Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Random Observation #409

As far as musical instruments I've heard being played in subway stations and on train tunnel platforms, the most ill-advised must be the bagpipes. There's just nowhere for the sound to go.

The end.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

But I might go back off pizza. I think I just don't like the stuff.

On Friday, after four months of waiting since he was hired, Josh's paperwork went through for his job. This means the City of New York finished their background check, processed his paperwork, approved his employment and put him on salary. He's all set. No more temping, yay excellent benefits, the professional transition from working in the music industry to going back to school to looking for a job in the nonprofit sector is over for him. Biggest relief ever.

Also on Friday, about an hour after Josh called to tell me his hiring went through, I got an e-mail that Stacy, my very oldest and dearest friend since we were six years old, gave birth to her first baby, a healthy, gorgeous boy. She did this after a 31-hour labor. Without drugs. A startling physical accomplishment if I've ever heard of one. She's incredible. Also, she's a mom. Amazing.

Also on Friday, after believing I'd had a dream in which my very favorite news anchor, Sue Simmons (well, my favorite news anchor next to Pat Kiernan; my heart belongs to Pat Kiernan), announced that the FDA had lifted the tomato ban, I found that it was actually true. So after not having touched them for weeks because I've had salmonella before and I do not want it again, I ate my first tomato. It was positively orgasmic. Not eating tomatoes was much more difficult than I thought it would be, and I was deeply impressed by a food discipline that I have never exhibited with any other cuisine in my life, save for not eating a slice of pizza for 12 years and not touching red meat since 1994.

Also on Friday, the bad karmavators — two elevators at the end of my office's elevator-bank hallway that some of my coworkers believe bestow bad luck onto anybody who rides them that day (as proven by the Early 2008 Olsen Twin Fashion Police Debacle) — never once opened for me. Usually they are the only two elevators that ever open when I want to go anywhere (usefully, up or down), and no matter how long I wait for another elevator to come, it's always those two that I'm destined to ride. Not on Friday.

Friday was the best day ever.

I bought a lottery ticket.

I lost.

That's OK. My husband has a salary. I can eat tomatoes. Every ride I took basked in my good luck. And my best friend is a mother.

I win.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It's 92 degrees outside ...

... so here's some snow!

I suppose there's a benefit to being incredibly slow to post photos on my blog. You may find these unseasonably pleasant.


Despite all my instincts and energies and personal preferences that would work against these feelings — the slow-moving crowds are crazy-making, my work schedule is amped up to an exhausting level, the nonstop cheesy commercials are unbearable, I'm Jewish — I love the Christmas season in New York. It's just so ... pretty. I love winter. I love snow. I love the lights. I do not love the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, but I do love that I can leave my office across from the Music Hall and see a herd of sheep being corralled down 51st Street outside the stage door.

So in early January, I finally made my way to Rockefeller Center to see the tree. (The key to this: Go after Christmas. All the tourists have gone home by then.) My favorite part of Rockefeller Center is, of course, the skating rink.

When I was in tenth grade, I went with my Hebrew school confirmation class on a Jewish tour of New York. It was my second time in the city. The teachers and rabbi very Jewishly took us ice skating in Rockefeller Center. I remember flirting with the Rink Guys who cruised around the ice making sure skaters were behaving and picking up anyone who'd fallen. And what I remember about the Rink Guys was that they were from the real-live Bronx and they lived to make it to the rink one more day. My impression of the Bronx in 1990, of course, was bullets flying everywhere because a) I watched too much TV, and b) I was an idiot, so I thought these men were so brave. They're probably investment bankers now, or, like, farmers in Iowa or something. But they did get a kick out of our Midwest yokel-y reactions to them.

(This reminds me of an incident that happened two weeks ago: Josh and I were on our way home from seeing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which is a FILM YOU SHOULD NOT SEE BECAUSE IT IS VERY, VERY, VERY BAD. Gah. Way to go, Lucas. Anyway, it was after midnight and we were waiting on a subway platform for our train. Two Italian men, probably in their twenties, most definitely a couple, approached us and asked us which way was downtown. We told them they were on the correct platform, and we got to talking. Coolest: They had just taken a road trip from California all the way across the country along Route 66. New York was the end of their trip; they had two days here and then were to fly back to Italy. At one point, they asked us, "Where can we go ... it is dangerous?" We thought we'd misheard. "You want to go somewhere dangerous?" we asked. They nodded enthusiastically. We evaluated them, their appearance and their stance. One of them was not very chatty but was follicularly vocal by way of his frosted hairdo. The other guy was extremely friendly and fashionable by way of his skintight white T-shirt that had tiny I [heart] NYs printed all over it. They were definitely from out of town. We told them to go up to Harlem and hang out on 125th Street: They could still say they'd been to Harlem, which people associate with danger, but there's tons of stuff to do on 125th Street and they wouldn't feel like they had to watch their backs. "Wherever you do decide to go," I said, "just make it look like you know where you're going, even if you don't. Just look confident. That's the most important thing." They were incredibly kind, these guys, and I would have loved to traipse around the city with them.)

Here's what else I remember from that confirmation trip:

1. Tower Records still existed and I bought a Beatles cassette tape that had "Blackbird" on it, a song that still makes me cry every time I hear it.
2. We ate at a kosher Chinese restaurant.
3. The Jewish Theological Seminary smelled like books, but not like a library.
4. After lunch one day, we piled into the bus, and in broad daylight, on the sidewalk right next to the bus, all of our noses pressed against the tinted windows, we watched a drug deal go down. I had never seen that much money in my life outside of a bank.
5. We stayed at the Hotel Esplanade. The blankets in our hotel rooms were coated in static, so we turned off the lights and shook and waved the blankets all over the place to watch the sparks. Also, the channels on the TVs were letters, not numbers. Channel J was Spanish-language porn.
6. After seeing a performance of Jerome Robbins' Broadway, as some friends and I were hopping into a cab, the show's star, Tony Roberts, rushed out through the stage door. "Hi!" we yelled. He said, "How did you get a cab so fast?" We said, "We don't know. We're girls?" We offered him a ride to wherever he was going. He passed.

Anyway. Longest tangent in the history of this blog. Ahem. January.

Gratuitous Tallulah

Or Nora. I can't always tell. Bad mommy. We've also taken to calling them Trouble and Difficult. They have shredded our curtains, but I'm such a pushover that I'm all, "Yes, but they're CUTE." I never liked those curtains anyway ...

They were spayed in January. I was oddly disappointed they weren't given the requisite head cones to prevent them from nipping at their stitches because I find the cones both sad and cute, but the girls never messed with their incisions. I also expected them to be lethargic, but they were very hyper when we brought them home, meandering around the apartment like they were drunk. But, despite a few days of Nora sitting in the litter box for some kind of strange pain relief it offered her, they healed quickly and their striped tummies are intact.

Shaved bellies

In February we got our first big snow of the year, and that made me unreasonably happy. I met a friend for lunch in the West Village and then went for a walk. I came across this:

One of the most touching aspects of how folks outside New York relate to 9/11 is the memorials they've offered to the city. I love this one. It's a fence nearly a block long covered in tiles painted by firemen, schoolchildren, and other concerned people from all over the world.

Snow porn

Clearing a light dusting

I made my way through Washington Square Park and came upon a couple people crowding around a picnic table. They had video cameras and reams of plastic wrap, so I assumed they were film students (Washington Square Park is right in the middle of NYU). They were filming this:

It was about three inches tall, if that. They looked annoyed when I asked if I could take a photo, but come on, a three-inch-tall snowman? Must be recorded for posterity.

Every now and then, this banner is hung outside a building in my neighborhood.

Sarah and her mum, Dolores, visited from England in March. We went shopping in my neighborhood, and it was on one of the first really beautiful, clear days of the spring. Dolores sat down on a bench outside one of Sarah and my favorite stores, and voilà, one of our very favorite pictures.

I covet these shoes, even though they'd give me some fierce cankles.

At the end of March, I headed home to Detroit for Jennifer's bridal shower. Stephanie, Lauren and I ran some errands, one of which was hitting Jaxx Car Wash.

Here's the thing about Jaxx Car Wash:

My father loves to get his car washed. He's a Detroiter through and through so he knows cars, and he firmly believes, because it's true, that your car will run better and last longer if you keep it clean. So some of my clearest memories from my childhood were going with him to Jaxx Car Wash and standing on the small step platform so I could watch through the viewing windows as the car moved along the tracks.

So guess what Stephanie and Lauren did.

We went back to my parents' house to help my mom cook for a party in honor of Jen's future in-laws. Here's the problem with that (with getting us together to help cook, not with throwing parties for future family members):

Beyond the fact that I don't like to cook despite my mother's greatest efforts to teach me (and my mother is a great cook), and beyond any drama that could occur at any time when my sisters and I get together, beyond that, we have the problem of Stephanie. See Stephanie in that photo, in the white? Stephanie is making some kind of cheese dish. Stephanie is concentrating with all her might. This is what Stephanie does. Stephanie is the most OCD cook you will ever meet. Every sprig of garnish has to be in the perfect spot, each berry has to be evenly spaced from the one closest to it. And this is not just because Stephanie is pregnant; Stephanie is just as OCD pregnant as she was before, except now it just involves more pineapple. Because Stephanie is so, let's say she's deliberate and particular when she cooks, you can really only give her one thing to do because it will take her for. ever. to finish. Here is a list of things that, if you want to eat that day, you cannot ask Stephanie to do in the kitchen:

1. Make blueberry pancakes
2. Make chocolate chip cookies
3. Shuck the husk off corn on the cob; this will take hours, as there are fibrous threads involved that, apparently, must be removed one at a time

I'm no better, actually, but my OCD manifests itself when I clean my apartment. That takes eons, but you can lick the floor when I'm done.

So hand it to Steph: She works diligently, but it sure is pretty.

Jen makes the most delicious artichoke dip.

It is not good for you. But it is really, really yummy.

Here is the recipe:

Jennifer’s Artichoke Dip

8 oz. artichoke hearts (can, jar, whatever)
1 cup grated Parmesan
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
8 oz. cream cheese
garlic to taste

Blend all ingredients together in a Cuisinart. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put in a shallow dish and bake for 30-40 minutes until lightly browned. Spoon into a serving dish.

My friend Naomi told me that when she was in Kentucky a few months ago, she ate in a restaurant that had spinach-artichoke dip on the menu. The description? "A great way to get your vegetables!"

The first weekend in May, I went to Chicago for Jen's bachelorette party. My duty as a bridesmaid was to bring some decor for the hotel room where we were all staying and pre-partying before going out for drinks and tapas. That is why I bought Captain Pecker

a six-foot-tall inflatable penis. Not my proudest moment.

I also bought balloons that look like boobs.

Wanting to equally represent all types of cleavage, we created the Pathetic Boob Tree.

The food at the tapas restaurant was delicious. The actual physical menu, however, was not. I nearly broke into hives with the spelling and random capitalization and apostrophe use. Call me a snob, fine if I am, but people! Spell check!

There was tenderoin

and also crab Cake's, crabmet, Shrimps, and they were all flavored with various species.

Jen's wedding was Memorial Day weekend. We got up at 5 a.m. to do hair and makeup.

Francie Paull, who is Jen's maid of honor's sister, did our makeup. She's an incredibly talented makeup artist and is also a pleasure to be around. Her contact info is on her Web site so call her today for your beautification needs.

My mom looked hawt.

My grandparents have all passed away, so Jen had pieces of jewelry that belonged to them woven into her bouquet: rings from each of my mother's parents, a ring from my dad's mother, and a tie pin from his father.

Showing Dad the ring and tie pin.

Jen and Brian

Blurry! But cute!

When my dad was in high school, he was in a band with three other guys called The Fourskins. He was the drummer. I don't think he's sat behind a drum kit since, so he chose Jen's wedding to rock out. It was kind of awesome. I guess you could say his rhythm was, er, challenging for the crowd, but it was fun.

I came back to New York and spent a couple hours in Union Square Park reading a magazine and taking in the scene. Notice the scene:

Notice how, while it's relatively crowded, people still respect each other's personal space and sit at least a few feet from each other. Then there's this guy:

He plopped down about five to ten inches from me. (That striped bag is mine.) He spent the next twenty minutes on the phone, during which I learned that he planned to see "her" that night, but — oh no! — he was wearing his Playboy boxers, and every time he runs into "her," he's wearing his Playboy boxers, and even though he loves his Playboy boxers, he doesn't want her to think the only boxers he has are his Playboy boxers. Also, he called everyone "son" and "cousin." Also: I don't understand low pants.

And that brings us to now. Or, two weeks ago. Fire Island.


The whole weekend, the beach was so close to the house. Josh's aunt and uncle's house is right on the dunes, and I've never seen the water come up to the grass. They even collapsed the lifeguard stand, which usually is propped behind the pile of sand in the photo, for the night.

Taped to the front door of a business:

Signs like this make me laugh:

It's a "duh" sign. It reminds me of when I was in Utah, hiking up the Emerald Pools, and there was a sign that said something like, "Do not step beyond this point." Beyond that point was a cliff. A couple plants and then a huge drop. So thanks for the sign and all, but I got this one.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,