Friday, December 21, 2007

Sunshine in a Jar

Lemon curd. Sweet yet tart, creamy and delicious. And so easy to make you'll be wondering why you haven't been doing it for years. Ready?

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
Juice of 4 lemons (about 6 oz)
Zest of 4 lemons
9 Tbs butter

This yields about 3 cups.

Beat the eggs and sugar until well blended. Add the juice, zest, and butter and cook over simmering water-stirring constantly-until the mixture thickens. Immediately pour it through a strainer then ladle into warm jars and seal. You should allow the jars to cool to room temperature before putting them in the refrigerator. You can also just put it all in one big container. It will keep for about 3 weeks in the refrigerator. If you can get it to last that long.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cat Toy?

What really annoys me is that I never get to see it happening.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday Morning

My most favorite special breakfast is griddle cakes. And I do not mean Bisquick. My father makes great griddle cakes from his mother's recipe. That is the one I use, with a couple of slight alterations. A word of warning though. Once you have had these, you may never be satisfied with restaurant pancakes again.

Griddle Cakes
Yield: About 14 average sized cakes.

1 cup flour
1 cup fine cornmeal
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder (you can also use baking soda if that's all you have)
1 Tbs sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 Tbs butter, melted

Mix the dry ingredients together. Mix the egg into the buttermilk. Add this to the dry mixture stirring as you add. Mix until well blended. Add the melted butter.

Heat a cast iron griddle or skillet until it is very hot. Grease with a bit of butter. Pour out your cakes and let them cook until little bubbles start to form and burst on the surface then flip them over. (I like mine very brown so I wait an extra few seconds before flipping.)

Cook for about 2 minutes and watch them rise.
When you've got your stack, pour on the maple syrup or use honey if you like. Some people like to add butter too but I think that's gilding the lily.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Freshly made Beet Apple Ginger Juice. The picture doesn't do the color justice. It's a deep magenta, sweet with a little ginger bite.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Out For a Walk

I went for a walk today, mostly through Central Park. The weather was beautiful, sunny with just a hint of mist in the morning light.

I entered the park at 67th street by Tavern on the Green. When you walk a ways up the road you pass by this gentleman.

Daniel Webster
Very serious isn't he? Walk a little further and you come upon this guy:

He's The Falconer, a replica of a statue in England. He's having a bit more fun than Mr. Webster.

The park is full of statues. Almost all of them men. There are only two women. One is winged angel on top of a fountain and strictly speaking she isn't really a woman, she's a concept in female form. (She was designed by a woman, Emma Stebbins.) The other is Alice in Wonderland, a fictional character. We're definitely underrepresented.

Here's Alice.
She suffers many indignities with people crawling all over her. I mean kids sure, I did it myself when I was little, but adults? What do you think Lewis Carroll would say if saw a strange man sitting on her lap?

And here is a little tidbit for all those fabulous Worst. Mamas. Ever.

In case you can't read it, it says: "Speak roughly to your little boy and beat him when he sneezes. He only does it to annoy because he knows it teases." It's a wonder no one's had it removed as politically incorrect. Or tried to sue the parks' department for emotional damage. Thank goodness.

Here's some budding actors at the band shell.

This man is playing a zither, really a zither and he's really good. I dropped some money in his little box and saw that he sells his cd's. I was tempted but part of what made it so wonderful was hearing the music live in the park. I think it would lose some of its magic if I played it in my living room.

At this point I firmly resisted taking a picture of two women park's department officers on horseback. I did get to overhear them chastise a pedi-cab driver and tell him to be a good boy.
Those pedi-cab people are amazing. They must be in some kind of shape to ferry bundled tourists around town while keeping up the guide routine.

Here's a woman amazed by an assortment of dogs. I wish I could have gotten you a better picture but I was a little slow on the draw.

This is my favorite statue in the park. He's perched right above the bike path, ready to pounce. I always wonder how many people actually see him as they go by.

The leaves have been very slow to turn this year. Some trees are still green. These guys still have green tops, like little caps.

I exited the park right by The Museum of Natural History. They've got a couple friends standing outside looking festive. I think they give the Library Lions a run for their money.

I wish I could make this picture scratch and sniff.

Further down 81st Street I passed Planterium Travel. I think it may be my favorite travel agency. I mean, look at this store front. I just love the little camel and the ship in the snow globe.

For my last picture I give you the First Baptist Church of New York. I love that tall tower, like something out of a fairy tale. But doesn't that lower tower on the left look oddly two dimensional, like it's been drawn onto the building in the back? Very strange.

All in all, a very nice day in the city.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The End, Mercifully

I may be in denial about the fact that it's almost December. It seems like it was September only yesterday. But I made it to the end of NaBloPoMo with only 1 day missed. I have a friend who is participating in NaNoWriMo. I haven't heard from him in a while. I wonder if he made it to 50,000 words. He's still got two and a half hours to go if he needs to get in a few more. I hope he got there. Maybe he'll let me read some of it. I suspect he might be shy about it. I'll let you know what happens.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Missing the Hunt

Today the trees appeared on the sidewalks. Christmas trees that is. When I want to get mine I just go down to the main drag and pick one out. The vendor stuffs it into the tree wrapper and quick as a wink I'm on the way home dragging it behind me. That's not how it used to be.

When I was 8 years old I went with my sister, my cousin Wendy and her friend Barbara to the Berkshires to pick out a Christmas tree. We were also going to get one for Barbara's family. The trip up was uneventful except for a stop at a candy store that seemed to be an adjunct of Santa's workshop. We got to the tree farm and picked out two nice trees. It took us quite a while to actually chop them down but in the end we managed it. We tied one up onto the roof and stuffed the other one top first into the hatchback. There wasn't much room in the back so my sister sat up front with Wendy and Barb. Feeling pretty good, we got on the road. After a few miles Wendy was feeling like there might be something wrong with the car. She had the pedal to the floor and yet we couldn't get above 50. We pulled the car over and got out in order to stare at the car for a while. As we stared at it, it came into focus, like one of those trick drawings. We had tied the tree on with the bottom towards the front of the car. We were trying to drive with a big green parachute on the roof creating serious drag. We laughed for a long time and then turned the tree around and got back to the highway. After about an hour I began to lose feeling in my toes. The heat was not getting to me past the enormous tree that was sharing the back seat with me. I rebelled and demanded a seat up front. So there we were, Wendy driving, Barb in the passenger seat, my sister on her lap and me on my sister's. But at least we were warm. Now, having this many people in the front seat was not legal, even then, long before seat belt laws. So Wendy says to me: "If you see a cop, duck down and while you're there, hide those beer cans." Ah, I miss those days, stalking the wild Christmas tree and bringing it home, triumphantly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Stealing Stolen Goods

Since I seem to have hit some kind of blog wall I'm stealing the meme Epiphany stole from her dad.
51. When did you go to your first funeral?
I think I was 12. It was my uncle's mother's funeral. She was 90 something. I don't remember anything about it except that I didn't want to go.

52. How old were you when you first moved away from your hometown?
I lived in Yugoslavia for 1 year when I was seven.

53. Who was your first grade teacher?
I had two since I was in Montessori school. We called them by their first names but I don't remember what they were.

54. Where did you go on your first airplane ride?
When I was 5 we went to my Grandma May's in St. Louis for Christmas.

55. When you snuck out of your house for the first time, who was it with?
I never snuck out. I didn't have to really. If I wanted to stay with a friend in the city I was able to, no questions asked. This is what comes of being sensible-people figure you know what you're doing. Ha!

56. Who was your first best friend and are you still friends with them?
My first best friend was named Elizabeth. We went to Montessori together. But then when I was 7 I moved away and we did not keep in touch.

57. Where did you live the first time you moved out of your parents’ house?
I moved into an apartment at the end of my freshman year of college. It was right behind Fenway Park.

58. Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My sister usually, if I call. More often I email several people.

59. Whose wedding were you in the first time you were a bridesmaid or a groomsmen?
I've never been a bride's maid. I was a flower girl in my cousin Beth's wedding when I was 11.

60. What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Feed the cats.

61. What was the first concert you attended?
Billy Joel at the Nassau Coliseum.

62. First tattoo or piercing?
I had my ears pierced when I was 12. My first tattoo when I was 30.

63. First celebrity crush?
Harrison Ford. I'm not sure what I age I was exactly. 12 or 13 I think.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tuckered Out

It's a good thing we're almost at the end of NaBloPoMo 'cause today I've got nothin'. At this moment I really just want to crawl into bed and stay there for a week and sleep. I might get up in there somewhere for a glass of water or a little snack but mostly I just want to sleep.

In lieu of an absorbing post I give you a cute cats picture. I'm going to bed.

Monday, November 26, 2007

One Down

The first one is done. I will cast on the next right away. Otherwise I might succumb to second sock syndrome. Next time I might do two at once.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Home Again

I can report that the chocolate cake was excellent. Light and moist with just enough ganache.

Here is the driveway leading up to my folks' place. The pine trees were planted more than 30 years ago. All of us kids were pressed into service. We grumbled about it but look at them now, a beautiful forest that we helped create.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Over the River...

I'm getting ready to go to Thanksgiving #2. I don't have to bring much, just my jammies and my toothbrush and the desserts. The cheesecake is still in its springform so it isn't ready for its closeup but the chocolate cake is all dressed up and ready to go.

I've never made this recipe before so I don't know how it tastes but it really smells like chocolate cake. You know that smell. One whiff and you're ready to devour the entire thing. It took some self-control not to cut myself a slice. Fortunately my inner (or let's face it, outer) perfectionist was there to remind me that one cannot arrive at a party with a slightly eaten cake.

I hope you're not tired of all these baked goods because there are going to be many many more before this season is over.

Right. You want the recipe. And again, really easy.

Double Chocolate Bundt Cake
(a little note here. the published recipe calls for a 12 cup pan but I used a 10 cup and found it was just fine.)
5oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 Tbs baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 cup buttermilk

for glaze:
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 Tbs corn syrup
1/2 Tbs butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Butter your bundt pan-even if it is non-stick. Nothing worse than having it stick and get pulled apart when you try to take it out. You might be forced to eat the evidence before trying again.

Melt 2 oz of the chocolate. Let cool slightly, add the oil, the sugar and then the egg. Whisk until smooth. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add half to the chocolate mixture along with 1/2 cup of coffee and 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Mix until smooth. Add remaining dry ingredients and then the remaining coffee and buttermilk. Mix until smooth. Pour into the pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a rack and let cool completely. (You may want to hold your breath at this point in order to avoid temptation.)

Add the corn syrup and butter to the remaining chocolate. Scald the cream and pour over the chocolate mixture. Stir until smooth. If the chocolate doesn't melt completely you can warm the mixture over hot water until it does. Let it stand about 5 minutes then pour it over the cake. Let it stand until the ganache sets, about 30 minutes, before serving.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I bought myself a book today. Don't look at me that way. I know I'm supposed to leave the buying of books to others at this time of year but it's not like they don't have options. My Amazon list has more than enough to go around. Besides I wanted it NOW. I suspect it comes from watching Project Runway. Yes, I do watch a reality show though I could do with less drama. I really just want to see the clothes. I usually skip a lot of the middle. And I really hate that "suspense" sound effect they use at the end. Just say it for heaven's sake. I also think that I'd have second thoughts about joining the fashion industry if those judges are a fair representation of the business.

You don't care do you? You're busy digesting and just want some pretty pictures. Here is the book.
There's a few of these beginner sewing-books-with-patterns out there but this one is by far the best. It has the most interesting patterns including a chic little capelet and some fun knickers. Most of the others have pillows, an apron, a place mat, maybe a skirt. The author owns this craft studio in Lower Manhattan called Make Workshop. I had heard of it but it's in a really inconvenient place on the Lower East Side. Now that I've seen this book I might have to go and check it out.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Wish

This is going to be short and sweet. I am at work today-yes, we are open 365 days a year. I'm here today and the other manager will be here on Christmas. It's actually kind of nice. We have a reduced schedule and it's very mellow.

Anyway, have a very happy Thanksgiving. Eat lots and laugh even more.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Taste of Vienna

Tomorrow I am going to the first of my two Thanksgivings. I'm bringing a walnut mocha torte. It sounds complicated but it's really very simple, it just requires some attention to detail.

The cake has only 5 ingredients.

5 eggs, separated
120 grams of sugar
80 grams of ground (grated) walnuts
1 heaping tablespoon finely ground coffee
1 heaping tablespoon flour

Preheat the oven to 350 or 325 if you have a dark pan.

The important thing is to have the eggs at room temperature and to grind the nuts properly. They should not be ground in a food processor or spice grinder but in a hand grater. Like this one from Microplane.

The blades in the grater are very sharp and flat so what you get is fluffy nut shavings. This makes the cake texture finer than conventionally ground nuts.

Beat the whites on high speed until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar and beat to stiff peaks.

Make sure they are well beaten before adding the yolks. Add the yolks and beat some more.

Lower the mixer speed and mix in the ground nuts, the coffee, and the flour. Stop the mixer and use a large spatula to scrape down the bowl and make sure the batter is well blended.
Pour into a prepared spring form pan. 8" is ideal though I used 9" since I don't have an 8". (Hard to believe, I know.) Line the bottom with greased parchment but if the pan has a nonstick coating do not grease the sides. The batter needs something to cling to as it rises. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cake springs back when you gently press it.
Let the cake cool for a few minutes then run a spatula around the edge and take off the outer ring. Let the cake cool completely. The center will sink a bit. Don't worry about it. That's what the buttercream frosting is for.

To make the buttercream you need 4 ingredients.
3 whole eggs + 1 yolk
100 grams of sugar
Scant 1/4 cup of very strong coffee
10 tablespoons of butter, slightly softened

Mix the sugar and eggs together.

Add the coffee. If it is hot be sure to mix while adding so the eggs don't scramble. Cook this over a simmering water bath until it thickens. You must stir constantly and be prepared to move the bowl quickly. Once the mixture reaches 160 degrees the eggs will start to set. It will go from thin to thickened very quickly once it starts. Remove it from the heat and set it in a bowl of cool water to stop the cooking. Let it come to room temperature. Beat in the butter.

This kind of cake is not easy to decorate. It crumbs easily and is very spongy. It will never have a very precise, finished look because it is so soft. But that's just fine. Peel the parchment off the bottom and place the cake on a platter or a cake circle. Slice the cake in half horizontally. If you have a cardboard cake circle use it to help you move the top half off. Spread some of the buttercream and then top with the other half. Coat the whole cake with a thin layer of buttercream then chill for a few minutes. Here is where ground nuts can come in. You can coat the outer edge with them and get a more even result. The remaining frosting goes in the top and helps to even out the sunken middle. Sometimes I put some walnut halves on the top but I didn't have any so I skipped it.

If you can make this a day ahead that is all the better. The buttercream and cake will have time to meld together. This is may be my father's favorite cake. He wants me to make one that doesn't end. I don't think I would even if I could.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Braving the Maelstrom

What is it about holidays that makes people dumb? They go to the store to buy a cart full of items for the holiday and instead of proceeding through the store with speed and efficiency, they linger, usually in a bottle neck. They wander about pushing their enormous carts with vacant or befuddled looks on their faces. They scan the shelves as if searching for the Holy Grail. They harass the employees who understandably want the whole ordeal to be over. Why should buying eggs and milk and butter and meat be such a challenge now? Have they not bought these things virtually every week if not every day? It's true, they need more of these things than usual but surely mere quantity should not cause this kind of confusion. Many of them have lists. Lists are meant to make the job easier and yet by some alchemy of the holiday they cause consternation and delay instead.

You have probably deduced that I went shopping today. I am making several desserts for the two Thanksgivings that I'm going to. Fortunately, I managed to get everything that I needed without having to resort to violence. I was reminded that I will have to do some actual Christmas shopping in the next month. I am not looking forward to it. Every year I wish that someone would institute a passing lane on New York sidewalks and allow the use of a cattle prod in the nastier stretches of department stores.

And yet, I do like the holidays. I enjoy seeing my family and friends. I love baking and making chocolates. I like wrapping presents and decorating them with ribbons. I relish my guilty pleasure of Starbuck's eggnog lattes. I relax in the glow of the lights on my Christmas tree.
In spite of my irritation I must admit that it is worth the trouble.

Monday, November 19, 2007


My sister and her family have apparently offended the gods of traffic. Recently her younger son was hit by a car. It's okay, he was not badly hurt, just had an big bump on his head and an acute case of embarrassment. Then this week her husband got in a car accident which has put paid to the newer car. Below is her version of events. I have called her husband B and his passenger L.

They were traveling in the middle lane. A car ahead of them in the left lane swerved to avoid an obstacle, hit the concrete medium, bounced off at a 90 degree angle cutting across the traffic, right in front of B who was driving. B's car hit the side front of their car, spun 180 degrees and moved into the left lane and bashed into the concrete median, and ended up facing backward towards on-coming traffic.

Luckily all traffic came to a dead halt. Police, Fire Trucks and Ambulances came. B and L (our house guest) had a little bit of whiplash. The driver of the other car, a 20 year old girl was hysterically sobbing, and her passenger, a young man, was the only one hurt. He had cut his head on the rear view mirror and was bleeding freely.

Here's the small world part of the story: The girl driver was a former student of B's! As a colleague of his noted: "I've had disgruntled students myself, but they usually just go complain to the dean; they don't try to murder me." We all had a good laugh. It was possible to laugh, since nobody was hurt, and it could have ended up so very badly. Lots of relief in that laughter.

I am wondering if the totalled car will be a sufficient sacrifice to an angry deity. Perhaps they should hang some fuzzy dice from the rearview of the still intact car as a symbol of their devotion and repentance.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


One of my favorite things about the holidays is that I get to do a whole bunch of baking. By the time Christmas rolls around my home is redolent of cinnamon, coffee, chocolate and sugar. Every year I try to make different recipes though I do keep a few favorites on the list. Today I decided to get in a little practice before the main event. I give you...

Walnut Butter Cookies

It's an incredibly easy recipe.

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter slightly softened
1 egg at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar-firmly packed
3/4 walnuts, lightly roasted and finely chopped.

Powdered sugar (optional)

Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl. Beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture and beat until well incorporated. Stir in the walnuts. Divide the dough in half and on a lightly dusted board form into two logs about 1 1/2" in diameter and 8 inches long. (If the dough is very soft after mixing you can chill for a bit before forming the logs.) Wrap in foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1/2 an hour and up to 2 days. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the logs into 1/3" slices, place on a ungreased cookie sheet and bake until golden around the edges, about 15 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool. Once they are cool you can coat them with powdered sugar. (I skipped this step this time. I was in the mood for something less sweet.)

And that's it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I realized this morning that I failed to blog yesterday. I was wiped out when I got home. Nothing like an emotional day on top of too little sleep to leave you really drained. It was great to see everyone though. And so many people came, both to the wake on Thursday and the funeral on Friday. It was a Catholic mass, done to comfort Ed's family who are all Catholic. Ed himself didn't care one way or the other. I do think the ritual helped his wife and his kids to begin coming out of the hole they've been trapped in for the last few weeks.

The priest however, left much to be desired. Isn't public speaking a required course at seminary? It certainly should be. A funeral mass should not be delivered in a monotone. It should also not be used as a commercial for the church and for mass attendance. I also think that one should find out a little about the man for whom one is giving the mass. Not his life story, but a little something personal would have been nice.

We all went back to Beth's after and sat around talking about old times. We all told stories, and we laughed a lot and then we made pisco sours and drank a toast. I thought: that's a proper send off.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pretty Pictures

I'm not feeling very eloquent this evening so here is some fall foliage for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


My cousin Beth got married in 1981 when I was in fifth grade. I was a flower girl in the wedding. At the time I was really annoyed because the wedding was the same weekend as my class trip to Washington DC and that meant I wasn't going to be able to go with all my friends. In the end, it turned out okay. I had a pretty good time at the wedding. Her new husband Ed was a bonus. I liked him right away. We used to play Intellivision together. He always won at baseball but I always won at hockey. We got along well. We both liked a good discussion and we both had a need to be right. Fortunately we usually agreed so this was not a problem. (At least not for us. I can't speak for everybody who was wrong.) I learned early on that he liked meringue-a lot. Once I was old enough to do my own baking I started making meringues in the shape of mushrooms. It got to be a tradition that I'd make them every Christmas. I think I've been making them for 20 years. I'm going to make them one more time, but instead of waiting until Christmas I'm going to make them this week so that I can take them to the funeral.

Ed had been fighting pancreatic cancer for the last 10 weeks. He really loved his life and he fought for every last moment but on Tuesday morning the battle ended. It was a privilege to know him and to call him my friend. I will miss him very much. I have trouble grasping the situation and I cannot imagine how Beth feels. She has been amazing through it all. My thoughts are with her now.

Goodbye Ed. We will miss you. Rest in peace.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

On the First Day...

It's that time of year again kids. The stores have brought out their Xmas ornaments and battered menorahs. Any minute now they're going to blare Xmas music through the loud speakers. (At my last job we had a Xmas mix cd that had a version of Ave Maria to slit your wrists to.) In Union Square there is a crew putting up the cheerful red and white striped tents that will become a shopping village filled with all sorts of things to nibble at your wallet. This is not the only such village, they are sprouting up all over town, ready to net the city a tidy sum in rents.

One of my co-workers used to work in retail. Her most recent gig was at Bloomingdales. You can imagine what that place must be like during the holidays. Department stores are the worst place to go in the Xmas rush. All those souls desperate for a gift, any gift, for Aunt Minnie or their secret Santa pick, go to the department stores. And the stores know it. They bring out all those things that didn't sell. The electric nose-hair trimmers, the neon colored ties, the plaster doggies with big eyes, and so on. They know that the truly desperate holiday shopper will buy things that would they would normally recoil from in horror and disgust.

My co-worker and I were congratulating ourselves today because we will not be in a store on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving). We will not be convincing the gullible and the exhausted that this is the gift of a lifetime. We will not be placating those who must wait in line. We will not have hands covered in paper cuts from the shopping bags and wrapping paper. We will not be feeling like death warmed over by the end of the holidays.

I do plan on having a tree at home and maybe some lights strung around. And of course there will be the holiday baking. For those of you who know me, now is the time to get requests in. Or do you prefer to be surprised?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Step One

I know you've been consumed with curiosity about the state of our boiler. The sad news is that it is in need of parts. We all know how that goes. They are not in stock. They must be ordered. You need them quickly? There's always second day air but that'll cost ya. It is clear that my offering was too little too late. But it's okay, I have wine and cheese so the day was not a total mess. On the plus side I've managed to shake that nasty feeling of responsibility. For one thing, this problem would have cost us whether I found it last week or this week and we'd still have spent several days sans heat. And for another, I managed to just let it go. Really. Don't look at me that way. I am not in denial. I may not have reached a state of insouciance but I have to take it one step at a time. Someday I will be able to walk away clean, no thoughts about the mess at all. Makes me feel free just thinking about it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Beyond My Control

It's time for an offering to the gods. This became painfully apparent today when the boiler at my job malfunctioned. No ignition. 1 location out. That's all it had to say for itself when it quit working this morning and left us hoping the trapped heat would last and dragging out the space heaters when it didn't. This is following two server crashes in one week. Obviously some god somewhere is feeling neglected or perhaps he feels under-appreciated and taken for granted. A sacrifice will have to be made, an offering given. If the gods are appeased they may cause the repairman to arrive first thing in the morning (as promised). This is, I know, a miracle of Biblical proportion but I think it can be managed. As it is, the people in the 7am and 7:30am classes will have to rely on the space heaters and their own heat generation to stay warm.

Of course the real miracle will be my ceasing to feel responsible. Not for the boiler breaking, that is the result of years of neglect. But for not preventing it with timely action. For not having a better solution than space heaters. It's ridiculous really. It simply isn't possible to reverse years of benign neglect in a few short weeks. I know this is true. I know it, as I know that today is November 11 but somehow I can't seem to get my whole brain to agree. Stupid brain. If it knew what was good for it, it would stop worrying and get on with creating and learning and resting.

So how do I feel at the end of this day?

Saturday, November 10, 2007


just before the elevator doors closed.

Maybe I should just show my roommate my tits.

And outside the dressing room.

I'd have had sex anyway...

Friday, November 09, 2007

In Need of Fodder

I find I feel at a slight disadvantage in this daily blogging thing. Some of my fellow NaBloPoMomers have children. Children are inherently funny. As is parenthood. Don't get me wrong, I'm quite happy with the current state of affairs. It's one of the reasons I love Worst. Mama. Ever., it validates all my life choices. But it does mean I have less humorous blog fodder. My co-workers are no use at all. They know I need some good material and yet they persist in being helpful and charming and not even remotely nutty. I do have the cats but their humor is of the slapstick variety-you kinda have to be here seeing it to appreciate it. I plan to spend some quality time people watching this weekend. There are 8 million stories in the naked city, I'm bound to stumble on one worth writing about.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

First of Two

If you know a knitter you may know that knitters buy yarn the way Imelda Marcos buys shoes. In other words, need doesn't really enter into it. Unless you're talking about the kind of need that leads people to brave the freezing cold at 2 am for a pint of Ben and Jerry's.

Last month I joined the throng at the Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck. I was pretty restrained in my purchases. What? I was, really. I only bought two skeins and a couple of bags of fiber. Anyway, one of the skeins was this lovely sage green sock yarn.

I searched through my patterns and found Waving Lace Socks. Here is sock number one begun. I'm almost at the point where I start the heel flap.

Like shoes and yarn and Ben and Jerry's, you can't have too many socks.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Money on the Curb

In the New York Times they recently ran an article about people stealing recycling off the street. Now you might think that the city wouldn't care if there was less recycling to deal with, but it turns out that they make some revenue off the stuff. And if the city can make money so can someone else.

I usually don't put my recycling in the building's bin but bring it to the curb myself. The last couple of times there hasn't been any glass/plastic/metal recycling out, only paper. At first I thought maybe the schedule had changed but the buildings across the street and down the block had it out so I just put mine down and hoped it would be okay. Then last week when I went down the paper was missing too. And there were two guys stuffing bags into the back of an SUV. Not bad work if you can get it. After all, someone else has done all the hard work, they've even left it conveniently located for easy pick up. Isn't capitalism marvelous? No niche goes unfilled.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Recently, when I was at the wine store perusing the reds, there were two women near me having a friendly dispute. One said to the other, "I'm going to do a survey". Then she turned to me.
Woman: Are you married?
Me: No. Are you taking a poll of married people?
Woman: Okay, say you saw an actor you really loved and you just stepped right up and kissed him. Would your husband be upset?
Not to disappoint her I said, "No husband I would have."
Woman: I rest my case.
Then she laughed and the two of them moved off.
Now, like I say, I didn't want to disappoint her but -and you husbands can correct me if I'm wrong-I do think that any husband would have a right to be annoyed, perhaps even peeved about something like that. What I was really wondering was: was this based on personal experience or was she just planning ahead?

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Ball for Healing

As some of you know, I've been having trouble with my right wrist. Initially I had a weird crawly sensation in the top of my hand whenever I moved my index or middle finger up and down and I would get a feeling of heat if I used the computer for too long. As time has gone on, these symptoms have been replaced by weakness and pain if I try to rest weight on my hand when the wrist is fully flexed. Recently I have begun to suspect that some of the more recent problems stem from the fact that I've been babying my wrist and hand. It's gotten stiff and weak so now it whines and screams if I try to really use it. So I've been trying to gently exercise it and stretch it.

The other day one of our clients who knows of my problem brought something to show me. He'd been having some pains from serious computer use and someone recommended this thing to him. And it was working. After a couple of weeks of using it his discomfort was gone. He left it with me for the day so I could play with it. The upshot is that I bought one for myself.

It's a gyroscope inside a hard plastic ball. You set it spinning and then use the motion of your hand to speed it up and keep it spinning. The spinning causes torque which creates resistance against the muscles in your hand, wrist, and arm. You can feel the muscles working but there is no impact. It's called a PowerBall and is made by Dynaflex. The client bought his directly from the website and he bought the model that lights up. It generates 35 lbs of torque. I decided to try the slightly lighter model that generates 25 lbs. It doesn't light up but I was able to buy it at Paragon so I didn't need to wait. I believe in instant gratification.

I'm going to start slow, using it 10 minutes or so a day and then increasing to 20 minutes. I have hope that it will help my tendons heal and get over their pissy mood. Stay tuned for the exciting results.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Starting Slowly

I know I promised scintillating posts and I haven't delivered. You'll have to forgive me, the last few days have been irritating. And no, you do not want to know why they were irritating, that would send you screaming into the night. Suffice it to say that there are several people on my LIST. You know that list. We all have one. Everyone on the list needs at the very least a serious talking to. Or possibly to be beaten about the head and shoulders with a heavy object for their complete lack of critical thinking skills. There's also one person on the LIST who got there by dashing my hopes of not having to cope with something that has been a pain in the butt since I started this job. She was going to take it over and leave me free, I even did the happy dance when she got hired. Then she got a better offer. But what about me? Did she think of me for even one moment? Did she think of the purgatory she was leaving me in? Not for one single second. Doesn't she know it's all about me? She must not have gotten the memo.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A Good Read

Have you read Survival of the Sickest by Dr. Sharon Moalem? No? Go right now to the bookstore or better yet the library (I love the library, I'd be a lot poorer in both money and space without it.) and pick it up.

The first part is all about how disease can be helpful in certain circumstances. The latter part is about genetics. There was all sorts of stuff I didn't know about genes jumping and getting turned on and off depending on the circumstances. There's also a really interesting theory of why we ended up walking upright and losing all our hair. It will make you question all sorts of things you thought were true.

Friday, November 02, 2007


I went on a serious shopping trip to the Fairway today. I loaded up on all sorts of staples. I have hopes of actually cooking dinner and lunch for myself. We'll see how it goes.

I had most of the stuff delivered but I took the perishables home, in this new addition to the household.

Isn't it neat? It's insulated and lined with foil to keep the cold in. I haven't tested it with ice cream yet but it's worked very nicely with milk and butter.

For dinner this evening I got myself some fish. Brook trout. I don't do anything fancy with 'em, they're best when simply grilled and seasoned with salt and pepper. Not having a grill I put them in the broiler.

Here they are, ready to be broiled.

I think he's smiling. He knows how tasty he's going to be.

Here he is after his trip through the broiler.

And here he is at the end of his journey.

I'm saving the second one for tomorrow. I think I'll have it with some lentil salad.