Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lots of Rain.. Star Sighting.. More Rain... Gymboree

So I just dropped an entire can of garbanzo beans on the kitchen floor. I just watched as they ran away, under the oven, under the fridge, over hither and yon. What can you do?

Saw Wylie Dufresne or his twin walking north on Laguardia past the B. Fuller thingy (see below).

Went to the gym, no trainer today. Had to kick my own ass... and did. Later, on the treadmill, I watched the Hudson River and some sailboats, as the sunbathers in front of me through the window were 74% old men with potbellies. Ew. What's up with that?

Like I'm one to talk. I don't have one but could at any moment. Hence the 45 sit-ups (hey, I'm working up to 100). I look forward to training with F. a lot. He put me through my paces with a non-cardio, practically static yoga-like session that had me sweating like a pig and nearly dying of exertion. He seemed impressed that I'd once done 20 push-ups (a few years ago) so I'm going to do some stealth training and work back up to at least 15 so he won't think I'm a liar.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Becoming One with the Tabbouleh

This time I harken back to Tucson, Arizona. I lived there for about eight months, sometime in the very early 90s. I was on my way to live in LA (Venice Beach) but didn't know it yet. Tucson was a blessing of ordinariness and suburbanity -- so far removed from my hometown in Maine. I needed a job and wound up at a Lebanese (!) restaurant, the name of which I forget. The memory that sticks with me is the time the two fat-bellied owners, knives in hand cutting mountains of parsley, told me I'd better be a good waitress or they'd cut me up into the tabbouleh and I'd never be heard from again. Good times. I think I lasted three weeks and made about $11.

The Odd Moment

Funny how the mind retains some memories, no matter how mundane, forever. I'm going to try to capture some of them, here, before they are finally whisk-broomed away. As I drank my orange juice this morning, I remembered (or... re-remembered) a moment in the deli when a beautiful young French woman bought a small carton of OJ and, at the counter, couldn't open it.

She seemed very thirsty and frustrated, in a quiet, French way. She kept pulling at the carton and the deli man finally reached out to help her. He had what looked like very dirty hands with bitten and discolored nails. I watched silently, in horror, as he grasped the little mouth of the carton and pulled, totally mangling it but getting it open. The girl smiled, uttered a charming and heavily accented "thank you," took the carton and walked away. I never saw her actually drink from it and would like to think that she dumped it in the nearest trash container. But I'll never know.

UPDATE: I love JetBlue again. I half-heartedly filled in an email form on their site explaining how a service rep in Salt Lake City had told me my flight back from Maine to NYC was delayed by two hours, only to find out it had left on time without me (see below). I expected nothing. But they wrote to me after a few days, sounding horrified that I'd been inconvenienced and told me they'd refund that portion of my trip. YAY! I should have asked to be reimbursed for the second ticket I'd had to buy but I didn't want to seem greedy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Have the aliens finally landed?

No. This is Buckminster Fuller week in the city. Panel discussions at the Center for Architecture, the opening of the Dymaxion Study Center, an installation of an authentic Fly’s Eye Dome in LaGuardia Park, and exhibitions at the Max Protetch Gallery and the Whitney Museum are just some of the happenings celebrating what would have been the architectural master’s 113th birthday. Go to the AIANY Calendar for more information and event listings. (from the AIANY website). How cool!

Oh. One more thing. Some of you know my ... unhealthy attitude toward walking and cars. If I have the right of way (walk sign) I walk. Regardless. Well, that changed today. I was on Sixth Avenue and crossing the street at Charlton when I truck made a left and came at me. It didn't slow down whatsoever and I literally had to leap (a grand jetée, if you know ballet) and the truck (a nasty old big one) missed me by millimeters. I yelled a suitable profanity mid-flight at what turned out to be a woman in the truck's cab. I was shaking as I continued my walk to the shoe repair place. So... you'll be relieved to know I've changed my tune and developed a healthy fear of motor vehicles and will never assume they don't want to kill me.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I am THE FLASH. "Fast, athletic and flirtatious."

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I went whitewater rafting yesterday. I'd been looking forward to it with trepidation for a while and when the day came, I was up and out and ready to meet the strangers with whom (through I'd be rafting with. We met at the corner of 86th Street and Central Park West at 8:30 am. Ouch. It was so early on a Saturday that I didn't even care that nearly all my compatriots were women who'd also never rafted before. We met up with our affable, smart, witty and loquacious host, R. and his lovely wife J. Then we, along with E., a wonderful young geneticist from Ft. Lauderdale, drove three hours (ugh!) to the Lehigh River in the Pennsylvania Poconos.

The cognac-colored river was beautiful, surrounded by high lush green hills. The weather was nearly perfect, if a tad warm. What I didn't like was the preponderance of people. I guess when they open the dam for one weekend (which allows for the whitewater) everyone turns up. Frat boys, kids, young couples, grizzled adventurers. Our group was likeable, heavily weighted to Asian women and definitely made for the best rafting team. The official leaders, who raft for a living in the summer and area ski instructors in the winter, were annoying: yelling like drill sargeants and attempting to be comedians at the same time.

There wasn't enough actual whitewater, but we did have moments of exhileration -- and dismay when our boat got stuck on rocks. We "saved" two men who had fallen into the rapids, which was cool. And we got drenched from passing boats and their water guns (not as cool). The paddling was fine but I overdid it (naturally) and now feel like I was run over by a Mack truck. Oh well. The problem with whitewater rafting is simply that it takes too long. Not the part on the river (that was 5 hours) but getting there and back. It makes sense -- the best (hardest) rivers are far, far away from NYC.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Maine. Again. But with new video and wild things

Spent a long weekend in Maine. So full and tiring that all I could do, for now, is one video. About a turtle, and its heroic rescue by P. That was one very, very lucky reptile. The sad thing is that after THIS video was taken, we kept driving, onto Spring Hill Farm Road and there were ANOTHER two ginormo turtles! P. AGAIN picked up the one in jeopardy and this one REALLY freaked, stretching his neck out and back and hissing and then he PEED fiercely on P.'s leg! And I thought I had it all on tape, but. But in my excitement I guess I'd pushed "record" twice. Devastating. Oh well.

And this is the long one... My attempt at filming with both my little Sony digital and my new Flip, which is kinda spastic and results in a sort of (kind of) cool-in-a-nostalgic-way 8mm shaky effect. Neat! Long and kinda boring but hey. There IS singing involved. Um, and a lighthouse. And my ever-profane sister, the movie star.

The trip was great -- perfect weather and all. Plus my Dad's amazing presentation to the kids (yeah, us) on the land we can build our future homes on (three lots chockfull of nature and 100' trees and hills and rocks and sun and shadow and even the odd, endangered ladyslipper. He even made a topographic 3D map out of sand and yarn in a huge shallow box. Very impressive, while also homespun and quaint (for an engineer). Then again, he's never seen Google Maps.

Adventures included a lot of falling down (first fall happened when the doorknob came off in my hand on the stairs leading up and into the kitchen from the "shed" (a huge room full of "antiques" and lots of scary tools and broken chairs and stuff. )I fell backward and landed on a staple gun. No kidding. Luckily it didn't go off, or I wouldn't be sitting here typing. Then I fell again, ass over elbow, on the steep boat-launch ramp covered in seaweed on Ram Island. Oh well. I survived.

I almost didn't survive flight home. Bad, bad, bad. I called my [formely 2nd favorite airline] JetBlue early in the morning to confirm flight as it was raining cats and dogs and was told by a nice customer service lady in Salt Lake City (hmm) that it was 2 hours delayed and "scheduled" for 1:20 pm. Cool. Great! More time to spend with family (actually spent shopping at Reny's). When I got to the airport an hour+ early, I was told the flight had left on time -- at 11:20 am. And the next flight out was at 6:30 pm.

Great! As my sister-chauffer looked on in bewilderment, I zipped to other airline ticketing desks and settled for buying a new ticket (ouch) on Continental into Neward (instead of my usual JFK). I LOATHE Continental for many reasons. And now, I loathe them more now, if that's possible. Even if it isn't quite exactly their fault that I finally was in the air at 7:50 pm. Then we had the pleasure of sitting on the ground (landed) in Newark for another half an hour waiting for the super-specialist who could actually get us off the plane and into the airport. Is that even a job?!?And Newark Airport is THE WORST. Had to walk about seventeen miles to find the exit to the grossest airport ground transport area ever and then into the mile-long taxi line and then into a Newark cab that didn't take credit cards with a driver who railed about everything under the sun the ENTIRE way (but did, to his credit, take that shortcut to the Holland Tunnel, saving us at least another hour).

It didn't help that I had a mandatory department-wide ALL-DAY meeting the next day (with no bio breaks, for real). I just love my life.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

98 in the Shade

It's hot. I trekked to Modell's to buy water shoes. And a baseball cap (Yankees). And a non-cotton T-shirt and shorts. All for the upcoming white water rafting trip in a few weeks. Now I guess I'm really committed. $80 worth of committed (plus the $76 to get there, get in a raft, and get back). I guess it could be worse. I could have taken up golf. (No. I couldn't.) And at least I didn't get all snobby and go to Paragon Sports. The selection at Modell's wasn't that great but the retail workers had lots of patience and were very nice. Unlike Sports Authority nearby, where there's lots of attitude (IF you can find a salesperson) and god forbid you don't bring your license with you when you return something. Ugh.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Maybe we CAN

Wow, I just wrote (and erased) eleven sentences that tried valiantly to sum up my sense of, yes, hope. That Barack Obama is our potential next president (oh yeah, and he happens to be black) and that Hillary is getting a good share of well wishes for trying (I send my own). Bygones, Hill, bygones. I can't wish for the dream ticket, of the two together yet, but might accidently actually dream about it while asleep.

Our lame national networks are showing prime time repeats (huh?) and CNN has a miserable audio lapse (what's the word for that?) during Obama's nomination victory speech (I guess we can't quite call it that yet -- what's the phrase for this? Pre-nomination?) and I myself am of course distracted momentarily by the amAzing PBS presentation of Cuban singer Willy Chirino celebrating his 35th year in show business in Miami ("Never Go Back to Georgia" caught my ear and held it... LOVE that song.) I digress.

Nope, that's all I had. What plays out in the next four months will be very, very interesting. I'm in no way qualified to speculate so I'll shut up now. And go and just be happy for a little while.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

No Recount

Well. Okay. Paris it is. (See below, you slacker non-voters.) And Brooklyn too. So there. Last night I watched Recount, with well-founded trepidition. I knew that to relive the horror of the Bush/Gore vote count would be depressing (though the movie was kind of riveting, in a train-wreck kind of way and what's not to love about any Kevin Spacey role?) but I didn't expect having to go to sleep listening to NPR and the whole Hilary/Obama Michigan/Florida (Florida!) craziness being dissected all night. It was disconcerting to say the least.

Rabbit rabbit. June means summer in NYC, and it's already started. I busted out of my cocoon to go to the gym and actually worked out (last week, I went there and signed up, phew, what a workout!). Jello-legged but feeling righteous, I spent a nice couple of hours with S. for a late lunch at a new find, Oscar Cafe, right there on MacDougal Street south of Houston. Delightful menu. A nice, light (kind of) avocado crab salad pleasantly filled my gym-flattened stomach, while a cool fat bulldog drooled onto my sandaled feet as we sat in the sun/shade outside. S., as usual, knew everyone on the street, and those whom he didn't, he befriended right then and there. Amazing. I took many mental notes.

Weekend ends with watching Crooklyn, which I assumed I'd seen way back when, but it turns out I had only listened (and owned, and relistened to) the soundtrack, which is great. I found myself really giving a nod to Spike Lee (one of my heroes in film school) whom I had kind of written off, don't know why.

Au revoir, YSL.

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