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.