Tuesday, September 29, 2009

To everything . . . there is a season

Of all the seasonal transitions, I suspect summer into fall is one of the saddest.

I always feel slightly melancholy near the end of August when the leaves are starting to smell like autumn and the night air becomes slightly chilly.  New York is so much further south that I expected summer to last past Labor Day long weekend, which for the most part it has.

But even if the days are still warm now, there is that slight bite in the air that says 'summers over' friends.  I think as Canadians we truly embrace summer as those two precious months free of snow and ice, and as soon as the fall air comes or the sun sets earlier, we feel a burden on our shoulders.  We know what's coming.  Six months of winter.  Wether it's the horrifying, yet proudly surviavable, deep freeze temperatures of the rest of Canada or the constant grey and rain of Vancouver, we enter into it kicking and screaming.

This summer was a good one.  I had not one, but two heatwaves.  I got to jump in a lake almost every weekend.  A big thing for me.  And I drank my weight in iced coffees. Oh iced coffees, I think I shall miss you most of all. 

As much as the darker evenings and colder air disheartens me and I must face that the blasting sun of summer is truly over, I have another stress that overhwhelms me most of all:


Oh god. I am a horrible, terrible, frightful winter dresser.  Sure, most people I talk to just LOVE turlenecks, scarves and sweaters.  Phooey to you.  I suck at layering.  I feel it shouldn't be a hard concept.  But I am a virgo.  We like precision, crispness and above all, co-ordination.  I am not very good at co-ordinating more than three things.  

Spring, now there's a season.  Simple dresses with cardigans.  Cute little strappy wedges.  I should be able to do that in reverse right?  Nope.  I get all flustered.  This scarf with this sweater. Wait, what about this belt?  AAAAAAAAAAAAH!  I can't do it.

The hardest part of all is saying good bye to my flip flops.  Tim Gunn hates them (and I love Tim Gunn) but I think he has them all wrong.  They are just so magical and freeing, like walking in bare feet on the grass.  Okay, not that awesome but they do rock.  Just slip them on, and voila!  You are flip flopping around town.

Now I have to think about tights, socks (ick), rain, cold toes . . . the list goes on.  I have to wear pants again.  The worst are the boots.  Every year those tricky shoe people come out with walls of pretty boots.  But it's like being a diabetic in a candy store for me.  NONE OF THEM FIT MY FREAKING CALVES!!!!!  It's not like I am an elephant for crying out loud.  I simply have muscular calves.  And for that I am relegated to the 'extended calve' section that only have two boots and they are both plain and ugly.  I have the kind that stretch over but then I have muffin-tops on my calves and that's just plain wrong.

So yes, fall is now here.  Summer is just a happy faded memory that we will revisit in another nine months (that's right, we could make a baby in the time it will take to be summer again).  The evenings are darker, there are pumpkins on the stoops, the leaves are falling and the air is crisp. 

And I am left wondering . . . can I wear socks with my flip flops?

A Home in Two Cities

To many I think my life appears pretty swell.  I live in two amazing cities and can call both coasts home.

Yes, it's awesome.  

But it has it's drawbacks.  For example, I am never 100% in one place. I try my best to live in the moment, but often in Vancouver I wistfully wish I was back in the Big Apple.  While in New York, albeit not as often, I feel guilty at not being in a place where I can actively pursue my career.  IE. work for money.  Granted, New York gives me time to actually write without all the distractions of home (i.e. friends and good cable) and I can take classes in my field that are some of the best in the world.

I think today is a homesick day.  I am actually sick for my home.  I think because my home does not include sloping floors, a random hole, and the odd cockroach (I discovered they could fly, this was not a pleasant discovery).  My home also has a dishwasher, washing machine/dryer, and a view of the mountains.

But here I can lose myself in the Met for hours, go see an opera for $20, and then have my book signed by a favorite author at the local Barnes & Noble.

See?  Torn apart in two.

Living bi-coastally is an art that I am starting to finally understand.  You have to turn on different sides of yourself in different cities.  Here I am 'writer girl' who actually writes my 2000 words a day.  Vancouver, I can pursue acting and actually legally be allowed to work.  Different hats for different cities.  

I am not done with this city yet, but I feel our time is coming to an end.  The Engineer is off to London next semester (yes, stick around for tales from Big Ben) and then  . . . .  New York?  Toronto?  Calgary?  Laugh, but I am actually hoping for the latter.  So it makes me sentimental.  And realize that there is still so much more to see!  GAH!  Oh god, back to power mode. 

At least Vancouver offers less stress.  You know, because there isn't so much to do.  Which, I've come to appreciate, is a good thing.

The Things We Do

I realize in all of these postings I rarely talk about what I do for a living.  Although most of the times], it isn't a living per se.  But what I do is such an integral part of my life, that everyday I'm doing it.  Does that make sense?

I'm an actress.  Not a flakey one, I didn't wake up one day and decide this is what I should do for fun.  Because it is NOT fun.  Okay, fine, it's tons of fun.  About 10% of the time.  It's really hard work because everyday, we (actors) work to get work.  Exhausting, heartbreaking, make you want to cry, WORK.  The pay off?  Seeing yourself about 20 feet high in a Heath Ledger movie opening this weekend at VIFF.  

The other day was a prime example  Part of the deal I have with my agent in Vancouver is that I submit myself on tape.  In cities like Vancouver (where I simply walk into my agent's office), Toronto & LA, this is easy peasy.  In New York?  Anyone want to start a business?  Get on board the 'make it easy for actors to put themselves on tape' train.

I thought I had found somewhere to do this.  Simply.  For $25.  When my agent emailed me with a fantastic 7 page audition the first thing I had to do was re-arrange my friends and mine bus tickets to Philly. Annoying, but do-able.  This was step one.

Lucky for me, I had two of my favorite actresses in town who could be readers for me the next day.  Oh yes, and operate camera.  Check.  Call studio.  Book space.  Co-ordinate with friends.  Print script.  Easy.

Practice script on subway with friend.  Fine.  People stare with smiles on their faces (probably other actors) or scowls (old man trying to read paper).

Go into studio (arrive 30 minutes late by the way) all sweaty and gross.  I don't know why this happens.  Each time I have an audition I have to BLAST the a/c in my car, even in the dead of winter.  Nerves I guess.  But here I am, in muggy NYC Times Square with Bare Minerals running down my perfectly make-upped face (just at FYI, we have to pack on so much make-up to show up natural in the horrible lighting that is the audition room that I feel whoreish walking down Broadway.  Then I see a woman from the South and feel better).

Plug in camera, record, and done. With great direction, feel good about the scenes, etc.  Oh did I mention I walked in on another casting session to grab a light?  Whoopsie daisy.

Rush now because people waiting for room.  Throw everything into bag.  Walk out.

Realize three blocks later that my water cap wasn't on correctly and now my laptop is soaked.  Super.  Walk down 44th drying computer with cardigan and dodging annoying tourists.  Pretend I not panicking.

Walk around Midtown for a bit.  Show friends Macy's and Victoria's Secret.  Drink some Starbucks.  Audition does not have to be emailed for another five hours.  

Take friend to fake hair store.  While she peruses the wigs, decide to check out water damage and edit scenes.  Find my screen mottled.  Minor freak out but still can see screen.  Check out scenes.  Discover there is NO SOUND on half of them.  Panic.

Call Vancouver and talk to another iMovie user and ask what I have done wrong.  She just learned how to send attachments with email so unhelpful. Call agent.  Tell her link will be late.  No problem, she quips.  What about 'Breakdown Services'?  she asks.  They do taping everywhere else.  Gives me number.  Call them.  Nope.  Never heard of doing that.


Now panicking.  The chance of me landing this role is so slim, but must try or will never know right?  And last time I went to crazy effort I booked it, so must try.

Take taxi back up to Times Square.  Rush into previous studio.  No one working.  All in meeting.  Tiptoe around desk, take firewire and sneak into room.  Set up.  Bad lighting, no time, fuck it.  Teach other friend how to record on my computer.  Do one scene.  

Then sneak out again.  Convinced I have some sound, head to Apple store in Soho.  Cab goes too slowly.  Countdown is on. 

Rush into Apple store.  It's packed.  Obviously.  Beg someone for help.

There are no more appointments available so I have six people in short bursts help me.  Turns out my hard drive is full.  Buy new external hard drive.  $150.  Transfer all video files (which are there WITH sound, thank god, but won't work together on my drive because no room) to new drive.  Glance at new computers as fear I might need new one.

F Train it home and book it up to my apartment.

Yell at dogs to shut-up.

Transfer all the video files onto my friend's macbook (thank heavens she was staying with me).  Edit clips.  Upload to me.com It takes half hour, email link to agent with two minutes to spare.

Email takes forever and she only receives postage stamp size version.  Call Vancouver and tell her to check email again.  And again. And again.  She gets it.  

Breathe a sigh of relief.  Have auditioned in New York and thanks to technology am superstar. Look at clock.  I realize it's four o'clock Vancouver time, not five.  Oh well.


An actor's life for me.

PS.  If you should happen to spill water onto your mac and screen goes wonky, don't worry, it evaporates!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Parents: Do NOT Attempt

My parents are currently in Australia.

They are retired and therefore travel as much as they can.  Or, in other words,  my mother drags my father to some far off destination.  The only place he will really go willingly is Australia (they lived there when they were young and cool.  Before me.) and to the Maritimes.  Also, the odd cruise to Alaska.  

France? No, he hates French people.  Italy?  No, he hates Italians.  Well, I don't know if that's true but I sort of suspect it.  

He has now told my mum if she wants to go away, to go without him.  I think he's going to regret that one.  

On their travels, they sometimes do things that I wish I could witness for myself.  These are the things I call, 'Parents:  Do NOT attempt'.  No offence to parents, it's just that there are some things I know you ain't gonna like.

Kayaking off the coast of Tofino is one of those things.  

When my mum announced they would be doing this I believe I laughed because I thought she was joking.  Obviously offended by my scorn, she wondered just why I thought it was so funny.  Ummm, it's hard and you have to paddle. Oh, and it's on the sea.  My mum is sort of a wuss.  And even though she is a regular at Curves, I wouldn't exactly commend her on her upper body strength.  Plus, she gets seasick.

As predicted, they hated it.  Not only because it was hard.  But because they had to wear wetsuits.  Both parents were appalled.  My mum is not exactly a size 8 - which I am, and I hate wetsuits.  Pulling them up makes you feel like a sausage-cased whale.  My mum hid behind the bathroom as she attempted her wet suit.  The horror.  Poor woman.  My dad?  The only one they had left that would fit his shorter and stout figure was pink.  That's right.  My 64-year old retired farmer and foreign diplomat was forced to wear a pink wetsuit.  God, I wish I had been there.

My parents have done other wacky things.  Like rent a motorcycle complete with sidecar.  I wish I had a picture to share with you because the idea makes me giggle every time I think of it.  My dad just revving the engine and my mum sitting sidecar, her head bobbing along the highway.  

But I am proud my parents did attempt these things now that I think about it.  So what that it didn't work out?  They were brave enough to try.  And in life, you never know unless you try.  

Except, I feel my parents really should avoid any jumping off things.  Or driving off-road vehicles.  Or deep sea fishing.  In fact, I think they should stick to what they know:  wine tasting and long strolls.

Coq au Ick

I like to consider myself a good cook. Albeit, I need a recipe, no, 'whip it up off the top of my head' here, but I am able to follow a recipe with often delicious results.

Luckily, the Engineer will eat pretty much anything and often praise me. Once I attempted meatloaf.  This was a disaster.

Firstly, it's meatloaf.  I mean really.  The staple of the 50's housewife?  I made a three-layer torte with handmade chocolate crust last Thanksgiving, I think I can handle this.  I know it's not 'gourmet' per se, but I wanted to make a wholesome meal complete with creamy mashed potatoes and peas.

Several things went wrong.  

Number One: my mum was away in England.  You might wonder how this complicated matters.  Well, I like to talk to her when attempting recipes.  And seeing as I was attempting her meatloaf, I needed her help.  Who did I talk to instead?  My dad.

Sure, dad should be able to handle meatloaf.  He told me that he made a really good meatloaf the day after my mum left.  So he gave me instructions.  And his secret weapon:  salsa.

This should have been easy.  I followed the directions to a T.  But not only did my loaf not stick together - so it became 'meat roughly held together in a loaf pan'  - but it refused to cook in the centre.  The outside was getting dry and burnt, but the middle refused to cook!  Curses!

The Engineer ate around the raw beef, bless him, and told me it was good.  I was nearly in tears.  I did not eat my own disaster.  Sometimes I think the Engineer should be a bit more discerning, after all, he was upset that I threw the offending uncooked beef away.  Really Engineer?  You would eat uncooked beef?

Anyways, upon my mother's return she apparently got upset with my dad.  "HOW could you teach her how to cook a meatloaf when you can't cook one yourself?"  The drama.

Anyhoo, my meatloaf is not the point of this entry.  It's my Coq au Vin.  Otherwise known as Coq au ICK.

The Engineer has a ton of frozen chicken thighs, so it is my mission to use them.  I decided it was time to try this time honored recipe.  I chose my standby Martha Stewart because not once has this lady failed me.

I followed the recipe.  But I should have followed my instincts.

Firstly, it called for chicken livers.  This idea disgusted me.  I must admit that I cannot eat strange animal organs.  It just grosses me out.  I can eat them disguised as yummy pate, but not as blatant organ.  

I was going to do this recipe right though.  I ordered 8 slices of delicious smoked bacon (read: expensive) and then asked for a chicken liver.  The meat man smiled and asked what I was making.  I told him.  He asked if it was because of the 'Julie and Julia' movie.  The nerve!  Most certainly not, I retorted, I simply adore French cooking.  

Fine, I was sort of inspired by the movie to find my inner-French cook but that is neither here nor there.  I was using a MS recipe after all.

He pointed to the livers.  I think I actually threw up a little in my mouth.  But felt I should honor the recipe.  I thought that the livers would give the stew a richness, a certain je ne sais quois.  I didn't think they would make me gag.  Listen to your intuition people!  If your stomach says NO chicken livers, DO NOT PUT chicken livers in your Coq au Ick.

My friend little K puts liverwurst into her dishes, from spaghetti sauce to stuffing.  It's remarkably delicious.  It adds this lovely quality that you can't quite put your finger on.  I should have used that instead (which really, is just liver right?).

The recipe also said to let the chicken sit in the red wine overnight.  Done.  Unfortunately, this makes the raw poultry turn a weird shade of purple.  So they look like human organs.  Gross right?

So here I am, cooking away.  The bacon?  AMAZING.  Onions, garlic?  The smell is divine.  But then the addition of the gross-purple chicken and squishy liver?  Oh god.  The smell.  The colour.  The horror.

The Engineer, bless his heart, ate two servings.  Then he said, 'It's not so bad if you can't smell it'.  Great. 

I couldn't even eat it.  The flavor was all wrong, the colour, so gross, and the knowledge that bits of organ floated around the concoction made me physically ill.

Needless to say, my first attempt at a 'Julie and Julia' night has failed.  My French cooking is getting a 'D'.  I do have a recipe for chicken braised in white wine that I love.  Maybe I should just substitute the wines?  Or should I attempt Julia's recipe?  I know I like Coq au Vin, or the idea of it, but I failed miserably.  

Damn you liver.  Damn you and your horrible smell and texture.  

And yet I love fois gras.  Messed up.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Everyone's a Little Bit Racist, Sometimes

FYI - my subject line is a song from the Broadway Musical Avenue Q, no nasty comments please :)

It is true, whether we like it or not.  Things pop into our heads.  Don't think you do it?  I am sure you mutter a few words under your breath when you are driving in Richmond.  Even the Engineer does, and he's Chinese!

Anyways, it's not about us.  Or me.  Or the Engineer.

It's about Mr. Mop.

He has recently become a little bit racist.  

Lately, he feels the need to growl and bark at some people during our walks.  At first I thought it was just during our night walks when he felt extra protective.  But no, now it's all the time.  And it's very very random.  

It's also only ever directed at:  very large African American men OR the Latino guys working at the shop on our street.

Nothing is more embarrassing that having a very nice, friendly man say hello to us only to have my little white dog snarl at him.  

He also does this to select children (okay, just found something more embarrassing).

The dog I grew up with, Molly, was at least a predictable racist. 

Like Mop, she was a small white dog.  And she HATED anything that was dark:  darker skinned adults, dark skinned children (who so wanted to play with her) and dark dogs.  Anything that was not white got a little growl and a sneer.  She once jumped on a Schnauzer because he was grey.  

Don't think I am not trying to stop this habit.  He has to lie down when he does that to an adult.  And with kids?  He gets a treat when he walks by them and doesn't react.  Or kids get to give him treats.  But then that is a whole new level of creepy:  come here little boy, I have a treat for you . . . . 

Anyways, as the song says, "everyones a little bit racist.  Sometimes"  And that's Mop in a nutshell.

Oh, here's the song attached so you can see it isn't just me being bad 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

I do some pretty funky things in my sleep.  I mean besides the usual snoring, tossing, turning, stealing the blanket, hogging the bed and general stuff everyone does.  Here is some of the things I have done:

1.  Sleep Eat.  Yes, just like it sounds.  This has tapered off (thankfully) but it used to be a huge issue when I lived in a studio.  It's as if my subconscious knows something bad is in my kitchen.  ie.  cookies, cake, muffins, brie.  I get out of bed (asleep), go to the kitchen (asleep) and eat some of these treats (asleep).  

I have been known to eat a tray of Oreos and blame my roommate for eating all my cookies.  Put together the wonderful combination of Parmesan cheese and mint (I gathered I ate this as the evidence on the counter suggested in the morning).  And eat half a Costco chocolate muffin, leave the rest on my pillow, and call my cell phone from my home phone to ask what time it was (yes, I left a voicemail).

2.  Sleep Walk.  Obviously goes hand in hand with the sleep eating as I have to get there somehow.  My old roommate once found me on my way to my car (in the pouring rain) to 'make sure it was locked'.  Luckily, he put me back to bed.  He also found me rummaging in the kitchen, hunched down in the corner (again sleep eating I assume) and asked me what I was doing.  Without a word, I looked at him and poured my handful of chocolate chips onto the floor, ran to my bed and counted to ten.  I have woken up before standing beside my oven clock trying to figure out why I am not at work.  And I have also walked to another room in my house to sleep on another surface.  Spare bed, couch, mat in office.

3.  Sleep Talk.  ALL THE TIME.  In fact, just last night I was talking so much and so loud, I woke myself up by asking, "Who is talking?" in a pissed-off whisper.  The Engineer started to laugh which made me realize that annoying voice that woke me up, was mine.

4.  Sleep Laugh.  This is the best.  Nothing is better than waking up to a big belly laugh.

5.  Hog the bed.  I am sure I am not alone in this.  The Engineer always wakes me up to get me to move over.  My response?  I can see the edge of the bed!  Yes, from the middle, obviously I can see the edge.  I suppose in my sleepy logic if I can see the edge, I am by the edge.  Once, the Engineer took a photo of me as I lay in starfish position taking up the whole bed.  I would attach it, but it is terribly embarrassing.

To Catch a Brooklyn

I used to think Brooklyn was my less than smart dog.  But then I realized he is very smart, when he wants to be.

For example, if walking Brooklyn and you notice he is moving his head away from Mr. Mop and acting sly, it's because he has a hunk of roast beef in his mouth (yes, for some reason, there was a hunk of roast beef on the sidewalk).  You will remove said hunk o' beef and toss it under a nearby car.  Then, when getting the laundry ready (a few hours later), Brooklyn will run past you & the laundry cart and between the Engineer's legs, out the door and under the car with the roast beef. 

Yep, this dog has his moments.

So of course I had to grab some biscuits, run down the stairs and toss my laptop bag onto the sidewalk to retrieve my puppy.  

Note to self:  biscuits will not entice a dog when they have a hunk of roast beef in their mouth.  

There I am, on my hands and knees, trying to coax Brooklyn from underneath the Buick.  It hasn't rained in weeks so I don't want to think about the cleanliness of the New York City street that has seen it's share of garbage.

First, I took the 'authoritative' approach.  Nada.  He's got beef. 

Then I tried the 'loving' approach.  Nada.  He's got beef.

Finally I tried the tried and tested method of, "Okay, bye bye Brooklyn, see you later" and walked away.  This works at the park.  In the same way it does for three-year old children who won't get off the swings.  Nada.  He's got beef.

Meanwhile, cars are slowly driving past me.  One man asked if he could help me, another lady was concerned she would run over my toy dog.  I think it was the Fed Ex man who sat leering at my up-ended butt that really clinched the 'worst moment of the day' award.  

The Engineer is standing in our foyer with Mr. Mop who is going bananas.  He finally has the inspiration to get the 'last resort, always works' stick.  Otherwise known as my devil's costume pitch fork from last Halloween that we keep around for such occasions.

By this time, Brooklyn has eaten the beef and is merely running around under the car, wagging his tail having a whale of a time.  

With the stick, I manage to shoo Brooklyn from under the car (I swear, I have never done anything to him with this stick, but it instills the world of fear in him) but for a little legged dog, he sure can move fast. 

I tear down the sidewalk after him and manage to capture him between the tines of my pitch fork.  Of course he rolls on his back in surrender.

Yes, clearly we need to work on our recall skills.  But I don't think even the most obedient dog will respond when he is eating roast beef.  Heck, I barely respond to dinner conversation when roast beef is served.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Books to Read

I have never talked about books on this blog.  But seeing as I tell you where to eat.  Or what museums to go to, I feel the natural progression is to tell you about the fabulous reads I stumble across.

I won't lie.  I have pretty good taste in books.  I think almost better than Oprah.  Not that one can brag about that, it's like saying you have good taste in music.  Who says it's good taste?  It's what you like right?  I am a music nerd.  Once my friend needed a rock song to sing for an audition.  She asked me for my advice.  I told her I listen to Enya.

Anyways, I have two books I recently read that I would like to recommend.

Firstly, The Book of Negroes by (Canadian) Lawrence Hill.  It's called 'Someone Knows my Name' in the States.  It's very good.

It's so good, Mr. Hill will give you your money back if you don't like it.

But you will.  It's a long and very sad story about a girl named Aminata who is stolen from her African home, put on a slave ship, then sold to a plantation owner in South Carolina.  It follows her tale through the plantation, the working for a Jewish doctor, to her escape and freedom in New York, up to Nova Scotia, back to Africa to set up a colony in Sierra Leonne, and then to London.    

I don't want to tell you too much about the book.  But I will tell you this - you will stay up at night so that you can read it.  Which I always think is a good sign.  It is horribly sad.  Not only because it's true, but because places like Sierra Leonne are still f*&(cked up - so you can't even comfort yourself in saying, "this was so long ago".  However, it has a very happy ending.  You must remember this in order to keep reading it.  

Secondly, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows.

This is an epistolary novel (a novel of letters) telling the tale of post-WW2 England.  It starts off in bomb-blasted London and then travels to Guernsey, a part of the Channel Islands between England and France that were occupied my Germans for five years.

It's charming, funny, sad, lovely, terrible, and a page-turner all  in one.  It makes you see how the human spirit can be destroyed by war and tragedy but then put back together through love and faith. Every character in the novel has survived such remarkable sadness but have to find the strength to keep going.  And they do it by forming new friendships, and new families.

This is a lovely read.  And I believe it is only $13 at Chapters or Amazon.  

I especially loved it because it takes place in the year my mum was born.  So with each page, I think of my grandparents having to rebuild - even though they were in Northern England - with a newborn baby.  They were still in rations until the late 50's!!!

I promise to only tell you about books that you can't put down.  Because those are the best and yet hardest to find.

Mr. Mop and the Library

It has been a rainy few days here in New York City.  Mr. Mop and Brooklyn do not do well in the rain. Super that most of the time we live in Rainy City.

Anyways, they were cooped up for a couple of days and driving me bananas.  When they are cooped up from the heat it's fine because they are passed out.  But when the temperatures drop, the two of them think it's fun to wrestle FOURTEEN hours a day (and night).

So I knew I had to take them for a sizable walk.

I dragged (yes, actually dragged.  Mr. Mop refused to walk) the two down our misty street.  I was on a mission to get to the library in order to return a few books and pick up my holds.  The library is awesome here in Brooklyn.  Firstly, they almost always have the book you want ready. You can also have it shipped to your nearest library at no cost.  Thirdly, it is in a lovely brick building surrounded by leafy trees and across from Brownstones that are nearly two hundred years old.  This is the clincher.

Anyways, there we were.  A wet trio marching to get the latest installment of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency novels I have finally decided to read. Brooklyn resembled a sewer rat and Mr. Mop looked more like Mr. Mope.

We got to the Cobble Hill library (cute name too!) and I promptly tied the boys to the iron gate.  I assured them I would be very fast.  This did not help the matter.  They were all  in a panic and distraught to be left in the rain.  Looking back, it was quite mean.

In I go.  I grab my books in a nano-second and hand them over to the librarian with my card.  I feel a tap at my bum and promptly glare at the old man shuffling past me.  The I see a flurry of white behind the librarian.  I hear giggles and gasps.  I look down and think, "Oh, there is a dog in the library."

Wait a minute!

It was MY dog in the library!  

Mr. Mop had wiggled himself out of his harness and leash!  And somehow convinced someone to open the door for him!  I mean, who let him in?

I immediately picked him up and apologized to the librarian.  Luckily she was laughing.  And she pointed out that it is lucky he came into the library and didn't run away.

I didn't tell her my dog is such a mental case that his acute separation anxiety makes it so that he is never further than three feet from me if he can help it.

There I am, holding my soggy dog, balancing my books when I hear Brooklyn raising a fuss outside.  For a nine pound animal, he can make enough noise to wake the dead and break glass. His bark is so freaking high-pitched and he was actually squealing. 

You can imagine the stares I got as I walked outside to greet my trembling, soggy, loud dog with my other soggy dog wiggling in my arms.

So Mr. Mop loves the library now.  I wonder if it's the draw of all the Danielle Steele novels or the free use of a computer?

Le Eating in Le Nouveau Pomme

I recently turned 30.

And for my birthday, I got to eat WHERE I wanted.  I chose two places in the West Village.  Yes, TWO.  I went out twice.  Sue me.  Once on Saturday when all my Vancouver friends came into town and once on my actual birthday with the Engineer and two dear friends.

This is the tale of the yummiest things to eat on your 30th Birthday.

#1 Palma
Palma is a delightful Mediterranean restaurant run by Palma D'Orazio.  They have an amazing back garden that is painted in yellow and white.  It is the perfect escape from the bustling streets of New York - for one evening you can sit in the fairy-lit garden under the stars and eat amazing food.  Unfortunately, you cannot sit a group of 10 girls out there.  So we sat in the window.  Which was just as nice - the windows were thrown open and the late summer breeze wafted in.  Do you want to go now?  

See?  I haven't even told you about the food!!

For an appetizer, I shared:
- arancini Siciliani.  In other words?  Fried rice balls.  But not just any fried rice balls.  Italian fried rice balls.  Which means creamy, cheesy risotto, rolled into a scrumptious ball and then deep fried.  I just had a mini-mouth orgasm thinking about it.
- polpettine de carne.  Meatballs.  Damn good meatballs with tomato and basil.  DROOL.  

Then I had dinner.  Won't lie.  A bit inebriated from the white wine at this point so don't really remember.  I am sure it was good.

And it was followed up by tiramisu as pictured.  It was light, creamy and delightfully rich.  

More wine.  YUM.

#2 Le Gigot
French.  Country.  Food.  


Le Gigot is terribly cosy inside -you feel as if you are somewhere in Paris, or better yet, Provence.  Actually, anywhere is France is fine by me.  

For dinner they have a prix fixe menu which turned out to be a great deal ($45), for an extra $20 you get a flight of wine.  We got on board.

Course one: gateaux crab.  And not just a touch of crab with some bread crumbs - but WHOLE lump crap held together with deliciousness.  It was huge!  And, yes, delicious.  The wine was white.  And good?  I often forget wine the minute I taste food.  I know - that's bad right?

Course two:  Duck Confit.

What can I say?

I am a duck confit virgin.  I know!  Shriek!  Gasp!  I eat all the time and have never had this delicacy!!!  

If you are going to lose your duck confit virginity, let it be this good.  So duck confit is:
duck leg poached in FAT for ten hours.  

Everything about that sentence is good.  

Our portion was large.  And good.  And fatty.  And buttery.  And I had mini-mouth-orgasms with each bite.

Wine?  Red.

Course three:  chocolate lava cake.

Our server was so good.  He had overheard T wish me a 'Happy Birthday' so had adorned my cake with a candle!  He got a good tip :)  The cake was incredible.  Although, I feel any chocolate cake with melty chocolate inside is fabulous.  

Wine?  Dessert and amazingly sweet and tart.

Book your trip to NYC now.  And then go to these places.  Your stomach will not disappoint.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mountain out of Molehills

I don't feel extra lucky this morning (perhaps that will come later), but I certainly don't feel different or suddenly older or like my heart is going to fail.

Could I possibly have been making a mountain out of a molehill for nearly a year?  Nooooooo, that doesn't sound like me at all.

Oh wait, it does.

In fact, when I woke up this morning at 6:30 AM (WHAT?) because Mr. Mop has clearly eaten something bad and tooted all the way down Warren Street, I felt . . . . pretty good.  Even for so early in the morning I had an extra bounce in my step.  I felt happy.  

Hmmmmm, maybe it was my good friend (who turned 30 yesterday) reminding me of all the things we accomplished in our 20's that did it.  Or maybe Aubs was right:  you simply move on.  Perhaps it was the fact that I have been preparing myself for so long (and calling myself 30 since the early spring - just to get used to it).  Or maybe because it isn't such a big deal.

Turning 30, is not that bad.  Not that bad at all.

In fact, I think it has a pretty cool ring to it.  The only differences between being 29 and 30 are these:
1.  Now I must tick a new box on my insurance form
2.  When InStyle says how to wear stripes (or whatever) in your 20s/30s/40s/50s, I simply have a new look
3.  I now must read 'How to Take Care of Your Skin' in the 30's column.  

Not bad at all right?

I just wish the Engineer wasn't still in his twenties.  


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Turning the Big 3-0

Tomorrow is my 30th birthday.

I have been dreading it since September 10th, 2008.  

Apparently, September 9 of this year is lucky.  09-09-09 happens to be the 252nd day of the year.  2+5+2= 9  

Also, both Wednesday and September have nine letters.  It's all about luck tomorrow.  

I think I need it to not have a heart attack.  I really can't tell you why this birthday/age has me wanting to run for the hills and hide forever.  Or lie about my age on Facebook (although from constant teasing by a certain friend, my true age is finally on IMDB).

I once remember listening to a girl I knew who was about four years older than me.  She was about to turn 27 (so I was 23) and she was upset because she felt as though she should be farther in her  life at that age.  I remember thinking, 'God, I'm glad I'm not like that.  I rock for my age.  Wait till I'm 30.'  And now I am.

Here are the things I thought I would have by 30:
1.  A wedding/engagement ring
2.  A baby, or a baby on the way
3.  An Oscar
4.  The freedom not to always say a silent prayer when using the ATM or my Mastercard
5.  A super crazy career (hence the Oscar)

I have none of those things.  But I do have:
1.  A boyfriend
2.  Two dogs
3.  Yup, nothing compares to that one
4.  It's a recession
5.  Oh I do.  I was just hoping it was crazy in a different way

My friend Aubs merely says 'You turn 30.  You look at your life and realize it hasn't turned out the way you thought it would and then you move on.'  Another person I spoke to said that 30 was so hard because it's the one age that has always meant ADULT.  In our current generation 40 is the new 20, 60 is the new 40, but 30 is ADULT.  It's not the new 18, it's not the new era of backpacking across Europe and finding yourself (that's what we did five years ago) and it certainly isn't going to school and getting a degree (oh wait, it is).

I had a hard time turning 13 because I was afraid to grow up.  At 20, it felt pretty good.  Albeit I was living in Scotland and dancing on tables with friends while doing whiskey shots.  

My friends all came out from Rainy City to celebrate with me this past weekend, so that definitely helped the blow. 

And I spent the day after in much the same state I did after that night of whiskey shots.  So maybe 30 is the 20?