31 December 2006

I Heart New York

You know how easy it is to take your home city for granted? Actually, I've been known for not doing that. As most of my life I've been too broke to travel (not that that's always stopped me), I've tried to make the most of my situation and enjoy New York for what it has to offer. Though it's crowded and full of scaffolding, if you endeavor to see it as often as possible through the eyes of a tourist, you will find yourself getting excited once again. On Friday a few of us walked through Central Park with a girl from out of town. Though it was slightly colder than I'd like, it's infinitely better than too hot.
We walked from 59th and Lex, through the park up to 82nd Street. Then of course the old favorite, the Met, which if my feet hold out I can spend hours in. The only downfall was that there were too many people, especially in the Glitter and Gloom exhibit (rather depressing paintings and drawings from post WWI Germany). Still, it's one of those places I don't tire of. I have yet to do afternoon tea there, though, which shows one never runs out of things to do in New York.

27 December 2006

Have to take my vitamins...

I need to live a bit longer if I'm going to get any closer to the books listed in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. I'm only in the 40's. Funny enough, if you combine all the unfinished books and the ones I own but haven't started yet, I may have reached 100.

I read a lot of non-fiction, and actually do other things in my life besides reading, so believe me I'm not going to add this list to my list of goals. It would be nice to finish what I have, though. I still need to read Middlemarch. I bought this one 12 years ago and have tried to get back to it unsuccessfully.

21 December 2006

Beach in December?

I wasn't going to swim, but it definitely felt nice to take in that sea air in mild temperatures. It's the birds, though, that really make a difference. Have you ever sat on Jones Beach and spotted some pigeons? Ugh. Then a few seagulls come and you remember you're on a beach. The birds of South Florida are a bit more varied, though I didn't mind seeing seagulls. I'm not a bird watcher, really, and I've never wanted a pet bird. These were more enjoyable to watch, though, than the surfers preening right in front of us.

19 December 2006

Florida #3: Serenity

I cannot go away without sampling something tea related. So reservations (always recommended) were made for Serenity Tea Garden, which is a quick drive from Marie's home, for afternoon tea.

Located on Vallette Way (Bronte anyone?), it was as if we'd stepped into the pages of Victoria magazine. Hats, trinkets, dresses and fabrics, tea paraphernalia, you name it, covered the walls in the two dining rooms. The chairs were cushiony, the teaware was eclectic (much preferred to matchy matchy in my opinion) and a general calm prevailed, you know, the kind that is extinct in New York no matter what efforts are put forth.

The owner, Sylvia, also served us the tea. She was friendly in a non-stuffy way, which I love, because even if tea is fancy it should always be easygoing. We were impressed by the soup we were given before the 3-tiered service. It was a good way to ready one's system for the afternoon tea. The bread was almost the highlight of the day - Marie would have been content with that and the tea I think. Everything was just wonderful. The sandwiches weren't dry at all, the scones came with a generous amount of cream, jam, and loads of lemon curd. We couldn't even finish the sweets, but they were nice little baked items that I wished I had room for - the only downside to the soup I guess.

There were only two other people in our room, a mother and daughter who were so suited for the environment. They weren't all dressed up, but the daughter was so polite and she and her mother communicated so well, something one rarely sees nowadays.

There is a garden to sit in, hence the name, but indoors was just fine. Truly an hour of serenity, and thankfully they didn't do the sereni-tea thing or eyes would have rolled!

I'd recommend this place to almost anyone (well, in the female gender anyway) unless they really don't go for chintzy at all.

16 December 2006

Florida etc #2: Ichiban

I'd never been to one of these hibachi thingys. It's a fun show, and the food wasn't bad either. It was nice to see Teresa again and meet her brother, a history buff who put me to shame with his knowledge of the Punic Wars. If you look really closely at the people in back of them, their eyes look kind of creepy but that was just my camera...I think.

14 December 2006


Anyone reading my blog back in January would have felt my frustration in not finding Jello Pudding Pops anywhere. Well, the search is over. Walmart, the retail behemoth, stocks them in a variety pack. I found them in Florida during my first ever visit to Walmart. Now they are distributed by Popsicle and are shaped slightly differently - but they taste exactly the same. What a strange rush of nostalgia in a less familiar environment! My favorite is still vanilla - I wonder if that's a white people thing. Someone who used to work in a Baskin Robbins noted that most people tended to order based on race. Each flavor was a demographic. I guess if I lost my temper a la Michael Richards I'd be hurling such stinging slurs as "Fifty years ago I'd be feeding you Rum Raisin on a spoon!"

Off that controversial tangent, I am going to take up my search once again for pudding pops in New York. This is the shopping capital of the world, for goodness' sake. If I have to endure a long cold winter (though today is nice) I will have my pudding pops.

12 December 2006

Highlights of my Florida Trip: Part One

I love Max and Isabel: they are wannabe outdoor cats with affectionate personalities. They also make the cutest noises, like squeaky toys. Max is a bit like Cinnamon was, all muscular and a little fatty. Much as I love my Zenobia, I miss the chunky noses.

11 December 2006

Proof of Life

I've been lax in my blogging this month, for a good reason. I'm on vacation, and I really needed it. Relaxation was my goal and I have attained it. I'll update to a greater extent on my return.

I know I've never been the largest advocate of Florida, but I certainly recommend it for this time of year. Nothing like palm trees and ducks to soothe one's psyche.

30 November 2006

A Star is Born

Today's stuff on my cat has my Zeno featured with her little green friend. I'm a proud mom today.

(Brisco's pretty cute too.)

27 November 2006


Packing for a trip is always daunting for me. I don't like overpacking, but when I try to minimize, something is always missing. In the past few years I've had two long weekends where I had too few garments to choose from, and though it's good to simplify it was just ridiculous (especially the time I fell in mud in my only jeans. Otherwise I'd packed a skirt, and that was it. Rather pathetic.)

I'm not too worried. This time, though, I'm trying to figure out which books to bring with me. I won't be entirely bookworm, of course, but I must have my books. The question is, which ones? Lately I've started a few that didn't take me past 50 or so pages. It wouldn't be so wonderful to carry unreadable materials. At the moment I have a truckload of books out of the library, and I haven't quite gotten into any of them. By Saturday I have to be hooked on at least two or I will be hopeless!

Last time I went South I bought a bunch of magazines in the airport. I really need to refrain this time. Such a waste of space and money. Anyway I have some non-glossies I need to catch up with, as well as two tea magazines.

Did I mention it's the first time I'll be flying alone? I'm not worried too much; the flight is short and there's Direct TV.

It's fun to be concerned with trivial matters for once.

22 November 2006

Zenobia on Green

Hope you all aren't sick of these pics...I'm the annoying proud pet parent, what can I say?
I don't like what she's doing with the blinds, though.

21 November 2006

Climb Every Mountain...

The most amazing thing about the trek up and down Bear Mountain was that I suffered minimal soreness the days following. Surprisingly the only discomfort that hung around for a while was in the abdominal muscles. Well, I guess all the times I had to sit up from crawling on all fours...maybe that's why the mountain is named after an animal because I didn't see any bears. They probably couldn't make it downhill anyway. I did, thanks to a lot of help. The crisp mountain air was certainly a plus for my lungs.
And who doesn't love a carousel?


Autumn rocks.....

(for Stevie's Solarizing Pleasure)

20 November 2006

Children't Book Nostalgia #4: LHOTP

I can't believe it took me this long to write about this series. It's the Big One...taking up a great deal of my childhood, from the books to the television series.
I loved every single one of these books, although The First Four Years was slightly depressing, and I guess so was The Long Winter. But I really had no problem reading about hardships from the comfort of my air conditioned bedroom - most of my big reading was done in the summer.
It was fun to compare the books with the TV series. The real Pa had a beard: Michael Landon had an afro and very active tear ducts. Mary handled going blind gradually like an angel: TV Mary was hysterical. I guess the main difference was the melodramatics, but that certainly didn't stop me from watching the show, pretty much in reruns.
The description of school life on the prairie was daunting. They seemed to have a lot stricter regiment of learning and memorization than we had in the City of New York. Everything was harder for the "homesteaders", "pioneers", whatever you like, but they complained very little and were much more thankful for little things. Nothing was wasted.
Most of all I loved the courtship of Laura and Almanzo (can you say that name with a straight face?) If you see real photographs of the couple, they may have looked stern as so many photos in the past portrayed people, but not bad looking at that.
And I found the real Nellie Oleson to be slightly more diabolical than the TV one, in a subtler way. (Names have been changed.)

13 November 2006


Just wanted to share a few more shots from a loverly weekend.

07 November 2006

Nightmares Do Come True

I found a pigeon blog today. Though I'm quite taken by the London pictures, it made me realize how far I've come in some ways.

I used to be deathly afraid of pigeons. Ask my sisters. If I was walking down a street and a pigeon was in my path, I would freeze until someone chased it away. That's kind of silly, actually: why would I want to resemble a statue to a pigeon? Later on I learned to stamp my foot and they'd get freaked out and fly away.

What was I afraid of? Well, that Alfred Hitchcock movie didn't help, but I think it was their eyes. Their sudden takeoffs weren't exactly a balm to my nerves either. There was a strange nightmare I used to have about pigeons being in my bed, and I'd fling them and they'd be rubbery. I should not have been eating Breyers at night.

As time went on my paralysis wore off, but I've always had the paranoid idea that they had it in for me. I saw one peeking its head at me around a train trestle once, and a few minutes later I saw he'd left me a little gift on my jeans. Nice.

Pigeons used to nest on the living room air conditioner, which the cats loved, and I learned to deal with it until the day my Dad brought a baby pigeon inside to relocate it to the roof. I was not pleased. Dad had such a soft heart for all living creatures.

Nowadays I can deal with the flying rats, and I even find some of them cute. I guess compared to waterbugs, anything is adorable.

06 November 2006

I Can't Get Enough

I have yet another blog, this one is all photos:


It's in no particular order, feel free to guess when and where in your comments...

02 November 2006

Children's Book Nostalgia #3: Anne of Green Gables

My early teens were filled with Anne of Green Gables. I don't know why orphans are so appealing to young people, particularly red haired ones, but for some reason I was obsessed.
Anne Shirley, L.M. Montgomery's most well-known character, is a highly imaginative, intelligent girl who ends up in the home of the Cuthberts, aging brothers and sisters who really wanted a boy to help them with their work. Of course, they are won over by Anne, though Marilla is quite disapproving at first. On the TV version Marilla is played by Colleen Dewhurst, whose name was an influence on my Dad's nicknaming Baby "Duforth". Seriously.
The first book is probably the most captivating, and certainly put Prince Edward Island on the map for me. We meet Gilbert Blythe, who obviously has a thing for Anne but is shunned by her for calling her "carrots" upon their first meeting. Anne is so sensitive about her hair color, even though I envied her and even considered dying my hair when I was old enough. (I kept my hair natural, though, and will continue to do so until the greys start taking over. Maybe then I'll go red?) Anne's obsession with puffed sleeves makes the reader sympathetic: she's a bit unusual, which is a good thing, but most teenagers would rather be normal than anything else. I can't read the account of Matthew Cuthbert's death without losing it each time.
Bonnie and I had a little competition regarding Anne. First, who would finish the series first? I did, by a close margin. That sort of thing really doesn't matter to me anymore, but I think I had a little pride, being the older sister. The other issue was who looked more like the actress who played her? Back then, she did: I looked like Napoleon Dynamite. Recently then, someone told me out of the blue that I looked like the actress, and though I wasn't as excited as I would have been 15+ years ago, it was still kind of cool. Though last time I saw her was as an arsonist on Law and Order. Yikes.
I've read most of L.M. Montgomery's books; there's Emily, Marigold, Pat, Jane...but Anne will always be the big one for me.
And how funny was it when she was forbidden to see her "bosom friend" Diana because she'd accidentally made her drunk?

31 October 2006

Zenobia's Long Lost Cousin

I was pleasantly surprised to meet Buddy, my cousins' 13 year old cat. Like the rest of our family, he looks good for his age ;)
He kind of reminds me of a cross between Zenobia and Chubby. He's also a first-rate foot warmer.

Funny Tearoom Name #5

Dream About Tea:

So if you're not in the area, at least you can dream about the place.

Who would I recommend this place to? Perhaps Martin Luther King Jr.

30 October 2006

Vroman's Nose

Just came back from a fantastic weekend upstate. On Friday we hiked on Vroman's Nose, which is basically up a mountain and full of incomparable views. Fall foliage! More upstate pics to come.
(By the way, it took a lot of effort to get pics with my eyes open. This happens too often. It is, of course, the only reason I had to give up a promising career as a supermodel.)

23 October 2006

Childhood Book Nostalgia #2 Little Miss and Mr. Books

In the small world of my childhood (not my fantasy world which spanned the globe, or at least the Prairie), a walk past Broadway on Steinway Street was equivalent to a road trip. Nowadays the streets past 34th Avenue are teeming with shops and restaurants, especially since the opening of the movie theatre. Back then, it was something that King Kullen was there. Anyway, there was a children's shop called Valco (thanks for remembering the name, Pam) between Broadway and 34th. It wasn't particularly glorious, though they did sell Cabbage Patch dolls - I saw the first Preemies there. But they did have a display of Little Miss and Mr. Books. I think these books were designed to teach adjectives to children. They were so simple but slightly unusual. My first one was Little Miss Scatterbrain. I still identify with her sometimes. I also like Mr. Impossible. He could read books upside down. When I realized I could do the same, I thought I had superpowers. Now I realize it's rather low on the skill level. Darn.

20 October 2006

The Prince of Darkness

Pam's second dog, Nemo is absolutely adorable. He also had a mysterious past...when he was rescued he showed considerable anti-social behavior. Though he has improved, especially with those he has regular contact with, he still frightens me when he barks. He likes me when I sit down, so that's something. And he posed very nicely for these pictures.
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18 October 2006

Book Nostalgia #1: Little Golden Books

As a book lover since early childhood, I thought I'd delve into "old favorites", the books that make me look happily into my past - not necessarily with longing, though it's true that those were simpler times.
Yesterday I was in Posman books in Grand Central Terminal, and I saw The Monster at the end of this Book. I haven't seen this one in years. I used to laugh at how freaked out Grover got every time I turned the page. My grandmother had this book, and visiting her was always a pleasure - other toys, cousins around my age to play with, and children's books. Though times have changed, if I flip the page over, Grover still accuses: "YOU TURNED THE PAGE!!"
I don't think I had The Shy Little Kitten, but she kind of has Zenobia eyes, so I couldn't resist.
Why does the Donny and Marie book look familiar? Did we have it? Possibly, but that would have been dated even when I was a child. I think.
My favorite was The Rainy Day Play Book. A brother and sister are sad that they can't play outside on a rainy day, but they come up with all kinds of activities. It inspired me, a perennial indoor person.
Which was your favorite Golden Book?