Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Macy's Round Two

Strangely enough, I've lived in NYC for 13 years now and grew up only in Westchester fer gosh sakes, yet I never went to Macy's until recently to find a gift for a friend that I saw in InStyle magazine. But tonight I went again, and this time, not to shop, but to learn how to cook Asian cuisine, or at least to eat some. Akhtar Nawab, chef and owner of Elettaria, was the guest chef this evening at the De Gustibus Cooking School located on the 8th Floor at Macy's, right between coats and bathing suits.

I've never taken a class like this before. It was a new thing for me. It was enjoyable and I met a bunch of nice people who also took the class. If you are able to attend such a thing, it's a unique experience because you get to ask the chef how to prepare things, those steps that everyone watching cooking shows never gets to ask the person doing it with such ease. For them, it's such routine but for us laypeople, it's totally foreign at times. I got to ask the very complicated question of what the difference between a pressure cooker and a slow cooker was. I know, I know. You already know the answer. But I didn't know, really! Since you're judging me, Google it yourself suckas!

One of the most enjoyable parts was the host. She was a spitfire and delightful to listen to as she shooshed folks that were chatting and asked great questions at the perfect times. In defense of the chatty cats, there was quite a bit of alcohol served, so I can understand. But she was a hoot and a half. I liked the vibe in the room.

My favorite part was dessert, as always. The pineapple upside down cake, created by Elizabeth (what a lovely name), was delish. I ate it in about 2 seconds I think. So good. It was perfect. The dishes prior to dessert were extraordinary. I am always hesitant with tartar ever since Larry Santiago took me to Café Un Deux Trois before we went to see the Buddy Holly Story on Broadway in high school. I ordered the Steak Tartare because the word "steak" was the only thing I could understand on the menu. Little did I know that they'd bring me raw meat in a lump on my plate. I pretended it was what I wanted but really, I wanted to ask the waiter to take it back, slap it on the grill and get me a nice juicy burger. But Akhtar's tartare was SUPERB! I loved each bite. And then the scallops were perfect as usual and the pork was so crispy and full of yummy fat. I heart fat. Patrick was all cute being all stealth walking in here and there. Well done to the entire team. It made me want to go out and get some spices of my own. Oh wait, I have some and never use them. That must be why I just go to Elettaria instead of trying to do it myself. Much better...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

There's Only One Way to Say It?

Okay, I'm just warning you but this post may come across a little "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey"-esque. So what's the deal with the strict way we refer to couples once they have coupled? In other words, I have these friends who are couples and whenever I refer to them as a couple, like "I'm going over to Heidi & Akhtar's," I never say it the other way around, "Akhtar and Heidi's." Why is that? It's Steve & Phuong, Row & Suger, Denise & Jeff, Mike & Agnes, Tom & Ag, Sunil & Steffi, the list goes on. I would never say Phuong and Steve's house. That just doesn't make sense. Do you think it has to do with who we think is the "heavy" in the relationship or is it simply whatever flows better? Because I know that many people use my combinations. I mean, who ever says, "Judith & Tommy's"? It's always Tommy & Judith's. Sit on that for a second or two and you'll see what I mean. Groundbreaking, right?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Belly Laughs

I had to share this but you've all probably seen it already. This Stride Gum commercial made me belly laugh (ya know, one of those hard belly-workout laughs). It's so unexpected. Oh gosh. Now I've ruined it. Now you're going to be waiting for the unexpected bit. Sorry. Enjoy!

By the way, the reason I find belly laughs so significant is that there have been few in my life. I know my most recent one with with Amy at some Indian restaurant on 6th Street and another was at Newsweek in our closet-for-an-office when I told Jennifer about Paddy, my parakeet that died in the winter and because I wanted to bury him in the yard, he just stayed in the garage until it was warm enough. So he literally was just there, for a very long viewing. RIP Paddy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lost in the Bronx

Considering my parents are both born and raised in the Bronx, I'm embarrassed to say after 35 years of traveling there from Westchester, and the city, I still get lost on a regular basis. This morning was more embarrassing because I had my British friends with me because Charlie, my former intern, wanted to see one of my kids that I was giving driving lessons to and so her and her beau came along for the ride and then were going to hop on the subway into Manhattan. But sure enough, it was just like Bonfire of the Vanities and we were turned around and even went down this strange narrow wooded street where I know her boyfriend was questioning why in god's name he agreed to take this detour before brunch. So when I didn't want to keep trying to find Crotona Parkway (which btw if you're ever looking for it, it's right parallel to Southern Blvd and very close to the Bronx Zoo), I stopped by a tire/body shop to ask for directions. Sure enough, the only guy working there spoke Spanish so with my knowledge of izquierda and derecho, I comprehendo'd. he he. So sure enough, I was very close and found the place and played my Driver's Ed instructor role for the day. And the Brits quickly got onto the 2 train and got the hell out of Da Bronx.

As for the driving school, we went over to City Island because I felt that might be a slow-moving community to learn in. But little did I remember from my only trip there for seafood, that each and every street is a dead end. It makes for a whole lot of 3-point turns when your pupil doesn't want to cross Main Street yet. I think it's interesting to remember what it feels like to not know how to drive. I quickly remembered when just the simple step of STEPPING on the gas is something you don't feel comfortable doing. Or remembering that you are in DRIVE and not REVERSE (sorry to the owner of that hedge in front of the last house on that street that we were up and down all day long. I'm sure it will grow back).

Cops or EMS?

So I was walking home from Sri Pra Phai, my favorite Thai restaurant in Woodside, Queens and I saw this man dressed in white lying on the sidewalk, not moving at all. He was just lying there and no one was around. It was very dark, after 9 p.m. and that area is not too happening. So I reached for my pocket and realized I didn't bring my cellphone with me. Duh! The one emergency I've had since getting a damn cellphone and I leave it at home. So I ran to Northern Blvd to a pay phone. He wasn't moving at all. I even looked at his chest and there was no motion. So I call 911 and the operator starts asking me some questions after I gave my name and said that there was a man, possibly dead, on the sidewalk between 61st and 62nd Streets on Broadway. She asked if he was drunk and I asked her how I was supposed to know that? She asked if he looked homeless. Again, how was I supposed to know that. But I actually answered her by saying, "He's wearing ALL WHITE, so I doubt it." (As if homeless people don't wear white?). So then to top it all off, she asked me if I wanted her to call the cops or EMS? My response: "Isn't that your job to assess the situation that I just detailed to you?" Unreal. So she then CONNECTED ME with EMS as if she couldn't just give him the address and the situation on her own. But actually, I'm glad she did because then, I realized that this EMS guy on the phone was just as apprehensive about answering the call. He asked the same homeless, drunk and "is he breathing" questions and I got so frustrated and simply asked if they would please hurry up and come. So then he told me to go home, that I did what I could and not to wait. So of course, I waited because I was fearful that they weren't going to come at all. I waited 20 minutes far enough away from the man lying there and when EMS showed up, they kicked him foot a little to see if that would jar him but it didn't! They reached for his wrist to see if he had a pulse and thank goodness he did. They put him on a stretcher and into the ambulance and took him to Elmhurst and I walked home. He was in his mid- to late-50s. It could have been a stroke or something. He wasn't resting against a fence taking a break from a bender. He literally looked like he fell as he was walking past this house on a quiet, residental block. I wondered how many people may have walked past him and thought the same that these operators assumed. As citizens, I think we truly need to protect ourselves first in situations like this but picking up a phone and calling for help when you're not sure WHAT is going on doesn't hurt anyone, right?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bock Bock...

So this is an e-mail string that my sister is going to kill me for blogging about but hopefully she'll see this photo I made and just laugh and laugh and laugh and forget that she was going to kill me.

Let me set the scene. Sunday morning, I called Michelle to see if she'd like to sky dive with me before our nephew's birthday party at the end of September. We'd be heading up that way anyway and why not jump out of a plane on the way upstate to kill some time, right? So I called to make the reservation and they told me to go on their website and download the forms to save time filling them out when we get there. And that there are also videos to watch before making the jump and if we watch them online and sign the waiver that we actually watched them and absorbed the knowledge, we'd once again save time on the actual day. We are on the wait list actually but the woman said that folks always cancel closer to the date because they chicken out. So she practically guaranteed that we'd get a slot. So Michelle got my e-mail where I forwarded the link and this was our exchange...

MICHELLE: Do you know that most of the stuff on these forms are about injury and death. What the hell is wrong with us??????

EO: i don't know about me? but what the hell is wrong with you that you DON'T want to just jump out of a plane and not worry about the consequences. see, this is why there are open spots closer to the date. because of CHICKENS - bock bock....

MICHELLE: Whatever

EO: think about it. it's TANDEM. do you really think those guys would go to work every day knowing that TODAY might be their last day on God's green earth? I don't think so. I'm sure they are quite adept at keeping themselves and US alive. But after we jump AND survive, we can tell the story of how the ripcord was jammed and we got down to like 2000 feet before it worked and it was literally LIFE or DEATH. and aren't the people listening to this story soooooo glad that we made it?! ahhhhh....

MICHELLE: So you are saying that mom didn't really land in a tree. She just added that to the story to make it sound cooler :-)

EO: that was 1969 fer gosh sakes. I do hope things have changed in free-fall technology since then. and i'm not sure she was tandem to be honest. i think she was solo. and listen, we're talking about mom here. she isn't exactly the most coordinated person. have you seen her on Wii yet? Ask her real quick to point NORTH or EAST or LEFT or RIGHT. You'll see what I mean....

Editor's Note: (1) My parents skydived before they were married and my mother apparently landed in a tree but was unscathed. (2) My mother is totally "with it," I'm just bustin' on her.

Who needs a dressing room

So sure enough, I've once again done something new even though I said I would stop that nonsense. This evening after my volleyball playoff game, I decided not to change out of my game clothes because I wanted to walk out with my teammates since this was it and I won't be playing next season but as they all know, I always change out of my clothes because I have icky, unflattering workout clothing in my wardrobe and that's not gonna get me anywhere in case I run into Prince Charming on the R train home. So once I got to the R train platform, I went all the way to the very end where no one was and changed out of my volleyball clothes into my sleek black pencil skirt and blouse. It took seconds, but the guys who saw me pass by originally looking like that girl you weren't sure about on the field hockey team, saw a hair-down, fancy-schmancy girlie girl out for a night on the town. I have to admit, I sort of felt like Wonder Woman, minus the twirling around a bunch of times (by the way, i used to do this constantly thinking that it would actually work at least ONCE; had the UnderRoos and everything! FYI, it never did work). But tonight, no twirling. That would have made me dizzy and I could've possibly fallen onto the tracks and then I would just be a very FLAT girlie girl in a cute black outfit. And Mike, there were no photos of this new thing (dirty dawg).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In memoriam

This was a memorial in Battery Park that I happened upon as I was picking something up in that neighborhood. I must admit, I happened to stay away from anything "9/11" that day, but I was glad to run into this so that for a moment, I could remember. NPR had done their regular moments of silence at the times that the planes hit and the buildings fell but that usually gets me too teary-eyed for the first thing in the morning so I turned it off. As strange as it may sound, I'll never forget obviously but I like to forget each year during this time...

Big Meat and Fab Shoes

So I pick up my car this morning to find that the work I had done was much less money than I thought it would be (AWESOME). I decided to take advantage of being up early on a Saturday morning and go to Salvation Army to shop for deals. I parked at a meter spot and right as I was getting my stuff together to leave the car, the woman in front of me backed up right into me and shocked the hell out of me. She got out of her car to apologize saying she didn't even see me there (mind you, she got into her car after I had already pulled up there). So I just made sure there was no damage and said it was fine. But then she had to add that my car is so low that she can't even see a low car like mine from her big SUV. In my head, I was like, "that's not my fault lady." But I had to let it slide because recently, I hit a cabbie in the rear and he let me go. Good karma.

So I wanted some pencil skirts and thin sweaters for the new school year. Yea, I know. I don't go to school but it's a nice excuse to buy new stuff for yourself in September. Got those things (2 pants, 3 pencil skirts, 2 thin sweaters, 2 crop jackets, and 3 dress shirts) for killer prices (everything was under $100 because I had a bunch of pink tags and those were 50% off) but the icing on the cake is that I also found these HOT Bebe boots for $6.99 - Cha-Ching!

They are exactly my size and so comfy. Well, I didn't walk around the store in them for hours but they seemed comfy. As I checked out, I walked across the street to put it all in my car and there was a meterman giving me a ticket. I was bummed but when I got to him to say that it must have JUST expired because I was taking notice of the time, he said he already printed it and then he added, "Sorry." So I said, "No worries. It's my fault and it's your job. Have a nice day." It was a $35 ticket and since I got such a great deal on all the fly clothes, I truly didn't care. My new lease on life. I'm too happy with everything else to care about a ticket.

So I get home and go to the market to get some granola and yogurt and as I'm leaving to cross 31st Avenue, a man in a car stopped at the light says to me, "Yo. You ever had some big meat?" Now, first of all, my name isn't 'Yo." Secondly, even if I had had some big meat, I highly doubt I would converse with him about it being that I don't know him and that's sort of a personal thing.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Screw the new thing concept

Listen, we all do SOMETHING new each day. But I think I'm tired of thinking of what that new thing was. I think the first week I was unemployed, it was easy to do something significantly new because I didn't have anything else to do but now I'm sort of working again but nothing with high commitment. So I'm safe. So NO MAS (no more for my Spanish-deficient readers). This blog has a new purpose now, no longer a NEW THING digest, now it's just a place for me to rant about the bizarro things that come to mind. Like CLEAN HOUSE on-the-road (but that's for a different post).

Instead, today I did a bunch of things that were so similar to what I did yesterday. I had coffee in the morning with a buttered roll, I rode the subway, had ice tea for my free drinks at work, read my book on the subway (re-reading Staggering Mind Genius book, can't recall the real title but you know what I'm talking about). It's nutty and I like it. As I read it, it reminded me that I have to get off my tochus and write my father's eulogy. I promised it to him for last Christmas and still haven't delivered. I always thought it would be cool for him to be able to read it BEFORE he kicks the bucket so he'll do the whole PHEW, she isn't going to roast me at my own funeral. That sort of thing. It's a really funny piece (in my mind) but I truly have to get it down on paper (or whatever the computer equivalent of paper is, what do we say, "get it down on document?" - whatever.

I did actually have a NEW THING today (of course now that I've abolished it, I'm gonna easily come up with them each day - whatever!). The new thing was that I did Car Talk-like audio descriptions of what is going wrong with my car to the nice gentleman at A&A Radial Auto Service station on 58th Street and Northern Blvd. If you ever need an honest car repairman, this dude is IT! I have been going there for almost 10 years since I got my little Lezbaru (thanks James) and they are so kind and don't charge an arm and a leg and explain things in a very layperson kind of way. Go them! So I got to explain how this thingy on the bottom of my car or maybe under the hood is making this rattling noise like the way a fan would sound if it was slighty, oh so gently, hitting something metal as it was spinning around cooling you off. And it had kind of an angry growl accompanying the beforementioned sound. It was all too complicated to SAY with words. I had to act it out. I think the guy appreciated it because he knew right away what I was talking about and said that my so-an-so's needed tightening and I replied, "they sure do."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hotel Bars, Hot Spot - Fact or Fiction?

FICTION. So I thought that hotel bars were a good place to meet boys (men) that wanted to actually meet someone who was serious about meeting someone. Boys (men) who would actually go up to you and say "HELLO, what's your name?" But I was wrong. Dead wrong. Went to the W tonight with my other serious friend Maura and nada. So it's still NYC and still lame. Boston, here SHE comes and who knows where I'll end up. Do send me suggestions that claim otherwise successful because I'll check them out for pure validity reasons of course. I feel like an episode of SATC.

Pea Size Dollop - I think not

What's the deal with all those pricey product people telling us that all we need to use is a pea size amount to make it work. Yea right! How can a dollop the size of a pea do anything on your entire face and neck? C'mon man. That's ridiculous, right? I have this night cream that says this and I don't know about your face and neck but mine does not get covered with that much. It needs at least two caterpillars length.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Anita, my new elevator buddy

So if anyone knows me, they know I take a compliment well, but if it's about my outfit, I typically follow up "THANK YOU" with "It was only $10 at Marshall's." A nice woman named Anita at my freelance job saw my outfit yesterday and immediately complimented me on it. I had been waiting for it all day because I absolutely LOVE my new outfit. I sound like the character in that new Devil Wears Prada-esque film. So I said thanks and told her how inexpensive (not cheap) it was and where I got it. Heidi hates this and I understand why but I can't seem to kick the habit. I love my thriftyness. I used to call myself "cheap" but Agnes alerted me that this word made me SOUND cheap so I have modified my language a bit. Mo even said yesterday when he complimented my new Kenar dress ($10), Nine West crop jacket ($15) and Nine West peep-toe pumps ($25) that I should say it was wildly expensive instead, but for some unknown reason, I get more satisfaction and thrill from telling people what a DEAL I got rather than seeming like I spend my entire salary (even if I don't currently have one of those) on fashion! It's almost more fun to see folks be jealous. they, too, could have great outfits if they only had the skills I had. he he. There goes my snobbery again. Gosh, I'm full of myself. I think this whole blog thing is bringing out the worst in me. Nah. Coverage on the Emmys, Oscars and Golden Globes do that. I'm savage during those red carpet shows.

So, just to rub it in, I also got this new BCBG dress ($15), Etienne Aigner gray patent leather slingbacks with a bow that matches the dress believe it or not ($7, that's right, I didn't miss a zero), and a vintage brown velvet clutch from Salvation Army for $3.50. See accompanying photo that Mo graciously took of me at work when it first debuted. Some of you may be asking yourself, "isn't she out of a job?" but as Kathy said when I told her the deal I got, "It would have been a CRIME to not buy those things." And I agree with Kathy (miss you honey bunches of oats)....

Eat, Pray, Yawn

I know the following is going to sound like I'm a total travel snob or adventure snob but I am, so there. But this book, Eat, Pray, Love was so annoying to read. And I actually made it through the entire thing. My colleague Kathy is the one that told me I "HAD TO READ IT" because she felt it reminded her of me. ME?! This woman was so nauseating about this or that in Italy, in India, in Indonesia. I wanted to barf. I'm not saying there wasn't anything redeeming about the book but I constantly kept feeling like WHY DOES ANYONE WANT TO READ THIS? Then again, why are you reading THIS? He he. I'm the first to admit that I can talk talk talk about myself but I'm not sure I would have written a book in THIS way. I can't put my finger on what made it dull and annoying to me, but suffice it to say, it made me laugh when I saw this GUY reading it on the platform on his way home this evening.

Without stereotyping it as a chick book, I immediately assumed his girl made him read it to UNDERSTAND her more and possibly nudge him into shaping up or shipping out, considering the character, Liz, leaves her boyfriend for the unknown that she painstakingly describes in 3 "chapters". Save your $16.95 and wait for the movie. Julia Roberts is playing her and I'm sure she'll be better as Elizabeth then Elizabeth is. Gosh I'm mean. But Oprah isn't always right people.

Union! Union! Union!

So if the really cute guy on the subway is reading this, the one with the four tiny hoops in his left ear, all dirty from a hard day's work, with the paper thin, worn-in Local 123 T-shirt on, I'm so sorry I waited until AFTER you got off the train to smile at you. Thanks for looking back. So if you want to email me, just put the subject line: "You're an idiot" and I'll know it's you. Okay, so I didn't pay attention to the union number but you know who you are....

Girls and guys of NYC, why do we do this to ourselves? Have these missed opportunities? We were looking at each other from East Broadway to 14th Street. It was sooooo obvious but noooooo, no one in NYC would dare actually go up to someone and start talking to them. That would be crazzzzyyyyy. UGH. I'm gonna move, I tell ya. This is getting ridiculous.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Free Fragrance Foibles

In an effort to save money, as if I'm not always cheap (I know Agnes, thrifty), I have been using free magazine perfume samples. The only snag is that if I'm in a hurry in the morning and reach for one from my pile, I have been incoherent enough to give myself a paper cut and that does not look good on the ol' wrists if you know what I mean. I literally went to work last week with a slice right across that very important vein on your wrist. No one noticed of course because I work in the most antisocial office EVER! (gee, i hope no one from my office ever finds this blog, then they may not offer the free leftover conference room lunches that are sometimes offered to lowly temps like me when they're all done with it). that chocolate mousse was delish! keep it comin' and i'll keep smelling nice (gratis).

1st Day Organizing (Personal not Community)

So today was my first full on personal organizing day. It was tiring. But very results-oriented which i love. We got a lot done (see before and after of my client's dresser of clothing.

Mind you, I didn't take before photos of each drawer and I should have because they were messy but now they are all lined up and organized by type of clothing. It took a while but it was well worth it. Now she can see all of her clothes rather than having them on top of one another. We also got a ton of paperwork shredded and bags paired down. DONATE, TRASH or KEEP. That's it. And then I got this lovely Thai dinner afterwards for my hard work. YUM-e. The papaya salad was a bit spicy but I better get used to it if I think I'm going to Bangkok for 3 months in January. My tolerance needs to get amped up.

Organizing and seeing your client be amazed at how much they purged in such a short amount of time is so satisfying. It's something everyone CAN do but who actually sets aside time to have someone push them to do it? Hopefully some do or else I won't have many clients. He he. Having a well-organized space and no or little clutter is an amazing feeling that can seriously change the way you feel when you wake up or go to bed. Everyone should do it. (peer pressure). he he.

Another funny thing that happened was when I arrived across the street from the former Andrew Hamilton house location, there were tons of European tourists outside getting a tour of Harlem so when my client came downstairs to open the door for me, I looked back at the huge crowd of people right in front of her building and said, "I brought my network." I'm funny, right?

And then when we were heading to the Thai restaurant, suri, on 101st and Bwy, very good, great design (even the bathroom), my client saw an ad for Manhattan Storage and it said, "You can't save the world if you can't find your socks" and it was this superhero without a sock on one foot. She thinks that would be a good advertisement for eodesignnyc. I agree. She can now find all of her work and casual socks.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

What a shit job (literally)

So I've decided to do some WWoofing when i go to Switzerland next month. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF). As I did a little research on the Web, I found this hilarious video and it was only DAY Three of this guy's WWoofing adventure. It's so funny how "down and out" he seems after three days. But who knows? Maybe I'll be shoveling shit too. I do know how to breath through my mouth though. I learned that on the subways of NYC.

First things first, Air India canceled my 2 flights to and from Europe so I have to get my refund and then rebook for October. Still haven't notified a family but I'm on it. Can't wait to go and see Sarah and Claudia. Hope to keep it cheap with the dollar the way it is. So I'm anticipating a lot of market jaunts and then the farm is free room and board. Yippee! I hope it's not a mushroom farm. That is my least favorite veggie. That would just suck. Then I'll have a YouTube clip showing mushrooms growing out of my pores. ick.

Does Showing up Count?

Now what kind of country do we live in that you can't buy a Hummer at 8:15 on a Thursday night. Sheesh. I went to the Northern Boulevard HUMMER dealership to do my test drive. I had my whole story worked out about my boyfriend wanting to buy one but I had to feel comfortable driving it because it would be at our country home and his friend who's a partner at "the firm" recommended "you guys" because he liked dealing with "you guys" when he bought HIS Hummer. And how he was supposed to meet me there but had to stay late at the office, BIG DEADLINE. I was even ready with flip flops in case heels wouldn't work. But noooooooo, they weren't even open. Whatever! Every other freakin' dealership on that road was open. I was tempted to test drive a Lincoln Navigator on my walk home but didn't think that would quite equal the HUMMER. My friend Maura is outraged that I would even test drive the Hummer due to our environmental status in the world. She suggested a Prius instead. Now, does anyone else see the BLAH factor in that alternative? I'll try again but maybe on the weekend when it's light out. I can totally see myself taking out a few car mirrors on these slender streets of ours. I did that in Dublin when I had to learn how to drive on the other side of the street. My cousin just told me to keep going. So I did. I'm very influential that way.