Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Routines

I don't watch Jersey Shore which may come as a surprise to some who believe there is no limit to the idiotic reality TV shows that fascinate me. Jersey Shore isn't one of them, but I know that GTL is a saying from the show -- it's the denizens' Saturday routine -- what they have to accomplish before going clubbing that night.

GTL stands for Gym, Tanning, Laundry.
To keep you up on popular culture, that's no white power/black power fist sign, but rather a characterization of fist pumping which is what you do when you're dancing on the Jersey Shore.

Earlier today I was thinking that my own Saturday routines have gotten messed up -- from the holidays (yes, still)and traveling and today I was getting back to them.

My routine is not GTL, but it's GLP.

My G is groceries -- I get pleasure by having fresh milk, laundry detergent, food that actually forms recognizable meals. My L is the same --Laundry and I was getting caught up. I know I've said this before, but anyone who has done time in a laundromat can't help but be grateful to have a washer/dryer, and I am. Today I was so grateful that I didn't have to go out into the cold lugging a bag full of dirty clothes to some disgusting laundromat.

Finally my P is puttering. Another pleasurable activity -- sorting through junk mail that's piled up during the week, straightening up, doing mini-declutters.

So to answer what I did today, I have to respond: GLP. Oh, and I won't be clubbing tonight either.

Friday, January 28, 2011

O the snow...

Back when I was about seventh grade, I discovered that I liked poetry but was not sophisticated enough (by a long shot) to appreciate poetry that didn't flow like music or didn't rhyme. I bought my first book of poetry which I still have called "World's Best Loved Poems."

These poems are really patriotic (jingoistic) and some are like little morality plays. That doesn't make them wrong or bad -- and one of them which I've always remembered and still have parts memorized began with O the snow, the beautiful snow...

It begins:

O The snow, the beautiful snow,
Filling the sky and the earth below,
Over the housetops, over the street,
Over the heads of people you meet.
Skimming along,

Beautiful snow! It can do no wrong.

It goes on for a few more stanzas about the beautiful snow until we get to the morality part... "Once I was pure as the snow, but I fell, fell like the snowflakes from Heaven to hell..."

And so it goes. Girl gone wild. Nice girls did, even at the time of the Civil War when this poem was written (by a man).

I hadn't thought of this book of poetry in a while, but about a week ago I was watching Celebrity Ghost Stories where ... well, this is fairly obvious, but a celebrity relates some ghostly encounter. This celebrity was a woman named Gabrielle Something and she was on Beverly Hill 90210. She spoke of her special relationship she had with her grandfather and their "thing" was a poem that they used to read to each other and this poem they shared is also in my book.

Here's a typical stanza:

Let me live in a house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat
Nor hurl the cynic's ban-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

The grandfather dies, and a few years later her daughter and she were cuddling and all of a sudden the daughter starts whispering this poem into Gabrielle's ear -- who, of course, was stunned since she'd never shared the poem with her daughter but eventually thought it was this wonderful thing.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

O the Snow, the Beautiful Snow

Yes, here we went again with the snow. Central Park reported 19 inches overnight. Right now this is the #6 in the top 10 snowiest New York Winters. 1995 was the snowiest, and I remember that -- there were a few big storms, but it seemed as if every other day it would snow a few inches.

When I went out today, the sidewalks were clear. New York City is fairly strict that the sidewalks have to be shoveled one hour after the snow stops falling. I saw my super when I went out, and he had four buildings to shovel, was out at 3 am, got no sleep at all last night.

So the sidewalks were clear, but the corners were bad -- icy ramps (how the sidewalk is designed at the corners for wheelchairs) leading to Lake Slushalot. Huge puddles of slush that even young skinny people can't jump over. When the gutters are cleared, it wouldn't be too bad.

Tonight I am grateful that I don't have to shovel a car, I don't have to shovel a building and I have a warm clean bed!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Great Sandwich

Years ago, when I used to go to the Paris Air Show, there was the Paris version of fast food which was sold from stands at the show. This was the most wonderful sandwich. It was wonderful crusty French bread in the form of a baguette.

Then it had a very, very thin layer of unsalted butter with another very thin layer of Grey Poupon-style mustard. Then, unlike the US where we'd have 1/2 pound of meat, there was one perfect slice of ham. It was heavenly. They'd sell the sandwich for $3 in a white paper bag with the end twisted.

I remember one year where I actually had my own car and driver that I bought one of these sandwiches, feeling like Queen of Sheba, in my car and laughing at myself as I gnawed away at this perfect sandwich.

Today I came about as close to sandwich as I could. Got this demi-baguette in the grocery store -- it's a commercial bakery, but a fancy one. Ok, so I didn't use real butter, but I did make it thin, and had Gulden's instead of Grey Poupon.

When I buy any deli meat, I have come to learn that if I say "sliced very thin" -- well, I'm just another whiny, demanding customer. So instead I say "As thin as you can do it, please" -- now, the good counter guys see this as a challenge, and when I unwrapped my ham, it was a work of art -- paper thin slices, no thinner than paper thin -- just perfect.

Really, is there anything better than a perfect sandwich?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tom in My Neighborhood??

When I went out today, there were a bunch of semi trucks on the corner that indicate a movie or tv show is being filmed nearby. Turns out that my neighborhood is being used for an episode of Blue Blood, which is a TV show where Tom Selleck plays NYC police commissioner, and he is the elder statesman, graybeard, old wise man in the show.

Didn't see Tom, but I will keep my eyes out for him. He still looks plenty good to me!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fran's Ice Photo

Fran says: Tues morn, Jan 18 Connecticut Ave -- Icy branch of a tree in front of my apt building. Freezing rain last night created slip-sliding conditions today.

What is this a photo of?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Homeward Bound

The trip home has been quite a bit less dramatic than the trip out. Clear skies, no precip. I'll be home tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Back in Ohio

Now I wish I had taken some photos, but this morning the six inches of snow didn't look so pretty to me. I left New York on Tuesday in advance of the snow, heading toward Ohio.  All was well, and I was patting myself on the back for being so smart by driving rather than sitting at LaGuardia. But then about 90 minutes away from my hotel for the night, it started to snow.

I was in the moutains of Pennsylvania (cue dramatic music), it was dark, and I mean dark. Never realized the Pennsylvania Turnpike has no lights. It was foggy and snowing. Then there were the usual massive trucks that won't slow down ever. The driving wasn't bad; it was the visibility and trying to keep my windshield clean. Luckily the rental car place had the washer fluid full but I was really trying to use it sparingly because I didn't want to run out.

Got to my hotel and was told the snow was supposed to stop with about 3 inches of accumulation. Fair enough, I thought.. Except it snowed all night and was still snowing when I woke up.

I studied the en route weather, but no one was leaving the hotel. There was supposed to be a break in the snow around 10 am and then it was going to start again. I knew I was driving into better weather, but it was still scary.

Got dressed, and was making a plan as to how to clean off my car with no brush. When I got to the lobby, I asked if someone could help me and they got this great maintenance man and he was like my guardian angel/personal valet. He cleaned off my car, put my suitcase in, started the car, warmed it, the whole bit. I gave him $20 and he was pleased with that.

Took off like a herd of turtles, as my mother used to say, and got on the turnpike. Like the previous night, the problem was not skidding or sliding -- it was visibility. Every time a truck passed (as they did) slush and mud got thrown up on my windshield, and I knew the wiper fluid was even lower.

So eventually I bought a gallon of the stuff, got gas (for the car that is), got something to eat and kept going through flurries, blizzard, nothing, flurries, sunshine, showers, blizzard, nothing... it was weird. Got to my Ohio hotel about 530 and will go to work tomorrow.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"For Your Convenience"

This is my complaint for the week --well, it's actually ongoing. My complaint is when companies change things for their benefit and then want us to believe it's "for your convenience."

I couldn't find my mortgage invoice this week, until I realized the invoice had been redesigned for your convenience so I didn't recognize the envelope and wasted time searching for it.

Then I grabbed at (what I thought was) a half-gallon of orange juice. I can't get real excited about pulp, light pulp, heart healthy, calcium pulp no high pulp low makes my head spin. When I had the container in my hand, it felt funny and looked odd, and then I noticed that it's actually 59 ounces of juice, not 64, not a half gallon. When I was pouring some this morning, I noticed that the 59 ounce size is for your convenience because it's now an "easy pour size"! Wow. Had anyone really ever complained about a half gallon of juice being too unwieldy?? You know they start out charging slightly less for 59 ounces vs 64 ounces but then the 59 ounce price will creep up too.

And while I'm complaining, why is my favorite bra model always being discontinued? And I still haven't forgiven The Body Shop for discontinuing this soap that made me feel as if I were showering outside on the beach. It was such a great ocean smell. I remember the clerk at The Body Shop selling me a few extra bars from her personal stash. She said customers couldn't believe it was being discontinued. I will sniff and smell every beauty product that's either blue or called anything marine- or ocean-oriented just to recapture that smell -- with no success. I loved that damn soap.

Furthermore, do I really need daily emails from retailers? Am I impressed that I know about "secret sales" before the great unwashed? I go on these unsubbing rampages, but like lopped off starfish legs, the emails just grow back.

Hagen Dasz is no longer a pint, but rather 14 ounces. I complained at the grocery store that they still refer to it on the receipt as a pint, when it's not, and they looked at me like I was the old crazy lady which I am probably morphing into as we speak.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Holidays come to an end

Mary sent me this photo which she calls the "last look at the wreaths for the season" -- this is Union Station in Washington DC.

Monday, January 3, 2011


We are stuffed with garbage all up and down the block. Those black mounds are those oversized industrial strength plastic garbage bags.

Back to Maz

Stephanie and I returned for our post-surgery dinner at Maz, and had a great time. We even got our frozen margaritas comped with "VIP" indicated on our check. Yes, that's right. We are VIPs.

This is the chips and salsas that Maz supplies. It's tri-colored chips with plain chopped tomato/onion salsa. The green one in the middle is typically hot, and the red one is mild to medium in strength.
Going home, facing the end of the winter holidays, I was thinking how much I enjoy the everyday Christmas lights and how much I will miss them. So now it's back to reality, back to work, back to five-day workweeks!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What I'm reading

I was an early fan of Stephen King's and read every book as soon as it came out. When I was reading It, the book so scared me that I had nightmares about it. One of King's talents is to make the terribly ordinary terribly frightening. In It, what was so frightening was a clown holding a bouquet of balloons.

So I had a restless night where I was scared and having truly frightening dreams -- it's finally morning -- and where I was living at the time my bedroom windows faced out to the back of the building where a square of four blocks created an interior courtyard, so to speak, filled with yards and trees and there was a big tree right outside my window.

I got up and went to the window, and there, caught in the tree was a bouquet of balloons. I just about fainted. Sane me knew it was just a coincidence, but it really was scary.

So I swore off King for a while, but now this collection of four short stories has been published. I believe this is his second collection. I had read the first -- four stories in a book called Different Seasons and two of those -- actually he calls them novellas, not short stories, were made into movies: Stand By Me and Shawshank Redemption.

I started the first story today and have learned a new word. I know: if I had a Kindle, I could have looked the word up right then and there. The word is ratiocenative and I'd never to my knowledge seen that word.

Meanwhile Fran called and she looked the word up and ratiocenate (as a verb) means to think logically. How it was used in the King book is that a man is looking at the body of the woman he killed a month earlier and she appears to be alive -- but it was his imagination and he says his "ratiocenative ability returned."

Haven't been scared yet, but I've only read about 30 pages!