Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tag. I'm it.

Colleen tagged me recently and though I've neglected the game so far, I decided to give it a try. Here goes:

* Link to the person that tagged you.
* Post the rules on your blog.
* Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
* Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. [I am cheating and changing this to 3 people. More of my friends need to start blogs, clearly.]
* Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

1. I spend much of my time thinking of reasons not to go to work. They're usually not very good reasons. For instance, on Monday evening when I walked into the apartment, the whole place smelled oddly like ear wax and my very first thought was "Something is wrong here. I should skip work tomorrow."

2. I bite/pick at my nails and cuticles relentlessly, even though I know what a terrible habit this is. When I was little, my grandma promised me manicures if I would stop. Now, more than 20 years later, Rob just shakes his head when he sees me with a book in one hand, the fingers of my other hand absently in my mouth. I blame genetics for giving me weak fingernails that are begging to be played with.

3. If I had a cheese characteristic, it would be salty.

4. I hit the snooze button up to 8 times every morning.

5. According to some people, who shall remain nameless, I occasionally pick fights.

6. When I dropped Emma off at the vet for her surgery last week, I cried. Just a little, but it was enough to make me realize that those of us who are not "cat people" can become "certain-cat people."

, Book Cannibal, and Charlie: you've been tagged. You are under no obligation to follow through with this. But just in case, I'm thinking I should stay home from work today to field any questions you may have about the above rules.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I blame the empanadas

I think it's possible I indulged a bit too much at dinner on Saturday night. Or all winter long...either way, when I got into a cab after dinner this weekend, the button popped right off my jeans. My jeans. Jeans buttons are kind of robust. They don't really tend to pop off unless you're asking them to do something they're just not up to.

Rob laughed the whole cab ride home, while I silently cursed the tiny button, promising retaliation.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Reasons to celebrate

Rob and I got some great news this weekend--dear friends are having a baby. This marks something like the 37th couple we know who are pregnant or actively trying to be. And I hesitate to make an obvious statement like "There's something in the water" there something in the water? And if there is, I'll just have another glass of wine, because I'm not quite ready to join the crowd here. And also because several of my wine drinking requirements have been met: it is a day of the week and I am awake.

My wish to wait a while before having kids comes despite the fact that my mother ends every one of our conversations with a comment about how anxious she is for me to provide a grandchild. Actually, now that I think about it, it's not that she intends to end our conversations this way. It's just that I always hang up at that point.

But enough about me. Wonderful people are procreating or working on it and that just makes me happy (see how I brought that back around to me?) Please note that when I am babysitting your future kids, I will keep the drinking to a minimum.

Congratulations, love, and luck.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy Friday!

The guy leaping through the air is me. The big one who's about to sustain a kick to the kidney...he's a chubby representation of my week.

Later, sucker.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rob in Springtime

Rob, who will obviously be ecstatic that I’m sharing this, becomes somewhat of a mushball when the weather is nice. Of course, the warm temps, cool breezes, and sudden flower blooms elevate everyone’s mood. Who doesn’t love spring? But Rob…he LOVES spring. He wants to marry it. This weekend we were traveling across town in a cab with the windows open, when he turned to me, wide-eyed, and said “A flower petal just fell into my hand.” And then violins started playing.

This is the same man who, it must be said, has announced—word for word—that “there is nothing better than watching The Sound of Music in the springtime.”

Which is markedly different from other times of the year, when he will do things like pin me to the couch in an effort to see how far up my nose he can get my engagement ring.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

McDonald's saucy new uniforms

I know you're supposed to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. And yet, I resist going to the office in my pajamas.

McDonald's, however, has decided there is truth to this dictum.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Harold and Kumar go grocery shopping

You know how having a car makes it a lot easier to shop for groceries? Though it might not facilitate the shopping itself, or the spending of money, it definitely helps you get home with everything you need. So, this is my "car." It has one bum wheel and it's sometimes hard to steer, but I can't imagine lugging the goods down 23rd Street without it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The sights and smells of NYC

Rob and I were out to dinner with friends on Saturday night when Gabriel Byrne walked into the restaurant. He looked exactly the way he does on TV, and I, having had several glasses of wine, was inclined to go over and tell him how much I've enjoyed our time together (which means my compulsive watching of In Treatment and his being the star of In Treatment.) My friends convinced me not to do that. I mentioned passing him a note. They said no. We finished our meal and walked to the front door, milling around and pretending to ignore GB. In an effort to make faux conversation, I looked at a photo hanging on the wall. "Blueberries," I pointed, like a toddler learning to talk. "Um, those are grapes," one friend responded. "We're in an Italian restaurant."

We went on to have one more drink after dinner, and this morning neither Rob nor I were feeling amazing. But we had planned to go to a Brooklyn stationary store to look at wedding invitations, so we headed out, fueled by massive amounts of coffee. We apparently chose the most popular stationary store in the 5 boroughs, because we had to put our name on a waiting list just to sit down to flip through samples. But after a 30-minute wait and another 30 minutes with the books, we pulled the trigger on an invitation. This, the woman at the store said, was rare. She went on to explain that usually people go in for multiple meetings, amassing a thick file of possibilities before selecting anything. But it is exactly that type of scenario that makes Rob's head explode and it's really a bitch to clean up, so we picked something. And, bonus: we really like it.

I hesitate to talk about what happened next, because it's still fresh enough in my mind to make me want to gag. We were on the semi-full F train back into the city when a large, hairy bum staggered through our car, tugging at his dirty sweatpants, which were hanging down around his knees. I so very much wish he had been wearing a longer sweatshirt. But really, the view doesn't matter. Because a millisecond after he passed us and sat down, the smell kicked in. I am not going to employ my typical degree of hyperbole here, as it's simply not necessary. I have never smelled something--someone--who made me want to vomit, cry, and pass out all at the same time. This man smelled like everything in his body had rotted and then he rolled in sewage. And then he rolled in dead bodies.

Every single person in the train car stood up, tearing towards the doors on the other side. The problem was that the bum had walked through the whole car and there was nowhere to go. People were trying to breathe into their collars. They were pressing up against the doors, willing them to open. I had to sit down again because I really thought that if the train didn't stop soon, I was going to lose consciousness. There was a moment when it seemed impossible that a human being was emitting an odor so foul and I was convinced that we were breathing toxic gases.

We reached the next stop and the doors opened. People were gulping air. Subway air. Like it was pure, sweet and direct from some Swiss mountaintop. We all ran two cars down and jumped back on the same train, slightly shaky with relief.

I sincerely hope that man found a doctor, a shower, some new pants, and an AA meeting.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Last night a cheese plate saved my life. Maybe.

I met a friend for drinks last night at a wine bar in Chelsea. We drank wine, ate food, and caught up on all that had happened since we saw each other last. I think it's safe to say we were buzzed when we left the bar. There's only so much a wedge of brie can do to combat the effects of three glasses of wine. But apparently, that cheese could have staved off disaster. Read on for a sordid tale that I think we can agree could have happened to anyone:

A Russian man trying to sleep off a night of after-work drinking failed to notice a six-inch (15-cm) knife in his back - until his wife woke him up...

At home, Mr Lyalin had some sausage from the fridge and lay down to sleep, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper says.

After a couple of hours, his wife noticed the handle sticking out of his back and called an ambulance.

Yes, you read that right. This man was out with a friend, had a little too much to drink and not enough to eat (hence late-night sausage out of the fridge. Have we not all been there?) And what happened? He was stabbed.

The moral of the story, people, is bar snacks. Eat them. You can never be too careful when you're out with a crazy drunk.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Owning pets can age you

Never mind the dry food, wet food, kitty litter, lint brushes, cat brushes, and toys. It's expensive owning pets. Rob and I have two cats: Smokey is 16 years old and Emma is 11. They are young adults and they act like it: they need your attention, but...too much! Leave them alone! Now they're hungry...don't look at them while they eat.

Last night as I was getting ready for bed, Rob announced that there were drops of blood on the floor. "Are you bleeding?" he asked. Slightly alarmed, I checked my arms, legs, and abused cuticles, and said no.

We checked the cats. Smokey was fine, though somewhat irritable. Emma was distracted and gloomy. I'm pretty sure if she could, she would be asking to get something pierced and then complaining that we just don't understand her.

It was Emma. She had a cut on her neck, so I put a headband around it and we called the vet this morning. Rob took her in. $250 for the appointment, plus another $750 for a biopsy of the cut (which turned out to be a cyst and needs to be removed) and to take out a loose tooth she has (don't those just fall out?) Now we have to give her medication for a week.

You'd think at the very least the cats could be appreciative of our efforts to take care of them. But no. They're ignoring us and fighting with each other. Later they're going to sneak out to go to a party and try pot for the first time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Random deepish statistics

I get Harper's magazine every month and though I totally admit that some of the stories go over my head, I am in weird, nerd love with the Harper's Index.

Index facts from the May issue:

The Ku Klux Klan released a statement on February 25 denying it had endorsed Obama for President.

23% of Britons believe that Winston Churchill is a mythical figure.

The government of Iran pays for 1/3 of all sex change costs for its poor citizens.

The ratio of fake doctors to real doctors in Delhi, India is 1:1.

A cosmetics company in Japan allows its employees 3 days off each year for "heartache leave."

Rats who ate saccharin gained 25% more weight than rats who ate sugar, according to one study.

Don't you feel smarter now?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wax on

Saturday afternoon I visited the woman who waxes my eyebrows. There are those of you who probably think paying someone to wax your eyebrows is a waste of money. To you, I say: clearly you have not seen me when I am alone with my tweezers. Trust me, it's not pretty.

I love this woman because in addition to being incredible at her job, she is full of character. She's from Uzbekistan. How do I know that? Because once she made me guess what country she came from, exaggerating her accent and then mocking me when I didn't come up with the answer quickly.

After I had guessed about 35 countries, including Iceland and Canada, she finally told me that it had been part of the biggest country in the world.

"Russia!" I cried in desperation.

She nodded. "It is a smaller country now that was part of USSR."


"Oh, you are close. It's Uzbekistan."

I can't believe she gave it away right when I was almost there.

This time we didn't talk about our hometowns. It was a hot, humid day and I was late for my appointment because everyone in the city decided it would be a good idea to walk down Broadway as slowly as they possibly could. I resisted the urge to kick people as they merged onto the sidewalk from air-conditioned stores. This was somewhat challenging.

As a result of my tardiness, talk was kept to a minimum. I laid quietly on the table.

"Stop making that face," she said and tried to smooth the furrow between my eyebrows. "You are going to have lots of wrinkles."

"I can't help it," I mumbled, trying to keep all of my muscles still. "This is just what my face does."

"Relax. Pretend you are sleeping."

Seconds passed.

"SLEEP!" she yelled.

No problem. That is, if by "sleep" you mean "start laughing".

"Shhh! You are talking with your eyebrows!"

"I'm Italian!" I protested.

"Italian, I know. You are very emotional."

Moments later she finished, took a step back and said, "It's perfect."

"If you do say so yourself," I said, taking the mirror from her.

"I'm good."

So true.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Crack reporting from the BBC

The BBC posted a story called "Sean Penn decides against divorce." Um...isn't there another party who would be involved in that decision? Otherwise known, from another BBC article "Sean Penn's wife seeks a divorce" as "Sean Penn's wife." Though you may know her as Buttercup.

To recap: Wife seeks the divorce, but Sean Penn decides against it. I'm awaiting the follow-up articles "Sean Penn moves into Sean Penn's guest bedroom" and "Sean Penn to share custody of Sean Penn's children."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Communication breakdown

Rob and I have an unspoken agreement about the end of the work day. Whoever leaves the office first calls the other person. When it's me (and it's almost always me), here's how it goes: I try his work number and then his cell number. Then I text him, IM a couple of his coworkers to ask if they've seen him, and check his Facebook page to see how he's feeling. Then I start over.

The thing is, if we were able to say words in the morning, we could probably get the whole "are you going to be home for dinner tonight" conversation out of the way. But usually, when he approaches me on his way out the door, I growl and swipe my nails at him. They're short and he typically leaves unharmed, but there's not a huge transfer of information happening.

We had a system error this evening, though. Rob told me on Sunday that he had a work event tonight. Unfortunately, you could have told me on Sunday that Christian Bale was coming over for dinner and a sponge bath and I wouldn't have remembered. So I bought groceries and made dinner and then I ate it myself while I watched many episodes of 30 Rock. At 9:30, when Rob walked in the door, I might have been annoyed (even though it was my own fault I forgot where he was) but he brought 4 bottles of wine with him. My hero. I texted him a thank you note.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pizza: A Love Story

The following Craigslist "missed connection" was posted on Boing Boing.

"I called you from my cell phone but had completely forgot who I was calling by the time you answered the phone. Of course, you were also baked to bajeezus and forgot to tell me that I had called Cottage Inn.

When you answered and said, “Whatsup?” I thought about it, and after a 20 second pause I told you that was hungry. You suggested I try a pizza, and I agreed that it was probably a good idea.

Then I asked you if you sold pizza and you said that you could make me one. I said I wanted anchovies and something else on my pizza. You asked me what that something else was.

We spent five minutes listing toppings until we figured out that I was trying to remember how to say: “Sun dried Tomatoes.” When you said: “We'll bake that right up for you,” we both started laughing uncontrollably.

It was the best pizza I ever had; I just wanted to thank you for helping me out."

Original link

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A tasty trip to the second city

Rob and I just got back from a weekend in Chicago, which--like most of our time there--was a whirlwind of activity. This trip centered around wedding party planning, but of course included the mainstays of any trip to the hometown: seeing friends and family and eating dramatic amounts of cheese.

It's not that we don't eat cheese in New York. Oh, we do. But in my own home I do not find myself leaning over several people at the kitchen table in order to mangle a block of gouda with a carving knife just to get a piece into my mouth. It's as though merely by walking through my parents' door I am transported back to childhood, when there were 6 of us at dinner and if you didn't fight for what you wanted, well, someone else was going to end up gnawing the meat off a hambone and you would be left with an extra helping of lima beans.

I know my parents are proud of me right now.

Saturday night we met friends for dinner and had another lesson in posing for photos. Observe how our model, Dan, exemplifies the differences between chin-up and chin-down photos. Observe, also, how a well-placed-chin photo can make one lickable in the eyes of another man. You're welcome, people.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I wasn't meant to eat last night

I have somehow angered the food gods. Here's how it started: I was supposed to have a work dinner last night, but it was called off in the afternoon. I was ecstatic, which is ridiculous. The dinner would have been mostly painless, but I reacted to its cancellation as though I had been granted a pardon from the Death Row of awkward office outings. That might be when the food gods decided I was taking them for granted.

Drunk with freedom, I went to Whole Foods and bought lots of fresh veggies to make a big salad. I also got a chicken breast for Rob. Yes, I do eat chicken, but I didn't feel like having any. Little did I know, in the eyes of the food gods, that was strike two. So, I came home, cooked the chicken breast in cajun spices, and made my salad: romaine lettuce, red and yellow peppers, corn, black beans, jalapenos, avocado, tomatoes, red onions, and cilantro. It all seemed fine and I was still riding the high of being home at 8pm.

I decided to get crazy and add some salt to my salad (I believe this was the third strike--unnecessarily salting. They don't like that.) I opened the container and held it over the multi-colored meal that can only now be referred to as a masterpiece, a fiesta in a bowl (mostly because no one can prove otherwise.) And the salt, it just wanted to be a part of that. All 12 ounces rushed my salad like a vegan linebacker on crack.

I should have taken a picture, but I was so pissed off all I could do was dump the whole thing down the garbage disposal and announce bitterly to Rob that his chicken was ready. I admit, for at least 5 minutes I treated him like the whole thing was his fault.*

I made a few quick adjustments to the meal (including pouring large glasses of wine) and we sat down to eat. Rob got up to grab a napkin and it wasn't until he sat back down that we realized his chicken was gone. Smokey, master of stealth, had grabbed it off his plate and dragged it to the floor, where he was lovingly rubbing it with his nose.

So we ended up sitting on the couch eating almonds and drinking wine. I am so glad that I didn't anger the wine gods. They know who their biggest fan is.

*I have since apologized.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Tao of Names

I recently remembered why I resolve to go to yoga more often. It's the teacher: he sings, struts, and occasionally breaks into zenlike giggles as he has us massage our own kidneys through the bottoms of our feet. He loves to talk about us all drinking "beer" when we leave yoga. As though "beer" is some hilarious concept that he doesn't quite believe in, but has heard talk of.

I strongly believe that he invents names for people in the class. It's the only explanation for the following statements:

"Beautiful pose, Mufasa!"

"Oh! Cyril is here. Do we have a mat for Cyril?"

"Elfie! You need to use a towel for that pose."

"Ah, Poe. Lovely."

Seriously. I feel like I'm going to yoga in an animated film. At one point he said something to "Christopher" and I felt momentarily sorry for poor Christopher, with his average name. How can he compete with Mufasa? How can anyone?