Thursday, December 25, 2008

2mm born at 9:58 pm


Scanning Electron microscope photo of a kidney stone crystal

Well, it looks like John has passed his kidney stone at just before 10 this evening. It came late on Christmas day, but I think it was still his best Christmas present ever.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!



Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you and yours have a warm and happy holiday, hopefully we'll get to see you very soon. Chalupa's favorite present so far is this little frog we call Mr. Ribets, she's obsessed with him. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A long day for Chalupa


Usually, Chalupa lives the life of Riley. She sleeps all day, gets taken for long walks and usually gets a bite or two of whatever I eat for lunch. But as everyone knows she's on a strict diet to get rid of her almost kidney stone.* So, she's had no bites of apple or carrot or anything, no dingo bones, no chicken treats, nothing. And at the wee hours last night we left her to go to the emergency room. And then we spent most of the day holed up in the hotel trying to recover from the night before....well I was anyway, John was busy running his company from his laptop and cellphone while also trying to pass his own kidney stone. When we finally ventured out of the hotel we headed to John's father and step-mom's house for dinner, where they're huge black greyhound mix loves to lick Chalupa's but. I think this is one definition of hell for little Chalupa, and because Chalupa has been so starved for treats she tried to pick up one of Lucy's bones and Lucy promptly pounced on her. Lucy is easily a 70lb dog, and Chalupa is about 10lbs. It was a scene, with Chalupa screaming bloody murder. It was over in a second, but little Chalups was completely exhausted by the time we took her back to the hotel. So, hopefully the rest of our vacation goes a little more smoothly, here's hoping we've seen the last of emergency rooms and dog fights....for this vacation anyway. (knock on wood.)
*It's now completely proven that not only do pets and their owners look a like, but John and Chalupa actually share all their medical conditions too. Soon, I might have to put John on the special medical quick dissolving food...and no treats for him either, if it's good enough for Chalupa....

ER

There's nothing like going to the emergency room in the middle of one of the coldest nights on record, in fact the only thing that beat it, is getting back to the hotel a little after 4, then sleeping til 8, then getting up and driving to the grocery store to fill a prescription for pain medication. The year I met John was 1997 and I distinctly remember him taking a four day weekend to go back to NYC (we were working at a design studio in Baltimore at the time) for a little vacation. When he got back on the Tuesday after his trip, he had a great story about how his "mini-vacation" turned into a trip to the emergency room. Now, about 11 years later on another "vacation" John again had to get to the emergency room in the middle of the night. Only this time I drove him. He's doing well, he has a kidney stone, but has yet to pass it, he has spells of intense pain, mixed in with a few hours of feeling fine. For the most part the St. Joe's Emergeny Room was uneventful. But, it was amusing to watch some bozo walk in with a Raven's fishing lure stuck to the top of his head. Yes, it was a Raven's fishing lure, and it was embedded to the top of his head. I'd like to hear that story, and actually I tried to listen in, as he was interviewed by the triage nurse, but they must have suspected he needed privacy because they quickly shut the door when he started talking. I guess the world will never know....maybe he had a run in with a fan from Dallas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wd-50

Our friend Christine was kind enough to share a $200 gift certificate she got from a vendor to this restaurant called wd-50. Not to be confused with wd-40, the can of oil. The place was tiny, but beautiful and funky, they had one page for appetizers and entrees, another for desserts and coffee, then the rest of the hefty menu was devoted to wine and alcohol. The place was a scene, instead of bread we got these irresistible flat sesame bread, more akin to very thin crackers. They were surprisingly addictive. Our entrees were sparse but well designed, and good flavors. And our desserts were again very managed, tiny portions arranged in interesting ways on the plate. Although Christine's dessert had fig pudding plops that looked like plops....of something. We were happy to find when we got our bill we were about $18 short of the total, so we all agreed the best course of action would be to order another dessert. This time the cheesecake, which was delish, again it was little bits of cheesecake but covered in a kind of gelatin. They described each dish to us in great culinary detail, but to us it was like little pockets of marshmallow with cheesecake in the middle...yumm. So, would we go here again?? Maybe...if we someone gave us a gift certificate...food always taste better when it's free. :) btw the waitress did have a sense of humor, but didn't laugh when she said the balance left on the gift certificate was $2.80 and I asked if we could get $2.80 worth of the wine. hee.

Up early



It's been a long time since my lazy ass has been up before 7, but last Thursday I had to catch a train at 8:03 to Boston for a lunch meeting. And I set my alarm for 6:45am, the only thing that kept my going was the thought of a nice long train ride, I just kept telling myself I could sleep on the train. Which, I did, happily. Here's a pic or two from the early morning train leaving Penn station.

and now pics of Chalupa



Monday, December 15, 2008

China + Puerto Rico = Philippines

After feasting on Dimsum Sunday morning with Tim, you'd think we would take it easy for the rest of the day...you'd think so, but you'd be wrong. After a fun hour of ice skating (and I use the term ice 'skating' loosely) at Wollman Rink in Central Park, John, and K and P all walked over to a fairly new Puerto Rican restaurant in our neighborhood called Sofrito. (Be warned, they charge $10 for sharing a plate, even though our friends ordered a salad and a side dish to go with their entree...you're better off not telling them you are going to share). We ordered a pitcher of sangria, and it was so fruity and delicious that none of us realized how spiked with alcohol it was..at least not until we stood up and tried to walk to the restroom. I ordered the Roast Pork with pigeon peas and rice, and I was shocked to see half a pork shoulder on my plate, the entree was priced at $18, and it was gigantic. I could easily feed my whole family with it. I ate a fraction of the perfectly roasted fall off the bone meat that was very similiar to the Filipino dish, Lechon. And now have a tons of roast pork leftovers. Funny how our day started with Dimsum, and ended with traditional Puerto Rican food and both places reminded me of Filipino food. John even accused me and my family of holding out on him with the special Dimsum dessert, I distinctly remember my Lola making the dessert filling...it's funny how one taste can bring back a flood of memories.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What do you get when you cross...



hundreds of helium balloons, an 8 piece choir, a continuous loop of the Linda Evans and Joan Collins fight scene from Dynasty projected on all four walls, and a shirtless (hunky) santa? An agency party, of course.

Dimsum




Our friend Tim was visiting us this weekend, so as usual we take him on our food tour of NYC. With the usual stops at Veselka, another great beer bar DBA and our favorite spot for Dim Sum: The Golden Unicorn. Ummmmmm....Dim Sum is a great experience especially with a crowd of people, but we did pretty good with just the three of us. Our favs our the steamed pork bun (remove the paper liner on the bottom before eating), the deep fried bacon wrapped shrimp, the shrimp noodle, the sesame ball dessert. And today we tried another dessert that we LOVED it was a small rice flour ball filled with finely ground peanuts, coconut, sesame seeds and sugar. Delish.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

missing money?

Run don't walk, or type as fast as your fingers will carry you to www.missingmoney.com where you can look up your name, and those of your family and friends to see if The Man owes you/them money. I saw this on the news tonight, and tried it and am 100% sure I found that my step-father-in-law is due money by Met life. It's like a lottery that you didn't even know you entered....that is a good lottery...not the kind where they stone you to death......like you read about all those years ago in English class. Enjoy!

Our Amazon/Galapagos trip journal is up

I just uploaded a bunch of pictures and text for our trip journal. It was back in 2007 so I was a little foggy on some of the details, but I'll fill the journals out a little more. But check it out, it was like another world. Both the Amazon and the Galapagos should be on your list of places to visit.

We got a lot of mileage out of our underwater/shock proof/drop proof olympus stylus 770 sw. And we also used John's nice camera: I think it's a Sony, I'll fill this in later.

Favorite websites to order goodies from



In case you are looking for a good place to order stuff for clients, friends, etc. I highly recommend both Dancing Deer and John and Kira's. Dancing Deer has super yummy cookies and brownies, I haven't tried their cakes yet, but I'm sure they are great, and they don't use preservatives and bake it fresh to your order. John and and Kira's has adorable little ladybugs and bees, and they have THE most divine chocolate ganace filled figs then dipped in dark chocolate....omg they are absolutely amazing. And don't forget to search for coupon codes before you place your order, I found one on retailmenot.com for the Dancing Deer stuff I bought.

Dancing Deer always gets rave reviews from my clients.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Worst Christmas presents ever

5. Very large ceramic representation of the last supper.
One year my mom decided to buy each of her children (and our spouses) a huge last supper sculpture. I'm sure this was a great deal from Wal-Mart, she love a bargain, and she loves her religion to her it was the perfect present. The thing was huge and heavy, easily 18 inches wide by almost 10 inches tall. I don't know how she bought four of these things by herself. But she happily gave one to each one of us. Props to John for trying to push our last supper ceramic into Geoff and Pat's pile. But Geoff was on to us, he made sure we didn't "forget" to pack it in our car. And we were almost out the door, too.

4. Underwear.
For some reason both my mother-in-law and my step mother-in-law found it appropriate to buy me underwear for Christmas. What's worse was that it was usually little girl underwear, I mean really young underwear, like I was 5. Puppies, kittens, maybe even days of the week. The last straw was when John's little sister (who is 10 years younger then me) got more grown up underwear than I did. She had normal underwear in solid colors, and I was still opening up underwear with little duckies. Then my step-mom-in-law goes for all the bling, the ones where rudolf's nose lights up, and plays music. Again, maybe if I was 5, I'd think this was cool. But even back then, I thought underwear was a weird present...and don't even get me started on the sizes...when you buy underwear for someone and you don't know their size, I think smaller is better, lest you send the message that you think the person has a big ass.

3. Log
This one John gave to his high school girlfriend's little brother. Remember Ren and Stimpy? Remember the fake commercial they had of Log? It's log, it's log....it's big, it's heavy it's wood? Well, it was a little joke between John and the little elementary school kid, but that same kid did not find it funny at Christmas to open the super-hyped present of a real log.

2.Water wings
Again, John out did himself. The same family mentioned above, was treated to a little gift for their new parakeet the year after the log. Only thing was they had to kill their old parakeet because it was having seizures and they couldn't afford the medical care, so they drowned the poor thing. The water wings brought every family member to tears (even her dad).

1. Michael Jackson accessories.
One year a long time ago, my sisters and I opened our presents from an Aunt with my cousin (her son) close by watching. We each got some kind of Michael Jackson accessory, I'm not saying that MJ himself would wear these things, no. I'm saying they were accessories with Michael Jackson essence, or they were inspired by him or at least his clothes. There was a time when MJ ruled the airwaves and he was the coolest, and this was loooooong past that time. But even if it wasn't, a stretchy belt with a glittered white glove buckle was not something any self-respecting fan would wear. Nor would they wear rainbow suspenders with white glittery shoes "doing" the moonwalk. But we thanked our aunt, it was Christmas after all, we tried our best to be gracious. But I guess the looks on our faces gave us away, because my cousin who was the oldest cousin, and always the smart ass; took great pleasure in our pain, he was in hysterics laughing at us with our Micheal Jackson stuff. And he was particularly happy that it was a sincere present from his mom.

Until it was his turn and my mom gave him his present, from our family. We watched, as he carefully opened, what looked like maybe a scarf, but once it was fully opened it was a piece of cloth. Now my other aunt was a seamstress, so it was pretty obvious that my mom hadn't bought him a present at all, and only went to the other room to wrap up some remnant fabric my seamstress aunt had left over. But the look on my cousin's face, mere moments after he was taunting us for getting the worst presents ever...well we took special delight in relishing that look, when my mom proceeded to hold up the fabric and list all the things he could make from it, "you can make a shirt, or a vest..." It was too much, we nearly peed we were laughing so hard. So the worst present ever: remnant fabric. But it's pretty funny when you aren't the recipient.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Shameless



Which is worse, the fact that Chalupa has a winter coat and gets her dog food heated up before she eats it? or the fact that we walked by a homeless man eating some bread at the park and she tried to beg from him? I already felt guilty just walking past knowing that her coat was probably warmer than his, but then she had to go and try to beg for some of his food. She has no shame. In Chalupa's defense she hates her coats, she really gets sheepish when I make her put them on, and she has never been afraid of the homeless people she sees, in fact she prefers them over most of the kids that try to pet her.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

From a beer lovers paradise to a modern Lebanese Grill



Although for most of the day we managed to veg out in the living room watching old movies and letting John recover from his cold/cough/flu. We actually got out of the apartment early and braved Macy's to catch their early day specials for one or two x-mas presents (hundreds of people crammed in trying to get to escalators was not a pretty sight, we stayed long enough to pay for two quick purchases). We then headed to one of our favorite brunch spots in NYC. Favorite because it's usually empty early on the weekends, and it's got a limited but good menu, and tons of great beer. The Ginger Man is one our favorites for their vast selection of beers and the nice folks that work there. They even let John and I come in an hour an half before they officially opened to just sit at the bar. (Well he sat while I went down to the corner to do more shopping.) I recommend the Victory Storm King on Cask, and the Anchor Old Foghorn Barley wine.

Then for dinner we wandered around our neighborhood hoping to find something close to the pinkberry (yes, it's over rated, but the green tea with the mochi topping is awesome--miranda's suggestion). And we found Naya, what I think may be the the polar opposite of Gingerman. Just take a look at the pictures. I think they had the most beautiful urinal I've ever seen. And the food was really good too. It was a little pricey and we felt like we were eating in Tron, but it was worth it. (Plus it was very close to the pink berry).

Here are the pics, guess which place is which.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Last chance for "Yes, we did" posters



















Click here to order a poster before it's too late.

Christmas party
















I spent today recovering from John's office Christmas party last night, it was great fun to see everyone and spread some holiday cheer. We missed a few friends that didn't make it (did the Valus get our invite?) but over all it was nice to catch up or meet with friends, clients and co-workers. As usual I didn't get to eat a bite of anything, but had plenty of white wine, John and I stopped off at the Pig n Whistle on 2nd, and I got a Shepard's pie. And this evening I'm going to forego my toughest gym class and stay home and make some home made chicken soup, since John has been fighting off a cough/cold these last few days. Which come to think of it, he probably put a lot of our friends at risk of infection last night. :) But I read on plastered poster outside our building that you can actually spread more germs by shaking hands than by kissing. Good thing, John loves to gives hugs and kisses.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

oodles of noodles



















Every holiday in Baltimore we have a fun time eating and then dashing off to the next house. And you'd think with so many houses to visit we'd be stuffed like the the Turkey on Thanksgiving day. But each Thanksgiving night (that I can remember) we get to the hotel tired and _hungry_. Usually we eat Thanksgiving dinner around 3pm, then we hang out, then we go to visit John's step dad and grandmom (where we have dessert). And unlike Filipino households, they actually put food away even while people are still there! :) Anyway, this year we stumbled into 7-11 around 10:30 and struck gold, soup in microwavable bowls. We by-passsed the traditional cup of noodles for some more exotic offerings. I got a plain chicken and noodles, and John got another brand and we were going to see which one was better. But since the only fork we had to eat with was Chalupa's dogfood fork, I washed it carefully and we took turns. I think mine was better, since John's "special finishing sauce" turned out to be some kind of oil. Tee hee. He was bragging about the sauce until he realized what it was.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!


















Well, John stayed late on Tuesday and finished up all his work, so we were able to leave by 12 on Wednesday, and made pretty good time driving to Baltimore. Now we are off to do three thanksgivings, two today and one more tomorrow. Hope you and yours have a great thanksgiving! One thing I'm grateful for is that we elected a smart, rational President. If that's not something to be thankful for I don't know what is.

The picture is of John and Chalupa right after we put up our Christmas tree last weekend. Enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Solar powered
















How about Chalupa for Secretary of Energy? She has a lot of respect for alternative fuels, like the sun, and dingo bones.

Auto Repair Neighborhood

















One of the things I love about NYC is that I can get practically anywhere in the city by walking and taking the subway. The AUTO REPAIR garage I got my car fixed was all the way on the west side, on 38th Street bet 11th and 10th Avenues. The building next door housed horses, as far as I could smell. And there was another garage across the street that had a million taxis in it. Here's a picture of my walk to the subway. Along the street were countless buses parked. New York is beautiful, even in it's ugliest parts.

A square deal

















The above picture is my dash board, which is nice and black now that the Service Engine Soon light is off. :)

Well, I took my car in this morning to a tiny little place that was listed as one name in the phonebook, another name on their business card, and just Auto Repair on it's sign. But I feel very lucky to have found this garage on 38th Street between 10th and 11th avenue.* It was dumb luck, this was probably the fourth place I called, the other places either hungup on me, try to transfer me and hung up on me, or had an answering machine. This place actually answered the phone, so they got my business. And for all my worrying (I had trouble sleeping last night) it all turned out fine.

I got there a little after 11, and I was confused, because when I walked through the door there were two sets of stairs, and another door, and I wasn't sure where to go for the office. But the door slammed and attracted the attention of Jacob, the guy in charge. This guy was a young Reiger, but with a very thick Russian accent. He asked me to wait a minute and he'd tell me what was wrong with my car. I watched through the garage window while he plugged a little computer into my car, and then decided waiting outside was better then sucking in the fumes from the idling car in the garage. As soon as I got outside, he showed me the reading, and let me know it was my transmission. I asked how much, and he quoted me $175. When I picked up my car the total came to $190, and I feel like a good a great deal. The relief is overwhelming, I'm so glad my Saturn lives on to drive again...maybe this bodes well for the US automakers, surely if my little Saturn Sedan LS can pull through, they can get their shit together.

*I've had much work luck at other places in Manhattan, when I first moved here a place right off the West Side highway tried to tell me I needed new brakes to get my NYS inspection sticker. Only thing was I had just gotten new brakes like 6 months before---and they didn't cost nearly as much.

Things my mom did in her one day visit
















1. Asked if she could give Chalupa a lollipop
2. Asked, what she should could cook for Thanksgiving (for John and his Father and step-mom especially), and suggested Babingka (a filipino dessert made with sticky sweet rice, coconut milk and brown sugar)
3. Actually cooked Babingka (this is a big step since she hasn't shown much interested in cooking since her strokes happened about this time last year.)
4. Told me about my other sis's dog, and what a nice face he has.
5. Enjoyed a hearty "chicken potch pie" (she couldn't hear or didn't understand chicken pot pie) at a new pub down the street from us.

I actually left my mom alone three times while she was here. Twice to walk the dog, and once to run to the grocery for an extra can of coconut milk. I was worried since we never really leave her alone since the strokes, and I thought she would be worried or confused, but each time I got back she was fine. If the tv was on she would watch tv, if not, she put dishes in the sink, and tried to pack her stuff. All in all a pretty successful visit.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Service Engine Soon









There are few things in life that strike as much horror in the hearts of many as the the "Service Engine Soon" light on the dash of your car. Now, I live in New York, and many here have never owned a car, or if they do, it's not a primary source of travel. And neither is mine, but it used to be; my little 1998 Saturn that I bought just before Halloween in 1997 has done really well by me. I've attributed it to my religious oil changes EVERY 3,000 miles AND recently I've been paying extra for the "high-mileage" oil, since my little silver sedan has over 170,000 miles on her. I remember test driving her when she only had about 7 miles, my how far we've come.

It's the car that I paid for myself, with no down payment, and no co-signer, just my junked up car as a "trade-in" The Mercury Topaz I used in college that had never seen an oil change as long as I owned it. My old clunker was given to me by my dad, but I had no idea how to take care of it, and it lasted fine, until I graduated, and started my hour long commute to work every day...umm and hour to _and _from, 2 hours total. So, when that car died (a painful, expensive and long process) I decided I was going to do whatever it took to make MY new car last. 11 years later and my Saturn still looks pretty, but I fear the worst from the dreaded "service engine soon" light, I've had too many friends tell me that means death to the car. I always said I would drive my Saturn into the ground, and perhaps I have. I'll let you know on Monday, when I take her in to be looked at. I'm trying to keep expectations low. She's too old a car for me to put too much money into, but it is convenient to have a car on hand when we travel to see family...but we don't really use my car all that much, it's just the convenience. If the Amtrak allowed our little furry daughter Chalupa, we would much rather take the train. Bah.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chalupa recovering

















Chalupa is on her way to what we hope is a speedy recovery, she's already back to jumping on the couches and bed with ease. (She has a footstool/ottoman type thing to help her onto the bed). And yesterday and today she has enjoyed the company of my mom and Patrish. She politely asked Patrish if she could sit with her last night. And today I caught her in one of her favorite past times, sun bathing.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This is curious: blogpsot = biblestudy

I inadvertantly typed http://flavanoids.blogpsot.com/ (blogpsot instead of blogspot) and got directed to a website for bible study online.

Chalupa's sick

















Chalupa started peeing blood in her urine early Sunday. And I took to her to the Vet on Monday, where they suspected a possible urinary tract infection, but since her bladder was empty by the time we walked there, I had to bring her back again early Tuesday morning. Where they kept her practically the whole day. They found out that she had a lot of "sludge" in her bladder, and asked us to put her on special food for 12 weeks, it's "dissolving" food that will help pass all the stuff from her bladder. It's not a kidney stone yet, but if the "sludge" doesn't pass naturally they will have to do surgery. So, we all have to be very strict with little Chalupa, even though the holidays are right around the corner, we can not give her any kind of treat or human food. Poor little thing, one bright spot, that since she has been injected with the medicine her urine has been blood free. She had a hard day on Tuesday though, she was visibly sore and would not jump up on the furniture like she likes to do. This picture of her, is on a cushion and blanket I made for her on the floor, and her cuddling with John and telling him all the awful things they did to her at the vet.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Counter. Organics.

















We had a busy weekend, with some great company over on Friday, and then the Cooper (re)Union on Saturday. By the end of the day on Saturday I was exhausted, after my frenzied cleaning and cooking on Friday evening, then staying up til the wee hours playing wii. :)

I was glad when someone suggested at the John's reunion we go out for dinner, not that I wasn't enjoying the feast of fried appetizers. Because we were having dinner with some folks who don't normally get to go out in the city we let them take the lead. Heather has mentioned interest in an organic cafe, so I suggested an organic, vegetarian bistro: Counter.

I was a little apprehensive, because I like vegetarian stuff, but I usually don't feel full afterwards, and it was a place we had only walked by, but the wait at Counter for the 5 of us was only 5 minutes, and as soon as we got our appertizers I knew we had picked the right place. I ordered the HUMMUS ROYALE. $15 (Grilled soy merguez, spiced seitan ragoût & grilled flatbread triangles.) and for my entree the ITALIAN FARMHOUSE PANINI. $14 (Walnut-lentil pâté, plum tomato, rosemary aïoli - on a crunchy rustic Italian ciabatta.) I also ordered the CHEF GERAUD’S POMMES FRITES. $7----did I mention I was starving and worried the portions would be small?

The grilled pitas with the hummus were divine, and our waitress was top knotch bringing more pitas without us having to ask. And my Panini was so yummy, and gigantic, I took half of it home. And was able to eat one large Pomme Frite before asking them to wrap that up too. Now I have great leftovers to eat for lunch, and a great new place to take friends, especially vegetarian friends. But the flavor and the service was so great, I think anyone would enjoy it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vote for change

The election is over, and Obama is president elect. But this vote for change animation is too good...so I'd like to share it. It's very well designed. Thanks to Pat for sending this to me.


Obama '08 - Vote For Hope from MC Yogi on Vimeo.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Our lady of Veselka

















































John and I love the Ukrainian diners, and they seem to be a rare and endangered species now a days. But we can always count on Veselka for a nice soup, some perogies, potato pancakes, blintzes, etc. It's a mob scene for brunch on the weekends, but if you go in the evening there is barely a wait, and you still get their prompt service.

Since our beloved Kiev has gone the way of the dodo bird, and Teresa's has disappeared; we have been relying on Veselka to fill our bellies, and are never disappointed. We always walk in and choose the desserts we would like to order from their enormas glass cases, but after we chow down on our main courses, we never have enough room for dessert. Which says a lot since both John and I never miss meals...if you know what I mean.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rachel Ray taping


















Yesterday, I took the day off and went to a Rachel Ray taping with my friend Miranda. They asked us to be in line by 10:15, I accidentally left my apartment early [anyone who knows me, knows how time challenged my family can be]. For some reason I thought it was further away, and I planned on walking and I didn't want to have to rush and arrive --all covered in sweat--for the daytime tv cameras. But as it turned out, the studio where they tape the Rachel Ray show is only about 8 blocks away. And since I left a little after 9, I expected to be one of the first people there, if not the first, I thought I'd have time to grab a quick bite to eat. I was surprised when I turned the corner of 44th Street, and there were about 50 people already chattering, snacking, and waiting in line. The small print on the email confirmation says that tickets are not guaranteed, so I assume they allow for more tix in case of no shows. It was fun, but turned out to be an extraordinarily long day. While we were in line we were informed that taping is expected to go until 2 or 2:30, I thought that was still reasonable, but it turned out we didn't get out until quarter to 4. Rachel herself thanked us at the end of the day, and expressed her appreciation that we had to sit for so many segments, evidently it's not always like this.

I have to hand it to Rachel Ray, she has a lot of energy, and it's really all her. She was warm and friendly to the crowd, and it seemed like the people she worked with genuinely had affection for her. We left with not one but TWO snacks of the day. Which delighted both Miranda and I, and we got a Nintendo DS game. We are not allowed to say who the guests were, or who the winners of their big you think you can cook contest is. But what was most interesting to me was watching the whole set. If you've never watched the Rachel Ray show, the audience is seated in a big circle, that rotates to whichever set they are filming. And the sets were brightly colored and fun. The reason why we were there for so long as that they taped several segments, most for one episode, but a few for another episode. So we know we'll be on Nov 24, and I'll have to see about the second show. We got great seats, center second row, so we think we'll be on camera for at least a few seconds.

The other fun part was eaves dropping on other audience members, I overhead one lady complaining about our treatment at the Rachel Ray waiting room, she boldly declared her love of Martha Stewart, and how Martha had enough seating for everyone in the room, and how they also had a nice big spread of cookies, coffees and teas at the Martha Stewart Show, and then she went on to list the give aways that EVERYONE in the audience received. In the Rachel Ray waiting room approx 10 people had to stand in awkward areas, and we had half-defrosted/half-stale Sarah Lee plain bagels, and some half decent pastries that went fast). And at the end of the show while we waited for the elevator in yet another long line, another disgruntled audience member peered over her glasses to examine her new Nintendo DS game, "we spent all day here, and all we get is _this_"

Hee hee, I kept my expectations low and had a good time. Although I think I'll try for Martha Stewart tix next time. :)

Close-up, she's got Bette Davis eyes

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chalupa portrait

















This picture reminds me of a Hopper painting. What do you think? Of course Chalupa is taking a moment to honor the memory of all our veteran's. She's very thoughtful that way.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend in Baltimore

Last weekend I was in PA going door to door for Obama, this weekend I was in Baltimore celebrating my mom's birthday (and Obama's victory). My mom, is a lifelong republican, and she came out early, very early for Obama, even when Hillary was still the front runner. I asked her if she voted, and she said yes, she voted for Obama. It's a big deal, not just because she's a lifelong republican, she also has racist tendencies. But she was happy Obama won, and when I asked her if my dad voted for Obama, she said she wasn't sure, and when I asked why? she said, "you know, you're dad is _funny_." And she shook her head slightly, like she didn't know what was wrong with him.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Battling Hate Email part 2

So it took a few days but the person who had sent me the "for your country's sake email" finally got back to me. Here is her email, followed by my response.

A, This is not how I may feel. Please stop taking all this to heart. We will all probably never find out whats true or false. Iam so sorry to have offended you. These e-mails are not always my thoughts but those of others. Again Iam sorry.
-------

Hi S,

I understand that this may not be what you feel, but by passing it on, you too are guilty of spreading lies that create the culture of fear and hate. I know you, and I know you didn't mean to, but it's bad enough that emails are out there and it's even worse when I get them from loves ones. I refuse to be silent about these things. I read a quote recently by Martin Luther King, Jr and I think it applies

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

A

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Free Obama sticker



















Get your free sticker from moveon.org or contribute a little dough and get more stickers.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope"














































video video




Yesterday was one for the record books. We were anxious, nervous, excited and optimistic. And we were glued to the television until finally we were able to see our man Mr. Barack Obama make his first speech as the President elect of the United States of America. I think I was in shock, I was happy, but in shock. The whole thing is still sinking in for me and, I'm just so happy and relieved.

We could hear the roar of the crowds and screaming from outside as we sat and watched on 21st street, and decided to go join the festivities at Union Square. The square was just filled with hundreds of people, we were all so joyous and happy and sharing in the celebration. It was similar to when we were in France years ago and they had just won the world cup. People were climbing the statues, waving the flag, and chanting "Obama!," "Yes, we can," "Yes we did" and "No more Bush". We also sang the national anthem, and just screamed and shared sheer joy with perfect strangers. Although we stayed out til past 2 last night to celebrate, I couldn't wait to get up this morning. It certainly is a new dawn for America.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

While I waited to vote...

So, I waited in line to vote today. The line outside moved briskly, but when I made it into the basement of my local synagogue, I was surprised but happy to find a swarm of people waiting in zig-zagging lines. I wormed my way toward the district 14 line and ended up behind an older woman who appeared to be Jewish. We chatted and commented on the excitement in the air, and then she asked me if I watched channel 14. I looked at her blankly, she then said MSNBC? And I said, oh yes, I watch MSNBC, it's on a different channel for us because we have RCN cable.

She said, in her magazine that there is this woman who has her own show. And I said, who? Rachel Maddow? She said, yes, then proceeded to say how much she likes her and her show. And I agreed saying she was really sharp. Then the woman went on to say that in the magazine it says she was gay, and she said "I never knew that." Again I didn't exactly know where she was going with this, but I agreed "I didn't know that either." She showed me the picture in her magazine of Rachel Maddow looking very butch and smiling next to her [presumed] partner. Then the woman turned to me and muttered, "it took me 45 years to find a husband, I should have been gay."

Today's the day, make it count!

Vote Obama today!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fighting the Good Fight
















So, this weekend I volunteered with the Obama campaign to help canvas voters in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The picture above is the Wilkes-Barre campaign office, I was actually sent to another smaller location more downtown. But I met and worked with two other New Yorkers, who were enthusiastic and great fun to be with. We went knocking on doors and passing out brochures. Then we enjoyed a triumphant dinner at Thai Thai, a nice little place within walking distance of the downtown campaign office.

I then drove back Saturday night, had a good night's sleep, and drove back again on Sunday. This time I was sent to the Pittston headquarters, and there I did more canvassing. But this time we were just placing door hangers on the doors of the people on our list. The door hangers listed their polling site, along with voting information, including voting rights. I had a great time. It was a beautiful day, and people were coming out of their houses to talk to me, they were glad to see me. One guy came out and proudly pointed out his Obama/Biden sign, and declared he had been a lifelong Republican. Another older gentleman quickly came to the door just as I was leaving, and when I explained that I was just leaving voter information behind, he asked, "for who?" and when I said "Obama" a big smile spread on his face, and he said " I'll take him." A young woman who passed me complimented me on my Bmore for Obama shirt, and I proudly gave credit to my big sis. Actually that shirt got tons of compliments from other volunteers, too. Note: the image shown on cafe press is a little different, my shirt has three-quarter length blue sleeves and it's cut for a woman.

Granted, I'm sure the people on our list were vetted Democrats or Obama supporters, but the lifelong Republican wasn't on my list at all. He just saw me working and wanted to talk. There is definitely something in the air. And I know I sound crazy but I saw a faint horizontal rainbow on my drive there and back...it can only mean good things to come. It was a long haul for me, and I had a pretty stressful week with work, but I felt I had to do as much as I could to make this dream a reality. And I feel good about what I did this weekend. It was a great weekend to be out and working for a campaign I believe in. So get out and vote tomorrow, and make triple sure that you're vote counts by reading the directions. Many states have an "all Democrat" choice, but you STILL have to select a candidate for president!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Battling Hate Email

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Election day is almost here, and as a result I'm getting more and more desperate spam mail attacks on Obama. I received one today entitled "Please read...for your country's sake" and the large headline in the email was this "Can Muslims be Good Americans?" Then it went on to list all the reasons why they can not be good Americans, the email is full of lies and half truths. And of course ends with Obama is a Muslim, and he has sworn himself in on the Koran, etc. etc.

Here is a copy of my response (names have been changesd):

Susan,

This email is completely false. 100% untrue. Obama is NOT a muslim. He is a Christian, and always has been. You can look up similar accusations here http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/muslimfaith.asp

But the bigger issue here is that this email and others like it promote fear and hate of someone of a different race or religion. Look at how crazy this email is, would you even read it if it said, "Can Polish be good Americans?" This is the kind of stuff the Nazis used to build hatred for the Jews.

Attack Obama because of his policies, because of the issues, but please do not make baseless, false, hateful attacks. I love and respect you, but this email is racist, and only spreads hate and fear. If you think you and your family is exempt it's not, people can be racist against whites, too, and look at little Michelle. If she hasn't experienced racism yet just from the color of her skin, she soon will. And emails like this continue the cycle of hate and fear. What if people in the neighborhood started saying she was a Muslim, a Hindu. or whatever? What if they said that Kareem was? It's just not rational, there has been a lot of these emails going around that build a culture of fear and they are mainly tolerated because some people actually believe it's plausible, that well Obama is black and his father is from Kenya, so maybe it's true. But the exact same accusations can be said of Michelle, or of me for that matter. And they would be just as false.

I'm ashamed of my country when we resort to fear tactics like these, no one of either party should ever stoop this low.

With respect,
AJC

Vote Barack

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Super-Obama graffiti

Chalupa's halloween costume

















This is Chalupa's halloween costume. She only tolerates it for a little while, and her patience wears thin once she sees the camera.
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99 miles to Philly









In honor of the Phillies, we had philly cheese steaks last night, well mine was chicken but you get the point. We ordered from
99 Miles to Philly as they recently opened a new location just down the street from us. It was a cold rainy night yesterday, much like the one that made them call the ball game the day before, and we ordered and they delivered promptly. The only argument was whether my onion rings were better then John's waffle fries. They were very crispy and stacked in small paper bags, so that they were kept nice an crispy while enroute (but really they are only an avenue away from us). Like I said, I got the chicken, and choose Provolone and with grilled onions. It was delicious, and big. Like a footlong sub, I saved the other half for lunch today. John got the steak with his choice of cheese (cheddar, american or provolone) and "wit or witout" onions. And we were both happy, and not too pricey either.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bowlingo





Had a great dinner and tons o' fun playing Bowlingo with A and J (another couple with the initials A and J--so we're bound to get along) over the weekend. Amster made a beautiful dinner and then we had delicious Chocolate Room cupcakes. These cupcakes were so soft and moist and the frosting was smooth, not too sweet, and beautifully spilling over the edges.
Gave us plenty of energy for the Bowlingo at Brownstone Billiards, I'm talking a pseudo plastic mini bowling lane, with real duck pin size bowling balls, and (get ready for this) strings! Strings attached to the pins, it was wacky enough to bowl in two little game lines (we had to feed dollars in to start the game) the rest of the place was filled with pool tables, and then one line of pingpong, and 3 tables of air hockey. Which I have to admit I have a special place in my heart for air hockey--one of the games we played as kids in the forbidden (to girls at least) arcade, that, and I kick ass at it. :) But don't take my word for it, check out the photos, sorry, I couldn't get a great photo of the marionette bowling pins...that's something you'll have to experience for yourself.