Saturday, December 24, 2005

Holiday Swamp

Despite the fact that I thought I was ahead of the game, I still fell into the usual hell of stess and to-do lists that inevitably preceeds Christmas. After weeks of preparation, shopping, gift making and planning, the 22nd of December was still like this for me:

pick up meds from vet
pick up dry cleaning

wash delicate clothes

hold mail at post office

buy gifts for pets

buy last gift for brother

finish wrapping gifts

make card for Brad

clean house

pack for Colorado

print recipe books and have bound and wrap

contact clients about late projects

contact snapfish about mailing address change

and for every item I sucessfully crossed off, I added another at the last minute . . . why must the approach of the holidays always be so stressful?

But now the to-do's are now crossed off and the Holdiays are here! Two nights ago Brad and I had our "Christmas" including a Christmas dinner date and the much-anticipated gift exchange. Exchanging presents with Brad has come to be a satisfying ritual of both giving and recieving the most thoughtful gifts of the season. I was spoiled with many new pieces of jewelery, a book, some other great housewares I wanted and of course, some pretty underwear!

Now we're onto the next phase of Christmas (and the actual day has yet to arrive), the family celebrations. Last night we traveled to my family's house in NJ for dinner, a long night of poker (in which I went head-to-head with my Dad after everyone else had been elimated and Brad passed out in a drunken stupor on the couch - then I lost) and this morning's Christams Eve gift exchange. At 6pm this evening we will get on a plane bound for Colorado to spend Chistmas Day and following week with Brad's family before returning home to Brooklyn, with even more presents, for our Rockin' New Years Eve Party.

Whew! My New Year's resolution may be to take a nice long nap. In the mean time . . .
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Entertainment City

Sorry for the delay in posts, but I have been busy setting up my new computer (!!!) from which I am now blogging.

Brad and I have gone to 3 theaters in the past five nights. Luckily, we did this before today's
transit strike, which has Brad home from work with me. I of course, have no work, again, but anyway . . .

Last Thursday we attended a performance of the
Compagnie Marie Choudinard, which we saw in a mulitple company performance earlier this fall. The show was at the Joyce Theatre, a really great theater dedicated to dance, in which there is not a bad seat in the house. The program consisted of two pieces; a solo and a group piece titled, Chorale, which Brad desicribed as a "bath of weird". I loved it. Performed by an amzing group of dancers, it was both silly and sexual (it even contained nudity), definitely not for children, funny and like nothing I've seen before.

On Saturday night, we attended an annual performance of the
Alvin Ailey Amercan Dance Theater at City Center. I have personal sentiments about the Ailey company, and the dancers were as amazing as ever. Unfortunatley, a new work by a choreographer I usually love left us wanting more. But the final piece, a new dance by Judith Jamison, Reminicin', delivered everything I hoped for that evening and then some.

Finally, last night, with our friends
Royce and Masako, we saw King Kong at the Union Sqaure Movie Theater. I will tell you this, it was huge, exciting and fun. Then I will tell you that you should definitely go see it for yourself on the big screen.

There will be more theaters in our future, now that we are
Play by Play members. Brad joined for us to be able attend discounted last-minute performances at the suggestion of a hockey friend. We'll see how it works out when we start theater-going.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Like A Drug

Brad just pointed me in the direction of something so amazingly cute it actually made me cry. This is the best thing I have ever seen on the internet. Ever.

You'll thank me when you feel all warm inside for the rest of you day after looking at
this website.

You're welcome.

Christmas Zone

Last night the freezing cold temperatures of the last week finally broke and a rain fell on Brooklyn to melt all the ice and snow. The sun is shining today, and it looks as if the city has narrowly escaped the threatening transit strike, for now anyway.

Like everything else governed by randomness, my freelancing "schedule" follows the general rule that there will always be droughts and when it rains it pours. This past month had been the worst drought I have yet to experience. So far I have worked a total of three days and it looks like there may not be more until the new year, as the design and advertising industry general grinds to a halt over the holidays.

With the length of
Brad's christmas list, December is an obviously bad time for my bank account to depleat. However, when it comes to having endless free time for a few weeks, there couldn't be a better month. Aside from spending lots of quality time with Francine and catching up on movies I've never seen, like Whale Rider, I have been able to exist in extreme holiday mode. I have made homemade Christmas presents, created and sent out Cristmas cards and baked Christmas cookies. While walking the dog this morning I actually had the thought that maybe I'd make some homemade wrapping paper, but that may be a bit much . . . We'll see.

Anyway, here is the recipe for some delicious Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
1 (12-oz) bag of semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 325˚. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor chop the oats and hazelnuts. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl combine butter and sugars and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, add the flous mixture and stir until blended. Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Drop dough in rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets, spaced one-inch apart. Bake until the cookies are golden, about 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Dependency Only Grows

Last night Brad finally got his first flickr photo sets up for viewing! This awesome interface for sharing and archiving our best photos is yet another thing to add to our growing list of internet memberships, subscriptions, extra curricular activities and general dependancies. The future will hopefully be a happy little collaberation of blogging and photo streaming.

This photo is part of the Hawaii set. For more photos of our Hawaii vacation, click here.

I only fear that spending the days of our prime years in front of computers will leave us hunchbacked and blind by the time we are parents. Our children might just want their computers surgically attached . . .

And speaking of, in just a few short days I'll be blogging to you and internet living from this baby, the 20" 2.1GHz G5 iMac with buil-in iSight , that I purchased last night. Sadly, my G4 powerbook, which has been so good to me over the past 3+ years is entering into it's final days. But this is how it goes, every few years comes the time to upgrade. I can't keep up withall the news, entertainment, correspondance, professional developments and the like on a computer that chugs along. Beauty and speed are headed my way via UPS ground shipping, and I can't wait!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Soup of Love

Last night the first real snow of this season fell on Brooklyn while we were sleeping. We woke to 3 of 4 inches of snowfall and when Francine and I arrived at the park for our morning walk, we discovered a nearly untouched winter wonderland. I know her little doggie heart was overjoyed as she leaped and bounded through the fresh white powder.

After our usual loop around the park, France was so happy. We took a little extra tour across the soccer field and played fetch with a few snowballs (she doesn't bring them back to me of course, but feverishly eats them instead), after which I headed out of the park to go home. It was then that Francine exhibited most irresistable display of cuteness ever – she stood still and refused to follow me, looking longingly at the field of snow. I called for her to come repeatedly and she slowly began to make her way until she saw a perfect stranger enter the park. Ignoring me, she actually turned back and started to follow that person instead, being all adorable like she can and playing around them as if to say, "Hey, I'll come with you as long as you don't make me leave!"

What could I do? I turned around and headed back to the field, ran around and threw more snowballs until Francine's little doggie pawprints had all but covered that once virgin field of snow. Twenty minutes later, soggy and hot inside my down coat, I turned to leave and thankfully, Francine followed. So now, as I sit and watch the snow fall oustide my kitchen window, I feel as if I have earned some good snuggle time on the couch today.


Last night I also made my third squash soup of the season. (These were the first and second soups.) The recipe I use was adapted from an Emeril recipe called "Puree of Winter Squash Soup of Love". Not only was this soup rich, creamy and delicious, but it has the silliest and most amazing name ever.
While making it and scooping out the squash you can say, "Look, a scoop of love!" and when your hands get messy doing it you can say, "Wow, love is messy. . ." Finally, when you sit down to taste your creation, exclaim, "Mmmmm, love is good!"

Here is the recipe:

Soup of LOVE

2 acorn squashes, about 2 pounds each
1 buttercup squash, about 2 pounds
1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds
1 stick of butter, cut into tablespoons
1/4 cup molasses
2 carrots, peeled and halved
2 parsnips, peeled and halved
1 onion, julienned
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 cups white wine
8 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon allspice
Salt and white pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream

optional garnish 1:
sliced almonds
cayenne pepper

optional garnish 2:
2 cups roasted spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
1 tablespoon chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the squashes in half, lengthwise and remove the seeds. Season the squash with salt and white pepper. Place the halved squashes, skin side down, in a shallow roasting pan. Place one tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of molasses in the center of each squash. Arrange the carrots, parsnips, onions, and garlic cloves around the squash. Pour 1 cup of the wine and 1 cup of the stock in the pan, cover with foil, and bake for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and cool the vegetables for 5 minutes. Scoop the flesh out of each squash and place in large sauce pot. Discard the skin. Place the other roasted vegetables and the cooking liquid in the pot. Add the remaining wine and chicken stock to the pot. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Season with allspice, salt and pepper. Simmer the soup for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Using a hand-held blender, puree the soup until smooth.

I added a dash of cayenne and served it with sliced almonds. However, if you're interested, here is Emeril's suggested garnish:

In a saucepan heat remaining butter. When the butter has melted, saute the spaghetti squash for 2 minutes. Add the parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup in a shallow bowl. Garnish the soup with the Sauteed spaghetti squash, creme fraiche, and chives.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Two Good Reasons For Not Having Children

Reason Number One:

Because then it might actually be weird that we treat our pets like our kids.

Last night Brad and I faced our fears and finally attempted to give Francine a bath in the World's Smallest Bathroom with the World's Worst Plumbing. That bathroom, by the way, is ours. It is so small that it doesn't even have a sink. There is just enough room to step in, close the door and stand in front of both the toilet and the bathtub at the same time. On the up side, it is pink . . .

Anyway, this bathtub I speak off devours an entire bottle of Draino Max about once a month just to keep draining, sort of. So you can inmagine our fear of what all the doggie hairs could do to that drain. Until last night we would give Francine baths, whenever we had the chance, during visits to my parent's house. This proved to be less-than-practical because it was both infrequent and a big mess in their bathroom.

Turns out that thanks to a new hair-catcher in our tub drain, the doggie hair wasn't a problem. The real challenge was fitting Francine, Brad and myself into the bathroom while trying to simultaneously wash the dog, hold her down in the tub and keep her from
shaking the shampoo (and hair) off and all over the walls.

This is Francine being very tolerant of the two things she hates most, baths and photos:

Of course, afterwards we had to treat her like the little princess she is for being such a good girl in the bathtub. So we toweled her off, gave here a greenie chew to brush her teeth with and then encouraged her to snuggle up for a nice, clean nap on our bed.

Did I mention we refer to ourselves as Mommy and Daddy in front of the pets?

Reason Number Two:

Because then we might have guilt for buying new babies like this one;
The Epson Stylus Photo R1800.

Now, Brad and I had been comtemplating buying an archival photo printer for some time now, being that we take as many digital photos as we do. Mostly, however, we had been considering an affordable 4"x6" - or even an 8.5"x11" printer. We had dreamed of the oversized of course, but knew in our hearts (at least I did anyway) that they were realisticly out of our budget.

Brad told me that he though we had "pretty much decided" on the 1800 - which prints 13"x19" photos (!!!) - when he ordered it online from work last week and called me afterwards to tell me of the purchase. What Brad had not done was see the monster in person, so he had no idea that is is absolutely ENORMOUS. Have I mentioned how small our apartment is?

To give you some perspective, our old printer was about 16"w x 7"d x 7"h. The new printer is 24"w x 12"d x 10"h, about 6x bigger than my head (which is huge), and that's when it's closed up. It's also so heavy that I had to have the UPS delivery guy carry it up the stairs for me.

With this new baby we can print huge, arhcival prints from our digital photos, which is very cool (even if it does break the bank - savings-shmavings). The geeky catch, that Brad informed me of yesterday, is that our 5megapixel camera is maxed out to print about 11"x14" without losing quality. So now we need to buy a better digital camera. Also, as I mentioned earlier, Brad had no idea that the printer would be so big. Because of this, he says he needs to purchase a flat screen monitor too, to accomodate the space for it - even though it's on a shelf above MY computer on MY side of the office. (Hmmmmmm . . . maybe I just don't speak geek.)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Who Wants To Live Without The Internet?

Not me. But, I feel it my duty to warn you that if you want to help prevent global warming, you may not be able to read this blog, or any for that matter. According to this NY Times article, carbon dioxide, the main climate threat, "is generated by activities as varied as surfing the Web, driving a car, burning wood or flying to Montreal."

Sadly, it seems that global warning is much like cancer - everything causes it. We're doomed, so to keep reading you'll have to take your chances . . . .

Last spring Brad bought me a Holga, a plastic point and shoot camera that uses medium format film. Since then I have slowly been shooting with it - mainly on trips and special occasions. It took me some time to find an affordable place to have the film processed and now, nearly six months later, I finally developed the first five rolls and the results are delightful.

Maybe when Brad finally gets some photos
up and running on his flickr site, I'll make my very own Heather's Holga album. Until then, here are some gems, from Hawaii and San Fransisco, respectively:

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Nest Eggs

This past week I worked for an agency that I was designing with for about six months last year before they blew off my services for those of a free intern - but that's a story for another time. Having not seen the folks there since last Febuary, the big question was "How's married life?", because I was a single last time I graced their offices.

"Not all that different" was my standard answer. Brad and I were living together before getting married, and after the wedding parties died down and the dust setteled, not much seemed to have changed. However, I realized upon further thought, that one thing we have begun to do increasingly in our married state, is nest - in the form of shopping. In the past two months we have purchased new furniture, a new table lamp, new bedding, a new photo printer, and as of this weekend, a new humidifier and dog bed - to name a few.

(It may be time to curb the habbit. Maybe our New Year's resolution will involve less purchasing, so we can finally add to that savings we have been talking about.)

This month we decided that we won't be moving from Brooklyn, or our apartment, in the near future. So, lately we have also been nesting in the form of cleaning and reorganizing. The past two weekends we have been spent moving furniture, dusting out corners, reorganizing stored items and generally sprucing up the place so we can be cozy for winter. As a final step, we took all of our couch covers and pillows to NJ
this weekend, while celebrating my Mom's brithday, to wash and free them of dirt and pet odors.

Now we little eggs sit, on our fresh and clean couch, laptops on laps while we enjoy the newly purchased Brat Pack movie collection and a big bowl of popcorn. The nest is good.

*Oh, and one other purchase worth mentioning. I just ordered wallet-sized prints of this photo:

See why I love Brad!?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

All I Want For Christmas

Dear blog,
I know you must think that my recent lack of posts is a sign of my lost interest in you - by I urge you not to asume this. I still love you very much, I have just been VERY busy. You don't realize the amount of time and effort that goes into posting you, and unfortunately for us both, that time has been purchased by others.
Yes dear blog, it is true I can be bought, but I am only using them to earn money for Christmas shopping. I will never care for them as I do you.

In the past week I have been absorbed by numerous jobs; Brad and I have nearly completed a
new website, I have returned to work at Public where I have been slaving to update their website, and I am also in the midst of another job for this website. I long for those leisurely days when I can spend my time contemplating the vocablulry with which I craft you. Those days are near, for soon we will be together again. Wait for me, blog. I will return to you and we will once again create glorious memories.

All my love,

Da Bomb

The problem with having too much work to do is not only that I do not have time to write posts, it is that I do not have time to peruse and absorb information from the internet to fuel the content of my blog posts. During busy weeks there is little room inside my brain in waking hours for much more than work, work, work, schedules, meals and dog walks. Current events and useless nonsense alike pass by without my being aware.

In addition, the approach of Chrsitmas has created yet another obstruction. It seems that I spend the few precious moments of internet time browsing for gifts. I know I am too old to write a list for Santa, but that doesn't mean I can't write a list for Brad. Luckily(?), we both have this little addiction called shopping, and what better way to exercise it than buying gifts for each other!

While at work, we often email back and forth with links to interesting Times articles, random tidbits and occasionally, cool things to buy. However, in recent days there has been some not-so-subliminal gift hinting in these correspondances.

It all started the other day when Brad sent me several links to some old-school Atari game consoles, saying "Aren't these cool? And they're only $25!" Translation: "You should make a note of these links because I want one for Christmas!" I retaliated with a less subtle suggestion, "These are some of my favorite sites to browse for cool stuff." Translation: "You can't go wrong if you buy me lots of stuff from these websites." Finally, Brad responded at the end of the day with the link to his new Amazon wishlist. No translation needed. Let the shopping begin!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

How Big Was Your Bird?

Because ours was a whopping 24 pounds!

Now it wasn't supposed to be so large when I reserved it from the Garden of Eve this past September. I was expecting a 12-14 pound Broad-Breasted bronze turkey raised on the farm, but when we picked the bird up last weekend, we were informed that they had grown a lot faster than expected.


11pm Thaksgiving Eve

8am Thanksgiving

4pm Thanksgiving


Brad and I have successfully roasted our first Thanksgiving turkey and it was deeeelicious! Complete with gravy (which was described as "liquid silk", thank you very much!) cornbread and sausage stuffing and cranberry chutney, the monster turkey was enjoyed in the company of several of our friends –
Christine (and her parents from Washington state), Megan and Josh – with whom we planned a joint feast.

The menu will make your mouth water:

Mushroom and leak turnovers
Green salad with pomagranite seeds and vinagrette
Fruit salad
Roasted green beens with prociutto
Brussel sprouts with hasel nuts
Cranberry chutney
Free-range, pasture-raised turkey
Rich gravy
Cornbread and sausage stuffing
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Pumpkin pie
Pecan pie
and, last but NOT least . . . Chipotle ice cream

Mmmm, mmmmm, mmmmmm. I think Thanksgiving has officially topped the list as my favorite holiday of the year . How wonderful it is to spend a whole week planning and cooking for a holiday which you celebrate by sitting down and eating a huge feast! Brad and I had a great time roasting our turkey together and were certainly rewarded for our culinary efforts. As we went arround the Thanksgiving table saying our thanks, friends in company who can cook (!) was a big one.

Oh, and the eating isn't even over yet. We've got leftovers we'll be enjoying for days and turkey soup in the works. Yummy :)

Monday, November 21, 2005

One Crazy Week

I know I said five days and it has been much longer than that. My mother-in-law sent me a "you need to post a new blog" reminder email a few days ago and has probably been sweating it out ever since. But, I'm back now, after one crazy week.

9 days ago, Friday morning Brad and I were scheduled to fly out of Laguardia Airport at 9am for a long weekend in Santa Fe. Unfortunately at about 1pm that afternoon, this is is part of a correspondance that took place between myself and my friend Julia, who I was looking forward to spending time with in SF :

Subject: You won't be suprised by this :)

Date: November 11, 2005 1:24:36 PM EST


Ok, so I should be on a flight to Denver right now, but instead I am at home writing you this email. This morning, Brad and I headed off to the airport at 9:30 for our 9:00am flight that I mistakenly thought was at 11:00am (those itineraries are so jumbly!) So . . . now we don't get up to Santa Fe until midnight tonight - assuming we can get on the 5:30pm flight standby when we go back to the airport:) I am panicking about being able to spend time with friends because I'm booked to teach all day everyday I am there, blah, blah, blah! . . .


Subject: Re: You won't be suprised by this :)

Date: November 11, 2005 1:32:32 PM EST


At least you didn't lock your keys in a running airplane.

Yep, that's right, we missed our plane because at 1am the night before I misread the itinerary that I booked! And that was just the start . . . When we finally arrived in Albuquerque that Friday night at midnight, we picked up our rental car and less than five minutes away from the airport, blew out a tire driving 70 miles an hour in the center lane of Route 25. (We made them bring us a new car!) Over the next three days I spent 14 hours in the dance studio choeographing 2 entire dances onto my old students from Charisma dance studio, Brad's parents came with friends to visit us, Brad worked on a cartoon network job on his laptop in our hotel room during the "spare" time, and I tried to visit with friends. On the fourth day we made a decision that we weren't ready to travel home yet, added an extra day onto the trip, and subjected ourselves to a whole other day (starting at 5am) of flying standy.

Don't get me wrong, it was a fun trip - and we even got a hike in! Of course we had another day or two of jumping right back into life in NYC as soon as we got back, one day late. However, this Mornday morning, things have finally settled back to a sort of calm and I am blogging again. Hoorah!

Here are some photos of myself as the dance director, and my students rehearsing their new pieces:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Someone Farted in the Laundromat

As Brad can attest, I hate doing laundry. It is one of the two chores I fear, the other being dishes. But, because we are traveling to Santa Fe tomorrow and Brad has taken care of the delicates more than once on his days off, today I stepped up to the task.

While I was sitting there, reading my most recent issue of Print and waiting for the dryers to buzz, a couple came in giggling and sorted there laundry right next to me. A moment later I looked up to see they were gone and realized I had been left in a fart.

Up until that moment there were 2 things that were making the laundry errand bearable to me. Next to the dryers it was warm (and almost cozy on a cold day like to day) and it smelled like FABRIC SOFTENER
– an odor I would perfume myself with if I could. And so, you can understand why I was particularly offended by such behavior; the laundromat smelled like ass for the next five mintues.


Tomorrow morning we head to Santa Fe for a long weekend during which I will teach a 3-day day workshop for my teen students there at Charisma Dance Studio. Brad and I will also be eating green chilli, enjoying the big blue skies, and deciding whether or not we want to relocate back to our former home from Brooklyn, where we now reside.

Our dog Francine, will be staying with my friends Sara and Steve, who are watching her as a trial run to see if they want a dog themseves. I have to admit I fear that in our absense Francine will act out in rotten, evil ways we have never seen and the two of them will never want to speak to me again after I pick her up next tuesday. But it is likely she will just sleep like she usually does for 90% of the time we are gone. I have been mentally composing the note I will give them with Francine and her belongings that tells them "How to Take Care of My Dog", as neither of them have ever cared for any dog, to my knowledge. I also fear that the note will be overly detailed and make me appear to be a dog-obsessed lunatic. Yet another risk I will have to take.

It is unlikely I will blog over the next 5 days, unless I steal a few mintues on Brad's laptop. So, in order to get you though the impending lapse, I leave you with two soup recipes that have been getting Brad and I through this Fall. Both of these soups are easy, almost fool-proof and deeeeelicious!

Tomato Soup

4 cups chopped tomatoes (preferable seeded although not necessary)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 red onion, chopped

4 cups chicken broth

1.5 teaspoon cloves

course ground sea salt and fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1-2 tablespoons sugar

In a stockpot combine tomatoes, garlic, onion, broth, cloves and generously salt and pepper. Boil gently over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes to combine the flavors.

Strain all the liquid from the mixture and set aside. Blend remaining until very smooth.

Heat butter over low heat until melted and quickly wisk in flour to form a golden roux. Add a ladel full of reserved liquid to prevent from burning or sticking and continue to wisk so no clumps form. Add remaining liquid and bleded mixture. Stir to blend and heat gently through.

Eat and enjoy!

I like to serve with cheese toasts. Use slices of crusty bread topped with slices of asiago cheese, salt and pepper and broil for about 5 minutes until crispy and golden.

Split Pea Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups chopped onion

2 cups chopped carrot

2 cups finely chopped celery

2 cloves minced garlic

2 cups split peas (I use one green and one yellow)

8 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Cook onion, carrot and celery until onion
is translucent.

2. Stir in peas, broth, salt and pepper. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 2½ hours
and stir frequently.

3. Puree in a food processor, return to pot to heat through.

4. Serve, top with some croutons and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Over-the-Counter Tranquilizers

Everybody knows that babies are cute and cuddly. From what I understand, once you enter into the second half of your twenties, babies are also supposed to make your biological clock start talking, saying things to your brain like, "Hey! Don't you want one of those?!" My brain however, tends to say things like, "Hell, no! Turn and walk in the other direction as fast as you can!"

******For either of my mothers that may be reading this right now. Have no fear; deep down inside I like babies. Of course I want babies - well maybe small children would be better if I could get one like that. Just don't expect them ANY time soon.

Anyway, two weeks ago Brad and I were at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum where two children were running through the exhibition, touching things that were not meant to be touched (if you can't read the signs that say "do not touch" then you are obviously to young to be there) and yelling to their parents. I found myself wondering angrily if there was not a height requirement for admission. Later, when a different child was writhing around on the floor of the museum design shop, where Brad and I were browsing, and screaming for his mother's attention (which she was denying him) I had to flat out resist the urge to strangle them both. First child, for the sake of quiet, and then mother for not only bringing her child, but even worse, for not supervising it in a place it doesn't belong.

Seriously, I don't think six year olds can really grasp the significance of textile advancement.

If you're wondering what might have spawned this tirade, it was this article in the Times, which I found to be quite humorous. Bet you can guess whose side I'm on. I'd like to be there when one of these mothers (who thinks they should be able to bring their ill-behaved children anywhere, and feel their parenting is being insulted by business owners trying to preserve the sanctity of quiet adult-only environments)
seeks refuge in a cappuccino and a book at a peaceful coffee shop when their kids are with a babysitter – but can't enjoy it because some brat is running circles around and bumping into their table, slowly spilling their overpriced, yet luxuriously satisfying coffee drink all over the table.

Of course it is likely that karma will return to bite me in the ass and I will one-day breed the most monstrous little heathens you could ever imagine. But, in the mean time, when my already unpleasant morning commute is made nearly intolerable by the sound of a wailing toddler who's parents are just giggling and cooing at it as if they can't figure what their little demon ate that morning to make him behave so unusually bad, I think I have every right to seek sanity in imagining myself turning around and sticking my fingers into all six of their inconsiderate eyeballs. (Ok, that was harsh)


I know a joke that will always make Brad laugh. It goes, "Hey, want to have a baby?" It is especially funny if I say this while scowling at three grown-ass adults all babbling, in some weird, high-pitched, made-up language that they seem to believe only babies can understand (uh, wrong!), to a small child who is not making eye contact or reacting to any of them.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Heartbreaking Loss

The Dark Rainbows lost the championship game. It was an admirable fight and and we lost by only one goal scored within the last minute of the game.

War paint, team spirit and all, the Rainbows finished second place in the league and took home the "We Are Family" award. Last year we finished third, so one can only hope we are on our way up. We REALLY wanted it this season, but we now have a goal for next - championship.

In other news, I'm not feeling so hot these days. Many people have worked sick around me over the past few weeks, and I fear my immune system has finally had it. So, while I am sipping on tea and Emer'gen-C, here is a cool article from the Times
on a design rockstar, Chip Kidd, for your reading pleasure.

Also, this recipe (an old favorite of mine, courtesy of Beth Sugarman) warmed our broken little Rainbow hearts last night. It's a delicious fall treat.

Curried Squash & Mushroom Soup

2 medium acorn or 1 butternut squash (I use butternut)
2 ½ cups water or stock
1 cup orange juice
2 Tbl. Butter or margarine
½ cup chopped onion
1 medium clove crushed garlic
6 oz. mushrooms, sliced mushroom (I use 10 oz. pkg. & peel them)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 ¼ tsp. salt (I use less)
a few dashes cayenne
optional: fresh lemon juice

Serve with yogurt &/or chopped almonds.

Bake squash 375’ oven on a foil-covered tray until soft and pierces easily with a fork. (This can be done days in advance, just refrigerate till ready to make soup.) Cool, scoop out the insides. You need about 3 cups worth. Put in blender with water/stock and puree till smooth –or mash with potato masher. Combine with orange juice in a pot.

Heat butter and add garlic, onion, salt and spices in a skillet. Saute until the onion is very soft – add a little water if it sticks. Add mushrooms, cover and cook 10 minutes.

Add the saute’ to the squash, scraping the skillet well to salvage all the good stuff. Heat everything together very gently. Taste to correct seasoning. You may want more cayenne or salt or lemon (I add the lemon & cayenne when I serve it.)

Can serve immediately or simmer a while and the flavors will mature.
Freezes well.

YUM! YUM! Enjoy! With love, Beth

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

And The Marketing Goes On

What a morning . . . Nothing like a fire to stir up my repressed fear of disater in New York City.

It just so happens that I had to come in to work ( at the agecy I am currently employed by) early to crank out materials for a 1pm marketing presentation. Everything seemed normal, including the subway train delay as I made my way from Brooklyn across 14th street to the end of the L line. But when the train doors opened in the station, I stepped out into clouds of smoke. There was no chaos, no police, only other people like me, covering there mouths and noses leaving only the fright in their eyes exposed.

I could only assume that there had been some small fire in the train station, hence the delay, but when I stepped out onto 14th street into a black sky, I realized I was wrong. Funny how something like this had the ability to make me feel a sadness and fright that I try so often to avoid. I am the first one to ask that people quit playing the 9/11 card, wishing it could just become a part of the past once and for all. However, I couldn't stop some memories of that day from flooding into my mind as I walked to work, into progressively smokier air. There was something hauntingly familiar about the way people were looking each other in the eye, walking to their destinations, not knowing what else to do when they know something bad is happening that can't be help by them.

I must have had coversations with at least three different strangers, all seaking some comfort in speaking to others who were also confused and helplessly scared. I finally arrived at my destination to find a watchful crowd and twenty or more fire trucks. The parking garage next strore to the building I am working in was a cloud of smoke. From the windows of the office I am now in, which is also filled with smoke, I watched three firemen side-by-side on ladders, spraying water into third floor windows from which flames were leaping. The roof had caught fire by then too.

To be honest, I have been here nearly an hour now, and I don't know if the fire is out. I had to return to my desk. Despite the fact that the smoke in the air I am breathing is worsening, the marketing must go on. Two hours and counting until the presentation materials are due - too little time for anyone to care that my eyes and the back of throat are starting to burn. I don't think I am wrong to be a little worried . . .


I have just had my faith in the humanity of the marketing and advertising industry restored a bit. I am being sent home to work from there (yipee!) because it might not be good for me to sit here and inhale burning cars and rubber all day.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Desperate Thieves

Today is first day of November, which makes today the two month anniversary of this blog. WhooHoo!

Yesterday was Halloween, that wonderful holiday celebrated with costumes and candy. Brad and I did our Halloweening last Friday at or friends' party, which we attended as burglars. Check out how scary we were:

Last week I thought that the party would be enough to satisfy our costume cravings, but I couldn't help but feel a little sad last night. As I left work in the West Village and Halloween parade-goers in costume walked past me, I found myself wishing we had planned for some Halloween spirit on the actual day . . . Luckily, there is a new guilty pleasure in our house that quickly replaced my sadness; Desperate Housewives.

I don't even want to get started on this one, I am hooked so hard. But, let's just say that as someone who is consistantly pulling a low C to D for time-management, Desperate Housewives has left me dangerously teetering on the edge of an F for this week. What can you do though? It's so good!

So, with Halloween past, and fall undoubtedly surrounding us, I am already looking ahead to winter and wonder what it might bring. Change is in the air for Brad and I and only time will tell the direction we choose.

Stay tuned for Novemeber!

This is me dancing with a horse head on:

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Sweet Smell of Victory

The Dark Rainbows won the Black Top Street Hockey semi-finals!!!! It was a close one, but we kicked some What the Puck ass, 4-3. Now, next sunday, in front of the entire league, we will be playing in the championship game against Pork Fried Rice / New York Cty Street (yes, that's really their name).

Last year the Dark Rainbows were an expansion team. In our first season we advanced as far as the semi-finals in the playoffs, but we lost. Though we came back to secure third place, we watched the championship game from the sidelines, all wishing it was Pink on that court. This year there will be Pink on that court, and a crowd cheering for the Rainbows. We have earned it.

There are two important factors that will hopefully aid us in winning, not to mention, making it all the more cool:

  1. PFR/NYC "recruited", thus creating a traitor of, one of our better players from last season. Who, I might add, was awarded the title of league MVP last season, with the support of the Rainbows. Victory will say to Ed what we all really want to, "Suckah, don't you wish you hadn't betrayed the mighty Rainbows for your pussy-ass team that can't make up its mind about its name!?"
  2. The Rainbows are not the only team who lost a player to PFR/NYC Street. They are an "all-star" team of sorts, composed of stolen players. They are not about the fun, as the league is meant to be, but the winning. So, with no spirit and poor team attendance at many games, they have comfortably ridden the season out in first place. The Rainbows will be the crowd favorite. We will have support and hope to be the victorious challengers.
Look out PRF/NYC Street, the DR's are coming to show you all what we think of you.

I can smell the vicory, and it is sweet.

You can see more BTSH photos here. Look for the pink.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Like Steak on a Saturday Night

You never really understand the meaning of TGIF until you have worked an entire week from 9am (ish) to 6pm in a corporate cubicle hell such as I have this week. Here I sit, wasting time, wandering through cyberspace instead of executing the crappy Powerpoint and stock-photography based designs I have been assigned. Knowing that it is Friday, the weekend is just hours away, is the one thing that keeps me carrying on.

I can't wait.

There are halloween parties and costumes on the horizon, a shopping outing (worth sticking it out in a crappy, flourescent-lit office for) and game #2 of the
BTSH playoffs, in which the Dark Rainbows are only two wins away from first place! I intend to visit Cooper-Hewitt's
Extreme Textiles show before it comes down, and tomorrow morning is yet another veggie pick-up.

But right now, I am painfully watching the minutes tick by in the upper-left hand corner of the computer screen I have been glued to since this morning. Forget Fridays, Friday is halfway over and this one has been sucky thus far. I say, Thank God for Saturdays. Tomorrow, will be a lovely day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Brooklyn Rules

You should read this article about the growing gentrification (affectionately referred to as L-ification) of Williamsburg and beyond. It will tell you a lot about the place where Brad and I live. Why we need more space, can't necessaily afford more space, want to buy, can't buy, want to move, don't want to move and feel all along like we are in the center of the a thing that could explode into either heaven or hell any day now.

The real estate market sucks for us as we watch the new "luxury" buildings grow and are gradually getting priced out of our neighborhood; out meaning east, as in further away from the great isle of Manhatten into the abyss of Long Island. But, it is really fun to live in Williamsburg! Our dog has a park, we actually know some of our neighbors, we eat in great restaurants, I love the trendy shopping and should we be in the mood, there are plenty of spots to grab a tasty pint of beer in the company of other young people.

Coincidentally, right now I am reading
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It is a story that carries you through the same streets of Williamsburg as the article above, through the eyes of an 11 year old girl nearly 100 years ago. Obviously a lot has changed, but I am noticing that there are many reminders of the old days that still remain, if you can just look past the hipsters.


No, it's not Thanksgiving yet!

I am sitting here, fiercely resisting the urge to vomit through my nose due to the pungent odor (something like chilli and sour pickles) wafting from the lunch of my co-worker.

My hand is carefully positioned over my nose, trying to control the airflow to it, and in my peripheral vision I can see him gobbling his way through whatever it is he is eating - but it's not like I need to look because I can hear the heavy breathing and grunting that accompanies the act just fine. I want to get up and run, fast, to a place with fresh air (which unfortunately requires an elevator ride).

Silently I pray:
"Please! Help! Take the food away fast (and not to the garbage between our desks) and get him a decongestant!!! Anybody, please..."

My brain is suffering from lack of oxygen. How much longer keep holding my breath so I can use my second hand to type?

I feel dirty and trapped.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Sick of Feeling Soggy

sog·gy (sg, sôg)
adj. sog·gi·er, sog·gi·est

  1. Saturated or sodden with moisture; soaked: soggy clothes.
  2. Lacking spirit; dull: a soggy bit of dialogue.
  3. Humid; sultry: a soggy afternoon in August.

This morning I woke to the sound of NPR news cataloging damages to hurricane victims in Florida. Brad and I ate breakfast while we watch the wind whipping outside our kitchen window. Then, around 9am, I donned the now leaky galoshes and made my way to work on steamy subway trains packed like cattle cars.

Now, here I sit, in a crappy corporate office, sweaty from my commute. Two hours ago I was freezing in my apartment. I am reading about the ever worsening Artic Thaw, checking cloudy, shower-filled 10-day forcasts on the weather channel, sniffling and wondering when it was that this city became so damn wet . . .

This is todays forcast according to

Windy. A steady rain this morning, with showers continuing this afternoon. High 54F. Winds NNE at 25 to 35 mph. Rainfall possibly over one inch. Winds could occasionally gust over 50 mph.


Last night in the pelting rain and gusting winds that I doubt were over 20mph, the dog walk was not fun. It is sad when even Francine doesn't want to go out, her walks are the highlights of her doggy days.

I am not looking forward to this evening.

1 year ago I took insult when Brad said he gave New York an F for weather.
Today I am at a D and diving.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Drunkin' Pumpkin

My mother-in-law has quickly become my biggest fan. Brad and I both get more feedback than imaginable and I don't know if anyone looks forward to and regularly checks for blog posts as much as Caryl does. Knowing this I feel that I should post more frequently. . .

Saturday morning, while Brad was cookin' up our latest favorite, "Fried Green Tomato Scrambled Eggs" (use your imagination), to go with some leftover Polenta Cakes, I sat at my computer in a cloudy, post-Friday night haze wondering what could be interesting enough to write about. Despite resolutions not to party so hard on Friday
as to make us worthless on Saturday, we did it again. Fighting the urge to remain horizontal that morning (nearly afternoon), that was the latest news at the time.

These photos were taken Friday night, with my dear old friend Sara Patten, AFTER (!) Brad had already gone home to pass out, at the bar down the street from out house:

Since then however, there have been developments. As the weekend progessed, Brad and I dipped into a new TV series, Netflix style – Strangers with Candy. We stocked up on veggies (lots of apples and tomatoes) at the farmer's market for another round of sauces and also helped our friend Christine paint her new apartment. The highlight, I'd say, was our Saturday night pumkin carving. The pumkins are for display at our friends' Halloween party this coming Friday night, and the carvings also yielded me some scraps that I'll be making some yummy pumkin bread with this week.

Check out the photos:

Last night, after the
Dark Rainbows won their first play-off game against last year's champions and the 2nd seated team (!!!), Brad and I attended a college friend of mine's wedding. When I put on my 50's style black dress and heels, Brad told me I looked like a wicked witch. Being that we haven't decided on Halloween costumes yet, it's good to know I'm at least in the spirit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Who I Want To Be When I Grow Up

Brad didn't have any idea the wheels he would start turning in my head when he emailed me this article at work today. Rachel Ray really is cool, and yes a little dorky and even annoying too.

Food TV is one of my favorite recipe and cooking resources. I started using it after a summer sublet at my friend John's apartment with cable, a rare treat to me, during which 30 Minute Meals was at the top of the rotation. Also, Brad and I have adopted one of our favorite meals from a Rachel Ray chilli recipe. (I'll post that real soon)

Anyway, I love me some Martha and I know she's an empress too. But chosing between the two, wouldn't you rather be Rachel Ray? She's a likeable lady with good timing.
I like to think she likes cooking like I do, for enjoyment and for eating! Plus, my brother and his college friends could have a new drinking game.

I don't know if I can max out my magazine subscriptions to get Every Day with Rachel Ray - but I am sure am curious about cooking for my dog.


In other food related news: Mark Bittman is a
columnist for the Times and also an author of cookbooks. After work this evening Brad and I stumbled upon (and bought!) his new book, The Best Recipes in the World at The Strand. I am very excited. Judging by the sample recipes in his column and what I've spied in the book so far, there is a lot to look forward to!

Here is another cool article by Mr. Bittman

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Brad "The Baker"

Brad has proclaimed that he intends to be the baker/dessert specialist of the family. This is an exciting complement to my cooking obsession, being that I can whip up some amazing diners, but recently messed up a box cake.

Last night, in his second effort to earn this title, Brad made some scrumptious
Lemony Sugar Coookies. The first effort towards the same batch of cookies took place and failed last week. Brad had some mixing casualties and accidently doubled the butter, a result of the unfortunate, beginner's mistake of not reading the entire recipe before making the dough. The cookies (if you can call them that) were a sight!

However, if some lessons are best learned through mistakes, then Brad is on his way to greatness. Last night's cookie baking episode was a methodical and slightly anal endevour on his part that yielded some very yummy cookies.

Francine loves cookies too.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Poker Face

The highlight of this weekend nearly past (aside from the Dark Rainbows winning our hockey game today!) was our Friday night Texas Hold'Em Party. Two of my friends from college + lady friends joined Brad and I for a good old-fashioned drunken poker night.

At the end of the night it was my friend Mike's German girlfriend, Nicole, who took home the pot. Nicole learned to play poker by reading some rules on the way over to our house and us explaining the rest to her upon arrival at the start of the game. And while some might call this beginner's luck, being that after hours of playing she often didn't know the value of the hand she was holding, there are those of of that think her dominance was greatly attributed to her natural born "poker face". Her stoic German mannerisms translated into an emotionless expression that was truly unreadable and amazing. I think she single handedly took all 5 of the other players out, including her final opponent - myself, without any of us seeing it coming. I am a little bit afraid to invite her back next time!

Can you pick out the poker face?

Brad, at the end of poker night!

Anyway . . . after the beer-filled poker night Brad and I were sluggish and hungover Saturday morning. In need of a little something special to get us going on the first sunny day the city had seen in about 8 days, I crafted what I am calling an Italian Garden Frittata. Made with the yummy, fresh garden share vegetables we picked up that morning, it was just the cure. Here is the recipe:

Italian Garden Frittata

olive oil

1 small bell pepper, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion chopped

8 large eggs
1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

sea salt and coarse ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400˚
Wisk together eggs and milk, generously salt and pepper.

In a 10-inch, oven safe, non-stock skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion and pepper and cook until onion is translucent and peppers are slightly tender. Stir in tomatoes and cook for about 1 more minute. Reduce heat to medium and pour egg mixture over top. Let cook while occasionally lifting sides away from pan to allow the liquid to run off the top to the bottom of the pan for about 10-12 minutes or until the eggs are beginning to set but still a bit runny on top.

Mix together the basil and asiago cheese and sprinkle over the top. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until fluffy and slightly browned at the edges. Loosen from the sides of the pan and serve immediately.

Serves four and is delicious!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

How-To Build a Suburb

Who doesn't imagine their dream home? Brad and I certainly do. We have both been monitoring the trends in the housing market of late, fantisizing about when we might be able to get in on it.

Now, I am a shameless fan and sometimes follower of the "how-to empire", but really, who imagines their dream home is Martha Stewart's home? This article in the NY Times about Martha Stewart teaming up with a developement group to create a housing subdivision modeled on 3 of her homes is just too much, I had to post it, it's amazing. And to answer my question, Martha said, "Let's face it, everybody wants to live in one of my homes".

Ha! Go Martha, we need more suburban sprawl.