Friday, April 30, 2010
Actually, I'm a huge opera fan. I went to about a dozen performances last season- this year has been slow and I've only been to three. I feel guilty about it because I'm such a nerd.
Quality over quantity. For all of you out there, opera fans or not, you simply must put a visit to the Metropolitan Opera on your list of things you need to do. It is one of the most incredible opera houses in the world (renowned for its elaborate set design and effects) and every production is fantastic. Acoustically speaking, there isn't a bad seat in the house and the cheap seats are only 20 bucks. Last year, they were $15, a little more than the price of a movie ticket.
I was lucky enough to snag an affordable ticket to Bizet's Carmen about 5 months ago. Some productions sell out almost immediately, and Carmen is one of the most popular operas out there. The music is easy to recognize and the storyline has a bit more complexity than the usual couple-fall-in-love-at-first-site formula. I highly recommend it as a gateway opera for first timers. Other great operas for those new to the scene:
-I Pagliacci/Caverilla Rusticana (both are short and usually performed together)
-The Barber of Seville
-anything by Mozart
I wouldn't recommend delving into modern 20th Century, Wagner, or atonal operas until you become a fan. Wonderful as it is, opera is an acquired taste.
If you are a music or architecture lover, it is well worth a visit for the venue and Swarovski crystal light fixtures- I'm going to get a couple for a my next apartment.
Thanks to the emotionally-charged soldiers, bullfighters, and cigarette-smoking hussies for inspiring such a passionate Wednesday night.
Love, the girl in the cheap seats.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
It is so easy to fall into the grind of routine. I've been guilty of this- caught up in micro details of life to appreciate that I hear at least 5 languages when I step out of my apartment, without even leaving my neighborhood. I am too often so engrossed in my book on the subway that I don't notice the pot of cultural soup I'm in or the world's interconnectedness squished into a train car.
One of the remarkable things about language is that it is always changing. Old tongues die out, new ones are formed, words and phrases become archaic as soon as new colloquialisms pepper our speech. In many places, even the native language is under threat.
Thank goodness for New York. It may be a tough place to make it, have intense weather and little patience for the weak, but culture, culture it is always kind to. Language can flourish here, and even have a shot at getting off the endangered list.
Next time I rush to work with my headphones on, or feel like scowling at chatty commuters while I'm reading, I will instead put my book down, mute my ipod, and listen. And be grateful to live free in a place where every corner of the world meets.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I'm trying to teach Sammy to fetch. So far it's not going that well. Maybe I'm being too hard on him. Maybe he can't handle the pressure. Maybe he's an idiot.
Personally, I think he's faking it. I suspect he's actually a smart dog and is just dumbing down out of convenience, like Jessica Simpson.
Either way, he's much more content chewing up a ball than bringing it back to me.
At least now he's showing interest in the ball instead of watching it roll away while looking at me like I have three heads. I guess that means we're half way there.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Happiness, thy name is soldering. I can't explain what is it about pipes I find intriguing and wonderful- to me, they just are. For those of you who know me, my interest in plumbing may seem out of left field. I became interested in it about seven years ago when I worked at a school with old pipes. The complexity of joining new pipes with an older system fascinated me, and I was ready to jump in if I wasn't limited by my ignorance. Unlike some maintenance projects, plumbing is tough to navigate on your own through trial and error. So here I am, ready to take the mystery out of drains, heavy toolbelts and stereotyped buttcracks.
For my first plumbing project, I got to measure, cut and join copper pipe with fittings. And then learn to solder! I'm very comfortable with a blow torch- I knew my days as a pastry chef would shape me to be compatible in other areas.
Here's a close up of my joint- not gorgeous, I know, but I picked an ambitious fitting for my first try.
I loved prepping the pipe by cleaning, applying flux and joining the fittings. What can I say? I'm a crafty girl.
Friday, April 23, 2010
When I go to Trader Joe's, I must stick to my shopping list or things get out of hand. (I am a marketing agency's ideal client and have been known to cave at flavored coffee creamer, unusual ice cream treats, or birthday cakes when it's nobody's birthday.)
I also love junk food and things that are already prepared. I love to cook, but I love to be lazy.
So when I saw this, I got excited and figured it was worth the $1.99 splurge.
I'll still wait in a ridiculously long line that wraps through every aisle in the store, and will continue to endure the vicious old ladies from the Upper East Side plowing through the herd with their shopping carts. I will stay loyal when I'm trapped behind a girl from NYU fighting with her boyfriend on her cell phone- even when the shelves are empty, again.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I used it anyway and hoped for a creamsicle-inspired, new, amazing, accidental dessert.
The verdict? Can not replace the root beer float, but pretty darn good. Just don't use diet soda. Ever.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
If I can catch him holding still for long enough.Can I go in your room?
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I ran into the same problem this week. Before you throw it out or feed it to the birds, here are some tips.
Croutons for salad. Toss with a little oil, salt and any other seasonings you'd like (I like a dash of garlic powder). Toast in a frying pan, or on a cookie sheet in the oven (but SET A TIMER if you do). They will last over a week when sealed properly and your dinner guests will be impressed.
Make panzanella. This is one of my favorite things. It's an Italian bread salad with lots of added "stuff." Add anything you like. I like olives, capers, roasted tomatoes and tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It's a creative alternative to pasta salad and works well for picnic season.
Monday, April 19, 2010
I thought about it a lot a couple weeks ago when a friend and I enjoyed this:
If you're not super comfortable with the smokey peat flavors, this one is very smooth. I call it a good gateway Scotch.
I would not, however, recommend drinking it all at once. It's meant to be sipped and savored.
And that's not really what my friend and I did.
When you drink an entire bottle of Scotch in one night, a couple things go through your head:
Wow, I'm awesome! This is going to give me some street cred with the heavyweights.
Uhhhh, exactly when did I become a heavyweight?
Because so much of being a twenty-something in New York involves drinking, sometimes you don't even realize how much you're doing it.
When things get a bit stuffy, you open the windows and clear the air. So since Easter, I've been taking a little break from drinking, a reverse Lent, if you will, to try to make up for the fact that I had a million glasses of Scotch with no hangover the next day (thank you, roast chicken dinner).
Honestly? I've barely even noticed. Except tonight, when my new dog, Sammy, is at home while I'm away at my computer, I thought, gee, a little glass of Scotch later sounds good.
Naaah, I'm saving money by staying dry at the moment.
It's always nice to take a little breather from indulgences. And there's that old adage that if you let go of something you love, it will come back to you if it was meant to be. Or you can replace it with a new love.
In the meantime, I'm getting drunk from doggie kisses and walks in the park.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
He looks a bit stunned there, but he managed to make himself right at home later that night:
Here are some more pics:
Friday, April 16, 2010
It is a pretty simple story. I started volunteering at Brooklyn Animal Rescue Coalition a couple months ago. I fell in love. We all could have predicted that one, right?
The special guy is named Sammy, a handsome melange of boxer, pit, and millions of other doggies fused into a sweet, goofy, laid back dude. On our first walk together, he leaned his head against my leg every time we stopped to cross the street- and that was it for me.
This is my first dog- mine, not my brother's or my dad's or my mom's or my friend's boyfriend's. This is going to be mine. And I'm nervous.
I've been taking care of dogs for a while now. And kids (who I find to be easier). But having this guy as my first dependant is huge. Will I be a good mom? Will he adjust well? Will I be able to give him the life he deserves- and an opportunity to chase bunnies in an open pasture someday? Will he love me as much as I love him, or just find me really clingy and annoying?
And I have one other nagging question in my head- after years of patience, why are the minutes all of a sudden dragging so, so slowly?!
Pics to follow, if the next two hours and fifty minutes ever come.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Today I present a new adventure: one I've had in mind for ages, one that will definitely go outside the comfort zone for many of you. One that I could only find in New York.
I give you the food salvage garbage tour of Washington Square. Wait, let me go back.
Ever heard of freegans? Neither had I, unless you count that episode of Oprah. This group adopts environmental principles that go a step further- finding ways around consumerism to promote sustainability.
The freegan group in New York City organizes sewing, gardening, and bike repair workshops to cut down on their carbon footprint. For my first event, I attended an evening trash tour outside major neighborhood grocery stores.
Are they hippies? Yes. Are they making conscious, informed decisions that they believe will benefit their community and world? Absolutely. And for tht, I applaud them.
Each day, grocery stores make room for new shipments by dumping out food approaching the "sell by" date, not to be confused with expired or bad food.
We didn't have much luck at a couple stores, who almost seemed to deliberately mix in salvageable produce with regular trash. At one store, employees had gone through the trouble of emptying individual bags of chips and containers of salad and fruits. Out of our large group of over 20 people, only a couple were brave enough to grab from a mixed bag. I was not one of them.
And you know what? I'm glad that for one night I got a chance to take a break from being a capitalist consumer. And get some free grub. Just don't forget the rubber gloves.
Monday, April 12, 2010
And I'm also getting myself revved up for my 100th post! It's a very big deal for me, considering that I started the blog almost a year ago and didn't start to contribute regularly until four months in. I've also contemplated starting a new blog, or a website ... there are enough distractions in my life that hitting triple digits seemed like an impossible feat, and I'm psyched that I can reach it tomorrow.
So to celebrate, I have a very special post for the big 1-0-0. Hint, a food adventure is involved.
Check back tomorrow afternoon to find out what city shenanigans I got myself into.
Thanks for reading!
Sunday, April 11, 2010
There are food experiences that transcend you to another level of culinary understanding. First escargot. First champagne. First raw oyster. Friday brought me a new one: my first Vietnamese sandwich.
My good friend, Abe, took me to the unassuming Num Pang, near Union Square on 12th Street. We waited for our orders upstairs, while admiring the mantras on the walls:
I don't know how I never knew about this place. Check out the Sriracha placed every 8 inches on the counters! Apparently, this place is jam-packed every lunch and dinner, so being there on the early side gave us a place to ourselves. Notice the paint splattered windows. I love those little touches.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things I'd been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.
Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
But it could be better. I decided to give my frizzy wires a break and treat them to a deep conditioned hair mask- made entirely from the contents of my fridge.
There are lots of homemade hair mask recipes you can find online using yogurt, eggs, honey, mayonnaise, oil, and just about every other ingredient under the sun. My hair is really dry, so I needed a sure thing. Mayonnaise it is!
Was it a good idea or just another "hair-brained" scheme?