Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I recently saw Precious, and it's a must see film. Yes, it's difficult to watch and yes it's nearly heart breaking but from reading about some of the students my brother-in-law teaches ( I think this story deserves to be told. The cast is amazing and the use of subtle special effects to enhance the story telling is seamless. For example there's a quick scene where Precious is getting ready for school and in the mirror she sees a beautiful thin blond girl. It's an unobtrusive way of letting the audience know more about Precious. It's filled with seemingly effortless effects that never intrude upon the narrative. I hope the inner city kids watch this and get it, I hope they can find some resilience in their lives, and I hope that this opens up discussion about domestic abuse and how more help is needed for good kids in unbearable situations. This story has stayed with me, and I have to say it had the best villan I've seen in a long time, scarier and more psychological than Dr. Hannibal Lecter. No one else can f you up quite like your mom.

Mountain Goats and Final Fantasy

We headed over to Webster Hall last night and caught a great show, Final Fantasy opened for The Mountain Goats. And Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy) was cooky and pretty good, plucking his violin and shouting into the instrument microphone. He also used a Loop machine to pick and choose bits of instrumentals, and sometimes had an off-beat drummer join him on stage. They were a nice warm up to The Mountain Goats, in full disclosure I don't know the MG very well. Only a few songs that I've heard John play over and over, and I knew I would like them, but I didn't know how much I would like them. The Mountain Goats rocked. John Darnielle is lead and it's obviously his show, and he was funny, endearing and entertaining. You can tell he loves what being on the stage. Although they didn't play John's favorite song (Jam Eater Blues) they knocked out a great bunch of songs and ended the night with _This Year_ and _Going To Georgia_. Don't miss these guys if you get a chance to see them live...unfortunately their last show of this tour is tonight in Brooklyn...which is sold out..but you can always try or scalpers.

Monday, November 30, 2009

More grafiti

Cooking for Friday After Thanksgiving FAT!

Thanksgiving bonanza

We had a great trip down to Baltimore, we left late on Wednesday and truth be told traffic wasn't horrible. The fog was thick and traffic was heavy, but we left around 8 pm and after stopping for gas, and dropping off a friend in Towson we ended up getting to my sister's house at around 1am. Thursday we headed to John's mom's and had a beautiful Thanksgiving meal. We even brought my mom with us and she had a great time. It was a rowdy Thanksgiving with sporadic but funny fights about the absence of holiday staples like: french onion dip, crab melt-a-ways, and whiskey sours. All of which I believe will definitely be present at the Christmas festivities. They better be or else the drive down won't be worth it! After that we had a laid back time at John's step dad's, where we had out choice of several desserts. The fruit tart was a nice change of pace. At this point you'd think the Thanksgiving festivities would be over, but oh no...they had only just begun. Friday, or as my family named it F.A.T. day (Friday After Thanksgiving) was just gearing up. This is when my family celebrates Thanksgiving, and we began the day with a visit to the Lexington Market.

Now John and I met while we both worked at a design studio in Baltimore just a few blocks away from Lexington Market. So we were very excited to visit our old stomping grounds. And if you've never been the Lexington Market is a must. It's not fancy in the slightest, but it's got a great variety of really good, pretty inexpensive food. I fondly remember getting the hot and spicy fried chicken from one of the many fried chicken stands, and we bought a huge amount of chicken for the party. There's the Utz potato chip stand, where you can find some of the freshest potato chips, the greek gyro place, the turkey dinner place all the way in the back. Several small fruit stands and even a salad bar thrown in here and there. John LOVES the Pollock Johnny's sausage, just about any kind of food you can imagine they have it in some form. Oh and did I mention the bakeries with their mouth watering cookies and cakes. Cakes are half off on Fridays! Word of Caution: just like many places in Baltimore you have to be careful about what time you go to places, during the day especially on a weekday the Lexington Market is teeming with people who work in and around the area so it's very safe. But there are definitely people who will try to intimidate and or just beg money from you (especially if you go later in the evening)....You are in Baltimore after all. But if you are with a few people and you just ignore and talk amongst yourselves most everyone just leaves you alone. But if your concerned just don't wear your fanciest coat, dress down.

So, in addition to the Fried Chicken, we also bought a pork shoulder to cook the Lichon. The filipino style of roast pork. And then we visited the small grocery food store that anchors one end of the Market and picked up a lot of odds and ends: ice, french onion dip, chips, sodas. By the time we got home we were starved and ate a few pieces of chicken before we started doing the prep work for the day long party. We got busy making lumpia (filipinio egg rolls) this time we baked the egg rolls in the convection toaster oven instead of frying them. This not only saved calories but also spared us from the deep fry smell that usually permeates the whole house. Needless to say we had mountains of food, not only that we made but what others had brought too. And since it was more of an open house type thing many people came a little later and the party raged with kids stomping around up and down the stairs and people wandering about. The kitchen was a carousel of desserts with a huge assortment of pies, cakes, and other goodies.

I still feel full from that day. It was great to see all our families and friends, and I look forward to spending more time with everyone at Christmas, but I'm not looking forward to the drive though. Yesterday it took us nearly 8 hours to get home, and most of that was bumper to bumper. We passed probably 7 or 8 accidents, mostly fender benders from the stop and go traffic. I'm still recovering from that drive...bleh.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

belly pillow

When I walk from the studio office to the kitchen I usually find chalupa either on the couch or the club chair. The club chair is where her red pillow is and she works to stretch the oblong pillow out so that she can perch like a hen on top. Here she is resting on her fav pillow.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

We got to the Vet's office a few minutes early, while I've been walking without crutches for a while now, I still wrap my ankle every day in an Ace bandage and sometimes it takes me longer than expected to walk to places. I gave myself plenty of time and so Chalupa and I waited in the front lobby of the Vet for several minutes. It's always an interesting mix of dogs and cats at this Vet and today was no exception. The Vet itself as far as I can tell owns two beautiful cats, Max has a beautiful black coat of hair and has no qualms about completely taking over any and all counter space. The other cat is completely hairless but has beautiful skin markings, and is a little shy but is sweet as can be. Today I met Oscar who was a Dachshund and nearly blind. One woman also had a springer spaniel puppy. And a couple came out with two cute curly haired dogs, with what I've come to find out are Dandie Dinmont Terriers, one who looked older was in a proper dog bag, and the other was in a Saks Fifth Avenue shopping bag. I didn't know Saks carried puppies!!!! Maybe the puppy came free with the bag, or vice versa.

0 days without incident

Sorry for yet another hiatus, I don't really have a good excuse. I've been really busy with work, but I could have and should have posted on the weekends. Also just the other day I had the idea to post how many days it's been since Chalupa has gone without incident, when on Friday she yet again had something go awry. This time it's her back left paw. Friday evening she kept incessantly licking her back left paw, I was on my way out to meet John and some friends, so I quickly soaked her paw in the same stuff they gave us for her front left paw. That night she had terrible diarrhea and also threw up in the middle of the night. I promptly called the Vet early Saturday morning, they recommended that she be put on chicken and rice. Well by Saturday night she seemed to be feeling better, but her diarrhea continued but she was no longer throwing up. Her paw was getting a little more swollen. To be honest, I felt like a bad mother, I was ashamed to have to report on this blog that yet again somehow I/we let Chalupa hurt yet another paw. Today the Vet told me with almost 100 percent certainty that her paw problems are a result of the food allergies. Which makes sense, because how could she keep cutting her self on each paw...AND..there never seemed to be a puncture wound. Chalupa is now on a strict diet of only venison and potato. She is once again on antibiotics, and she has to wear the cone so that she doesn't lick her paws. She is now peacefully snoring away in her little bat cave next to my desk. It's such a relief to know that I'm not a bad or careless parent. I really feel like we have a plan of attack now. And I have to say little Chalupa seemed to LOVE her new food. They say I can even bake the wet food into little cookies or biscuits for treats...which I fully intend to do. :) Keep your fingers crossed that the number of days without incident will finally go up.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chalupa recovering

Had to bring Chalupa to the vet yet again. This time it was her front left paw. Poor thing, I think she may have stepped on broken glass. She is fine though and they even did x-rays to make sure there was no glass in her paw.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Brunch at veselka

Sitting outside enjoying the beautiful weather, waiting to place our order se spied this little guy. Too cute.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cash only

So I went to the orthopedic doctor today, and had a pleasant enough conversation with doctor. He didn't actually examine my ankle, he noted that it didn't look very swollen. And he talked about the different grades of a sprain (1st degree, 2nd degree and 3rd degree) the same kind of information I found when I google "ankle sprain". But it was nice to get a professional's opinion, and as I suspected it's not a big deal. He said to start slowly putting weight on it and only try walking in the house at first, but that I can go to the gym. I can work out everything but the injured ankle. He said to wait and see, I should call back in 10 days and let him know how I feel. At one point early on in the conversation he asked if I wanted to get an MRI. Which is completely unnecessary. But like I said overall I felt ok about the visit, until I had to pay my copay at the receptionists office and found out they only accept cash as payment. No credit cards, no checks. ????? What? Thank god I had cash on me, because I usually don't. Really, what kind of a doctor only accepts cash? Only in New York I guess.

One comical thing is that when I was waiting in the waiting room, there was a woman who was practically yelling for the doctor, but not in an urgent way. In an annoying...loud way. "Oh, Doctor??? Daaahhhhhcccttterr?? Nurse? Doctor? Receptionist? Anyone???" It went on for a few minutes, I was almost going to ask what she needed. For a cash only business you'd think they'd be a little more attentive.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

So...I"m on crutches....

So, I've been hobbling around on crutches since Saturday. I have a follow up appointment with an orthopedic doc on Friday. But I've already begun testing out my left foot and ankle. It's already getting old, and little Chalupa has little patience with me hopping on my crutches behind her while I take her out for very short little walks in the mornings and afternoons. I'm a little skeptical of the doctor's appt on Friday too. I've had more than a few sprained ankles in my day....I ran (more like jogged) track in high school and we used to run the trails and they would always be semi covered with leaves which always covered up small holes and inevitably I'd get my foot stuck in one and bam! a sprained ankle. They were fairly common in highschool and my coach would wrap it up, and I'd hobble around on it. No crutches though, I just made do. Then in college I had a horrible fall and almost fractured my ankle and it was the worst I had ever seen it, then they gave me crutches and I was on them for most of the summer. But even back then I don't remember a second doctor visit. So, any "follow-up" treatment is foreign to me, but whatever I'll go and pay my co-pay and see if it's worth it. The swelling has gone down quite a bit, and seems to be approaching normal ankle size. So, let's keep our fingers crossed and hope for good news on Friday. I'm already stir crazy and I've been out for dinner these last two nights...and I made a trip to the bank and to vote yesterday! The worst part is carrying food from the kitchen to the living room to eat, I usually just tuck my right crutch under my arm and swing it forward, while I carefully carry a plate in my right hand, but it makes my armpits pretty sore. I'm pretty hungry right I guess I'll have to order something in...ummm.. decisions decisions.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Find chalupa in this pic

UN week

Our neighbood always gets crazy once a year at UN week. Traffic is either detoured or gridlocked, people are every where and police are on every corner. Here's my only pic of the events. I was walking past the grocery store and this protest sign was just too good to pass.

Killing time

Right now I'm sitting in the emergency room waiting for them to call me in. I'm almost positive it's just a sprained ankle. But it's starting to throb. Late last night I was at my computer playing around on FB and Chalupa was happily sleeping on my lap. When I decided to stand up to walk into the living room I had discovered my foot had fallen asleep. This happens a lot when chalupa sleeps on me because she likes it when I prop one leg on the other knee so she has a nice place to curl up and sleep. Instead of waiting for my foot to fully wake I decided I could walk on it even if it hurt. Well because I was holding Chalupa I couldn't see my foot and instead of placing my foot down I ended up putting all my weight on myouter left ankle. It's swollen on that side and I can't help but think about being stuck on crutches for a good long time. Boo. :(

Thursday, September 17, 2009

View of the Chrysler Building

John's still at work so I'm walking chalups for her nighttime walk. This is the view from 2nd Ave and 50th street.

Donors Choose

For those of you who know my brother-in-law Geoff, you may have heard the occasional crazy story from his experience teaching at an inner city Baltimore School. Well, he's fighting the good fight, and he needs a little help. If you can donate even just a few bucks to help get books for his classroom it would be HUGELY appreciated, the project only needs $45 more. Click here to donate.

If you like check out his blog which is far superior than mine, right here. He details his day to day classroom experience, as well as reviews of books and movies.

Muchas Gracias!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pandora Radio

If you haven't yet tried Pandora radio, you should. Here's a link to the customized radio station I'm listening to right now. I've named it The White Stripes Radio.

Here's a quick run down: type in a song or an artist that you like, and Pandora radio will play something from that artist (they can't play specific songs on demand) but they usually give you something from that artist if they are part of their catalog. THEN the Pandora magic is that it picks other songs it thinks you might like, from there you can thumbs up or down and it will be even more specific to you tastes. It's fun, and if you're like me it's a nice alternative then just the music you own on iTunes. Plus you can try to screw with the computer brain and put in two completely different ends of the spectrum and see what you get. (Like for instance Beyonce and They Might Be Giants) Highly recommended.

Update on Chalupa

Little Chalupa is sitting on my lap, mildy irritated that I took my hand away from her licking so I could type this. She had a slight rash yesterday and so I took her to the Vet again. The Vet we saw yesterday is their expert on skin, and she suspected that it might be a food allergy. Which made me realize that the Turducken dry food that I switched her onto several months ago may be the culprit. I've switched her back to the Cowboy Cook out dryfood, mixed with a forkful of her favorite wet food, Wing-a-lings. So, we are just going to wait and see. The Dr. said it was fine to give her a small dose of Benadryl if she needed it. But over all she's doing fine. Her ugly naked toe is finally growing back in, so she is once again the beautiful, glamorous icon we know and love. :) And I didn't even have to use Rogaine.

mental_floss Blog � Why Does Bottled Water Have an Expiration Date?

mental_floss Blog � Why Does Bottled Water Have an Expiration Date?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

VanLeeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Truck

The other day John and I were walking to dinner and we spotted a pretty yellow ice cream truck and the flavors sounded so yummy, I'm ashamed to admit we had dessert before dinner. They call themselves the VanLeeuwen Artisan Ice Cream. The guy was very nice when we asked what flavors he recommended, and he actually recommended the vanilla among other flavors. Everything is organic and they use the finest ingredients, but after I sampled the vanilla (and it was very delicious) I opted to go for the hazelnut, ginger chocolate because it just sounded so good. As far as ice cream from a truck this is far and away the best I've ever had. If you see the truck, we found it at St. Marks and 2nd Ave, but I hear they are also in SoHo you MUST stop and have an ice cream. It's an order. You can thank me later.

Loreley Restaurant and Biergarden

Just catching up on my blogging, much like I did all my homework through highschool...(procrastinate...procrastinate...procrastinate, then cram, cram, cram). Anyway Loreley's located at 7 Rivington Street is our new favorite Bier Garden ever since Zum Schnieder stopped allowing dogs, we've been looking for a new bier garden. No, we can't bring Chalupa to Loreley's but we never's precedence. Yummy pretzels, great food, great beer, and great service, and a nice backyard garden, which is way nicer than sitting on the street at Zum's. Enjoy!


This is my sister's dog Lokie, he is a sweet and lovable and he is deaf. He has a few peculiarities because of his deafness, he is mesmerized by shadows and highlights on the ground. He loves to chase little bugs or tiny wisps of things that he catches sight of. He LOVES to play tug of war but his mouth is so huge he engulfs his toys leaving barely an end to grab on to and play, couple that with his powerful jaws and it's not that much to fun to play tug of war with the big lug. But he is nothing but love, he just likes to be with people. He does seem to terrorize the cats that share his residence, but they just mainly stay up stairs. While I was visited Viv and Jack, Viv and I took him on a nice long walk on the trails behind their house, we even dropped the leash so he could meander around himself, and he was very good, he always kept an eye on us to make sure he could catch up. The most endearing thing about Lokie is the way he very daintily tucks his hind legs under but flips his feet down so you can see his paw pads when he lays down, I've seen a lot of small dogs to this, but very rarely see large breeds lay like this. His pink paw pads are just irresistible. He also has very interesting coloring, since he was adopted they aren't sure what breed he is, but he has clear light brown eyes, and a pink nose, that with the summer blonde hair, and he also has webbed feet, he looks like he would enjoy the beach. When I got back home, Chalupa seemed even smaller than I remembered.

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

Yesterday we did something I've been wanting to do for quite a while, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. I was very excited and happy to do this, but not nearly as much as Chalupa. She had no idea where we were going but she was jubilant about being able to go with us. She scampered to the elevator doing her cha-loop-de-loops which basically means she walks and then spins really quickly as if to say c'mon let's go! She happily trotted outside the door and even pounced on benches as we walked by...just because. She was a little confused when we hailed a taxi but she patiently sat on my lap...I think she knew good things were to come.

The Brooklyn Bridge is beautiful, it's grand and it's historic and everyone should walk across it if they get the chance. What no one tells you is that it's packed (we got there around 10:30 am), it's hot, and shade is few and far between. Nonetheless I really enjoyed it, it was pretty spectacular being able to stop on the bridge and look back at the city, and taking pictures of the architecture of the bridge itself. It is a good idea to bring a water bottle, as you are at full exposure to the sun for most of the walk. Little Chalupa started the trip happy enough, but somewhere just over half way there she got spooked. I think she realized that there were cars whizzing by underneath us, couple that with bikers rambling past us, and the blazing sun, so we stopped at the second tower to relax in the shade. We let her cool off and started walking again, but I ended up having to carry her the last little bit til we got to concrete again.

After that we found some shade under a tree in the grass and relaxed a bit while we tried to figure out the right direction to go to Grimaldi's pizza, which is raved about in anything you google about walking the Brooklyn Bridge. We finally meandered our way over and found a huge line, the place didn't even open til 12, and it was only 11:45 or so. We nixed that idea and went looking for a nice little place, that was quiet and had outdoor seating. We found exactly the place at Water Street Restaurant and Lounge, located at 66 Water Street. It had a handful of outdoor tables, which was perfect for us. We enjoyed a nice lunch, I ordered the jerk chicken tacos and fried polenta (both items from their appetizer menu) and John ordered the Fried Chicken Breast sandwich. The Chicken breast was yum served with homemade fries not very crispy but deliciously seasoned. AND they had very light and crispy homemade potato chips instead of bread. Double thumbs up. Afterward we had delectable chocolates and ice cream at Jacques Torres Chocolate. We both had the rum vanilla caramel ice cream in a waffle cone. Absolutely delicious. It was much more civilized then the mob scene over at Grimaldi's and the Ice Cream Factory. As for chocolates I asked for the liquid caramel, and it lived up to it's name and John got the peanut butter and declared that next time he will only buy the peanut butter chocolates, since they were so good.

We had to sneak Chalupa on board the Water Taxi ($7 bucks a pop non-refundable) , which we did (the guy who sold us the ticket suggested we do it). In a bag, she cooperated mostly but as soon as we got on the boat she started squirming about, but thankfully it's only a 2 min ride across to the South Street Seaport. All in all a fun day. And little Chalupa and I took a nice long nap as soon as we got home. I'd say a very good day. :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Wrightsville Beach

Beautiful beach, but no access to public showers forced me to trespass and take a shower at one of the rental houses. Most of the outdoor showers were padlocked but I found one that was just walled off... a quick shower made even less enjoyable when Viv told me the renters were coming back. I was very relieved she was mistaken.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Does Chalupa qualify for cash for clunkers?

She's turning out to be a lemon, we might have to trade her in. She has a rash over most of her 10lb body, she's been so itchy she can only sleep a few hours at at time. Where she usually can sleep for hours and hours on end. Poor little thing, I was up with her at 5:30am, rubbing solarcaine aloe on her belly. Now, the vet also says that the fur hasn't grown back on her paw that was abscessed and it may NEVER grow back. Now she is no longer a cute little diva, she is a rough and tumble biker dog with the scars to prove it. How about it readers, time for a trade in?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It Might Get Loud

So over the weekend it was unbearably hot and humid so we decided to duck into the Chelsea Sunshine Cinema and press our luck by just seeing whatever was playing, and boy did it work out. It Might Get Loud posters are scattered throughout the city and I was definitely interested in seeing the doc. It features Jack White, The Edge, and Jimmy Page and their eclectic guitar styles and philosophies. This is a great film, well-crafted, well-edited, and researched. From the opening scene of Mr. White hammering together a homemade instrument to the last scene of the three heros playing "The Weight" (take a load of Annie ) and the three figuring out what parts they would play/sing I thoroughly enjoyed it. It had some great animation sequences that helped further the story along and were never distracting or out of place. The archival footage of a young "James Page" and old photos of Edge, and early photos of Jack were so much fun and again worked together beautifully to tell a story. Three very different personalities, different lifestyles, from three different countries, all with a love of their music. A must see.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Chalupa and another load of laundry

Her paw is healing nicely, the soft cone is definitely more wearable. Although she looks like she's about to get her teeth cleaned at the dentist.

...when you gonna make up your mind..

..when you gonna love you as much as I do.....

Yesterday was a great day, not only did we have tix to see the lovely Tori Amos, but we also had reservations for dinner at Bobby Flay's Bar Amercain. The place is enormous, and pricey, so we don't go there often but while we're here we decide to live it up. For appetizers we got the grilled pizza, the artichoke salad, and the side order of homemade potato chips with blue cheese dip. The waiter said the potato chips were a must and had them get to our table right away...and boy was he right. UMMMMMMMM...if I could bath in that blue cheese I probably would...Or I could just eat mountains of potato chips dipped in the warm blue cheesy goodness. Also worth noting in the bread basket, I only tried the corn bread and it was delightfully buttery with little bits of pepper..nice touch. And both Miranda and Dory LOVED it too. John passed, and dug into the more man-sized rolls. For entrees our waiter recommended the Halibut and Dory ended up getting it, John got the NY strip steak, Miranda got the Red Snapper and I got the Smoked Chicken. Everything was super fab.

My only complaints so far was it took forever to get another club soda (and when we got the check they charged me for 3 club sodas when I only had two...and had to wait quite a while for the second)...also the Asparagus salad had some of the tiniest wimpiest sticks to pass for asparagus I have ever scene. Miranda and Dory were convinced it was the wrong salad...but no it's just that Asparagus salad there means the tiniest bit of Asparagus with a mixed salad. John insisted we all get a dessert, I ordered the German's chocolate cake, which was divine and GINORMOUS, almost as big as the restaurant itself..and did I mention delicious? Dory and Miranda split the apple tart and were exceedingly happy with it, and John got the blueberry and lemon crepes and was also very pleased.

It was an amazing dinner, that could only be topped with seeing Tori at Radio City Music Hall. We had pretty good seats in the Orchestra but in row AA, so about 26 rows in front of us and we were to the left of the stage. But it was a great show, Radio City is a great venue and the set list had a healthy portion of old faves from her much earlier work. It was a fantastic night...and if you haven't figured it out already the opening title to this post is from Tori's song Winter. Other highlights: her cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit, Precious Things, a great re-mix of Talula, and Big Wheel. Couldn't have asked for a better night. Also the guy who played guitar also would play the stand up bass for a few songs...sweet.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

orchids from a street fair

John bought me this at street fair. 20 bucks.

Chalupa in a soft cone

Our neighbor had a soft cone that we could borrow for Chalups, she's finishing up feasting on a treat in this picture.