I was thinking of carpet tiles. Does anyone have any experience with these? Are these good sound insulators?

June 10, 2008

Cy


This is Cy. I made him two days ago. He's my second cyclops.

Life in the New Apartment

I have been sleeping so much better in our new bedroom. It could be the novelty of being in a new space; maybe the quiets; maybe the fact that we finally got our bed off the floor; maybe my cool new curtains. I'm not sure why but I guess I should enjoy the fact that I can actually sleep well now and try not to analyze the situation and put pressure on myself to continue sleeping well.

The apartment came with two 220V air conditioners and they working really well. They're keeping the temperature nice and cool but not too cool. We don't want to be part of another severe Astoria blackout. There have already been some in Brooklyn, the Bronx and New Jersey.

Yesterday, Jon and I hung up the rest of our artwork which has given the apartment a lot more personality. We have to get some more - lots of wall space to cover up.

June 07, 2008

Hillary is Out!!

Hillary Clinton is officially out of the race to the democratic nominee for president.

Blah Blah Blah

Saturdays always feel super long when I'm working. I'm in my favorite internet cafe right now, doing something I enjoy and yet time still feels like it's passing slowly.
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It's hot outside.
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Check out my listing for Sylvia. I stuck her on my Etsy site before I left for work.
Sylvia
One of the secrets of success for Etsy is to post at least one item every day. I've started working on another new monster to keep up that pace. I try to make two a day but that's not always possible.
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I'm reading a book called How Not To Write a Novel. It's a good book. I'm learning that I when I write, I make lot of the mistakes described by the authors.
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I'm tired and whiny.

Allergies, Subways and Mroop

Anyone else having a hard time with allergies?
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I'm working at Jersey Boys his week which means one thing. After each show, I have to take a late train that is always SRO - standing room only.
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This is Mroop. I finished him yesterday afternoon. Mroop watched his first baseball game last night and exclaimed a great love for the sport. He developed a fierce loyalty for the Mets even though they lost to the Padres.

June 06, 2008

Just One More Thing

I saw the nutritionist yesterday for the first time in three months. I haven't lost too much weight since we've come back from our vacation in Costa Rica but I haven't gained any weight at all. My glass is half full!!!

But here is the news that I wanted to share with you.

When I first saw the nutritionist in October my BMI was 32.5 and I was holding 43.9% body fat. Yesterday my BMI was 27.3 and my body fat is 36.1%. Normal body fat percentage for my height is between 23 and 33%. I'm almost there.

I've lost 31 pounds total.

The reason I haven't lost much since our vacation is I haven't been following my diet as closely as I should. Plain and simple. No excuses.

When I follow the plan I lose weight. So, I'm back to counting my food and being diligent about when I'm putting into my body. I have a four pound weight goal for the next four weeks.

Stuff and Things

Too Much Information
Yesterday morning, I was playing a game online called QWERTY on Pogo.com. It's a bastardization of Scrabble. One of the nice features of Pogo games is that you can chat with your opponents. My conversation started slow with questions about my age and where I lived. My opponent shared her location, her age and then she started sharing incredibly weird and personal information. Apparently, she makes her husband sit down and pee and told me he [cleans himself] like a good girl. Then she told me he likes to wear her underwear. So I told her he wasn't that unusual, that lots of men wear women's underwear which is true. She must have seen that as some sort of challenge because then she proceeded to tell me that he likes to wear tube tops, that her beautician friend had just given him a shag haircut, that he likes to wear makeup and that she had just bought him a pair of high heels. I finished our game and politely bowed out for fear of learning something about her husband beyond his benign cross dressing habits. I wasn't freaked by the description of his behavior as much as she relished in telling me about it as if she were humiliating him by sharing this information. Blech.

Camera Saga
The repair center in Laredo, TX sent my repaired camera to the wrong person at the wrong address. It took me 15 minutes on the phone this morning to figure out what happened to my camera and get the situation rectified. Hopefully, we'll have that by next week because I really miss my camera. I still have my backup which takes beautiful pictures. The battery dies so quickly though. I took 15 pictures this morning and the battery already needs to be recharged.

Cortland
Jon and I visited our parents in Cortland this last week. The visit was lovely. My in-laws have a really amazing new dog. She's the smartest dog ever and I could see her participating in agility races or bringing joy to people as a therapy dog. In either capacity she would do very well. Maybe she could do both. They should enroll in dog college or something - that's how bright she is. The commute home was brutal. Our home bound bus was an hour late picking us up and took hours and hours to get us back to New York. We always seem to get stuck at the Lincoln Tunnel whenever we make a trip like this. We could have flown to England in the amount of time it took us from start to finish.

Monsters
I sold another monster this morning to a lovely lady in the U.K. With that sale Vexillia officially has gone international. The monster in question was named Mlurp. And this morning I added three more listings to my Etsy site.

Haymaker and Little Haymaker were made especially for Father's Day.
Haymaker and Son 2
Clyde has a secret penchant for torturing flying roaches.
Clyde Face

Broop has a big head and a little body.
Broop Face

May 31, 2008

Four New Monsters

Montegue - Montegue is an old fashioned monster looking for a girlfiend (yes, fiend) with whom he can share a sundae at an ice cream social. Don't let his stilted way of talking fool you. He is quite well rounded and up to date on movies through the 1970's.
Montegue Closeup and Personal

Bloop - Bloop is a distant relative of Mlergh. He has a striped body and a white shirt. He likes baseball and he's very loud.
Bloop

Mlee - Mlee is part of the League of Lifeguarding Monsters. His specialty is kiddy pools and not the shallow end of the large neighborhood pool - the inflatable kind one might find in a suburban front yard.
Mlee

Duke - My husband thought that Duke resembled the mascot for Duke University, hence his name. He is quite devilish. Don't let his diminutive appearance fool you.
Duke

Posting With The Boys

This is my headline.

No Country for Straight Men

Suspicious Packages


Suspicious Package Industry Falls On Hard Times

May 29, 2008

Sold

All these monsters have found new homes.

Trip To The Met

I'm overdue for a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Maybe next week I'll sneak in a visit. I really want to see the painting of Venus and Cupid where Cupid is peeing through a wreath in some ancient symbolism for fertility. It's a beautiful painting and the last time Jon and I went to the museum the section that features Venus and Cupid was closed.


May 28, 2008

Warranty!!

Good news. Our camera is still under warranty. The bad news is we have to send the camera all the way to Laredo, TX for service. Hopefully we'll have the camera back in two weeks.

Coming Home From Curtains

Last night on the subway I watched the face of the woman sitting across from me. She was watching six young women on their way home from some kind of Fun Run or athletic work function. As she watched them, I could see she was getting emotional. Her face started to get blotchy as if she were about to cry and she was holding back tears.

One of the six women was particularly obnoxious and she seemed to be the leader of the group. She reminded me of those horrible girls in high school who always led their friends in group taunts of less popular students. And I have a feeling the woman sitting across from me was thinking similar thoughts.

I wanted to move across the empty space between our seats and sit next to her and comfort her, but that would have been weird, right?

Lou and Chester

Chester came out good. He's one of the six I made last week. I named him Chester because it rhymes with jester which is what he looks like - in a Val sort of way.
Chester

And the other one I really like from last week's mix is Lou. I take back what I said about not liking what I've been making lately because I changed my mind as is my wont.
Lou

May 27, 2008

Monster Burnout

I'm having trouble creating lately. I've been working but I'm not satisfied with how the monsters look. Here's an example.



I guess he's cute enough to give away to someone but not cute enough to sell. Actually, I think I'll give this one away tonight to my friend Julie who works as an usher where I'm working tonight.

Here's an example of one that I like but I'm not happy with the finishing. My technique is off. You can see lose threads behind his eyes. I may or may not put him up for sale. But he's cute though, right? I used mostly smooth socks to make him but fuzzy socks for his lips.



Here's a bigger version of one I made a month or so ago. I'm very satisfied with this one in terms of looking finished but didn't realize until after he was done that he was modeled after one I'd already made.

May 25, 2008

Camera Acting Funny

My really cool camera is acting funny. The lens goes in and out three times and then the camera gives me a message to turn the camera off and on again. I contacted Sony and they suggested I send the camera in to their repair center.

The repair could cost up to $111.00. I don't think the camera cost much more than that.

Anyway.

Does anyone else have a Cybershot DSCW80 with this weird problem? How did you solve it?

May 24, 2008

A New Day

It's bright and sunny out. And in about an hour or so, I'm heading into the city to spend the day indoors - working at The Country Girl. I didn't watch the show last night. Instead, I worked on a monster named Chester. You'll meet him next week.

I bought some new materials yesterday. I'm tired of pink fluffy socks so I'm moving on to cotton and polycotton blends. Chester came out pretty good but I'm interested to see where else my imagination will lead me.

The people upstairs are sawing wood - literally. It's noisy.

May 23, 2008

Michael Clayton

We finished watchng Michael Clayton last night. I thought it was a really good movie.

There is a death scene that is the most startling I've ever scene - very upsetting. All the performances were rock solid and the story was pretty easy to follow.

Good movie.

May 22, 2008

Monsters and Ovens

My oven is finally hooked up. Wahoo!!! I cooked rice and beans yesterday. Yum-o! Today, I'm making soup. The weather has certainly been cold and wet enough for that. And yes I have resumed monster making. I've already made three this week and will probably list them on my Etsy site once I have six ready to go.

Indiana Jones and The Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Last night, Jon and I had a bit of a scare. We were watching Michael Clayton and around midnight the Carbon Monoxide alarm started going off. We assumed that the battery was dying. So, we removed the alarm from the wall and proceeded to remove the battery. But when we read the instructions, turns out that our alarm was not alerting us to a dead battery but to a possible carbon monoxide problem. We opened the windows and called 311. 311 connected us to 911 who connected us to the fire department who showed up 5 minutes later to tell us that there was no carbon monoxide in our apartment and that our battery was dying. Our fireman commended us for opening our windows (apparently other people sit in their sealed apartments while waiting for the fire department) and advised us to get a new battery for our alarm. Crisis passed, we watched a little bit more of the movie and called it quits around 1 am. We still have a little bit more to watch.

We woke up bright and early so we could go see the 10 am showing of the new Indiana Jones movie at the Ziegfeld. I'm not giving anything away. No spoilers here. The movie was a lot of fun. Indiana Jones and his sidekicks went on a grand adventure. Spielberg did a nice job tying a neat little bow on his "Quadrology"? What else could you call it?

Go see it. It's a lot more satisfying than The Country Girl. That's for sure.