30 March 2006

Fond Memories of Winter (now that it's over)

I really didn't mind the quiet of my block when the street was piled high with snowdrifts. Now I must sacrifice the silent nights of winter for the rowdy midnights, if I want to see the cherry blossoms. Half full or half empty?

29 March 2006


I tried the new bottled Strawberry Frapuccino from Starbucks today. Though it's not bad, my verdict is "what's the point?" It tastes like strawberry milk, like some Nesquik drink. The whole point of those Frapuccino bottles, to me, is to have a really quick and cold caffeine fix, without the overdose of the "tall" or "grande" sized belly terrors. The strawberry has no caffeine. At least it's better than that mint one last year. Oh blorg!

27 March 2006


I'm not one of those people who cries a lot. Not that I don't at all, but I prefer not to make a habit of it. Sometimes I feel like I should, like at funerals, but it doesn't always happen. These are the things that may set me off:

1- Seeing a man cry - not over trivial things, but in serious moments, it really is intense.
2- Watching a certain Disney movie, for some reason I start sobbing during the opening song. It is so, so stupid. People who know me watch my face when the song comes on, which makes it even worse. There's not a logical reason behind this, almost a weird reaction. There's a Seinfeld episode where Kramer has seizures every time he hears Mary Hart's voice on Entertainment Tonight. I guess I have the quieter version of that.
3-Anger - if I have words with someone, especially someone I care about, I may give way to tears. It hurts to be angry with people I love.
4- Yes, I cried at the end of Titanic. I don't anymore. I refuse to watch Beaches. Oh, and Kal Ho Nah Ho still makes me cry, even the soundtrack. It begins when Shah Rukh's character cries (see #1.)
5- Losing a pet. Both Duforth and Cinnamon's death made me wail uncontrollably, and sometimes I still get choked up. Yesterday I found an old veterinarian bill of Dufie's and was almost there. Hearing about animal cruelty makes me cry, and certain Disney movies with animals....
6-In the extremely rare cases where I throw up, I will whimper and tear.

Otherwise, it's pretty rare. I mean, laughing till you cry is another story, up there withn sneezing till you cry.

23 March 2006

The Imaginary Tea Room


Clone Attack 2

This is weird...

I was going through the revolving doors of my building, returning from lunch, when I saw a girl going out (I was going in) who looked a lot like me. A LOT. More than my sisters (though not much more than Pam, we do look quite similar), and more than Chelsea Clinton (who I used to be compared with, like it or not.) The resemblance would not have concerned me, but, unbelievably, she was wearing the same coat as me! I started imagining that I had passed through a hole in the time-space continuum and, in fact, was seeing myself at another hour, leaving the building. Then I went back to work.

Really, though, people used to tell me all the time that I looked like Chelsea Clinton, and it made me furious. Once I was even mistaken for her in a coffee shop. Do you people really think the (at the time) president's daughter would go out for pancakes all alone in midtown? Doubt it!

I met Bill Clinton in December 1997 while shopping at South Street Seaport. He didn't say anything about the supposed resemblance. I should have asked, perhaps. Maybe I would have scared him; he may have wondered if he'd spent time in NY 20 years ago. Huh.

Sadly, after she started looking better I no longer got the comparisons. What is that?

21 March 2006

Wild Lily Tea Room

Nestled in gallery-laden Chelsea on West 22nd Street, the Wild Lily Tea Room is a fantastic haven for fine tea and a variety of delectables. (How was that?)

Actually, I'd heard about this place years ago and never managed to make it out there, as I rarely venture out to that area since Chelsea Piers stopped having karaoke. I'm glad Marie and I made it there on Sunday, because it was a real treat. Though it was cold and windy, it wasn't terrible, and what better way to warm up than with a warm cup of Passion Green Tea and the Tea Party? Here's the menu:

Assorted Tea Sandwiches:
Norwegian Smoked Salmon with Basil Sauce on Baguette
Shrimp Paté on Eight-Grain Bread
Butternut Squash Cream Spread on Walnut Raisin Bread
English Cucumber with Rice Vinegar Honey Sauce on Soft White Bread
Chinese Black Tea Egg Salad on Whole Wheat Bread
Ginger Poached Chicken with Light Curry Sauce on French Bread
Homemade Daily Baked Raisin & Apricot Almond Scones Served with Devonshire Clotted Cream & Homemade Berry Jam
Daily Special Cake
Handmade Cookies - Gingerbread People, Pecan Hearts & Raspberry Windows
Wild Lily Tea Selections:
Passion Green Tea
Traditional Afternoon Black Tea
Uptown Eve Herbal Tea
and many more...

(I cut and pasted it from their website, and now they are another link on this blog.)

The Tea Party was $25, which is about the going rate for afternoon tea, and I always try the afternoon tea at every new tea venue. Yes, it was as good as it sounds, and I couldn't even finish the scones! Marie was all too happy to assist me, as I believe she loves scones even more than I do.

Check out the rest of the menu on their website, there is so much to choose from: soups, stews, etc. Let's not even start to praise the tea selection, which I won't since I only tried one tea and cannot give an expert opinion on the rest. I loved their Asian-eclectic decor and teaware, and the little pool with the little red fish popping out to say "hi." I appreciated the panels between some tables affording a bit of privacy without claustrophobic enclosure. The staff were pleasant and knowledgeable, and dressed colorfully.

Do try it out, and take me with you!

Visualizing Wild Lily

14 March 2006

Must Visit Montreal Again

I haven't been to Montreal in almost three years, and I was thinking about how nice it would be to see it again. Montreal is one of those places that marries Europe and America in a way that tends to bring out the best in both.

Second Cup kept me awake on my two weekend visits there. It's Canada's answer to Starbucks, and may I say a bit more affordable. Some of them are open 24 hours, which would have been good to know the time we arrived at the crack of dawn, only to wander aimlessly in search of a decent breakfast place. Later in the day, there are some delectable creperies about Rue St. Denis, and I noticed a tea shop that sadly I haven't had a chance to try out. The shopping's not bad either. I used to get thrilled about the Lush shop, since at the time we had none in New York, but even so. Plus the architecture is quite photogenic.

I'll be back!

One of my finest cat pics ever....

I don't even know what happened to this cat, just one of the many backyard dwellers that come and go. I just love the clarity of the picture. 9 Lives, anyone?

Her Favorite Song is "My Way"

Zeno helped me through my latest migraine by being cuddly. In return she got hold of a silk teabag full of green tea and flowers that Pam had found at the Botanical Gardens. So much for all the other toys I bought her this weekend.

08 March 2006

At the Nevele?

I heard a news report about a woman who complained of multiple bedbug bites from her stay at the Nevele, Catskills. It brought me back to my stay there, and to my own travel and tourism experience.

Not everyone knows this about me, but I used to be a travel agent. Then again, seven years after I quit people still ask me about travel deals. I worked at one of the major travel retailers in New York, at four of their Manhattan locations in two years. Of course, the best thing about working in travel is the travel opportunities. I got deeply discounted tickets for my second trip to London, and was able to bring Marie and Cecile at an amazing price. It was a fantastic six days of running around with my brand new camcorder all over the place. I returned to New York invigorated and just in time to go on a weekend fam (familiarization) trip one week later with the rest of my office to the Nevele. I wasn't particularly keen on going, but figured it wouldn't kill me. Hey, free food! Plus I remembered the old commercials and thought maybe I'll get some swimming pool time or something.

Though I survived the trip, I have almost no fond memories of that weekend. First, I had to share a bed with my manager. Though she was a really pleasant woman, she was a smoker and I hated to complain, so I suffered in silence. It wasn't lovely at all to hear the giggles of the women that the guys brought into the suite two in the morning. The food was mediocre, it rained all weekend, and all the dinners consisted of prize contests that had the older travel agents show the WWF side of their personalities. So petty!

We returned on the day of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. That was the same year they made that Seinfeld episode revolving around the parade. I had similar difficulties. It was not fun to get back to Queens. I had to take the N train with all my luggage. A bag full of travel brochures was chucked before I could make it on the train.

There was only one photograph of our group that weekend. The rest of the office was smiling, but right in the middle was a frowning Catherine. I've never seen myself looking so miserable in a photo. I should have gotten a copy.

I wasn't cut out to be a travel agent. I'd had aspirations of being a travel writer, or perhaps working for a specialty tour company; for instance, literary tours, tea related tours... selling packages to Disney World and Sandals was not my thing. It's the only job I quit and my only actual profession with a title and my own business card. Clients must have seen the Nevele Frown on my face often, and that's not motivational. I do miss the discounts though.

I Couldn't Resist!

Yanni, ya-need to call a lawyer! They're gonna haul your mustache downtown! Ha!

Goodness, this guy has aged. How long has it been since I've seen his picture? The ravages of time...

02 March 2006

I'd Like to Thank the Academy

Sometimes, on a guilty pleasure rainy day, I'll watch those shows they do after the award shows (especially this time of year), where a panel of fashion critics make catty commentaries about the dresses worn by those on the red carpet. Of course, sometimes they are pretty funny. Usually, though, it's a real waste of time - bits of hours I will never get back. Thankfully I tend to multitask when the TV is on, so I probably organized my socks or something during the shooting off of a Rivers mouth.

Maybe I'm the only person in this world who thinks this, but what was the big deal about Bjork's dress? Do we really want to see her in a demure "red carpet appropriate" outfit, ever? She is not supposed to look normal, she's Bjork! That's her appeal! And, by the way, the shoes were pretty cute. I think the critics are kinda jealous. They could never attempt a bird-inspired dress and look cute anyway.

I may have gone for a peacock, though.

Maybe you should choose Copycat for me...


01 March 2006

Ack Ack Ack

I saw Billy Joel Monday night! Never thought I would go to see him, though I can't help but like his songs. Well, most of them. Our seats were in the nosebleeds, but I must say our view was just fine. It was a superb performance: I've never seen such nimble fingers. Plus, he doesn't try to act younger than he is, but he doesn't seem AARP either. Cathy and I heard all the old favorites, and sang along occasionally.

The only complaint of the night: about four girls sitting next to us were such trash, and I don't usually call another human being that. They were, though. I've never seen so much beer consumed in two hours, and they smoked! Yes, my pet peeve. I didn't say anything, though I did leave my seat to hear "We Didn't Start the Fire" in clean air.

Let me leave this open for comment: should I have said somethink to the drunk girls, or told security on them, or just endured the smoke despite it being a no-smoking building? (Madison Square Garden!)