Monday, October 27, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
My ongoing dental saga continues, but finally with positive results. My sinus infection that just kept giving, eventually pushing onto the nerve of my tooth, seems to have been squashed, or so I hope. But it left in its wake a tooth that now needs to have a root canal, a post and a crown. *sigh*
I have no desire to return to the Russian sadist in Bensonhurst, as much for inconvenience as sadism. The last dental office I went to wasn't even a real dentist's office. Not to say that it was a converted Mr. Softee truck, but it was actually more of a clinic. You could only see the dentist one day a week and you couldn't make an appointment, you just had to show up and take your chances. And they were recommended to me by my insurance. Thanks Aetna! I've been calling many different dentists trying to find someone, to no avail. The responses I was getting ranged from "We no longer accept Aetna." to "We no longer accept any insurance." to "We accept insurance, but are not seeing new patients." Eventually my friend suggested I call 1-800-DENTIST and lo! I got an appointment with a convenient dentist that has a lab on site, so I don't have to fuss too much with the whole post and crown issue.
I had my first appointment today with the full mouth x-rays, figuring it all out, etc. Yes, everything can be done in their office in a short, reasonable timespan. But the best part is the cost. I had to pay almost $1,900 out of pocket when I had the same procedure done with the Russian sadist 2 years ago. This whole thing is going to cost me $925 bucks total. Um, yeah. That's a huge difference! I just can't believe the way dental care and procedures can vary from office to office. But I remember one of the things I hated about the Russian sadist was the way she was always trying to upsell me with whitening systems and whatnot while I was trapped with her hand in my mouth.
I don't remember having such difficulties finding a good dentist in Ohio. All dentist's offices were kind of similar there: clean, quiet, sterile. I just haven't found that to be true here. I remember when the Williamsburg Savings Bank building was loaded with dentists, before it was sold for condos. I tried to get in to 2 of those dentists a few years ago and neither accepted insurance. Is this a trend?
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Last year my mother-in-law and I did a virtual walking challenge thing where we wore a pedometer for 6 or 8 weeks and walked a "virtual" route around the US. It was a really lame fitness challenge though because I wanted it to show me actual sights and things along my chosen route, which was the Gulf of Mexico. Instead I would enter my daily steps walked and a dotted line would travel across a map. Lame. And anyway, living in NYC and working in a bookstore, I average 16,000-18,000 steps per day and I finished my entire route in less than 4 weeks. But now I have a pedometer for when and if I absolutely must know how far I'm walking. And according to Prevention's website, today I walked just under 6 miles, not including Arlo's morning walk and all of the random walking around the house.
And speaking of Arlo, I just picked him up from the groomer and he's sporting a dashing new summer haircut. But of course, on the walk home he had to go and spoil the look. At the first intersection he decided to sit his white, white butt on the filthy sidewalk and scoot along. So now he's nice and white with a nasty, gray butt. Ruiner.
This time around, my hair looked cute, I wore lipstick and the woman didn't hassle me about my glasses. And it's a good picture. Yay!
I've had 2 days off, in fairly good health, giving me an opportunity to get a lot of things done that have been languishing on my "For Christ's Sake, Kaci, Just Fucking Get It Done Already" list.
-Lug large quanity of coins to bank
-Take Arlo to the groomer, which helps solve....
-Removing disgusting amounts of animal hair everywhere
-Clean out fridge
-Listen to records
-Color hair a more shocking shade of red (why not?!)
Along the listening to records line: I have a friend who has a tendency to come home late at night after a few cocktails and listen to a particular album, song or artist over and over and over again. That's basically what I've been doing the past 2 days, minus the cocktails. I've listened to Cat Stevens' Firecat and the Teaser at least 15 times. Right now I'm listening to Xanadu (just once, but it had to be done while Jamie's at work.....it might be a deal breaker) and I'm going into a repeat performance of Richard and Linda Thompson's Shoot Out the Lights.
And going in to the holiday weekend, Jamie and I both have to work on the 4th proper, but I will be off early enough to head to Jersey City for my friend's barbecue. Saturday night we will be going to see our friend John's band play and if you've never been , the M Shanghai String Band is one of the best live bands I've ever seen. They play the first Saturday of each month at M Shanghai restaurant in Williamsburg, in an wonderful intimate basement space. John is one of the 2 banjo players, joining guitar, mandolin, stand up bass, saw, 2 fiddles, harmonica and multi-part harmonies. It's a foot-stomping good time and you should definitely check them out sometime. The first time I went to see them play they had a guy playing with them on the mandolin and after the show John introduced us to each other. His name was Tommy, he was older, very nice and great on the mandolin. Nice to meet you Tommy. The next day John emailed me and all it said was "You have no idea who you met, do you?" Um, nope. Turns out Tommy is Tommy Ramone. Dar! So yeah. And the bass player is Rose Thomson from Babe the Blue Ox, who was one of my favorite bands in my early 20's. Oh, and M Shanghai the restaurant has incredibly delicious food upstairs, so check it out!
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I could have renewed my driver's license my mail, but then I'd be stuck with that horrible picture for 8 more years and I couldn't have that. And I could continue to ignore the stabbing pain that doesn't allow me to rest at night for more than 4 hours at a stretch, but then I'd run the risk of infecting my brain, gifting my husband with an invalid wife who has lost all her sass. Couldn't have that either. So, I'm off to the doctor for loads of antibiotics to kill all of the bad and good that lives within my body. On the plus side, my boss is bringing me some probiotic cheese and milk tomorrow to help balance the icky.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
There are a fair number of dogs that live on my block and all of the owners are responsible, until now. There is a building at the end of our block that often has people hanging out on the stoop. It's normal to see very small children hanging out there at midnight and later. Recently one of the tenants got a pit bull and named her Barbara. Within days of first seeing Barbara, piles of poop began appearing on the block, mostly on our side of the street, which is the same side as theirs. At first I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, that perhaps they actually were cleaning up after the dog and the poop was the result of someone from some other block. But no, this is not the case at all. Some days there will be poop strewn half way down the block.
I'm not really sure what to do. One of our neighbors put up a 'curb your dog' sign, but it doesn't make a difference, obviously. So I decided to call 311 and see what can be done. I'm a big fan of 311 and the woman I dealt with this time was very helpful. She explained that the Department of Sanitation handles the pooper scooper laws and she would file a complaint for me. She needed to know where it happens and when it happens. Um, when? All the time! Apparently when these complaints are filed, they send a DoS person out to try to catch the culprit. Really? So I told her between 4-6pm because that particular day it happened in front of my house in that time frame. But seriously, how is a DoS rep supposed to catch someone not picking up their dog's poop? What if someone on our block caught them and took a picture? She wasn't sure if it would fly, but they can find out for me.
Jamie suggested we gather up all of the vile poop (maybe we could combine it with all of Arlo's) and leave it on their stoop. I actually think this is the way to go. Maybe if my other dog owning neighbors covertly did the same thing, we could prove a point. If I could just actually catch it happening I would say something, but until then, they're probably going to be greeted with a porch full of poop.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Today I took the train down to 86th Street to stop in to the Bay Ridge Century 21. I'm in serious need of tennis shoes and bras and they always have the best, most affordable selection. My bra situation has been pretty dire lately. I've been buying simple bras at Target, which really has served me well until lately. For reasons that I can't understand, it's as if my ever powerful nipples have begun to devour my bra cups, from the center out. As a result, my bras have become worn through where it most counts and I'm left feeling rather vulnerable. I know I could go to one of the many great "ladies support" shops in NYC and find an amazing bra that will really do the trick, but an outlay of 80-100 bucks for a bra is neither feasible or sane on my salary. Which brings me to Century 21. They have a great selection whenever I go there and the absolute ceiling is usually around 25 bucks a bra, though most are much less. I found a great pair of Adidas sneakers and 3 sturdy, but attractive bras (see, they're practical and alluring) for 65 dollars, so I'm happy.
The second part of my solo Bay Ridge ritual is an ice cream soda (or a float, as it's called in Ohio) while sitting at the counter of Hinsch's restaurant on 5th Avenue and 86th Street. They used to make a walnut ice cream that was divine, but apparently they haven't made it in over a year. So I got the coffee ice cream with chocolate syrup and seltzer. Perfect and simple.
Then I hopped on the bus to head over to 13th Avenue, where the vet's office is. The past few times I've been down there I've been stopping in a bakery called Goldstar, instead of Mona Lisa. The cookie selection is bigger and the service is nicer. Mona Lisa definitely wins for breads, but for cookies, I prefer Goldstar. Today I picked up almond crescents, vanilla crescents and fresh iced lemon drops (my favorite!). I stuck them in my bag, stopped in to pick up the doggy medicine and headed down to 15th Avenue for the mozzarella.
There are 2 main places on 15th Avenue between 78th and 79th. Laticini's and Papa Pasquale's. Laticini's has a meat store and sandwich shop and Papa's is a little more bare bones, with the focus just on pasta and cheese. I'm not sure who makes Papa Pasquale's mozzarella, but I tend to buy from them more often, simply because the old guy who works the counter always calls me dear, without being creepy or condescending. But Papa's is definitely the place to buy fresh pasta, particularly ravioli. I've had the pumpkin, lobster, 5 cheese and the asparagus with smoked mozzarella, all delicious. Today I just picked up a simple 3 cheese mini ravioli and some fresh mozzarella. I then got to thinking that it might be a good idea to compare the mozzarellas from Papa's and Laticini's, so I went to the latter and picked up a small ball of their fresh cheese. When Jamie gets home tonight we'll do a taste test. My train stop used to be the D train at 79th Street and 17th Avenue, so I passed these places every day. Not living in the neighborhood anymore is no excuse to not come down here to pick up such delicious local food.
I then wandered over to my old train stop to discover that there was no Manhattan bound service at all, so I had to take Coney Island bound service and transfer at Stillwell. Obviously the universe was telling me to go ride the Cyclone. After all, it is almost my birthday and I used to go ride the Cyclone solo for my birthday every year. Coincidentally, I share my birthday with the Cyclone. To Coney. So I get to Coney and I remembered that they had raised the price of a ride, but I was pretty sure I had like 7 bucks on me, so it wouldn't be a problem. But when I get there, it costs 8 dollars to ride. Oh no! I started rummaging in my bag for loose change, eventually finding a dollar's worth of coins. Whheeeee! I get myself right up front (not hard to do on a Wednesday afternoon in mid-June) and laugh my head off, as it should be.
All is well in Brooklyn.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The Outer Banks were beautiful and truly relaxing. Same group we've gone down with before, only a bit smaller and with 4 children in tow. Since we all had our own bedrooms, bathrooms and decks, I never felt anything less than at home. The weather was gorgeous, my sunburn true to form (tops of feet, tops of boobs).
I made a short trip to South Carolina to visit with my dad and step-mother. The weather there was not so forgiving. Hot, humid, miserable. Similar to what we've been dealing with here in NYC, only nicer. That's a pathetic statement. When central SC has nicer summertime weather than wherever you happen to be, there is something very wrong with your choice of location.
So I came back from SC and went back to work at the bookstore. On the Upper East Side. Of hell. I thought some time away would make that neighborhood and that store more palatable, but no such luck. Catered a wedding in Prospect Park, in the non air conditioned picnic house on Saturday. Got so nauseous from the heat and the milk in my iced coffee that I almost threw up. Huzzah!
Which brings me to now. I just got back from Bobolink Dairy in Vernon, NJ. Jamie had met one of the owners at an event at Solar 1 and he had heard that they were looking for someone to sell cheese at the greenmarkets at Lincoln Center and Union Square three days a week. I called and spoke with Nina, the owner and arranged to come out there. She called my references, etc, etc and after meeting, she offered me the position. I am really excited about it because there was such a comfortable and familiar vibe out at the farm and in her house. I've never seen a person/family stretched in so many different directions and still managing to create a wholesome, delicious product, treat people, animals and the environment so humanely and raise her children with complete patience, humor and love. The people living and working at the farm were a real pleasure to be around also. The hope is to eventually be able to spend one day a week at the farm, learning more about raising the animals and making the cheese. We (my friend Kat graciously ditched work for the afternoon and drove me out there. Thanks Kat!) were given a mini tour of the pastures, the cheesehouse, the bakeyard, one of the cheese caves and the main house. They also raise pigs and meat cows and chickens and there were some new baby heritage breed chickens that we fell in love with. At one point we were walking down a quiet pasture adjacent lane when we stumbled upon and startled a groundhog, causing it to literally shriek at us. I had no idea a groundhog could make the noise this one made. And then a minute later we finally found the shady spot where the small herd of 7 pigs were lounging. They immediately started grunting when they saw us and then, after we had walked a good distance ahead, they flat out ran after us. Apparently they hoped we had a bucket of whey. Sorry pigs.
I'll be at Lincoln Center on Thursdays and Saturdays and Union Square on Fridays. Stop by and buy some of the most delicious cheese you'll ever taste! Hurray! Back with food but in a totally new and different way.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Whatever. In a few short hours I'll be listening to the sweet, sweet sounds of John, Exene, Billy and DJ.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I've been feeling kind of blue lately, kind of like things just aren't really going my way. And I'm not entirely sure that this vacation will do the trick, although I'm willing to give it a try. To add to the blue, I knew I was going to have to take my fat butt somewhere to get a swimsuit and I've been dreading it like a freaking Cathy cartoon come to life. Not willing to spend a lot of money on something that I will not be wearing for more than a season (I swear), Target and Old Navy were my best options. Target ended up having some good choices, but as usual, they were horribly picked over. I ended up finding 2 separates that don't really go together, but I guess I like them both alright. Whatever. I'm just glad that's over with. Ack indeed.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
I apparently froze in my tracks, at which point Jamie prodded me on. Our comments to each other:
Jamie: I can't believe your first instinct was to turn around and run away.
Me: It's bad luck just seeing that kind of thing.
Anyone remember what movie that's from?
Here's the set up: My new store has an elevator. The elevator is to shuttle customers with strollers to the second floor cafe and take employees to the basement receiving area and break room. It's only 2 floors plus a basement. Yesterday, during yet another nasty day long rainstorm, my co-worker Terri, a very likable and straightforward woman, took the elevator from the basement to the first floor. When the elevator door opened and she went to step off onto the first floor an enormous New York City street rat got on the elevator as she was getting off. The elevator door closed behind her, with the rat still inside, and headed up to the second floor cafe. At this point Terri bolted up the escalator to beat the thankfully slow elevator. The last thing anyone wanted was to have the elevator doors open into the cafe and have a giant rat stroll out.
She managed to beat the elevator and immediately pressed the down button to send the elevator to the basement receiving area. I was in the basement with a maintenance guy and one other person when the speaker phone starts screaming "The elevator's coming down with a gigantic rat on it! DO NOT let the elevator come back upstairs!" Um, sure. With little time to plan an attack, Tony the maintenance guy grabbed the only things he could find- a handheld shopping basket and a metal shelf. He turned the basket onto its side in hopes of trapping the rat (because of course it's going to run into the basket, not around it) and I suppose the shelf was for shooing or bashing. The three of us waited outside of the elevator for the doors to open and when they did we saw what was indeed a gigantic, rain soaked and frankly confused looking rat standing there. Tony panicked and whacked the rat with the shelf, at which point it bounced and fell right down into the gap, down the elevator shaft.
Anyone who knows me knows I have loved rats before and will probably welcome them into my home again someday. This however was exceptionally funny. It was like something out of a freaking movie! It actually reminded me of when pigeons accidentally make their way onto a subway car, momentarily bonding the people in that car as they scurry away from the pigeon to avoid being shat upon. And speaking of being shat upon, the elevator rat managed to leave a parting gift of a couple of proportionately gigantic turds in the corner of the elevator.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
However, I recently learned that my favorite band from high school, X, and my favorite band of late, the Detroit Cobras are playing together at the end of the month. It took me a solid 10 minutes to wrap my brain around that nugget of info and pull myself together enough to figure out how the hell I'm going to go to that show, since it happens to take place when I'm supposed to be in the Outer Banks. I mean, really, I probably want to go to a concert once a year, I mean really, really want to go. And what's the thing that I do even less frequently than go to concerts? Go on vacation. So our first scheduled vacation that does not involve family obligations or ill relatives or friends' weddings in three years and it's when X is playing (with the original line-up----Billy Zoom!!!)!?!?! WTF?
My brain was working overtime on the train last night as I was trying to come up with a solution. Why must the Outer Banks be so damn inaccessible? Why am I 35 and just now getting the chance to see the original line-up of the world's greatest band? I happened to have a couple of Detroit Cobras albums on my ipod and I kept getting caught up in Hey Sailor and Midnight Blues and my mind just got to the point where it was not thinking clearly at all ie, I can rent a car and drive myself to the Outer Banks after the show (totally disregarding the fact that I hate to drive and am terrible with directions and am pretty sure I don't have a money tree growing in my living room). But somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that Jamie would come up with some solution. He's a problem solver, that one. Unlike me, the problem creator.
When I got home and presented this new wrench in our vacation plans, I could see his wheels turning. You see, he understands how rare it is for me desperately want to go to a show. Or even to kind of want to go to a show. A little while after I had begun to lose hope, he points out that the NY show is sold out, but that they are playing on that Thursday in Philly, which is not sold out. What's wrong with Philadelphians? Who cares!!!! We're going to the Philly show!!!! We're heading down that direction anyway on Friday to go to NC, so we'll just leave a day early and spend one night in Philly. Hurray! I'm so excited. I hope we get to have dinner at Monk's--their Monk's Flemish Sour Ale is divine!
Sunday, May 04, 2008
July 1, 1997
Summary of Evening
With only myself, Leigh and Jeff the night was a disaster. As per info, double and triple shifts of art customer service, as every zone was short of staff. Resort was constant and most difficult to keep up with. While attempting to maintain calm, everyone was indeed highly stressed. Leigh, myself and Jeff were constantly attempting to keep up and shelve resort in as much as was humanly possible.
p.s. Hourly checks were done but for the most part was fruitless under these extreme conditions.
[Um, keep in mind, this was a BOOKSTORE]
July 6, 1997
It appears that Candace is making a good attempt to curtail her talking and playfulness. She also explained that due to medication withdrawal she has been experiencing periods of nervous energy.
July 8, 1997
Perhaps I should give a staff seminar dealing with stress reduction, handling personality problems, good interpersonal relations and work ethics. Yes-good idea!
Wow. Nice find.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Last night my boss called me and asked, "What do you think of kids?" Unfortunately, he wasn't speaking in a hypothetical way. There is serious talk of putting me in the kids department. On one hand, I know I would likely learn a lot, since it is the number one kids department in the country. However I fear the price would be my sanity and/or my desire to be a mother. The staff in that department is extremely knowledgeable about kids' books, but their primary skill (aside from being barely glorified child wranglers) is an ability to say the right things in the right way to high strung parents. "Is little Taylor reading at level?" instead of "Is little Taylor a dullard?" Pray for me.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
On the plus side, I'm thrilled to be back around the books. It was a drag to not know what was new and not be able to check out any book I wanted to read. One of the first things I did today was check out a new biography about Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon. Joni's Blue and Carole's Tapestry tend to outshine a lot of Carly's stuff, but I can never turn my back on the woman who wrote You're So Vain.
Oh, another thing about this store is it's our number one kids department in the country. As I told Jamie, it's like a toddler shitstorm is passing through at any given time. There were at least 35-50 toddlers hobbling around the kids department whenever I looked over. Every now and then one of them would escape and their negligent nanny wouldn't notice. That's when I get to go up to the slippery little sucker and say something like, "Where is your grown-up/adult/probably underpaid, but still inexcusably slacking caregiver?" *sigh*
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Last week I watched Notorious starring Ingrid Bergman and my favorite, Cary Grant. It is set Rio and Miami and has one of the most fantastic drunk driving scenes ever put on film. Though as much as I liked the movie, it was nothing compared to last night's feature film, Lifeboat. It moves along quietly at first, as the survivors make their way into the lifeboat, but part of the way through there's a scene where a massive storm nearly overtakes the boat and I found myself actually shouting at the television "Bail! Bail!" All in all, a great movie. Next week is Dial M For Murder, which I saw as a teenager, but want to rewatch and Vertigo. Can't wait.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I finally did it. I went and got a cell phone! I got one of those fancy phones with the slide out keypad so I won't have to mash the pad if I send a text message. I've been sitting here all night reading the manual and I still haven't figured out all of the features. All I know is I just checked my email. On my phone! Thanks for the sweet email Dad! Not that you'll be reading this of course, since Dads are strictly verboten from Clockwatchers. But thanks all the same. I'm giddy with progress!
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
On the plus side, my boss just called to ask me if I can work on Sunday. Work in this case being defined as showing up at 9am to let the demolition crew in and locking up when they're done at 5. He told me I can take a 3 hour lunch, go see a movie, bring my laptop, whatever I want. He also said I can take the day as overtime or take an extra day off next week. I think this will make up for the lost money from today's catering gig. Take that karma!
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Anywho, Jamie and I went to a new local restaurant Saturday night and I thought I'd report back for all of my pizza loving friends. It's called Toby's Public House and it's on 6th Avenue and 21st Street in "South Slope", aka Greenwood Heights aka our neighborhood. We've been watching the construction on the space for over a year, so it's nice to see it up and running. I've seen a lot of talk on other blogs and websites complaining about the "No Strollers" sign they have placed in the window, but personally I'm pretty okay with a place that draws that line in the sand off the bat. And anyway, the place is way too small and crowded with tables and a big bar to fit even one stroller, let alone more than one. We were pleased to get a table as soon as we went in, around 7:30 or so on a Saturday night. Every staff person we interacted with was really nice and there were 2 big tvs with the basketball games on, so my dining partner was happy.
The centerpiece of the place is the really beautiful woodfired pizza oven. The menu is not huge, but it's pretty well rounded with a couple of salads (breasole, arugula) meat or cheese plates and about 10 types of pizza. They also had a pretty good selection of beers, including the Stone IPA, which is delicious. We got the mozzarella, tomato and basil salad to start. The mozzarella just melted in my mouth, the tomatoes were sparse, but that's to be expected in March and the basil was virtually non-existent. We got the double portion which was about 5 slices of cheese, half a tomato and 4 pieces of basil for 17 dollars. Delicious? Yes. Overpriced? Yes. The pizzas are individually sized and we got the Napolitano which was anchovy, olive and caper with mozzarella and the something that neither of us can remember the name of, but it had sweet sausage and red onion. Both pizzas were very, very good, particularly the Napolitano. Jamie felt like the sausage one was a little bit skimpy on the toppings, which it kind of was. The pizzas were 14 dollars each which, while not cheap, was really not outrageous for how good they were.
We got one shared salad, 2 pizzas and 2 beers and including tip our bill was almost 75 dollars. And here's the thing, our food was good, even if the salad was a little on the smallish side, the service was great, the atmosphere was comfortable and casual. But as we were walking home Jamie said "That was good, but it didn't feel like a 75 dollar meal." And it didn't. It feels wrong to pay that much for a meal in our neighborhood, especially a meal that was spent watching a basketball game. And just because you can charge that much for a meal on 21st Street doesn't mean you have to. I did however see the meat and cheese antipasta for 2 as we were leaving and it looked so good. We both feel that if went back, the antipasta and one pizza would be the way to go, but I can't say when we'll go back. I just wish we could have restaurants and amenities without it automatically translating to overpriced places. I suppose overpriced boutiques are the next signpost on our slow march toward "development".
Sunday, March 16, 2008
We took a couple of rides on the Cyclone and enjoyed it as much as ever. There is one difference this year though. They have added new/additional padding to each seat and now most people have to ride solo instead of together. It ended up being pretty great because I could brace my feet and didn't fly around much at all. We then walked over to Tottono's and downed a large sausage pie and a small anchovy between 4 of us. A lot of food, but with the delicious thin crust, not so much that we didn't have a little room for our next stops. We also had a great celebrity sighting at tiny little Tottono's in Ira Glass from NPR's This American Life. That's my kind of nerdy celebrity sighting!
We then headed over to Brighton Beach to visit a market that my Hungarian friend has been telling me about for years and to do a little recon on a restaurant that I think I'd like to go to for my birthday this year. M & I International Foods is a large Eastern European market on Brighton Beach Avenue, in the heart of Little Odessa under the El. There are 2 different meat counters, one for fresh meats and one for cured meats. I got pork loin roast for 3 bucks a pound and we got 2 kinds of sausages. I wanted to get some blood sausage, but it's hard to justify when I know I'm the only one who's excited about it. But know if you're in the market for blood sausage, a chicken type version of haggis or any other speckled fresh or cured meats, this is your place. There were also 2 large baked goods counters. I think the difference between them was that one was more dessert type cakes and cookies and the other was breads, both sweet and savory, and breakfast pastry. I bought a cheese and apricot danish for tomorrow morning and a layered not-too-sweet pastry filled with cherries, raisins and nuts. The abundance of all things cherry was something I was particularly excited about. I love cherries and apparently so do Russians. I also bought some sour cherry syrup that is meant to be used as a cocktail mixer. We got strange capers that are kind of mangled looking and brined, but not in vinegar. I got a very large jar of pitted sour cherries in cherry juice (4 bucks!) and Jamie got pickles (of course), a bottle of some Russian beer, of which they have a large selection and some spiked lemonade stuff. In all, totally worth a trip to Brighton Beach.
We then went to the little restaurant I wanted to check out. It's called Cafe Gelchik and it's on Coney Island Avenue, just a few blocks past the market. We were pretty full already, so we just wanted to sample a couple of things. We got the mixed pickled vegetables first. The standout there was the pickled watermelon, which is addictive. We then got the pelmini Moscow style, which is little meat stuffed dumplings baked in an egg custard with a crusty cheese on top. So delicious. This was followed by the sour cherry vernicki, which is a larger dumpling, more like a true potsticker in size and shape. This was exactly what I was looking for. They also have a green borscht, schnitzel, at least 10 other kinds of dumplings, loads of sausages, etc, etc. For a drink we got their specialty, something they call compote. It's basically a fruit juice with cherry, apple and other juices with a few pieces of macerated fruit at the bottom of the glass. It was really good as far as juice goes. They don't sell booze, but it's BYO, as witnessed by the bottles of vodka on almost every table. I can't wait to go back to this place, but with a better appetite next time.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
"Oh no, why are you guys closing?"
"What's gonna come in to this space?"
"What's going to happen to all of you?" [These are the kinder people, the ones who are concerned that we will all have jobs]
And on and on.
It just sucks because there really isn't anything to do with most of our time since we don't get shipments and have very few books. As a result, all of the employees are bonding even more than we already have over long periods of working together. Now everyone's even more bummed about not working together anymore. I'm really going to miss some of these people, but I imagine my next store will introduce to me lots of new, nice people. Unfortunately, I don't think my new store on the Upper East Side will have any regular tranny customers or nearly as many meth addicts and about this, I am sad. I love the diversity of the customers at my store and I just hope that the new store isn't as vanilla as I fear it will be.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Here are a couple of pictures that I took a few years ago when we were there. The best thing about that trip was that when we walked through the doors I didn't feel compelled to stick with anyone else, we all just were drawn to what we were drawn to and that's how it should be. The outer perimeter of the main video game room is lined with pinball machines. I nearly giggled with happiness. I played at least 20 different pinball games before I settled on the Addams Family, which was a great game. The pictures were taken on an old winding type camera, so the quality is pretty lousy, so sorry.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
Dear Kaci & Jamie,
Never go to bed mad. Always kiss and make up. You will feel better by morning. Never forget how much you love each other. I want a little red headed "baby" soon.
Love, Grandma [quotations hers]
Get used to being wrong. You'll never win a fight, so unless you give in, the argument will never be over.
At the time that we first read that, we were laughing and saddened by it all at once. My grandpa was a pretty quiet guy, but he wasn't necessarily a pushover. My grandma is a total ballbuster however and their years together post-retirement were grating and difficult at times. I stumbled upon the book yesterday as I was cleaning and was really happy to find that bit of advice from him. I don't think Jamie has taken his advice, but I'm very glad for that too.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
February 20, 2008 -- Benjamin Lovell says he kept trying to explain to Commerce Bank officials that he really didn't have $5.8 million in his account.But they kept insisting he could take the money and run - and so he did, scooping up $1 million the first day and another $1.1 million over the next four weeks.
Of the $2.1 million total, the married dad invested $1.5 million - badly - gave $36,000 to pals and spent $8,000 on gems for a girlfriend, according to the Brooklyn DA.
The bank, which bills itself as "America's most convenient," didn't turn out to be America's most forgiving. When officials learned of the multimillion-dollar blunder, they called the cops.
Lovell, who earns $600 a week as a salesman for KeySpan, was charged with first-degree grand larceny, and faces up to 25 years in the slammer if convicted.
He was ordered held in lieu of $3 million bond or $1 million cash bail at his arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court last night.
Lovell, 48, of Brownsville, had an $800 account at the bank's Montague Street branch in Brooklyn Heights.
The monumental mix-up happened because another Benjamin Lovell works for a firm called Woodlawn Trustee, which has a $5.8 million account at the same branch.Last December, Woodlawn - which manages trusts - asked that its Lovell be added to the account.The bank confused the Social Security numbers of the men, giving the wrong Lovell the right to withdraw money from the $5.8 million account, authorities said.
On Dec. 14, the wrong Lovell walked into the bank to make a $400 deposit. A teller mentioned that he had a second account with $5.8 million in it.To his credit, a confused Lovell spoke to the manager and other bank officials - and he said all of them insisted there was no problem whatsoever with him withdrawing money, he said.So, prosecutor Kevin Richardson said, he withdrew $10,000 and later in the day took out another $990,000.
From Dec. 16 to Jan. 10, he allegedly withdrew a total of $1.1 million.
Woodlawn Trustee officials, meanwhile, were getting bank statements and saw the money was missing.
Cops busted Lovell Monday and he was charged with grand larceny for knowingly taking money that wasn't his.
Lovell invested much of it in loser stocks and only $500,000 was recovered.
Lovell was last in the news in 1998, when Ol' Dirty Bastard, the late rapper, helped lift a car off his daughter, Maati, after an auto accident.
A Commerce spokesman did not return a call or an e-mail seeking comment.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Thursday, January 31, 2008
About 5 years ago I was working part time as an ice cream scooper and that was when the trouble began. The constant lean forward, bend down, scoop frozen solid deliciousness motion really did a number on my back (not to mention my waistline). As the pain was building and building, it finally came to it's totally unglamorous, somewhat humiliating conclusion the day before Easter 2003. I left work early with my back in total spasm, thinking that if I walked to the subway, the walk would help alleviate the pain as it had in the past. The pain never let up and by the time I got to the subway I couldn't actually get down a step to get into the subway. Okay then. Maybe a taxi. I hailed a cab and found myself unable to physically get in the backseat. crap. So I continued walking to Jamie's place in Ft. Greene, which was quite a walk for someone with a spasming back. But as some of you may recall, Jamie's old apartment was upstairs in a beautiful old brownstone and there were at least 30-40 steps to manage. It took me over 20 minutes to get into his apartment and tears were just pouring down my face. When I got there he wasn't even home so I went into his bedroom, managed to get myself onto the bed and I waited and prayed. I don't remember how long it was before he got home, but I remember squeaking out a little moan to announce my presence. It was a very long night of not sleeping and not knowing what to do, as I'd never experienced anything like that before. The next morning, after one of the longest nights of my life, Jamie called a car service. It took about another 20 minutes to get me down the steps and into the car, but we did it and I went to Methodist Hospital on Easter Sunday. I remember the ER doctor saying he was going to give me a shot that was going to hurt a lot. When I told him I didn't really care, he emphasized, no really, it's going to hurt A LOT. I'm convinced that the shot is so painful so it will take your mind off whatever the primary pain may be. But after about a 1/2 hour I started to feel some relief and we were able to go. The ER gave me 4 or 5 cyclobenzaprine pills to use as heavy duty muscle relaxers during the healing period.
Flash forward to last Tuesday. I woke up with a sharp pain around my left shoulder blade. Over the course of a week, the pain got sharper and more noticeable. Finally on Monday of this week I was in some pretty serious pain. I had tried stretching, ibuprofen, heat, etc, but nothing had even made a dent. On Monday night I was in intense pain and attempted to go to bed. I was completely unable to find a tolerable position and after 2 hours I got up and went into the living room. I found my handy traveling neck pillow (which I would love to just wear all the time as an impromptu napping accessory), my heating pad and tried to find a way to rest sitting up on the couch. No dice. Maybe a hot shower. At 4 o' clock in the morning. Again, no relief. I attempted to make my way to the floor with the hope that elevating my feet (and being horizontal) may help. But then I couldn't get myself to the floor and was afraid that even if I did make it to the floor, I'd never be able to get myself back up. And I've learned from experience that when I'm on the floor for the purpose of exercise or stretching, mobility is key with a stinky breathed dog and a flat, soft surface loving kitty in the house. I could just picture Jamie waking up to find me immobile, Ruthie making biscuits on my stomach and Arlo using my neck as a pillow.
So I waited for the sun to come up and I called my work to let them know I wouldn't be there. I then called my acupuncturist and left her a message about getting in for an emergency visit. By about 11 am I couldn't stand the pain and the lack of the sleep and decided I was going to rifle through our medicine chest for anything I could find. Arlo's pain meds; fine. Whatever. This is what doctors refer to as drug seeking behavior. And what do I find, but one single, beautiful 5 year old cyclobenzaprine! Within an hour I was asleep in a more or less horizontal position and I slept for 4 glorious hours. I woke up feeling a little bit better, as I know my body needed some rest to begin healing itself. When I woke up my acupuncturist called to say she could get me in the following day.
I went to work yesterday and then went to see her and I came home last night feeling refreshed and fairly well healed. Of course, I woke up this morning feeling stiff and sore again, but not like I was. I'm going to do some yoga today and stretch it all out and hope for the best. And I've vowed to see my acupuncturist every 4-6 weeks to help prevent this happening again. And do yoga more regularly, since those are the only 2 things that really seem to make a difference.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Tonight while I was talking to my mom she asked me to change the background template of this blog because the dark color was causing her eyes to freak out. She said she was able to read it just fine, but when she would try to look at something else she couldn't see properly for 5-10 minutes. I am a little hesitant to say this, but I get it. I am by no stretch old or even older, but lately my eyes have been giving me a bit of grief. I haven't had my eyes checked in 8 years and they have gotten considerably worse. Recently at work I was trying to read something and I actually had to hold it in my partially outstretched arm. Are bifocals in my future? I can't remember how old my mom was when she got bifocals. What was it, 50's? But I also think I started wearing glasses about 20 years before she did.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Dad: "Well, that's why I never leave the house without my 9mm."
Dad: "It's completely legal. I have a concealed weapons permit."
Me: "Jesus Christ, Dad. Is that really necessary?"
Dad: "Well, one time I was just about a mile from the house and I pulled up to a 4 way stop. There was a van and a bunch of people got out and started flashing their gang signs, you know, challenges to each other. Well, I wasn't sure what was going to happen so I stepped on the gas and gunned it. If they hadn't jumped out of the way, I'd have run them all down. And ever since then I don't leave the house without my 9mm."
So that apparently is all it takes to make an already paranoid, nightmare having Vietnam vet tote a loaded weapon around under his shirt. Unbelievable.
Stats courtesy of www.city-data.com.
Crime in Columbia by Year
|City-data.com crime index (higher means more crime, U.S. average = 280.8)||N/A||710.7||697.7||724.0||654.8||741.9||629.0||576.3|
Crime in New York by Year
|City-data.com crime index (higher means more crime, U.S. average = 281.9)||447.7||408.5||334.2||313.6||295.4||285.2||268.5|
And just because the ratio seemed so narrow to me, I've included this pleasant statistic. Welcome to South Carolina folks:
"According to our research there were 677 registered sex offenders living in Columbia, South Carolina in early 2007.
The ratio of number of residents in Columbia to the number of sex offenders is 177 to 1."
It probably isn't fair to include that, since I can't find a comparable stat for NYC, but whatever.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
It was a big event for our store; probably 300-350 people. And being one of the 10 women there, I was forced to indulge these losers all night. "Can you please take 2 steps back? Seriously, back off. " All. Night. Long.
But it was all worth it when it came to the signing part of the night. I got the awesome job of going the length of the line and asking people if they'd like the author to personalize their book inscription and I then write on a post-it with a sharpie so the author doesn't have to fuss with spelling and the post it spells it all out for him. Easy enough. The beauty is that in The Game, he recommended that each man create his own PUA (Pick Up Artist) nickname ala Mystery. So as I'm asking these guys to whom their book will be inscribed, I'm barely holding it together. A sample:
Guy1: Steve aka Ironman
Guy2: John aka Ramrod
Guy3: George aka Aries
Guy4: Sean aka Sex Machine
But this was the best:
Guy5:"First word M-U-F-F, second word D-Y-V-E-R, third word D-A-N. Pretty funny, right?"
So as I am back up at the table where the author is I am telling our Event Coordinator, a middle aged British woman, that Muff Dyver Dan is coming up on the right. When he gets up to the table, she takes the post it, puts it on his book and says in the most upper class English accent, "Muff Dyver Dan, pleased to meet you."
It was brilliant.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
So my experience was that for whatever reason, during the pivotal part of the story, the part upon which everything hinges, my mind immediately went to a different place, a different character. The result of this was that when the big reveal came at the end, the jaw dropping twist, I had assumed it to be so for the entire book. No big reveal, no plot twist for me. Just a book where I found myself skimming over entire paragraphs because he couldn't stop spending 3 pages describing a summer day. What a drag!
Saturday, January 05, 2008
-That he is a cardinal and answers only to the Vatican. He insists that he be addressed as Monsignor.
-The time I walked up and he picked up the phone on the desk and said "Hello? Rome?"
-That he voted on the most recent Pope.
-That he was thrown in Chairman Mao's communist Chinese prison for 2 years for preaching.
-That he was thrown in Castro's communist Cuban prison for 2 years for preaching.
-That he was tortured by African "natives" and they shoved wood splints under his nails. For preaching.
-That he was the president of a university.
-That he speaks fluent Urdu, but couldn't understand when someone asked him (in Urdu) his name.
-That he was the medical director of a major hospital.
-That he spent 2 years in a concentration camp (always with the 2 years!)
-That every morning at 4am he personally says the mass for every priest in NYC.
-The latest, and certainly funniest, that he has had an ongoing affair with Tom Selleck. Tom is currently mad at him because he didn't go to LA last summer to visit him. Apparently we have "no idea how firm" Tom is; except for his face, which is withered from years in the sun.
I'll pause there to give you the opportunity to throw up in your mouths.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
I was told to give it 10 days. No problem; they are fall/winter shoes and it was summer. I went back 2 weeks later and he told me that the guy he uses on the lower east side for the mid soles was on vacation and it was going to take a bit longer. Again, no problem. I went back about 2 weeks later and the gate was down and there was a hand written sign saying that he was on vacation for the month of August, with a return date just after Labor Day. Um, alright. So after Labor Day, every time I went by he was not open, causing me a little concern. I called the number on the sign and it just kept ringing, so that was no help. Finally toward the end of September I went to the Polish deli next door to his shop and asked if they had seen him. They said that they hadn't and that I wasn't the only one looking for their shoes. So then it's October and my favorite shoes are nowhere to be found. I walk past the shop one day and see that the gate is down and padlocked, there are multiple notes stuffed into the gate and the place is for rent. Are you freaking kidding me?? No phone number to call, no sign of the shoes, no nothing. My landlord told me that she heard that he may have moved to Florida.
This is the type of thing that makes me feel like I am living in Seinfeld's world. It reminds me of the time that Jamie and I ordered 2 cans of seltzer with our Mexican food delivery order and instead received 2 containers of salsa. Seriously.