Thursday, December 28, 2006

in memory of Lulu the rat Sept. 2003-March 2006

As the year comes to a close, I'm compelled to pay tribute to Lulu, our loving little rat who died in late March of this year. Lulu was a good pet to us and we loved her a lot. We'll miss her little chewing noises, while she ate and when she was particularly happy. Or the way she would climb up on the side bars of her cage when we came home from work, in order to better greet us. The way she sat on my shoulder while I crocheted. And especially the way she kept her sweet disposition, despite having to wear an rat sized Elizabethan collar after her tumor removal surgery.

So the next time you're up in the hilly, wooded area to the east of the long meadow in Prospect Park, Lulu will be there too, forever nibbling on dried fruit and lima beans, her favorites.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

We finally got a tree!

On Tuesday night, Jamie and I walked down to the CVS on 9th between 5th and 6th, picked out a beauty of a tree, loaded it onto the B63 bus, and took her home.

She's a lovely lass and so far the cat has only shimmied up her 9 or 10 times. Actually, there's a big open spot on one side where Ruthie has created a doorway of sorts.

Friday, December 22, 2006

on the nightstand

I've been working at the Chelsea Barnes and Noble for the past 2 months and ,oddly, I really love it. I used to work for a smaller, regional bookstore in Ohio and I loved that too, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

One of the little perks is the ability to borrow any hard cover book to read. Here's a partial list of what I've read recently.

Female Chauvintist Pigs by Ariel Levy
I really liked this, but she wasn't saying anything that I wasn't already on board with. Basically, why do young women today dress and act like whores, but call it feminism? Girls Gone Wild world indeed.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcom Gladwell
I didn't really care for it. The Tipping Point was much more interesting.

Heat by Bill Buford
It got a little sluggish at points, but he's a good writer, so overall it was really good. My favorite part was when he travelled to Italy to train with a famous butcher.

The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain
Always enjoyable. I read him blindly because he can do no wrong.

What Is the What by Dave Eggers
I couldn't put this down. It just floored me to realize that what reads as complete fantasy (how can life be so awful?), is actually complete truth.

Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
This was interesting, much like the Tipping Point.

The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer and Jim Mason
I'm currently reading this. I may end up eating 10% of my present meat consumption by the time I'm through.

Next up:
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
The United States of Arugula:How We Became a Gourmet Nation by David Kamp

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
She wrote these WWII set stories during the war before being killed in a concentration camp. They were more recently found.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This has been referred to as a sweeping fictional epic, ala Gone With the Wind, but set in Nigeria.

Curse of the Narrows by Laura McDonald
This is about the near total destruction of Halifax in 1917.

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick
He wrote an amazing book about the whaling ship on which Moby Dick was based called In the Heart of the Sea.

Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor by Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh
This guy's research was extensively cited in Freakonomics.

So yeah, loads of good stuff out there; never enough time in the day. Any suggestions of other books I should check out?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

shilling for diamonds

Ugh. Has anyone else seen the new 'A Diamond is Forever' commercial where the guy goes in to his sleeping lady and places a fancy diamond earring on her because he loves her THAT MUCH? Diamond ads as a rule peeve me. Remember the one with the tool standing in the middle of an Italian piazza hollering "I love this woman"? What a turd. Earlier this year there was another diamond ad that had a Dusty Springfield song (What are you doing the rest of your life) and now this new ad has Cat Power doing a Cat Stevens song (How can I tell you). I think it troubles me more that Cat Stevens gave up his song than that Cat Power sings it for diamonds. Luckily the ads will stop running so frequently once the holidays are over and all of those last minute shopping guys have blown a bunch of cash on an artificially priced rock. Or three; for yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

If we were landlords...

Shit wouldn't get done. We are dreamers; not so good as getting the little, practical things done. And our landlords, who we love, are a lot like us. We've lived in this apartment for about 2 1/2 years and for that entire time our fridge has been leaking cold air, gathering condensation on the outside, humming so loudly that they (the landlords) have complained about the noise of it in their apartment downstairs and generally pissing Jamie off with the wastefulness. And also for this time, our landlords have probably mentioned at least 5 times that they are buying us a new fridge. And today, out of the blue, the guy landlord called and wants to know if he can give Lowe's our number so we can schedule the delivery of our brand new fridge! Merry Christmas indeed.

ok, just one more thing

At the risk of offending fans of Gilmore Girls and many women and men in general, it has to be said: I miscarried during Gilmore Girls. During the show that once was my favorite program, but has sucked more than I thought possible this past season. Is it possible that the supreme suckiness of Gilmore Girls contributed to this? Should I hold the new writers and their ridiculous elopement plot accountable? Damn you, absent Sherman-Palladinos!

Monday, December 11, 2006


I am pretty sensitive, but I'm also pretty practical. I refuse to allow myself to fall apart or dwell too much on losing this baby. It was out of my hands and, beyond the neccessary grieving, I'm not helping myself or Jamie. Tonight I got a little upset and cried for a few minutes. Just cried about how it feels like a dream. Like maybe it was all a dream and I never was actually going to have a baby. But then I see the maternity pants that my mom gave me, that I never even wore and I know it really happened. I feel frustrated that I never was able to really get comfortable and settle in to being pregnant. Do you ever get to do that or are you always worried about having a miscarriage?

That said, here's the one incident that occured where I didn't really hold my shit together too well. At work last week, a coworker had just learned about the miscarriage. Not to be too judge-y(I'm lying), but she's about 39-40 years old, recently moved here from Florida (born and raised) with waist length hair. I don't know if you know people from Florida, but I can barely contain my skeevies around Floridians. Who in the world would choose to live in a place like that? Hot, humid, full of idiot college students, retirees, trailer parks and people who couldn't cut it in real states. But I digress. So upon learning what happened, she said "how far along were you?" and I said "9 weeks" and she said "well that's good at least". I then said "Oh really? What's so good about it? That when I held it in my hands in my bathroom, my husband and I couldn't see the expression on it's face?" Um, yeah. So I snapped. Whatever. It was bound to happen eventually.

We've really appreciated all of the emails and calls we've received from our friends, all the more so with the understanding that there is nothing good to say at times like these. And all of our friends have managed to say exactly what we needed to hear; that they are sorry because it is sad. And in a weird way, I'm grateful that my miscarriage happened the way it did. It was over quickly and completely, after 5 days. For that, I'm eternally grateful. The sooner to move forward, I suppose.

So thank you.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

it came apart, it will come back together

So, unknown to most, Jamie and I were expecting a kid. Based on the first ultrasound, which still hangs on the fridge, we'd taken to calling it "Dot". My pregnancy was going along pretty well. No morning sickness, just utter exhaustion and sore boobs. But for some reason, I don't know if I ever did commit myself to it entirely, mentally. I don't know if I trusted it, I guess. It took me so long to get pregnant, I don't think I could quite believe it at first. But over the past few weeks, I really started to embrace it, as much as I could. I guess tempered with a healthy dose of realism.

On Monday I woke up feeling crappy, had a cold. Then I started bleeding, lightly. I called my doctor. By the time Monday night rolled around, the bleeding was fairly steady and not as light. They sent me to a place Tuesday morning to have a sonagram. Despite the ongoing bleeding, my worst fears weren't realized. Surprisingly, not only was I still pregnant, but I could see how much the little thing had grown since the last ultrasound and, even better, I could see the heartbeat and it was strong and healthy. So, I came home and talked to my doctor again. He scheduled me to come in to the office Wednesday morning (today).

Then late yesterday afternoon the bleeding got worse. Around 7:30 I started having contractions and by 9pm, I was no longer pregnant. I think I've spent more time in my not so tidy little bathroom in the past 24 hours than I ever thought possible. But never in a million years did I envision standing in my bathroom, holding an embryo in my hand. An embryo which I then had to put in a bag and take to the doctor with me, for potential chromosome testing.

I'm an emotional person and the hormonal stuff that's been going on certainly doesn't make it easier, but I do have a sense of tranquility about this. I know that if this specific kid was meant to be, I would have carried it to term. I'll be grateful when the immediate nature of this fades a bit; when the physical pain stops and I can start thinking about it from a different angle, instead of constant twisting in my gut, sharp pains and having to wear what I can only describe as a ladydiaper.

For an added layer of wierdness, yesterday was our 3rd wedding anniversary.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Home to Ohio

Jamie and I went to Ohio last week to visit my family and celebrate my grandma's 80th birthday. At the party, one of her oldest friends, Bea, came and they caught up with each other. Bea is 96 years old and rather fiesty. The Amish restaurant where we ate had each place set with a different flavor of pie. Upon sitting down, Bea pulled a "What in the world could that be?", pointed in the opposite direction, and swapped her pie for someone else's. Love it! My grandma is the lovely silver haired lady on the right.

Later, Grandma and I did a StoryCorps interview.

And these are my parent's dogs. For perspective, the "little" dog in the second picture is actually a 60 pound standard poodle.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Heather's Halloween Birthday Bash!

After putting out a woman's flaming hair. Hallelujah!

Super Conductor & the Rev.
Everyone's favorite EskiHo.
Father Referee, Professor Chaos & H.I. McDonough.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Arlo & Lobstie

I was a sensitive child

When I was a little girl, I watched Snoopy Come Home one night when it came on tv. I think I was about 4 years old. If you don't remember the plot of that one, it was basically that Snoopy found out that his original owner, before Charlie Brown, was sick and he decided to go to her. So he left Charlie Brown. Charlie was really, really sad. And I was inconsolable, hysterical actually. I couldn't believe Snoopy could do that to poor Charlie Brown.

So right now on Cartoon Network, they are showing Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown. It's based around the Peanuts gang being in a raft race at summer camp when a big storm causes them all to get lost, thinking the others are hurt or dead. Snoopy and Woodstock have their own raft and they get sent ass over teakettle, losing each other. At one point during the storm, it looks like they are both going to drown. I remember seeing this one when I was closer to 9 or 10; old enough to not take it so seriously. But I don't really think I can be comfortable with any little, little kid of mine watching a movie where everyone almost drowns and gets stranded in the woods!

filled with rage

So I went to the Post Office on 9th Street. Get in line. 25 minutes later, only one customer has been moved ahead. They only have 2 windows open. There are about 14-15 people in line, 5 of which are ahead of me. After 25 minutes of standing there, this employee starts yelling through the plexiglass at me. "Miss, Miss. There's no dogs here"(Arlo was with me). It took everything I had in me not to say, "no, you fucking moron. Obviously there is a dog here. You're looking at him, you uneducated, power hungry douchebag.". But instead I mumbled " I hate this fucking place", to which another line stander responded "Amen to that."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Whipping Shitties

Since my mom's family is Southern and my dad's is from southern Ohio, it's a minor miracle that I don't sound like a complete hillbilly every time I open my mouth to speak. But having grown up all over the US and overseas, meeting people from every corner of America, I've always been cued in to and fascinated by regional dialects. My cousins in Alabama always made fun of me for saying "pop" to their "co-cola", a term that I'll always use, no matter how far I am from Ohio.

A while ago I was trolling around looking up dialectology on the web and I came across a
linguistics survey that is incredibly thorough and really cool. It took over an hour to do, but the results were interesting and it's well worth the time. The survey was originally done in 2001 and those results are available, broken down by state if you'd like.

A couple of my favorites include:
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
One option: The devil is beating his wife.

What do you call the activity of driving around in circles in a car?
One option: Whipping shitties.

Apparently that term is more common to Minnesota. So, if you've ever wondered who uses the term Irish shower, French bath, whore's bath, etc, you should give it a whirl. Or a whirlygig. Or a helicopter.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Please please please

So in recent months, I've been struck by a case of the giggles every time I see or think about the Oregon State Lottery logo. I think it may be my very favorite state lottery logo.

Some state lottery logos try to evoke the bucolic nature of the state itself (Maine, Minnesota). Many have changed their name or logo in recent years to reflect that it's an education lottery (North and South Carolina, New Hampshire has graduation caps being tossed in theirs).

And then there are my personal favorites, those that perhaps have a tagline or just an awesome design. My very favorite logo is Oregon's. It's simple and to the point. My second favorite has to be Texas because it evokes the rootin' tootin' good time you'll have, probably with guns, when you win the Texas lottery. Third in line is Ohio and not just because it's my home state. I love the Odds Are, You'll Have Fun tagline. I was hoping to find the actual NY lottery logo with the occasional tagline we hear on commercials, the "Hey, you never know", said by that guy with the casual, almost lazy voice. And pulling up fourth would be the Virginia logo. It's a lot like the Oregon logo, but makes good use of the V in Virginia.


I'm not sure how it snuck up on me this year, but tomorrow is the 6th International Pickle Day, complete with a street fair hawking everything pickled! Oh man, my mouth waters just thinking about it. Last year, I tried and became a devotee to a Pickled Lime and Ginger condiment from Kalustyan's. Diced and mixed with plain jasmine rice, it has become my go-to meal for every day.

So if you like pickles of all kinds ( I personally am a Pickle Guys girl.................Smells Great, Tastes Better), kimchi in all forms, pickled beets, eggs, asparagus, cauliflower, watermelon rind, make your way to Orchard Street between Broome and Grand. It runs from 10am-4:30 pm. It's also right by the LES Farmer's Market and a stone's throw from the Doughnut Plant and Kossar's Bialys. I know I'm certainly not the only one who believes this, but Kossar's, the Doughnut Plant and the Pickle Guys are the trifecta of New Yorkiness in my opinion.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Jake the Snake!

This article is about a friend of mine from my hometown. When we were in high school there used to be a toy store we would drive to in Columbus, a magical toy store that was open either all night or just ridiculously late, where he would buy these. I remember one time when we went there were a ton of them in the sale bin, just piled on top of each other (rather appropriate really). His eyes lit up and he practically started shivering with the anticipation. I always had a soft spot for Mankind and we frequently imitated him.

It's nice to see the collection in all its glory ( in the background of the picture).

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Asbury Park is the place to go

Me, Jamie, Marc and Jim took a trip in June to Asbury Park, NJ to celebrate the birthdays of our friends Shawn and Chris. If you've never been, run to Asbury Park! It was so much fun. Definitely the best weekend trip I've taken.

The highlight was Asbury Lanes, a great old bowling alley with a low stage built over the center lanes for bands to play on. The finest alley I've ever been to. I believe it was 12 bucks, including shoe rental, a great ball selection (unlike Melody Lanes) nice bar and one of the best DJs I've ever heard. 50's and 60's girl groups, 60's and 70's obscure R & B and the occasional GBV. One of the bands playing was called BreakUpBreakdown and I thought they were really good. Especially considering they were playing with the crash of strikes and spares all around them.

One of the kickers of Asbury Lanes specifically is that the city of Asbury Park is actually trying to use eminent domain to give them the boot. I'm not sure if Asbury Park realizes it, but that bowling alley is without a doubt the coolest thing in that town. sigh.

So here are a few pictures:

An unfortunate shot taken while I was figuring out the shutter speed. Unfortunately hilarious.

You can kind of see the stage on the right:

Asbury Lanes:

Asbury Lanes, "Bowl Where you see the Magic Triangle":

The old movie theatre, abandoned like so much of AP:

Balgavy seemed to be having a good time too:

The Wonder Bar, where the all lesbian Led Zeppelin cover band, Lez Zeppelin, was playing:

The Convention Center:

HoJo's in Asbury Park, under renovations: