Thursday, June 26, 2008

for my birthday I got....

another painful sinus infection and a trip to the DMV!! I feel like the luckiest girl in the world!

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

311 is (hopefully not) a joke

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

now that's how to spend a day

I had to go down to my old neighborhood, Dyker Heights (Dykah) today to pick up Arlo's thyroid medicine. Usually when we head down there to go to the vet's office, we hit a few of our favorite food stops. I usually pick up lard bread at Mona Lisa Bakery on 13th Avenue (they also have an amazing gelato shop on 86th Street) and fresh mozzarella on 15th Avenue.

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

exhausted, satisfied

Wow. It has been such a busy 3 weeks, I don't even know where to begin. The X/Detroit Cobras show was amazing, but really deserves its own post, mostly because of the disturbing antics of Billy Zoom. More later.

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.