Thursday, May 29, 2008

apologies

you may or may not have noticed that blogger and I are kind of on a break. I blame work and travel. Blogger claims I am lazy, inattentive and cheating on him with my wii and new dvr. Cheap shots with some truth to them.

Anyway, I don't foresee taking any sort of permanent leave of absence or even extending my current spotty posting much longer. Mostly I am just looking forward to a completely empty weekend with great anticipation wondering how I might fill it - sleeping in, a movie, a pedicure, brunch, reading, blogging, cleaning my apartment that is somehow a disaster (despite my recent absenteeism and two kind house guests who did my cleaning for me - TWICE!) . . . honestly, I will likely sleep. But somewhere in there I will catch you up on my crazy month of May.

In the meantime, it seems I no longer have plans for a summer vacation - which is vexing because I really need something to look forward to despite my hatred of air travel at the moment.

I'm thinking something outdoorsy - perhaps a rock climbing camp of some sort or maybe a surfing camp or a fitness spa? I don't know, something that will be good for solo travel (unless someone else cares to join me?). For whatever reason, every search I input into google on any of these topics leads me back to my own home state of Utah.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

chillin with my cousins

Last night I had some fun with my cousins, here is the result:






cute kids, no?

Friday, May 23, 2008

check this out

I have been a delinquent blogger of the worst kind this month. Of course, I have not had a single weekend to myself and have traveled 3 of the 4 weekends this month and had house guests that other weekend . . . soooooooooo, that's my excuse. But it also means I have some fun pics stored up in my camera so hopefully I can get everyone caught up on the fascinating goings on in my life shortly (I'm sure you are all on pins an needles in anticipation!).

But for now, please check out my sister's illustration on NPR's website! She is not a full time illustrator (although she should be)and yet she got this cool gig! Plus, the article is for summer book recommendations - you will want to check those out anyway. I have not read a single book on the list so I'm going to have to add them to my summer pile.

I hope everyone has a great Memorial Weekend - I'm flying to SLC for the weekend and apparently dragging the dreary stuck in 50 to 60 something rainy weather back there with me. So much for my plan to repeat last year's bbq. No fun.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

query

Earlier this week there were some office relocations which placed two new people in an office two doors away from mine. Soon after the new residents settled in I started sneezing, my throat tightened up, my eyes dried out and my head aches kicked in, followed by mild waves of nausea. Needless to say this was not pleasant.

Spring time is not the most pleasant for allergy sufferers. Even in NYC where there is mostly concrete and metal, the air somehow grows thick with evil pollens that leaves many of the unlucky residents sneezing with red eyes and scratchy throats. While this has not been my worst allergy year, I have definitely felt the effects - especially when I took a walk through Central Park last Sunday.

But the other effect spring time allergies have on me is they leave me hyper sensitive to other allergens to which I would not normally have much of a reaction - such as perfume.

I did not grow up wearing perfumes or scented lotions of any kind because they were banned in my house due to my dad's severe allergic reaction to them. As a teenager I would keep my cucumber Victoria's Secret lotion in my locker at school and sometimes grumbled in disbelief that my dad was just trying to torture me and claimed he was allergic when he just didn't like the smell. But the older I get the more I become like my dad in so many ways - including inheriting some of his hyper-sensitive allergies.

Before the end of the day on Monday, despite having spent the bulk of the day on conference calls with my door shut, I realized one of my new neighbors was wearing too much perfume for my sinuses to handle. Each day since I have tried to just deal with it but upping my medications, removing my contacts and just ignoring it. But this morning it was just too much. I hadn't been in my office more than 30 minutes before I was hit with the scent of it and my eyes dried out and started threatening a head ache. My throat dried up and my voice started to fade. I decided I had to do something.

I wasn't sure how to approach the situation so I just dove in. The smell was overpowering enough to me that I thought someone had just sprayed it so I walked to their office and asked *nicely* if one of them had just sprayed perfume or cologne. They said no and I presented my case, thinking surely they could see my blood shot eyes, hear my scratchy voice for themselves. One occupant confessed to wearing perfume but tried to blame it on the flowers on her desk (which I couldn't smell at all) and the other said she had sprayed Windex . . . yeah, not the problem. We talked for a few more minutes wherein one woman suggested I get a humidifier for my office and I said that wouldn't change anything. I also mentioned that I am on a number of medications (both asthma and allergy) but the final word from the perfume wearer was that her husband gave it to her and "I'm sorry."

What? That's it? I'm telling you it is making me physically ill and your response is just sorry?

A co-worker tried to tell me to pull rank (I'm an attorney, this woman is "administrative") and insist she stop wearing it but I do not believe that is appropriate for a number of reasons not to mention that I would never insist I am more important than someone based on my role in the firm. This isn't about me being more important than someone else because I'm not. It is about me being miserable sitting at my desk trying to work.

So my question for the day is - what would you do? In either position - if you were the one getting sick or the one making someone else ill?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Chapter XVI: in search of feeling

Note: In case you are new to my blog, or have forgotten the story since it has been so long since the last chapter, you can find the preceding chapters here - start reading from the bottom at Chapter I.

With my tears not yet dry after a fruitless search for my recently rescued German Shepard, Mitch and I pulled onto I-15 and pointed the car toward Las Vegas. He made vague and clumsy efforts toward comforting me with hollow promises that his family would continue to roam the streets of Cedar City in search of Meeka even while I stared out my west-facing passenger window and watched the familiar sage brush covered by tired and crusted week-old snow spreading out toward the gently rolling pine covered hills. I crawled further back into myself as the freeway curved west, then south again rapidly dropping in altitude as the snow disappeared and the sun began generating warmth as neared the desert. I couldn't speak. I was beginning to question whether what I thought or said or did or felt mattered at all.

We continued along the freeway as it split the red sandstone buttes I always viewed as the welcome sign to my grandparent's home and sped past the familiar exit. I continued to stare out the window toward the stark white temple where we were married just three months earlier - a day time had warped further into my past than the calendar claimed. A bitter wave of nostalgia washed over me as better memories of this same drive plagued me.

Mitch was in good spirits despite his frustrations with the gutless 1979 rusted Mystery Mazda that refused to run faster than 55 mph unless we were free falling down a steep incline. Before we reached the Virgin River Gorge with its towering red cliffs, steep inclines and narrow switchbacks, Mitch asked me to start the book on tape we had packed. I acquiesced as it allowed me to continue to stare out the window and blocked out the fights I wanted to pick. I fumbled through a bag in the back seat and popped the casette tape into the boombox I had earlier placed on the back seat. The car never had a tape player so this was our solution. Despite the large, bulky speakers, we strained to hear the pompous British voice reading Interview With a Vampire over the wind noise of the car.

I wanted to ask Mitch about Meeka again and why he let her out without walking outside with her. I wanted to ask him if he was really going to make me go to my friend's wedding alone, I wanted to ask him why he always felt so far away from me.

Instead, I turned my body further toward the window straining to pick out rock climbers on the cliffs and watched for familiar cars at the one wide pull-off in the Gorge to see if any friends were climbing the Gorge. Trapped in that car I envied the freedom of those climbers to walk up to such daunting slabs of sandstone and pinch tiny ledges with their fingers and sticky rubber shoes and feel - really feel something. I longed to be there with them, to force my feet into the exceptionally small shoes that perfectly traced the high arches of my feet and have someone check my harness to make sure I had remembered to double back my belt and give the rope a firm upward tug to check that my knots were correct. I wanted to step into the cool shade of the cliff I was facing and smell the dusty odor of raw nature. I imagined myself testing the face of the wall, running my palms across its rough texture in search of a starting point and giving myself a final stretch before calling to my partner "on belay?" and stepping onto the face after I received the confirmation of "belay on." Even as the climbers faded from view and the cliffs were replaced with the flat open surface of the Mojave Desert, I thought of each move up the face of that wall - my right foot gripping with the outer corner of my toes, heel raised as it held my wait while I stepped my left foot up near my knee and felt strength and freedom as I envisioned that faithful moment of transferring my weight to my left foot and rising a few feet as my fingers gripped at tiny outcroppings above my head until finding purchase. One move after another of jamming a leg in a crack here, pressing down with the heel of my hand on a ledge to mantle my feet to match my hands, resting briefly on a jug hold to catch my breath. If I could just be on that face, I imagined, I could feel the surface of the rock, feel the still cool air moving through my lungs, feel my heart pumping in my chest, feel the excitement of moving through a challenge, feel the crispness of the shaded air around me, feel the contrast of my sweating body, feel the joy of touching God's creation so intimately. At the top was sunshine, above the canyons cool shadows; at the top was warm air, following the cool; at the top was an expansive view of the world; at the top was freedom.

Instead, my craven soul remained trapped in a numb shell of a body slouched onto the car door, not feeling the glass pressed against my forehead or the raw edge of the seatbelt strained across my neck, shoulder and chest even as I longed to breathe deeply atop a cliff.

Mitch likely attributed my silence to melancholy over the loss of my dog, or perhaps he thought I was listening to the book he had chosen. In any event, he did not try to understand my distance and I resented him for it.

That night the distance was augmented by the awkward sleeping arrangements. We stayed with the same older brother who left us homeless for a night over spring break earlier in the year after he refused to let us stay at his house since his wife somehow thought that meant we would have sex on his couch. Despite being married, his brother still didn't seem to trust that we were legitimate and put us in a room with a twin bed with a trundle bed despite the fact that a perfectly good pull-out couch existed elsewhere. Sometime between my reverie in the Gorge and climbing onto the trundle bed a foot lower than my husband, the dam broke and thoughts and worries and fears came spilling out. I begged Mitch to go to the wedding the next morning then begged him to just touch me and I spent the night awkwardly straining my arm up toward him in a desperate attempt to feel.

The next morning nothing was said as I showered and dressed for the wedding, Mitch just didn't get dressed. He drove me to the temple unshowered and unshaved in sweat pants, a flannel shirt and a baseball cap. If I had been thinking clearly I might have realized it was better for him to not go given his recent antics, but I was selfishly embarrassed and humiliated by the very idea of going alone - some sort of widow to causes unknown after three short months of marriage. The bride was my best friend, my roommate, my brides maid - the only person other than Mitch with whom I had spent the bulk of the year. There was no way I could not go to her wedding. But walking into the temple that day as Mitch drove off with a vague promise to return before it was over, my heart sunk even further into my stomach.

In the chapel waiting room I sat next to Gretchen's mother and began the first lie of the day - Mitch was sick but hoped he could make it later. I don't know if she believed me or not but she obviously sensed my pain because she pulled me into the details of the day and both before and after the ceremony she invited me to help Gretchen in the brides dressing room. It helped to have a purpose although I wouldn't allow myself to feel anything out of fear of letting out the truth.

When we exited the temple, to my relief, Mitch was there waiting. I asked if he was feeling better and he rolled his eyes at my lie. Wearing a dress two sizes too big so the sleeve and hem line could be long enough for my long limbs, I smirked through photos, unable to conjure up a full smile. In photos I appear to be resigned to a life of making excuses for the man with a forced hand around my waist, even as he kept his distance and my empty eyes stared blankly into the distance.

belated telling of weekend adventures

Note: Once again I have been distracted (more like buried) here at work so while I started writing this post on Monday, it is now Wednesday and it is a bit stale so just pretend it is Monday again. No, wait. Nobody wants a Monday do-over so just forgive me for being such a slow and delinquent blogger these days. And while you're at it, forgive me if this is long and rambling. . . thanks!

Friday was one of those utterly useless, why-did-I-even-bother-showing-up-days at work. I spent a considerable amount of time shuffling papers around my desk which resulted in absolutely nothing being accomplished. At one point I think I added nearly $2,000 (!!!) worth of clothes to a shopping cart at a favored retailer and didn't buy any of it (um, I never had any intention of spending $2,000 on clothes, that was just the type of odd attention span I had on Friday). Sometime not long after 5 pm I finally gave up the farce of working and left. As part of my online window shopping I had investigated these blouses and decided to stop at the Gap up the street to pick one up. Before I proceed I should mention that the Gap "up the street" is actually THE Gap - the mothership, or flagship or whatever they call the main store. It is huge and takes up three or four floors and is more akin to a department store of everything Gap than your typical mall store. But I knew the white blouse I wanted to investigate would be in the tiny little boutique-style shop adjacent to the mega-Gap. After inspecting the blouse and deciding against actually trying it on (it is close enough I can return it if I don't like it I reasoned), I stepped up to the counter to purchase it. There was a sales clerk there who asked if I wanted to buy the blouse. Here is how the rest of the conversation proceeded:

Me: (slightly baffled) uh, yes.
Employee Person: you will have to wait a minute for the register person to return.
Me: (impatient because it is the end of a long week and I am just irritable) how long is a minute?
Employee Person (because I can't call her a sales person if she can't actually sell me something): Only ten minutes.
Me: (confused and increasingly impatient) what's the problem? why can't you ring me up?
Employee Person: the other girl went on break (and she gestured outside). Don't you want to wait?
Me: ten minutes? seriously? you want me to wait ten minutes? no, I don't want it that bad.

And I left the shirt on the counter and huffed off. I didn't yell or anything but I thought it was a ridiculous request in a 5th Avenue store that just next door had a whole slew of people who could (or should) be able to handle a simple purchase transaction. I probably overreacted because I could have just said "no thank you" and walked away but it caught me by surprise so I reacted. At some point over the next block or two I decided the shirt wasn't worth the price tag anyway.

My next stop was a pedicure . . . and a manicure. I rarely get manicures. I like having my nails look nice but I hate how fragile and inept I feel for the next hour or so afterwards as I avoid touching or doing anything with my hands. Plus, manicures never last. My nails seem to chip, crack or peel within a couple of days making me feel like a lazy 13-year old with half-grown out nails rather than a well-manicured professional. But since I was attending a wedding on Saturday I decided to get the works - red toe nails and finger nails. Initially the red seemed very, well RED! But as I am typing today they feel quite sophisticated . . . despite the glaring chip in my thumb I avoid looking at.

My next stop was not a simple indulgence, it was an absolute necessity. After my slumber party the weekend before, my oh so thoughtful friend Ruby sent me a thank you card (I'm seriously impressed by people who send thank you notes, especially for things that don't strictly call for them) with a gift card to a threading salon she had mentioned. She must have noticed the bed head state of my brows on Saturday morning because they were in some serious need of attention - you are past grooming time when your brows need to be combed into place in the morning! I regularly have both my eyebrows and lip (um, yes, this is a terrible necessity) waxed and I hate it but have learned to deal with the pain (the lip is by far the worst thing to have waxed - worse than the bikini line in my opinion). I was a bit nervous about trying something new but I've been curious about trying it for quite some time so I decided to give it a shot.

The place she sent me was bright and clean and set up similar to a hair salon but without the mirrors. Instead of a couch at reception there was a bed with brightly colored silk fabrics and throw pillows. When the receptionist noticed me carefully (and awkwardly) handling the clipboard she handed me, she asked if I had just had my nails done and helped accommodate me and my stupid ineptitude (seriously, I hate the fragility of freshly painted nails and the constant fear of ruining them). Before I could take a sip of the water I was offered I was introduced to my clinician (my word, not sure what their word is - threader? threadist?) who didn't respond much to my babbling about having never done this as she had me lie back in what initially looked like a beauty salon chair but once in it was more akin to a dentist's chair after it was lounged back into a fully reclined position with bright overhead spot lights focused directly on my face. I tried to stare past the bright light and out the large window into the gray sky hanging over the City as she asked me questions I couldn't answer because again . . . first time! I needed some guidance. Soon, my eyes were closed and I felt as if I was the sitar in the music happily playing in the background as I felt row after row of eyebrow hair plucked up from their root with this magical thread that twinged a bit but did not burn or rip in the same way waxing does. I was fascinated by the sensation and tried to sort out the best way to describe it and felt at a loss. I imagined the woman's fingers looped through the long strands of thread as she weaved it into my overgrown brows close to my face and then arms spread wide as the plucking sensation rippled across my eyebrow. My eyes remained tightly shut as I tried to maintain a serene countenance so as not to scrunch up my brows and make the process more difficult. She enlisted my help and had me pull my forehead up and hold my eyelid down and I worried about the tiny flying hairs landing in what I hoped was no longer wet nail polish.

After the eyes came the lip. This part made me nervous and I continued to squeeze my eyes shut and tried to focus on some happy point in my head to avoid the coming pain. I really wished I had kept my ipod with me to aid in my escapist route from the unknown pain. I was instructed to move my tongue up under the portion of my lip she was working with and while I can't say there was no pain, it was surprisingly easier than waxing. . . until she came to those horrible little hairs just below the nostrils that are inexplicably connected to my tear ducts that sting if I even consider plucking them. When the thread yanked at those, tears sprung to my eyes and I squeezed them more tightly shut to damn the tears threatening to rolling down my face.

It was over quickly enough and although I had some redness it wasn't any worse than waxing and actually felt gentler on my skin. I think I have found my new wax alternative - although I'm still convinced lasering is the ultimate answer for the blasted upper lip peskiness.

Once home I had to spring into action and start checking off the long list of "to dos" I had running through my head all day which included: laundry, pack, storage unit shift, dinner, Jazz game and on. It was already after 8 so dinner came first - luckily that was taken care of by Thursday's Thai leftovers but it also meant I rested a bit too long before I started my laundry.

The Jazz game started at 10:30 and I was constantly jumping up from my couch during time outs and quarter breaks and half time to switch out my laundry, make my bed, haul my winter clothes bins to my storage unit, remove my winter coats from the closet and squish them into garment bags and haul those to the storage unit as well. I also decided to transfer various toiltries into the newly purchased Muji acrylic pots and bottles I purchased earlier in the week during the member's discount day at the MoMA store. This was a good idea because I can fit more liquid necessities into an airport-security-approved plastic bag but it really seemed tedious and unnecessary as I was doing it Friday night.

The Jazz won (hooray! out of the first round!) but I didn't get to bed until nearly 1:30 a.m. which was a very bad thing considering I had to set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. so I could be outside with my luggage to meet my car to the airport at 6:10 a.m. I crawled out of bed, brushed my teeth, opted for no makeup, glasses and a hat and pulled on my most comfortable cargo pants, t-shirt and fleece and journeyed out. By 8:40 or so I was climbing into my brother's car at the curb of the Boston airport. We stopped for bagels and hot chocolate and I repeated how much I needed a nap as we discussed the Jazz's victory the night before and how little each of us had slept.

I meant to sleep before going to the wedding that night, I really did. But somehow as I caught up with my brother and his wife and then reintroduced myself to my beautiful niece (no fear, photos to follow), I livened up. Nadia and I dropped J off at school so he could cram for his next final (ironically the class is my practice area which he absolutely hates!) and we went to the store. I can't tell you how happy I was to push Regina around the store and watch her giggle at all of the lights and people and sounds. She really was enamored by everything she saw and often let out a loud yelp of excitement.

After the bright lights of the grocery store, Regina and I both needed naps so I set an alarm and crawled onto their bed and tried to shut out the whirlwind of thoughts racing through my head which mostly centered around not wanting to miss the email or phone call of the friend who was picking me up and driving to the wedding. When the phone rang after about an hour of down time I jumped up and answered before I was fully awake.

Sidenote: Why is it we never want to admit someone has caught us sleeping? Is it a sign of weakness to let people know that we sleep? And sometimes that sleeping is done in unconventional later morning hours, afternoon or early evening? Monday morning my trainer called me at 6:44 am. We had an appointment at 7:30 but due to subway problems in Brooklyn she called to say she couldn't make it. I have no idea how I responded although I do remember after a two minute or so "conversation" she told me to go back to sleep. I probably tried to pretend I wasn't sleeping then, too but the whole thing is so foggy I have no idea.

Not wanting to be thought slothful and genuinely wanting to talk to my caller, I stumbled awkwardly through our first minutes of conversation not fully comprehending what she had to say. Before too long I was fully cognizant and jabbering back and I knew there was no going back to nap time.

I don't know if this happens to any of you but the more time I have to get ready, the slower I am and (sometimes) the more likely I am to end up running late. It rarely takes me more than 45 minutes to an hour to get ready for anything. So when my friend agreed to pick me up between 4:30 and 4:45 and I got in the shower at 3 pm, I felt I had all the time in the world. Which resulted in frequent breaks to eat a bowl of cereal, hold my niece, talk to my sister-in-law, sew up the far too plunging v-neck of my dress (my best sewing skill) and then eat a banana with my niece. At 4:30 I was standing in the bathroom not quite finished with my makeup - I hadn't decided what jewelry to wear, applied lotion, transferred my evening's necessities to my small clutch, decided if I needed to wear my spanx (I did) or put away any of my bathroom toiletries which were strewn all over the small bathroom. I was delusionally thinking I still had 20 to 30 minutes to go when the phone rang. My friend was right out front. Of course all of the above final touches became a whirlwind and in my rush I not only emptied the entire contents of my suitcase onto the dining room floor, I knocked my green eye shadow pot off off its perilous perch into the sink and sent green eye shadow dust flying everywhere. It was a mess. I suddenly felt like a mess as I rushed out the door but the nice old woman wearing pajamas and a coat in the elevator told me I looked "lovely" so I felt a little better.
About 20 minutes into the 45-minute drive to Plymouth (or somewhere near Plymouth), I realized I was starving. The grand total of food consumed for the day was one plain cinnamon sugar bagel, one hot chocolate, one bowl of cereal, one banana. C'est tout. I told my friend that I would do my best to prevent my stomach from growling during the ceremony but she needed to consider herself warned.
The wedding was at a beautiful country club that did not believe in heat. Outside the temperature was probably in the low 40s and inside it may have been as high as 50 degrees. It was freezing. Not a huge fan of the black trench coat I was wearing that was missing the top two buttons, I dropped it at the coat check and huddled in my too-thin blue pashmina. My friend opted to keep her coat and while she did unbutton it briefly at one point during dinner, she never took it off.
The ceremony was performed in front of a beautiful fireplace with what appeared to be a toasty warm fire that kept the wedding party warm but left the guests wondering how awkward it would be if they all skootched their chairs five or six feet forward so we could be closer to the fire. The ceremony was simple and the bride looked beautiful - more beautiful than I had ever seen her. Of course, I generally only see her at the office under flourescent lighting but still, she looked amazing, as a bride should. She also appeared completely and totally happy, as did the groom.
Unfortunately, my lack of sleep and lack of food caught up with me by the end of the ceremony and I started to feel the first twinges of a headache. Luckily there was a cocktail hour which allowed me to get some Diet Coke, cheese and crackers and a couple of hoer douvers to fight it off . . . although only temporarily. I started to worry that I might get a migraine. Luckily, I no longer get them often but a recipe for disaster is lack of sleep and lack of food. I grabbed another diet coke before heading into the ballroom for dinner and hoped for the best. The pain hit my eyes as I chatted with my table of dinner companions and I went to the bathroom to see if that basket of sundries in the bathroom happened to have excedrin. It didn't - but it did have Tylenol, not my normal pain killer of choice but I was desperate and took them. I ate my clam chowder and joined others on the dance floor after the initial toasts to the bride and groom, willing the migraine away. By the time my salad arrived I worried that it was too late. White squiggly lines were dancing in my vision and not even the roll looked appetizing. Another Diet Coke and I pushed through animated conversations and more dancing until I could no longer take it. While the head ache was somehow receding in strength, it was being replaced by waves of nausea that reached their peak when my entree of fish was placed in front of me. At that point nothing sounded worse (or smelled worse) than eating fish. I didn't touch it. I couldn't bring myself to even move the mashed potatoes around with my fork. I avoided looking at it and tried to just keep chatting. I was grateful my head was no longer closing in on me but decided to go back to that goody basket in the bathroom and retrieve the pepto tablets I saw and hope for the best. Somehow I continued dancing with friends and briefly with the bride who said she was having a wonderful time and just thought it was passing by too quickly. When I returned to my seat, a piece of chocolate wedding cake was waiting for me. The pepto had done its job and I was able to eat most of it but was not tempted in the least by the chocolate fountain and all the goodies people returned with from there.
While I'm not normally one to leave a wedding early, my companion was tired (sadly, although she beat breast cancer a couple of years ago, the cancer is back and I was thrilled that she was able to go to the wedding at all) so we made an early exit and I was back at my brother's apartment in Boston before midnight, although we stayed up talking until 1.
Sunday I slept and slept and slept. In fact, I didn't get out of bed until nearly noon. We enjoyed a much needed leisurely day of playing with Regina, talking and watching the Jazz game. Of course, neither of us was entirely pleased with the outcome of the game, although we were happy it did not end up being a 20 something blow-out. I instructed Nadia on how to make my favorite Mexican salad of kidney beans, black beans, red beans, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, romaine lettuce, olives, lime juice, monterey jack and cheddar cheese (although pepper jack is even better) served on tortilla chips and she added a great twist of Cafe Rio creamy tomatillo dressing. There was a summer a few years back when I lived with my sister and my other brother and we lived on this salad, making it once a week or so.
Overall it was another wonderful, if slightly whirlwind, weekend.

Monday, May 05, 2008

last one . . .




Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence



You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.

An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.

You are also good at remembering information and convincing someone of your point of view.

A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.



You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

I tried for this not to be the answer




You Are New York



Cosmopolitan and sophisticated, you enjoy the newest in food, art, and culture.

You also appreciate a good amount of grit - and very little shocks you.

You're competitive, driven, and very likely to succeed.



Famous people from New York: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Tupac Shakur, Woody Allen

Since it is Cinco de Mayo, you should know . . .




You Are Cayenne Pepper



You are very over the top and a bit overwhelming.

You have a fiery personality, and you can give anyone a good jolt.

You can easily take things up a couple notches, no matter what crowd you're running with.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

In case you find yourself hungry in my neighborhood. . .

A friend of a friend is experiencing her first trip to NYC as I type this. Our mutual friend - a shy blogger friend who underestimates the relevance and entertainment value of her quiet little blog - sent her my way to ask for advice and recommendations. Yesterday, the day before her trip, I realized I had neglected to answer her question of where to eat near her hotel in Times Square. I must have been really hungry at 12:30 yesterday (my normal lunching time) because the below is what I sent her. I decided to post it for you after she responded with a very enthusiastic "thank you so much! i love your personal comments about things, you should write a travel blog!" And since I already have a blog where I get to write whatever I want for the world to read, I'm posting it.

If I took more time to think about this list or if I expanded my recommendations further away than my general neighborhood, this post would get way too long so I am going to leave it just as it is and offer it to the internet as a stroll through my personal taste of NYC.

Brunch - Alice's Tea Cup, the closest location is on 73rd Street and Columbus - There is generally a wait on Saturday and Sunday mornings unless you arrive before 10 or 10:30. If you want to just pick something up they have phenomenal scones and an amazing variety of fresh loose leaf teas - best herbal selection I have encountered anywhere. Anything with rooibos tea is my favorite.
Norma's at the Parker Meridien hotel is a very fun fancy brunch. It is located on 57th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue (there is also an entrance on 56th Street). They serve brunch every day of the week until 3 so this doesn't have to be a weekend thing. I love the shrimp frittata and I should warn you the chocolate french toast is like cake - best shared as a dessert. It is best to make reservations.
Speaking of the Parker Meridien. If you don't make it there for brunch at Normas you can check out the burger joint which is a greasy burger place literally behind a huge velvet curtain in the lobby of the hotel. I don't eat burgers but I have been told these are some of the best in the city. Don't go if you don't want a burger though. The fries are good but the only other item on the menu is a grilled cheese and it should be skipped (and technically I don't think it is actually on the menu).

9th Avenue has some of the best ethnic food in New York (in my opinion). Ninth is just a couple of blocks west of your hotel. Do not - no matter how desperate you get - do not eat in Times Square!! Seriously, you will be ripped off and the food will be gross. Just walk over to 9th and walk north and you will find a wide variety of tasty places for a variety of prices. I've listed some of my favorites (all on 9th Ave):

Rice N Beans - east side of the street at 50th - a delicious little Brazilian place, I love just getting black beans and rice with fried plantains.

Eatery - on the south east corner of 53rd Street - excellent eclectic diner with a lot of good comfort type foods. This is another very good brunch spot.

Vynl - 51st street east side of street- I never let a visitor miss this place (and if you read this blog or have ever visited me, you have heard me mention this spot many times). They have a variety of food from wraps to Thai dishes to burgers to 24 hour breakfast. The butternut squash wontons are a must! They also have excellent shakes. Do not miss a trip to the bathroom - seriously, I will let it be a surprise!

Film Center Cafe - between 44th and 45th on the west side of the street. Fun little diner, great grilled cheese sandwiches.

Elyssa's- 45th or 46th on the west side, can't remember the exact location - I LOVE their hummus and the falafal is excellent. Also, the guys working there are super nice.

Puttanesca - southwest corner of 56th St - amazing Italian food. Seriously, amazing! The calamari is the greatest as is every pasta dish I've ever tasted there. Try it!

Kyotofu - this is a Japanese dessert place. I wasn't a huge fan when I went and sat down there for dessert but I've been told the cupcakes at their take out counter are excellent.

Pam Real Thai - on 47th just west of 9th Avenue - super cheap yummy Thai food!

Q2 Thai - between 52nd and 53rd, on the east side of the street, you can't miss the neon pink sign - the best thing about this place is they put avocado in their massaman curry! (I'm waiting for this to be delivered to me at work right now!)

That should be more than enough to keep you well fed! But I still have a few other recommendations and tips - I must be hungry!

Dale & Thomas popcorn (I like to pretend the Thomas is not Isiah Thomas or I could never go back there because I hate him so much) in Times Square - pick some up if you are a fan of popcorn in any way - it is close to your hotel and this popcorn is the only reason I ever go to Times Square on purpose.

Ruby Foos - on 50th and Broadway this is a bit on the pricier side but their sushi is really good.

Haru - my favorite sushi in the neighborhood - on 43rd and Broadway, I usually order takeout so I don't remember exactly where it is located. I love their spicy crunchy salmon roll.

Whole Foods - Columbus Circle (which is 58th and 8th Avenue) - it is located in the large Time Warner shopping center and has a great salad bar. I often pick up dinner there. The Time Warner center is also a great place if you need a bathroom break since there are clean public restrooms.

Carnegie Deli - 55th and 7th Avenue - don't eat here for lunch or dinner and don't wait in the enormous lines if there is a tour bus there. Just get the cheesecake - don't try any other dessert, only the cheesecake. The pieces are enormous so you can just split one or take the leftovers for later. It is seriously amazing and if there are huge lines you can pick some up to go. They only take cash by the way. It is a good idea to keep cash on you since restaurants don't like to split bills on separate credit cards if that is going to be an issue.

By the way, you can order take out at your hotel from almost every place I have listed. Sometimes it is good to just take a break and eat in your room to chill out and regain your energy to go back out!

That's it for today. I feel food is a very important part of experiencing any city so I hope you have the opportunity to try some of my favorites next time you are around. Now you tell me, what are your favorite places to eat in your neighborhood?

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