Thursday, May 27, 2010


I have begun a post about my adventures with my mother, but I have not yet finished it.

In the meantime, Alex's birthday is tomorrow, but I leave for Jew Conference in the morning, so we celebrated today! After he got home from work, I took him out to brgr for dinner, which is a Petey's-priced burger restaurant on 26th and 7th with grass-fed beef. It was delicious! We'll be back there, for sure.

And then we came home and he finished reading Lady Wednesday and I finished reading Bitch Magazine (my favorite!) and I took him into the kitchen to see his cake!

I was going to make my birthday cake,
Aunt Carolyn's recipe,
but I didn't have German Sweet Chocolate
and I thought I would have to go all the way to TJ's
to get it.

So I made this generic chocolate cake
(although it has chopped pecans in it!)
with four layers and two kinds of icing!
Alex really likes generic cake, fortunately :)
It can be very useful and gratifying
having a boyfriend with no taste in dessert.
But actually, it is a pretty good cake,
if I do say so myself.

Now that I have finished that poem of a caption, on with the story!

We lit the candles in kitchen (24 of them!) and then he went to wait unassumingly in the dark library while I carried it in singing "Happy Birthday" (he sang the last few phrases with me, in harmony).

Make a wish!

What a lovely evening!

And now, for a tantalizing preview* of the post about last week with my mother...

Sunnyside's gourmet scene

*I can't give you a preview yet of my CSJO post, because I haven't even left yet! But I am excited, and you should be too.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Maternal Escapades

My mother visited!


Here is how it went down.

Alex and I picked her up at JFK on Tuesday and brought her back to Hotel California :)

After the tour (which took hours, god, our place is so ginormous) we walked up Greenpoint looking for food and after a few busts found a lovely little Thai place! Pad Thai, fried rice, soup... delicious! Well, anyway, good. I wouldn't go back, but I enjoyed it while I was there. And we talked about many fun things, including the story of Alex's parents getting together, which is a very cute story and I recommend that you ask him about it.

We stayed up late; we got a slow but pleasing start on Wednesday. Alex had the day off, so he came too! Oh boy.


Ok, I started this post like a week ago and did not finish it, and now I no longer remember all the details of my mother's visit. So the rest of the post will be sort of here and there recollections, instead of a chronological story! Oh, well. I am a lazy blogger.

She took me grocery shopping! That was great. That was so great. I have so much food now. I made lasagna last week! I will make homemade mac and cheese soon! I made halvah with the tahini she bought me! I am stocked up on peanut butter and pasta and pasta sauce and bagels! I was stocked up on eggs but I have already used them all, because I made brioche! At one point this last week, we had halvah, brioche, leftover chocolate cake, and chocolate chip cookies in the house, all homemade. I love my apartment. Also I love free food.

Also, Debby and Alex and I ate at a delicious little maybe-Greek-I-don't-remember restaurant. We came in sort of between lunch and dinner, and they weren't really ready, so they let us choose between the lunch and dinner menus, and we picked lunch because we were not super hungry. I had a toasted sandwich with cream cheese and lox and capers and some other stuff; it was exactly what and how much I wanted. That evening, we also wandered over to where I had lived on the Satellite Program, and also we saw Everyday Rapture, which is Sherie Renee Scott's brilliantly titled but somewhat mediocre, if highly entertaining, one woman musical, currently on Broadway. I liked it better than Alex and Debby did, but I was not, like, emotionally moved or intellectually provoked, or anything. But I did enjoy it a lot.

Also, Debby saw Rock Center and almost bought some shoes at Aerosoles, but didn't in the end, because she had to think about it and then someone else bought them first. Always leap to the punch! is the lesson of that story. Although I guess that strategy probably does an equal or greater amount of harm, in the long run.

As an aside, in between Debby and Meredith's visits, Alex and I encountered Johnny Utah's, which is a big, beautiful rodeo bar at Rock Center down dark stairs from the sidewalk, and I have never been that excited about a bar before! I can't wait to go some evening! Or afternoon, as it appears to be very crowded in the evenings. Also, the bartender gave me a glass of milk for free. This was after Alex and I spent several hours wandering through an Avenue of the Americas street fair, and I bought several pairs of earrings for myself and others and Alex bought me a necklace and a pair of sunglasses that make me look super hot and I bought him lunch, and anyway the point is we were tired and worn out and that bartender was very nice and I am in love with Johnny Utah's, even though all I have had there is a glass of milk in the empty afternoon.

Back to the story. Debby and I stopped one morning for lunch at a bagel place at maybe 23rd and 7th or somewhere thereabouts, and it was delicious. When I am rich, I will eat a toasted bagel with cream cheese and lox and capers and onions at least once a week. I'm pretty sure I've said that before on this blog, but it always bears saying again. After that, we walked through four (I think) used bookstores, not a single one of which had a single trashy romance or good fantasy novel, because they are all stuck up and I hate them. It drives me crazy that used bookstores carry all kinds of trashy shit in male-dominated fiction genres and also some truly terrible "nonfiction," but can't bring themselves to stock in fantasy or romances (romances outsell every other genre of literature in the U.S., by far! I mean, come on, it's not like they won't be able to turn a profit off of them!). But we bought six or seven books anyway, for me to take to camp this summer, and I just had Daddy send me a bunch of fantasies and romances from home to fill that gap. I'm going to be working probably 70 hour weeks! I need some easy reading!

Also, we ate at a Dominican (I think? I don't remember, really) place way up Greenpoint, and it was delicious, and we had this nice but totally clueless waiter, and they gave us bottled water in cups instead of just tap water, but I had seafood soup and it was so delicious, and I took it home and ate it with some of the sourdough Debby had brought me from California, and I felt as if I was sitting on a pier in San Francisco, and it was a great day.

Also I made French toast with the sourdough Debby brought me, and later the sourdough Ilan brought me at CSJO. I almost never make French toast these days, because it is just not as good when it is not with sourdough, and sourdough French toast is exactly what I want, it just hits the spot, and anyway the point is, yum it made me sooooo happy.

And now I am hungry and I can't remember anything else we did off the top of my head, so I will sign off and go eat, and Debby and Alex can let you know what I missed, if they feel like it! The end.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Have Not

posted much of anything recently because I have not done much of anything recently! This is because after that lovely long weekend where I did many things, I was sick for four days, and then I was catching up with typing and staying inside so as not to cough and cleeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaning the apartment like a madwoman, and also reading a lot and watching movies.


Do not fear! I will return with adventures galore in the blink of an eye, for soon my mother will arrive and we will carry on in an exciting fashion!


After that, I go to Jew conference, about which I feel sure there will be much to tell!


It will be Alex's birthday soon! Perhaps we will do something exciting.


Meredith's and Ethel's upcoming June visits, a Concrete Blonde concert in three weeks, and the assuredly crazy time I will have packing for camp!

Soon, before your very eyes, this blog will burgeon - burgeon, I tell you! - with more excitement than any one person can reasonably handle! Prepare yourselves!

P.S. I did bake this week, so that is something noteworthy! Plain muffins and cocoa apple cake and maple walnut bars with maple cream cheese frosting. Alex joined me in making the latter two! It was fun. I love to bake.

maple walnut bar with maple cream cheese frosting,
cut into a beautiful diamond!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I Have Never Understood...


When I Am Rich

I will own fourteen copies of The Silmarillion.

Or anyway, at least one.


When I'm sick, I watch The Fellowship of the Ring, and it always makes me feel better.

What makes you feel better when you're sick?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Today Alex and Jamie went to Music Man auditions, which was fun! Anyway, the audition part itself was (I hate the sitting around in a room full of fancily made up stressed out actors part). I wore one of my new flowery dresses and sang "Sweet Thursday," and did a good job (I think) but did not get a callback. Jamie and Alex both were asked to come back for the dance call tomorrow - I am so proud of them! Jamie can't make it, because she has to go back to her tour, but Alex is trying to get two hours off work in the afternoon so that he can go. I hope he can! He is perfect for that show, and also he loves it, and also it is my favorite show, and also it is time for him to stop selling shoes already and get a life.

Anyway, afterwards, Jamie went home for a nap and Alex and I went and sat in the sun in Central Park near Columbus Circle for 45 minutes until he had to go to work, at which point I walked down 8th a little ways and found a deli at which I ate a mediocre $8 roast beef sandwich on not very good (or sourdough-y) sourdough. Then I had two hours until I had to meet Leigh to practice for her juries (which are Friday morning), so I.... started walking. Walked down 8th to 29th and then headed for Madison Square Park, where I rested and drank cold Shake Shack water for 20 minutes before walking down Broadway to 4th St., where NYU is. I figure three miles - plus other bits of walking to and from the subway - three and a half miles today! I feel like I'm exercising again, sort of!

Seriously, though, all the walking does make me feel a lot better at the end of the day, given that I have barely been exercising since I got here, except for the occasional tap session at Ripley Grier or run around the block, or the two times I used my workout dance video. I've been walking a lot this week, including all around with Alex and Tara, and all around on the subway stop project, and all the way around the cemetery (which I think has about a 3 mile perimeter, and all the way down Greenpoint. I hope to keep it up!


Did I mention that I made bagels on Friday?

I made bagels on Friday.

(So did Ya'el, it turns out!)

I made mine with a recipe I had scribbled down on binder paper, which I think Debby had dictated over the phone to me a year or so ago. Don't know what cookbook it's from!

They turned out big-holed and thin, because the holes didn't fill in like I expected when they rose the second time, and then in fact expanded enormously when they were boiled, but exactly like bagels should be: light, chewey, easy to cut, and smothered in egg wash, onion, and sesame and poppy seeds.

We have all been eating them with cream cheese!

Except for two of them.

Two of them were used yesterday, in Alex's and my 4 PM brunch eggs benedict endeavor, which involved delicious freezer-burned bacon, awesome poached eggs, and an absolutely perfect, beautiful, thick, buttery, lightly pungent, entirely fabulous yellow Hollandaise sauce I whisked up and then ruined by trying to reheat, but which we poured all over the eggs anyway and which was frickin' delicious.

I love food.

The Shake Shack

On Monday, Alex and I went to the Shake Shack! Tom was going to come, but then was too busy getting ready for Jamie's arrival (Jamie! is here! until tomorrow!).

The Shake Shack, if you don't remember from my brief mentions of it in previous entries, is a restaurant consisting of a big kiosk where the cashiers and cooks work, and a pavilion where patrons eat, located in lovely and very green Madison Square Park. It has a reputation for absurdly long lines (like, 2 hours long); Alex and I figured that it probably wasn't worth that kind of a line, but that we should make an adventure of it and see what the fuss was all about.

Monday was warm but the night before had been wet, and we went about 3:00 (after I played for Leigh down at NYU), so the line was actually only 10 minutes or so, plus another 10 minutes before the little prop they gave us vibrated and we went to the window to pick up our food. We both got Shackburgers (aka cheeseburgers with standard stuff on them); he got a chocolate shake and fries; I got a chocolate shake with sprinkles and Valrhona chocolate chunks and hot fudge sauce mixed in.

The burgers were small - the buns were maybe 2 1/2 inches in diameter? - which explained why they were only five bucks each. They were reasonably good - better than fast food, nowhere near as good as Petey's, priced almost exactly in between. So that's fair.

The shakes were delicious on first tasting but grew steadily less appealing as the sugar and salt they were loaded with became more noticeable; Alex didn't even finish his, although that might have been because he was trying to help me finish mine (to no avail), even though they were only reasonably sized.

The fries were great.

So that's the Shake Shack!

Afterwards, we went to Forever 21 and I bought two cheap, light spaghetti strap shirts and two bright and exciting and comfortable and lightweight spring/summer dresses! All for $40. I love Forever 21! A whole summer wardrobe, marginally within my price range! Yay!

If you videochat with me, you may even get to see me model them for you ;P

Monday, May 3, 2010

Subway Stop Project, Part 1: The 6, Episode 1: Tulip Season

So Alex and I have decided on a new project: To get off at every subway stop in the five boroughs. Very exciting! We'll walk at least two blocks in every direction from each stop, so as to get a feel for the neighborhood and what's around. We're free to walk around as much and as far as we want, of course; two blocks is just the minimum. And every time we set out on the project, we'll do at least three stops - so as not to dawdle about it or get lazy!

On Saturday, we began. We're starting with the 6 line, heading downtown from Grand Central; when the 6 ends and splits off into the 4 and 5 into Brooklyn, we'll explore those, then switch to the 6 uptown. We're not skipping any stops, even if we've gotten off at them before - don't want to allow any leeway for cheating! Besides, there's always something more to see, especially if you've only gotten off at a stop before as part of going somewhere specific.

So we disembarked first at 33rd and Lex.

There, we explored all around, more to the east and north than to the west and south. We took a couple pictures of a lovely neighborhood at maybe 31st and 2nd or thereabouts.

Then we hopped back on the train!

Disembarked at 28th - wandered into a movie theatre, wandered out, stumbled upon a Verizon store where Alex took advantage of the opportunity to reduce the minutes and texts on his plan and get a free new phone, and decided that because the 6 was so crowded, we would walk down to 23rd instead of getting back on the train.

On the way to 23rd St., we saw (and explored the lobby of) the Gershwin Hotel, aka Fire Tusk Elephant Ridonkulous Building:

and also the Museum of Sex:

which charged for admission, so we did not explore their "History of Condoms" exhibit, although we did admire their window displays:

Next up, we hit Madison Square Park, which is between 5th and Mad, and 26th and 23rd. It is in full bloom!

Tulip season in NYC!

Especially around the fountain!*

The weather was in the 80s, so the sunbathers were out in force:

Madison Square... Beach?

Madison Square Park is home to the Shake Shack, where Tom and Alex and I might venture today. It is also half managed and maintained by the Madison Square Park Conservancy, which often makes use of volunteers from Credit Suisse, which lives across the street and looks like it is part of Metropolis:

Credit Suisse was having a Kentucky Derby party. Large hats abounded!

You can't see the hats very well in these pictures,
but take my word for it,
they were exciting!

Parked outside was an exciting car.

Yay! Exciting car!

Next, we hit Lexington or 2nd or something, around 24th St., and discovered a street fair! The street fairs have been in hibernation for a while, so this was very exciting.

First street fair of the season?

We bought Mexican food from a booth, in an irrationally hopeful frenzy; unsurprisingly, it disappointed. Next time we'll hit up the Thai booth instead.

We wandered east, in and out of an upscale thrift store (oxymoron?), through Stuyvesant Town, which Alex had never visited and which feels eerily like the New York version of Irvine - equally circular and green and family-friendly but marginally less precisely manicured and with taller buildings and, of course, pleasantly close to a real place (in short, it actually seems like a nice place to live, and not Irvine-creepy or super expensive) - and all the way out to the East River! We sat on a bench by the river for a few minutes, both of us soothed by a body of water (I miss 15-minutes-to-the-ocean; for living on an island, it is a surprising schlep to the beach), and then headed home!

I will leave you, though, with the most surprising, freaky, and hilarious thing we saw all day:

Ok, I give up. I can't think of a caption
that equals the amazing wtf-ness
of this sign.

*Actually, I think those pictures are from Stuyvesant Park, through which we walked later, and in which we saw a very cute wedding, in which the bride wore a cupcake-y white poof knee-length dress with a turquoise frill and the groom had an eNORmous 'fro and they were all very cute. But we didn't get close enough to get a good picture, although you can kind of see it going on in the background.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I haven't blogged in 9 days! How appalling! It is because I am typing so much for my job, so then when I finish each day I don't want to get back on the computer. But I have a few days off (I take my days off when Alex gets his days off), so here I go!

Today Alex's sister-in-law Tara came to visit! She is doing a project in Jersey and had the day off. We picked her up at Penn Station; showed her where we lived on the Satellite program; and got an excellent lunch at a diner near Ripley-Grier (I had red velvet pancakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting; Alex had a three-cheese-burger; Tara had a Reuben and also super super delicious sweet potato fries. I love love love sweet potato fries soooooo much). After that, Alex took her home and then to the East River while I played the piano for callbacks at Ripley-Grier for a new musical, Cat Gets Credit Card (there is no need to ask me what it's about) and the subwayed down to Houston for my first weekly gig accompanying a cabaret-type show in the back room of a bar (it was the first weekly gig, but the third time I've worked with this guy). It turned out that no singers were coming, so he paid me anyway and I left, making it back up to midtown around 5:20, just in time to meet Alex and Tara at Penn Station and see her off! A delightful day :)

Soon I will post about yesterday; there will be lots of pictures involved!

In the meantime, here's just one picture to tide you over. I finally bought a hair dryer yesterday on the way home, and while reading the instructions, happened on one in particular that puzzled and pleased me; please make note of #7:


The Process of Shaving

Patterns are always "in"!

Old Snow Pictures

I forgot about these when we took them back in December!

40th St., covered in snow

I made a snow angel on the roof!...

...and traced a heart in the street!

Now that it's so warm, it's weird to think of the snow.