Wednesday, November 30, 2005

isaac and baby know-how

Isaac and I have a couple of friends who stayed in our New York apartment while we were on our honeymoon. In fact, they got knocked up on our honeymoon. That makes it a little easier to remember how old their little girl is! I could swear that I have blogged about this before, but I can't find the evidence. Isaac had a really funny phone conversation with Anya, the baby mama, shortly after the blessed event. I only heard his side of course...

Isaac: So, how's everything with the baby?

Isaac: So can she recognize you yet? Can she actually focus her eyes on you?

Isaac: Oh...uh-huh...

Isaac: So what does the baby look like? What color are her eyes?

Isaac: Oh, oops, I didn't realize all babies are born with blue eyes...(laugh laugh)

Isaac: So are you making your own baby food?

Isaac: You are! That's great! So what kind of stuff are you making? Pureed peas, bananas?

Isaac: Ohhhhhh, that's what you meant? (Lots of uncontrollable laughter)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Even though you probably won't see this...happy 31st anniversary!

Done giving thanks, now we can start whining again.

Actually I can't think of anything to whine about right now. Oh yeah, we went back to work today. Even that didn't seem so bad, we had such a nice vacation with my family in Maryland.

1. Wednesday - Took the 7:30 am "Chinatown" bus to Maryland. Our bus driver was more than a little upset with some poor people who couldn't print their tickets when the server went down. But we beat all the traffic, to Isaac's great pleasure. My brother picked us up from the McDonald's near the bus stop (that's where the "chinatown" buses stop, right after making a u-turn in front of a huge no u-turn sign). Everyone but my brother was working... So Isaac and I hung out much as we usually would at home. I commented on blogs, while he played the piano. Except there are much better snacks at my parents' house...the cereal, the wheat thins, the cold cuts and potato salad...

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Also, we communed with the family pets...Cleo the boxer and Puja the cat.

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Then my mom came home and Katie and Russell came over and we had baked ziti!

2. Thursday! We got up a little early, to help my mom with the Thanksgiving dinner. Then we did some calculations and realized that the new convection oven could cook our big turkey in approximately 30 minutes, so all the getting up was unneccessary. Mom was already up so we sat and watched her peel some sweet potatoes. Way to go Mom! Just kidding, I really did help. I peeled potatoes and put together the green bean casserole, and made the sweet potatoes so spicy that they were almost but not quite inedible to my family members! In my defense, they got hotter once we cooked them.

Here was the spread!

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Isaac made this stuffing which we debuted at our Givikahmas party last year. It requires lots and lots of mushrooms, and this year we halved the butter (to a very healthy one stick) - I'm glad he talked us into making it. My family is very attached to our Pepperidge Farm/Arnold stuffing. We still had the Arnold with our leftovers. That's its own kind of good...

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I guess I caught these guys off guard. But I didn't take enough pictures so it's still going up. (When Russell gets a blog he can post unflattering pictures of me.)

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3. Friday - My mom woke me at 4:50am. I came downstairs to brush my teeth and she already had her coat on! I got ready as fast as I could and we went to meet my sisters at (where else?) ...J.C. Penney. This was the careful choice after hours of examining circulars and coupons and "doorbuster" offers. We tried to write a list of what we needed to buy, and strangely enough, all of us needed to buy things pretty much only for ourselves. We tried in vain to get the men to look at the circulars and express delight or even interest in any one of the shiny objects portrayed there (OMG, how can you NOT need a crockpot for only $7.99!!!!????) but they were in very uncooperative and unconsumery moods, led by Russell, who now has a mortgage. So we got purses, wallets, socks, shoes and other girly things.

In the afternoon, Isaac and I rewatched Gosford Park, and then we all went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire!!! Sadly, Isaac and I still liked it the best of everyone. I think Katie liked it still, and my dad claimed to like it, but the other people who hadn't read the book didn't have very favorable impressions. My mom especially was pretty down on the ending. She didn't like the dark stuff.

Then we came home and had leftovers and I collapsed into bed since I didn't take a nap after shopping.

4. Saturday! In the morning, we brought some bagels over to Russell's new house to meet up with him and Katie and Beth and Glenn. They have already done so much to fix it up! It has beautiful wood floors, and a really great open space from the front room to the dining room/kitchen area. Here are my sisters! I know that Beth specifically said not to put this picture on my blog, but really I didn't take enough pictures, so I will have to pretend I didn't hear her.

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Look at Katie's cute fall bath towels hanging in the bathroom. She is about to change them over to Christmas. Also, we got a chance to meet Phoebe, that's Beth and Glenn's puppy (she's 8 months old). Phoebe is a little....rambunctious. She had a really good time playing with Baci (Katie and Russell's dog) and boy does she put out a lot of slobber.

Then before we knew it, it was time for us to drive to meet Lynne and Zak!!! We were so excited, and soon we were there, in a really nice neighborhood. I had to keep myself from running up the stairs, because I didn't want to meet them all out of breath, but I was so excited to get there! We really did have so much to talk about. Then Zak drove us to an adorable Scottish pub in the neighborhood, and we had really really good pub food. The fries alone at this place were so delicious. And Isaac and I shared a draft Belhaven, yum. We aired various obscure Harry Potter theories, and the waitress overheard us talking about HP, and told us she had already seen Goblet of Fire twice, to which Isaac and I were able to say, us too! To prove we were really there, here's a picture of me and Lynne. Somehow the menfolk escaped the eye of the digital camera.

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Then we went back to Lynne and Zak's and talked politics and big pharma and in-laws and sports, and generally solved all the world's problems and made ourselves rich at the same time. It was amazing. Then Isaac drove us home, and we basked in the happy glow of having met some truly nice and special people.

5. Sunday we took the bus home. My neck is still feeling the effects of the nasty bus ride.

Other things I somehow didn't fit into the day by day breakdown.

a. It's really hard to keep a straight face when your mom asks, "so what do you write about on your bog anyway?"

b. Best moment at Lynne and Zak's was when Zak asked Isaac if he played fantasy football at work, and Isaac answers that there isn't enough room with all the chairs and equipment in the way.

c. I got a lot of pleasure out of hearing Beth say that she thinks my blog is funny, but even more when she picked out the same wallet that I did at JC Penney because I'm that paranoid about my taste in everything. Awww.

d. I'm so glad that I will see everyone again so soon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are leaving work to grab dinner and then...Harry Potter, here we come!

Tomorrow morning we leave insanely early to take a bus to MD. Trying to beat the traffic and the nasty weather that is supposedly headed our way.

Hope everyone has a great holiday! I want to see pictures of happily eating bloggers, even if the pictures just consist of people eating fat-free cool whip straight from the tub (you know who you are).

Love,
Christine

Some birthdays require more fun than one day can provide.

We have been having a very social few days! On Saturday night we attended the first of Mai's birthday festivities...her birthday was yesterday! Happy birthday Mai!

We went to a wine bar, which turned out to have smaller portions of food than anticipated causing us to order lots and lots of small and not particularly cheap plates. So it cost more than expected, which made me feel guilty since I had suggested the place despite never having been there. I somehow thought it would be inexpensive, since the wine store associated with this wine bar lets you taste 5 wines for $5. I guess that's because you are in the STORE, and will buy wine eventually. On the other hand, I think that everyone was having a really good time until the bill came! I thought the company was worth every penny!

We got to meet some of Mai's other friends which was fun too. There was a lawyer with his girlfriend who is an unemployed lawyer. When she found out we were chemists, she had many questions about making high quality ecstasy. Seriously, she could not stop talking about it. So funny. Then Mai outed me as a blogger, (at the time I thought that was bad, because what if I wanted to blog about those people, but then I thought, well who cares, I'm still going to write about them, and now it's almost like they had some warning!) So the girlfriend and I talked about blogs. I asked which ones she read, and she said mostly lots of infertility blogs. That's kind of how I started reading blogs too, and I thought it was funny since neither I nor this woman has ever tried to get pregnant or anything. But both of us are convinced that we will be infertile. Infertility is so common! Or at least in the blogging world it is. Right.

There were other Mai friends there, including this intriguing guy who I didn't talk to at all, but Mai told us later that he is actually a professional Hitch. You know, like the Will Smith movie... He takes well-off, professional guys who need help with the ladies, and takes them shopping, out to bars, etc and will help them meet women, sometimes demonstrating how they should try to pick up a girl. He was good-looking (corroborated by Li-Ling) so that probably doesn't hurt. Didn't you think that job didn't really exist? Well I guess this guy makes a ton of money doing the Hitch job. I wonder how he got into that line of work.

To continue with the all Mai's birthday all the time theme - last night, she had planned an ice skating/Korean food outing. Sadly, the weather did not cooperate with the ice skating plans. Isaac and I still showed up, and actually waited by the ice skate rental door for about 20 minutes, we were still gung-ho and ready to get on the ice!

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Finally we got in touch with Mai, and she was cozying up in the Ice Cafe, which was very cutely decorated with paper snowflake motif wall hanging thingys. Isaac and I had hot chocolate which came with a candy cane inside, and then Tiffany joined us. Here are the lovely Mai and Tiffany trying out their frigid ice princess expressions.

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Oh, Mai decided to smile after all...and look I did get a picture of Tiffany's beautiful top. I think that she said as long as I don't cut off her head anymore I'm allowed to post her as my "fashion DO" model. It's kind of hard to see the detail in this picture though I think.

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So, deciding to come back some other time for skating fun - we headed to Korean food. Yum. The restaurant was Kum Gang San - named after a super-famous (at least among Koreans) mountain range in Korea. It features, along with good Korean food, a fake mountainside cliff with a white baby grand perched on top. Along with some other kind of more Korean looking instrument. Here is a picture that will give you the idea.

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Another Mai friend, Julia, came too, and Isaac proceeded to amuse her, sort of, with his Russian pronunciation. Julia grew up in Moscow. I think she really didn't know what to make of Isaac. By the end of dinner she was saying half-apologetically to me, "I think I really just need to get used to him." I guess he is kind of exhausting! :)

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Then we all rolled to the subway, and got home and went to bed. Or if you are Christine and Isaac, first you eat some anniversary chocolate and anniversary Madeira, while watching another 40 minutes of Pride and Prejudice, and then go to bed. The end!

Friday, November 18, 2005

i would just like to know

How come just getting a drink of water can make me feel nauseous. Pre-water I was thirsty, but not nauseous. post-water, feely sicky. I'm getting it out of the damn water cooler, not some dirty stream or any explosion proof refrigerator or something.

Anyway, just wondering....

note to Pride and Prejudice fans

I have noticed a lot people finding my blog because of this post when I first heard about the Keira Knightley P&P. First of all, I realized recently that I have been mispelling this poor Darcy's name for months. I guess it's Macfadyen, not Macfayden. Ooops. I think my elementary school crush memories got in the way of my reading/spelling.

Second, after seeing the movie, I am happy to report that this dress was nowhere in sight. Thank goodness. I guess this was just a publicity photo? Macfadyen's Darcy didn't look nearly so uncomfortable and the costuming was much more Austen-y than this.

And here's an article where it is revealed that he finally read the novel too. Yay Matthew. Don't sell yourself short, you are plenty dishy to play Darcy, and I'm glad you added your interpretation to the catalog.

something I learned all on my own with a little help from Itunes

I can't get enough Shakira.

soundcheck

To push that post about the disturbing book a little further down the page, and fulfill Stacy's misguided request for another post, and confirm that I'm a huge dork...

I've been listening to Yoik singing for the last 2 days, with little interruption. Where did I hear about this? NPR of course. I love the mp3 archives that they have at my local station. I should really give them some money. I went back and got a bunch of episodes of their music-themed show Soundcheck. They have on all sorts of people, from many genres of music. To back up a little, here are some things I learned recently by listening to this show.

1. Duncan Sheik sounds really cute. Also, it's pronounced Sheek. Or Chic. Things I learned by a little post-listening research: He is adorable AND has a blog.

2. Hanson comes off really conceited in interviews. Yes you were at the "top of your industry" Yes this littlest one is the "youngest nominee ever for a songwriting grammy" Yes, you have "your own independent label". Also, they couldn't stop talking. Also, every time song started with "vocalizing", as they put it in the subtitles for closed captioning, when there is a song that starts with that "mmm-hmm, oh yeah," stuff. I wanted to like you, but really just couldn't Hanson.

3. On the other hand, I loved the personality of violinist Leila Josefowicz. She sounds really fun and is so outspoken as to be charming. But I didn't like the piece that she played so much (2nd movement from Ravel's Sonata for violin and piano) - it's called the Blues Movement and does sound kind of Gershwin-y. Love the little introduction with the plucking. But the a lot of the rest sounded kind of thin to me somehow. It might just be the way it is coming through in the 56 kbps mp3 though...

4. Jon Brion = smarty-pants. In a good, un-Hansony sort of way. Oh, and he's very cute too. I didn't know he co-produced all those tracks with Kanye West either...

5. Vajas. But what I discovered alongside Jon Brion is the thing that brought me the greatest and most wonderful joy. I want to take this little interview with this man Ande Somby and burn it on a billion CDs and give it to the world. I think this could really be a step towards world peace. First of all, he's so nice. Ande is from a group called Vajas (vayas). Ande is from the ethnic group that they used to call Laplanders, but now they call Sami (sah-mee). They are the indigenous people of Northern Norway, and spread all across Scandinavia and part of Russia.

Anyway, the music of the Sami people is totally fascinating. I really hope that anyone reading this gets the chance to listen to hear the interview, which is just as fun as the music. The yoiks can express information, like telling your friend about the terrain ahead, how steep it is, etc. Vajas actually combines the old form of yoik/joik with new sounds.

Here is more information about the group.

Here is the interview:
http://wnyc.vo.llnwd.net/o1/soundcheck/soundcheck102505b.mp3

Here is the Vajas website where you could download more tracks. I don't think this group has an actual CD out yet for purchase. Too bad for me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

half-done book report

It has been a while since I wrote any book reviews...I thought this time I would review the books that I didn't read! Actually, books that I didn't finish. I still feel the need to justify not finishing a book, even though life is short and there are plenty of finishable books out there. These books I feel especially bad for not finishing because they were by authors I already thought I liked.

Up first, remember Mike Albo, and the Underminer? How much I loved it? I don't take any of that back. But I'm starting to think that Virginia Heffernan helped out a lot, and if she wrote a book, I might like that a lot. I tried to read Hornito, which was Albo's first book. I really wanted to like it. And I really did like some parts of it. Reading about his mom buying him satin dancing shorts, I wanted to like the book even more. But then I couldn't get past how depressing it was. A lot of depressing/humiliating interludes strung together. Maybe if I had read all the way to the end I would have gotten to some sort of self-discovery that wasn't quite so depressing?

The next attempted read was Lucky, by Alice Sebold. I'm really ashamed that I didn't finish this book. Alice Sebold is a tremendous writer. I had heard about The Lovely Bones before, but didn't really feel motivated to put myself on the 500+ long waiting list at the library. On September 11th this year, I heard Alice Sebold's commentary on NPR and I was just riveted. I got The Lovely Bones right away, and loved it. I got Lucky from the library. This book is a memoir of Alice Sebold's experience of her rape at 18, and the aftermath of the rape. The rape was brutal, and described in detail. They caught her rapist after she saw him on the street 6 months later. I made it through the descriptions of the preliminary hearings. But every time I picked up this book I had to make myself do it. The worst parts of the rape description would run through my mind when I was trying to fall asleep. I was cowardly, and took the book back before I finished. The thing that makes me feel guiltiest is seeing myself in the unhelpful girlfriends Alice describes who couldn't deal with her rape. There was a line dividing her from everyone who hadn't seen the violence of the world that she experienced, making Alice feel she had more in common with a cop who beat up some black kids just for being black, rather than her fellow 18 year old college students. I'm sorry that I couldn't finish, and sometime when I don't need to sleep well for a while I'll go back and finish the damn book.

Monday, November 14, 2005

weekend of fun

Another list for no reason, which I thought would parallel the previous list but then it didn't. I'm too tired to edit though.

1. Happy hour had a bizarre dynamic on Friday. First of all, there were a couple of external females there! I'm used to being the only girl there, and really I don't even count as a female. (Especially among these guys.) SO a couple of girly girls (friends with a couple of the guys) showed up, and the dynamic was completely changed. All of a sudden the girls got these guys talking about that girly book which explains men, He's Just Not that Into You, and then next thing I know they are talking about face creams and Oil of Olay and anti-aging creams, and one of the girls is flirting mercilessly with MY model and the other is HOLDING HANDS with another guy. Total twilight zone happy hour.

Also, this dermatology/laser/physics postdoc showed up at our little group and asked if he could join us, which is just unheard of. People don't go to meet other people, they go to drink beer with the people they already know. It sounds unfriendly and all, but it's true. But this guy was SO friendly. He was really excited to tell us about his work and stuff, and everyone but the girly girls just kind of sat there in silence. But the girls were excited to be talking to a real-live person who works near a dermatologist, were asking all about Cetaphil, and he was offering free samples of something, except that he gave away his last sample 10 minutes ago, probably to someone else he befriended on the street, and what the hell? Oh my goodness. My head was spinning at the novelty of it all.

2. Mitsuwa, aka the Japanese supermarket in New Jersey, gets hella crowded on Saturdays. It was kind of exhausting. I guess they are in the middle of some renovations, because the seating capacity for the food court, and the food producing capacity of the restaurant were not quite enough to make it a smooth and pleasant experience. We had to wait for like 45 minutes to get our "fast food" order. On the other hand, the shuttle bus there took us alongside Hamilton Park, which has a gorgeous view of the Hudson and the Manhattan skyline. It was a beautiful day. And we came home with tons of rice crackers and Japanese koala crackers and other cute treats.

3. Pride and Prejudice. LOTS of fun. I think Anthony Lane's review in the New Yorker hit the nail on the head when he said that P&P had been Bronteified though. It wasn't actually true to the book, but I'm not such a purist that I really cared. Matthew Macfayden, despite the fact that he is not Colin Firth, still induced significant swooning. However...at the very very end...I had to mentally throw up a little because they should not have added in what they added. I can't even talk about it. I heard it wasn't in the British version, so I don't see why we should have been subjected to it. There was even a little (of what could be considered) manpri action in the costuming. NOOoooo. Also, the cast did seem to spend an awful lot of time onscreen in their pajamas for some reason. But despite all of these things, it really was a very enjoyable movie, and I'm very much looking forward to getting it on DVD and seeing it more. The movie-ish things about it were very welcome. The whole mood of it is kind of giggly and light, and that's interesting. The dancing scenes were very well done! They really did a good job with what and who they cut out of the story, and the dialogue (with some notable and painful exceptions) was quite good...There's my crappy review.

Also, it's worth noting that Japanese snack food is the absolute WORST movie food. Everything is packaged over and over again inside the outer box, and makes much noise when it is unwrapped. Luckily I was seated next to a loud popcorn grabber and muncher, so I don't think she had much room to complain.

4. No candy cane ice cream for me, because I'm going to start eating healthy again. I did eat a candy cane that somebody gave me to promote Radio City Music Hall though. First candy cane of the season, and may it not be one of too many.

5. Last night I went to Isaac's piano quartet rehearsal and they sounded great! And I'm not just saying that because they read my blog...

6. We also got tickets to see the Harry Potter movie on the IMAX screen at Lincoln Square! Yay. It won't be until Tuesday, 11/22, but that's okay with us.

7. Apparently there was a Harry Potter premiere party right across from Tiffany's apartment on Friday night, which one of her piano students got to attend and get autographs and stuff. Poor Tiffany missed all the excitement sadly. Oops, didn't mean to rub it in again Tiffany... :)

8. Good night!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Happy Veterans' Day?

It doesn't seem appropriate to call it happy...but what adjective should go there instead? Thoughtful Veterans' Day? Or should it be a command, Remember Veterans' Day? That sounds condescending, like I am sure you would forget otherwise. I don't even know if I'm putting the apostrophe in the right place. My calendar has no apostrophe.

OMG Did you know Jennifer Love Hewitt is the National Veterans(') Day spokesperson! I love her boobs...I mean her work! God bless her. I really do think she's kind of adorable, and now more respectable than ever.

And there's a FAQ to answer my question about the apostrophe:

Q. Which is the correct spelling of Veterans Day?

a. "Veterans Day"
b. "Veteran's Day"
c. "Veterans' Day"

A. Veterans Day (choice a, above).
Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an "s" at the end of "veterans" because it is not a day that "belongs" to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.

vetpos05

weekend excitement

oh it's friday, and we've got some plans for a fun weekend

1. Today the Noon Recital at Rockefeller University features the Parker String Quartet, who will be playing Bartok's 5th String Quartet. Isaac is very excited because he played this in college with friends. They worked their asses off on it, because it's really hard. It's also really fun! I am not that familiar with it, but I've heard the recording of Isaac and co. playing it a couple of times.

2. Happy hour tonight, need I say more?

3. Tonight we are also going to a friend's birthday party...where lots of Spanish will probably be spoken, and we will eat yummy food, drink wine and squeeze together in a tiny cozy studio. Best way to spend a cold evening if you ask me.

4. I want to see Pride and Prejudice! Did you see Stephen Holden's review in the NYT? I think of him as hard to please, and if he liked it so much...well. Sounds like this Darcy will be different enough from the previous Colin Firth incarnation so as not to tempt too much direct comparision. Seems that he's more realistically clueless and tactless, if less dashing...

5. I am excited to take a bus to the Mitsuwa Japanese mega grocery store across the GWB. They have a shuttle leaving every 1/2 hour from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. I'm a supermarket tourist, and it's been at least 2 or 3 years since we were last at Mitsuwa to buy cute Japanese food things and eat in their food court. I can't wait.

6. Investigating the possibility of candy cane ice cream...after a nice long walk to offset caloric guilt.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

plus food

in ten minutes we will be having the best kind of seminar here at my work. I don't know what the seminar is about, and I really don't care, but I know that afterwards there will be food. And not just food, but booze as well. This is just like a happy hour, but with food. I can't tell you how happy this makes me. I will have to bring a book though. The people that Isaac works with and the people that I work with are like night and day when it comes to the happy hour-ing. They always go, we never go (well, I go, but i'm just isaac's guest...) I'm very happy for them that they are all so well balanced and don't need the free alcohol, but it was a little lonely after the last seminar. I forced someone to eat guacamole with me and watch me drink a beer last time. This time, I'll bring a book. Oh, Isaac's people aren't coming because they have their own meeting tonight.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

a few reasons I'm glad I have a new mp3 player

I was able to hear these songs for the first time today. Edited to add another song link from the Mendoza Line website.

And the album I've had on there for weeks... (you can stream Little Bird here)

Also, I just got my jury duty questionnaire in the mail a few days ago. That's where they ask you if you are a citizen non-felon who hasn't served jury duty in the past four years. Honestly I can't remember whether I served 3 years ago or 5 years ago, and I can't find the darn piece of paper which proves I was there at all. So I have no doubt I will be called in a few days. The mp3 player will make sitting in that big big waiting room so much more pleasant!

Recent developments in our apartment building!

How exciting!

1. Downstairs across the courtyard neighbors went away for like 2.5 weeks about 2 months ago. Isaac and I decided that they were probably getting married! :) Or that one of their parents died. :( When they got back, we examined them closely for clues as to which of these things had happened. I have settled on married because I see the woman in the kitchen a lot more, and see the guy on the couch drinking beer a lot more. Conclusive proof that married life has begun...

2. I think that the extremely verbal and extremely disobedient dog (No Stella NO!) who lived on the floor below ours has either moved out (goodbye Stella!) or maybe the owners have just given up.

3. The child who lives upstairs (or his/her parents) have discovered the joys of early morning Elmo. OMG, Elmo has a very penetrating voice. Everything else sounds like just background noise, but the Elmo frequency just shoots right through their floor and our ceiling. Not that Elmo has woken me up or anything, but I just wonder how early that kid is getting up these days...no matter how early I get up, it's on.

4. I wish the heaters would come on for good in our building. I know it's not that cold outside, but I'm a wimp, and I have been bundling up every night for a week. Also, I wake up every morning feeling like a dried out husk of a person because the air is so dry. I know the heaters will not improve this, but at least I will be a warm husk of a person then. Until then, I take refuge in the steamy bathroom. If Isaac leaves the bathroom door a crack open while I am showering, releasing any of the hot steamy buildup, I get unreasonably angry. I need that steam to make me feel human.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

26.2 miles that I didn't run!

Today was the NYC Marathon! The race course goes right past our workplace on 1st Avenue, and we went down to check out the runners. They start off the "elite women" 35 minutes before everyone else, and so they were the first to come through. It was amazing. There were about 10 women all in a pack, running sooooo fast. Then there were many other fast women all spread out. Did you know that the top prize for women in this year's marathon is $160,000, and that is $35,000 more than what the top man got? I think maybe it is to compensate them for giving up their reproductive years.

Here is the woman who won - Jelena Prokopcuka

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And the man, Paul Tergat:

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And look at these extremely attractive winners of the wheelchair race - I missed them going by. He looks kind of like a cartoon of Frenchman actually. Is he French? Oh, no I just checked and he's South African. That would be Edith Hunkeler (Swiss) and Ernst Van Dyk.

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I love watching other people exert themselves. Within five minutes of getting to the sidelines, I was craving a meal at McDonald's, which is extremely rare for me. I really wanted a hamburger, with those little minced onions that are so so cute.

Also, there is the joy of awarding many different championships. Of course, there are the people who are actually in first place in the category of male and female. But there are many other categories to be awarded (by me) such as:

1. First Woman Who Didn't Start with the Elite Women.

2. First Guy with a Beard. Big deal, as there was a general lack of hair in evidence.

3. First Guy in a Costume (he was a cow and looked awfully hot and sweaty, poor thing).

4. First Guy with No Shirt On. (This guy was actually someone that we knew and were looking out for, he works in our old grad school lab and I think he really was the first no shirted man).

5. First Guy in Drag. I'm sure there was one, but I didn't get to see him this year. We had to go back to work. :(

We had a good time yelling out the names of the people who put their names on their shirts, especially the ones who were running to raise money for cancer research at our workplace. At one point, a French guy went by with his name written on his shirt - Leon - and the girl next to us yells, GO LEEEE-AWWWN. All American-accenty like. And Isaac kind of cringed. (I don't know if the French guy cared or not.) Isaac's a pronunciation-snob (it's by nature and nurture, his dad's a linguist). So I assigned him the task of yelling only for the people with the most foreign-looking names. Like Bishek, and Toine, and Jelena. Well, he didn't get to cheer for Jelena, because we didn't know her name back then, and the top women don't have their names on their shirts.

So, I resisted the McDonald's with their little minced onions, and now I'm making glazed cipollini onions, yum. They had better be good since I sacrificed some good red drinking wine toward the cause.

Hope that everyone had a great weekend.

Friday, November 04, 2005

pretzel recipe update

It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out what the hell this diagram meant. Hope that you can figure it out more easily! Here's the recipe.

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Oh, and some more food pictures I forgot to post earlier.

Stacy's Berry Muffins:

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And Stacy's Pumpkin-Yogurt Delight (before I mixed it all together), as interpreted by Christine:

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And some chocolate cake I helped Isaac make (his 2nd baked good ever) You can see where my piece is missing, upper right hand corner, and his piece, lower left.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

things I ate recently

When it's been a while since I've taken a picture, I like to take pictures of what I'm eating.

Here are the pretzels I made a few weeks ago.

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Minnesota popcorn!

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We ate this in a huge hurry with the Germans the other night (picture from the GSE website) - Soft Bean Curd with Scallions.

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And Sliced Live Fish with Fish soup and Spicy Pepper (isn't that name horrific? We never ever in a million years would have ordered that, but my Chinese friend and labmate ordered it for us at a group meeting once, and I asked her to find out the English name for me and that's what it turned out to be! It's the most benign fish ever, no bones at all, just little squares of unfishy fish that is lightly fried and you can get it without the mound of peppers on request)

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And here's a picture of Isaac working hard while drinking some of the Madeira he gave me for our anniversary...he requested that I take this picture.

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Sorry for the boring post, but it's all I could think of tonight. :)

I'll take the reunions ending in 5...

I just read this hilarious set of emails and had to share. The irrationality of the human mind is such a lovely thing.

via Lindsayism.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

We should do this anniversary thing every year...

It was great. After a relatively crappy day at work for both of us, we were happy to go to the wine and cheese happy hour at 6pm and have some wine and cheese. Maybe you are wondering whether we might ruin our appetites for the big fancy meal at Babbo. But you might be forgetting that our reservation wasn't until 9:45pm. Plenty of time for a little snack, and I was starving by 6pm...So after a little comraderie with the chemists, we went home and had our anniversary Madeira.

[Backstory: We went to Portugal and the island of Madeira for our honeymoon. They make Madeira wine there. Madeira wine, we like... We liked it a LOT. We heard something about how some honeymooners there would buy a magnum of Madeira and have a drink on their anniversary each year. This wine is already really oxidized, so it doesn't go bad after opened. So we bought a couple of bottles (no magnums to be found for some reason) and we have made this a little tradition. And here are a few pictures from our honeymoon - though these are all from the Lisbon portion]

Then we opened our presents. I got Isaac the new Zagat's guide to NYC restaurants, and also got him a book, which I really got him for Christmas last year, but as it turned out his dad liked it so much we regifted it to him over New Year's. So Isaac got the paperback. From Isaac, I got 1 kilogram of chocolate and a bottle of Madeira! :) But we did not drink any more Madeira at home, we got on the subway and went out for the most expensive meal of our lives!

We had already decided that we would like to do the Babbo traditional tasting menu, which was listed on their website. There was also a pasta tasting menu, which we said, well, maybe next time...as if we will be going to this expensive place weekly. The waiter also offered us some kind of truffle tasting menu, offering to walk us through it, but we declined. I'm not sure what that would have entailed, but I think I would want to know how much I liked truffles before committing.

So I started out with the green apple bellini, yum. Not too sweet, and fizzy champagney. They also brought us some chickpea bruschetta (compliments of the chef, how sweet) which tasted delicious, but I was afraid of having some bad chickpea reaction, and having left my benadryl at home, I decided to let isaac have most of it.

Then came the first course.

Babbo Duck Bresaola with Cavolo Nero and "Giardineria"
The bresaola was like duck prosciutto, millimeter thin strips about 3/4" wide, and 2 inches long, fanned out around some kale/collard green like greens, which I think is the cavolo nero, and some pickled baby vegetables, and all surrounded by some delicious vinegar (vinagrette?). There were some adorable baby cauliflower and baby carrots, other veggies, and one perfect black olive. Somehow that olive is what I'm craving most right now.

Second course, different from the first! Pappardelle with Chanterelles and Thyme This was really good. It was simple and subtle, so we had to change gears. The mushrooms were so delicious and the pasta was just cooked perfectly, and just tasted like it was in a simple butter coating. Simple and yum! Isaac brought up at this point that he wondered whether they might freeze the pasta before cooking, and I was like, why? And he said that he heard some other restauranteur on the radio say that they froze all of their fresh-made ravioli before cooking it to make the cooking time consistent. It's true, that must be a tricky aspect of the pasta making, because none of the pasta was a shade more than al dente perfect.

Next we had the...Duck Tortelli with "Sugo Finto". I learned a new word here. Tortelli. As in a big version of tortellini...aha. This was Isaac's favorite non-dessert course. Maybe it was his favorite overall, I'm not sure. I'm not sure I can pick a favorite, this and the next two courses were so good! The duck filling inside was like a mousse. I don't want to think about how hard they blended up that duck to get it so creamy. Well, they probably added some cheese or something too. But that must be one powerful blender. The Sugo Finto was a red sauce that tasted very "deep" somehow and rich but with a tangy finish. I read on the Amateur Gourmet that it is like meat sauce without the meat.

Grilled Venison with Butternut Squash Caponata and Black Truffle Vinaigrette
Now see, we still got some truffles anyway, though I have no clue what the truffle-taste component of this dish was. The second I took a bite of this venison I thought I was in heaven. I've never had it before. My palate is so undistinguished though that to me it tasted kind of like filet mignon. It was so buttery. When combined with the vinaigrette to cut through the butteriness, it just got better. It was so delicious. Isaac can distinguish flavors a little better than me, and he said he thought it hinted of gaminess though. Then we tried to decide what gamy tasted like. I would think that venison would define the taste, it's true. What I've thought was gamy in the past, actually, that's goaty. I've tasted goaty, but not gamy I think. Except last night, only I couldn't tell how exactly it was different from other stuff I've eaten.

Coach Farm's Finest (Goat cheese) with a Cranberry Moutard - with tons of mustard seeds. It sounds weird but it was so good! I made a couple of decisions. 1. I'm getting Coach Farm goat cheese as often as possible from now on. 2. I'm going to learn to make that cranberry moutard for Thanksgiving. That would be a cranberry-based condiment worth using. Spicy, mustardy cranberries. It was a revelation. The cheese had some peppercorns in it too, and they gave us little toasts with it. Oh my God yum.

By the way, all of these portions were pretty small, so it's not like we were stuffed at all at this point. Then began the desserts.

Chestnut SpiceHoneyCake with whipped cream
This was what I think of somehow as an Italian style cake - not really moist or with much "give". Just a little flavorful dense bready cake. It was good. I was kind of thrown by the whipped cream that wasn't sweet at all. It was like having butter to go on the cake.

Bittersweet Chocolate Crema - This was amazing. It came in a teeny little ramekin, and was solid delicious chocolate, really dense, and with a kind of thin raspberry glaze on the top. At least that's what it tasted like. At this point, I also ordered a glass of Port, which went really well with the chocolate. And Isaac got...a glass of an unusual vintage Madeira, which he noticed downstairs.

Finally our last dessert course came, and what do you know they gave us two to share. These were big desserts compared with the previous two. Pear Semifreddo with Pecorino cheese and a completely decadent super-soft Cheesecake with macerated raisins, and maple sugar. And I think in retrospect it was pumpkin flavored! It did look pretty orange for a cheesecake. I think it was made with mascarpone cheese and that's why it was so soft too. It was delicious, especially the silky cheesecake with the bursty swollen raisins (they were like halfway to being grapes again) and the occasional crystallized bit of brown sugar. That was my favorite of the two. Isaac liked the less sweet, creamy frozen pear dessert. It went better with his Madeira, which wasn't as sweet as my port. But I think he liked both desserts.

Anyway, that is the complete rundown. Now that the money is spent, we'll be needing those memories, so I'm glad to have recorded it! Sorry for all the food babbling... Good night!

Edited to add links to food porn courtesy of The Amateur Gourmet - all these pictures were featured in his Babbo writeup found here. Oh, and honeymoon pictures, since I'm sure you are all interested. Gosh we look deliriously happy. Must have been all the Madeira we were drinking. :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I remembered...

I knew there was something hotbabe-related that I have been eating lately besides popcorn. I just couldn't remember until I was packing up my lunch this morning. Tuna Noodle Casserole!

When I put together our menu for the week, I got an irrestible craving for the tuna noodle hot dish (new MN vocab usage alert). I've never eaten such a thing. I also had to get Isaac's approval - this required the careful choosing of other Isaac favorites to cancel out the weirdness of having something new, and also having something so very canned tuna-y. When I finally got ready to break the news to him, I hesitated so much that he was like, come on, get it over with. But he said I could make it, and we just finished the last bit of it. To tell the truth I'm a little relieved. It got a little fishier every day... I did enjoy making the white sauce though, that always makes me feel like I'm really cooking.

By the way, happy anniversary to me and Isaac! Last year at this time, I said I couldn't believe it had already been a year. This morning I woke up feeling like it had been ten and not two. I won't pause to think whether that is good or bad - it is what it is. Happy Anniversary Isaac!