December 29, 2008


above: snow on the go by hallmark; below: the makings of sundried tomato pesto by KB
I'd love nothing more than to post about our Christmas tonight, but I'm wiped out. It's nearing ten, which is my target bedtime despite the fact that Craig is watching Hancock and I'm half tuned in because it seems to be kind of entertaining. But I did want to mention a couple of things in passing, all random and unrelated. First of all, our trip to Indiana to see Craig's family was haloed by his two nieces Hannah and Lauren. They were just unbelievable and amazing. I will tell stories later. Second, the ornament above was gifted to us by Hannah, Lauren and their parents, and Craig's sister (the girls' mom) explained that she thought of us because of our urbanity. Nice! The picture below the swift snow guy is of my food processor filled with ingredients to make sundried tomato pesto. I was supposed to make turkey meatballs tonight, but that's an undertaking, and I felt so tired. Thus, I opted for easy pesto. But I struggled at Food Emporium to find fresh basil. I never struggle at Food Emporium to find fresh basil. I was so stumped. I almost desperately bought a potted basil plant for $6.99, but didn't, though, realizing that I'd kill that thing within moments of plucking off the first basil leaves. So, I wound up with a tube of basil paste (shown above in the food processor, looks like green goo). The pesto turned out alright regardless. I love that feta cheese gets sprinkled over it, because seriously, what pesto gets paired with feta cheese? And the smart thing about feta is that it covers up any erroneous ingredient selections, such as basil goo paste.*As sides, of course we ate asparagus. And I bought a fresh loaf of 7-grain bread which I turned into garlic bread. I ran the dishwasher, and soon it's bedtime. We've sailed well past ten, and I honestly can't stand being tired in the morning. It's something I'm not enjoying in the least. When I wake up and my eyes feel like I've been punched repeatedly, and when my head just can't lift from the cold, soft pillow, I am as good as ruined. Going to bed early on school nights is key. Goodnight, then.

December 28, 2008


Warning, Twilight victims: spoilers ahead.
Happy Holidays, fellow readers of smart books. While there are plenty of wonderful happy memories for me to report from our Christmastime spent in Indiana, prior to posting about that I must unleash my haphazard albeit sincerely confused review of Twilight. I will feel better about everything knowing I've not only exhausted my eyes with this YA #1 New York Times Bestseller (wth???), but that I've also recognized this book, for what it's worth.*For months, I've complained to Craig. Why is everyone (young teen girls, their mothers, girls my age, gentlemen, perhaps?) obsessed with something so trite as a story about girl meets boy, boy happens to be Most Handsome and Incidentally Eligible Vampire, Ever, in One Hundred Years? (note: Edward is 100, yet, he's 17 forever. Ah, fantasyland). Craig has been frustrated with my verbal reviews of a book I had not yet read. Alas, I launched myself into the Twilight challenge. Where to begin? Poor, poor author - she must be miserable. She wrote this, as Craig's girl cousins told me, at soccer practice from the bleachers watching her children? Then, after rejection ontop of rejection (wait - maybe she didn't even receive rejection letters?? I could have my backstory incorrect) she received a deal to write not just the one excruciating book filled cover to cover with YA cliches, but four of them? And then, a movie deal? Wait, probably four movie deals? Poor author must be miserable swimming in all the vampire glory and money, so I won't feel guilty slashing (biting?) this book to bits. But before I go on, I must also admit to having bought New Moon, the second installment. As if that doesn't speak worlds.*Plot summary: angst-ridden teen girl, who is a self-proclaimed (as written from first person p.o.v.) knockout, bails on free spirit mother and mother's Minor League signed boyfriend, leaving sunny, righteous Phoenix to punish said angst-ridden self by bunking with often-absent Forks, Washington resident bio dad/Chief of police in Forks. Said absent bio dad provides knockout teen daughter with ancient (foreshadowing of her to-be ancient bf??), yet super cool truck, free of charge. Daughter starts school and of course, everyone just loves her. And wait, why wouldn't her name be Bella (short for Isabella, but she prefers Bella, which she repeatedly and grumpily corrects through the first third of the book). All of the handsome teen boys admire her, but the table of pale-skinned (not yet known to be vampires) teens in the corner of the cafeteria are what catches Bella's eye. Let's just skip the boring stuff. Bella and the handsomest vampire ever sit next to one another in Biology. He clenches his fists in apparent rage and has black eyes, which mystifies her. He disappears for a few days. He reappears, this time with ochre eyes. Insert: I wonder if the author can trademark the color ochre, given the number of times she uses it to describe Edward's eyes? Bella investigates/attempts to seduce young/old Edward. Before you know it, they are happy (but sad, and mad) and in love. What do you know? She exudes the most alluring scent he's ever sniffed in a century. Props to you, Bella, for your floral shampoo or whatever it is you naturally convey to arise something in Edward that he hasn't felt in 100 years. 100 years as a teen boy and he's never been attracted to a woman as strongly as he is to Bella? That can only wreak of one thing and one thing alone: true love. Sigh, don't all of us women wish we could find the perfect, can-do-no-wrong, will-protect-us-from-all-harm vampire man to love and to love us. Thank goodness they go to prom at the end, after a perilous scene where a vampire bite from a tracker named James almost makes her a vampire, too, and of course our hero Edward sucks out the venom to keep her human, because I was beginning to think this book wasn't going to contain anything realistic! Vampires at prom. Insert scoff.*Last on my list of complaints (certainly not last, but a serious, quite serious complaint) is that I've never in my existence as a YA reader (and I read just about every YA book I could get my hands/eyes on when I was younger) held a book in my hands containing as many glares, smirks, snickers and lowered eyes as this one. By the third chapter or so, I wondered if the author was mocking me, reader. In a vampire world, my eyes may have begun to bleed from the string of glares, smirks, snickers and lowered eyes. I had to repeat them for emphasis. Luckily, installment two hasn't yet let me down - we still get the feeling Bella and Edward get some sort of sadistic pleasure out of glaring at one another.*So what did I like, and why did I read nearly 500 pages of glaring in less than 4 days, and why do I continue forward in the series? Well, the author did inject some provocative scenes (without being outright naughty) (snicker) which had me squirming. How hot would it be to have the most attractive vampire in 100 years fall in love with and want to suck the living blood from you, yet refrain because of the overwhelming love he feels? What human man ever denies basic animal instinct merely because his love is that strong?...(smirk) In addition, as a reader, as readers, a common denominator when reading is to become attached to main characters, regardless of how trite they might be. Yes, I'm rooting for Edward and Bella and their love. I'd be inhumane to not. But what is the bottom line here, and how did the author drag me into this miserable storyline of hers? Because I must know: Will Edward Let Bella Become a Vampire So They May Love Immortally...and while the Internet bares all, and I could easily find the spoiler without wasting my reading abilities on 2,000 pages of punishment, that isn't the path I'm choosing to take.*Ridiculous as it may be, the tattoo I saw on a girl's arm on the subway once recently is now ringing true as I read this series: Love is Pain.*Craig would say that I'm jealous of this author because she managed to find an agent and become published and popular. I will forever argue that if my name were tagged to something so painfully ridden with glaringly (sorry) pathetic narrative weaving, I'd want to run and hide. Although, admittedly, the money would be a welcome reward, I suppose.*To come, happy holidays with family and friends...

December 22, 2008


Today is Monday prior to Christmas Day 2008. This time last year, we were packing to travel to Cabo! Aww. That's okay...those vacations are made extra special by taking them infrequently. Last week was a blur. We ate out a lot again (we have been) and geared up for our party Saturday. I think everything unfolded swimmingly - I made some good appetizers, including chicken wontons with a dipping sauce comprised of Mirin, rice wine vinegar, green onions and soy sauce, creamy mushroom filled Phyllo triangles, various dips for crackers, a crudite tray, a charcuterie tray, and delicious cookies that Craig and I made together Friday night (oatmeal, white chocolate chips, walnuts and Craisins). Saturday we were both busy all day prepping, which included Craig's pursuit of gourmet items that I needed, cooking (me), cleaning (Craig) and basically rearranging to accommodate space requirements for 12 people in our small space! We had initially scheduled the party for 6, but most people were leaning toward an 8 o'clock arrival. Amanda, Shavonne, Alison and Scott arrived before seven. Alison and Scott brought these delicious flank steak apps that they've made for us before, with arugula, a spicy horse radish sauce and a thin slice of flank steak on baguette slices. They were a hit and were demolished in no time! Shortly people began to arrive: Julie, Adam, Moyin, Moyin's friend Patrick, Kate and Erik. Craig had stocked a full bar in order to be able to fulfill any and all drink requests. We all just lingered around eating, drinking and being merry - what more could a Christmas party hope to offer?? I'm so relieved that we did this this year.*Sunday, we woke up late (sleeping nice) and Craig started cleaning immediately. I was so proud of him for everything he contributed to the party, and he just kept going Sunday despite the waves of hungover nausea that were inevitable! Ha. I went for coffees and we curled up on the couch for "Christmas". I knew one of my gifts because he purchased it last minute, and the box was exactly the shape of a hand mixer (which he replaced because his mom's cookie dough recipe burned the motor out on my old one! If only I had a Kitchenaid...sigh) He believed to know much of what I got him, but he definitely did not predict the City Shuffle deck that our co-worker discovered. Super cool - a deck of 52 cards to 52 different bars/lounges in Manhattan, and each card is a $10 gift card to the respective bar provided you spend $30. Never a problem for us. :) He bought me The Darjeeling Limited and seasons 2 and 3 of How I Met Your Mother. So sweet! Great gifts, CB! Then, we showered and prepared to head toward our big gifts for each other, the 3G iPhones. Unfortunately, we do not qualify for the "phone upgrade" until Jan. 26th of next year, at which time we have the option of saving like $200 per phone! Needless to say, we can wait one month for that savings!*We ate lunch at the Bullpen and drank a few beers, and the rest of Sunday was spent sleeping/cleaning/relaxing. Now, it's only Monday, but we head out for Chicago on Wednesday. This morning was one of the most perilous commutes I've experienced yet in New York City. The storms these past few days have settled, leaving in their wake layers of menacing ice. Normally anywhere you go in the City, you can dodge ice patches, however, not in the neighborhood where we walk 10 minutes to get to the office. We traverse a parking lot, and it was completely layered with no respite. I am terrified of falling - I always have been. To boot (so to speak) my UGGS' tread has worn smooth, so what wants to happen when slick ice meets smooth boot tread?? Luckily, with much caution (to a fault and annoying Craig!) I made it to the safety of the office without wiping out, breaking my neck and all other bones below the neck. And immediately upon slinking into my desk chair for a choresome Monday at work, I made the executive decision to purchase new UGGS. And they are dreamy and I love them. Thank you, ice fairy, for reminding me how much I love boots (which is a newfound love since living here).
Merry Christmas, KB, from KB! Happy Holidays to all.

December 17, 2008


Ah! Look at this little guy! He just had to jump into my bag and onto my TV.
Craig claimed we do not have enough Christmas decor for the I found serving plates.
Presents? And posted below is the mug I've been wanting since I first saw it...filled with peppermint. This was the last one, I heard the cashiers say! The other side reads, "Holiday Meal Director". Huh! That's me!
Okay, so this morning found me feeling unusually brilliant and sparkling, brimming with thoughts and wonderment. But then I got to work. And my brilliance got squashed - as usual! But not before I discovered that Jeff Lindsay, the author of the Dexter books (on which the show is based) is married to a Hemingway. A Hemingway! (actually the niece of Ernest!) I was browsing around trying to wake up at my desk and wondering about the author - something I had yet not wondered - since I bought Craig one of the books and all. And thus I discovered that the literary circle yet again wrapped itself around something that I love! Yes! Vindication. Nice.*Work was abrupt and unmerciful today, I will admit. But I got through it, losing a lot of important mind indulgences that had followed me on the train this morning. Tonight, Craig and I commuted home together, which was nice for a change. Then we split ways at 86th Street, and he went in search of gifts and such at Best Buy and Pier 1 while I hit Hallmark for "decorative plates" (as seen above, I emerged with much, much more than just plates!) (Oh, and I failed to photograph the bright red plasticware, the decorative paper plates, the linen-quality disposable decorative napkins - and more!) I came home, and poor Craig had struck out right and left at his stops. I felt bad for him because he was in a crap mood from his afternoon and from his strikeouts in the evening, but he cheered considerably when he discovered that we've acquired quite a few additional HiDef channels! He browsed his bartending books for Holiday Cocktails, and we ordered Japanese from Ooki (so that I could have sushi at home, which I've never tried before!! Yums) and I wrapped his gifts, and that brings me to a tired, post-10 work night. I'm trying to live too many lives. I realize this. I want to have a day job, but my commute is long. On the train I'd like to read and be productive, but it seems to better serve "wind up" or "wind down" time. I now have two books that are needing me to read them. I want a social life at night, time to clean thoroughly, take care of Craig nutritionally and otherwise, time to sit and dream out the window...time to learn to bake amazing Christmas cookies! My manicure is chipping off again from use of my hands, but when am I going to serve 1/2 an hour at the manicurist before the party Saturday? I would love a cute sweater dress, but I don't know when to look for one. Need a haircut! Need eyebrow fix! Yelp! Need more hours in a day! Need less time reporting to something so unfulfilling! Yet, happy to be employed in this absolute mudslide of an economy.*I tried to remind Craig on our walk home just how blessed we are. He conceded. Yes, we are.

December 16, 2008


Tonight is our first snow of the season. I can't explain in any words how ecstatic snow makes me. It falls so peacefully, so lovely. And I posted terrible pictures for which I apologize, but I'm in such a randomly happy spirit this Holiday season, so to me, all Holiday photos are happy, and good.*We have a tree, and we're having a party this coming Saturday. I have found some seemingly amazing appetizer recipes to serve, plus Craig is bartending holiday cocktails, and for some reason, that's the only money I really care to spend this season. Hmm, except that tonight after work I walked into the chaotic Best Buy to purchase Weeds on DVD for him...season one was all "Full Screen" so I only bought seasons two and three for his stocking. Then I went next door to Barnes and Noble to find him some Dexter literature....unfortunately, the first book's cover was the Showtime image of Michael C. Hall, and, I'm sorry, books, but I do not and will not buy books with covers depicting Hollywood versions of you. So instead, I bought him the second installment, which does NOT have the cover of Michael C. Hall (considering the original character had nothing to do with him, despite how infatuated I am with Michael C. Hall, et al.)
I've also tucked into his stocking a copy of the True Blood book, and I'm going to add additional things to his stocking to make his life happier and more spirited. :) I am beginning to love Christmas, and for me, that is a milestone. Typically I hate it. So here I am, almost liking it.

December 07, 2008


oh christmas tree

oh christmas tree

how lovely are your branches...
ps--sorry the photos kind of suck. hopefully will get better/more as we progress into the holiday season. if not, craig will strangle the nikon. :)

December 06, 2008


cute "snow globe" snow man from Hallmark...
he's both a snow man and a tree at the same time!
"Jeero," uncovered from bins while Craig searched for our stockings today...

he is a sweet Ugly Doll from Holly...Richmond...

wine stops that say, "Get the Jolly Started" and "Let it Flow, Let it Flow, Let it Flow"...

So today was somewhat of a disaster. We ate lunch at Genesis then headed to Pier 1. Why do I bother myself with that store? It's so overrated with nothing to back itself up. Sure, the sign that hung from the ceiling that read "Christmas Tree Bling" was cute and clever, but the bling itself? Hideous. So, we decided to jump on the subway and travel to Home Depot at 59th Street. Surely they'd have round ornaments. What a generic thing to look for, right? Nope. Home Depot was fresh out (ie., never stocked such a thing) so we figured, why not Bed, Bath & Beyond? They'd make a killing on little round cheap ugly shiny colored balls. Right? Not at all. They carried none. To salvage the trip all the way to 59th (one express stop from our 86th Street Station...lazy, I know) we bought a few odds and ends...some appetizer plates, a cute triptych tray for whatever I'd like to dish up - olives, olive oil for bread, roasted red pepper spread for crackers, plus some bar soap, some contact solution. But at this point, we were at odds. We felt completely helpless as far as shopping for Christmas ornaments goes. Craig kept saying, "But I don't understand where we're supposed to buy these?" and I kept saying, "Craig, you have to understand, I have never done this before..." and of course, neither had he. We cabbed it from 61st & 1st back to our place (lazy, again) and decided to drop off our goods (oh, we also selected store-bought Christmas cards from Barnes & Noble, after 2 creative years of doing our own with photographs/Snapfish...but we're too tired right now for that), then Craig wondered if our Hallmark Store on 3rd might be an option. Light bulb! Of course! What better place to projectile vomit Christmas within its confines than Hallmark?? Jackpot. We found Christmas stuff. But the bare glossy colored ball ornaments themselves we found next KINGS PHARMACY. Two boxes, one red, one silver, of shiny and matte balls = $4.99 each. Wow, we wasted much of the afternoon hunting balls!*Anyway, the snow globe above was found by me at Hallmark. How could I resist? He's so snowy and cute. Then earlier in the day, Craig found the Ugly Doll named Jeero that Holly bought for me before we left Richmond. I love the Ugly Dolls. Holly introduced them to me while we lived there, and yes, they are just so ugly that they're cute. And last weekend when Alex was visiting, I wondered if I could find Jeero in time to give to him, because that would be a neat story for later. But, now that Jeero is in my midst, I'm changing my mind. Alex - sorry! I'm sure another Ugly Doll will find its way to you someday. And I will tell you this story, about how when Craig found my Ugly Doll in NYC and I was reminded how sweet it was for Holly to give me Jeero as a going away gift when we left Richmond, how Jeero seemed to jive well and look comfortable on the futon in the guest room. Aww, Jeero. How could I part with you after so much history together??*Off to continue to organize/clean/maintain a home. I have no idea how to make time to relax. Other than to post...*


Thanksgiving is under our belts (cough - literally and figuratively, unfortunately) and we're launching into Christmas at full speed. For the first time since living together since December 2004, we're decorating a tree for our apartment! I'm typically a Scrooge about festiveness and the Holidays, but as I age I find myself becoming increasingly nostalgic and sentimental. Strange sensations for me to experience. Nevertheless, when Roger and Mary and Alex were in town, we picked up a couple of NYC tree ornaments at Bryant Park. Now, I must say that my entire life, the only trees I've ever really admired enough to not mind observing, I've preferred a themed decorated tree over a haphazardly random collectible ornament tree. It's an aesthetic I prefer. A co-worker showed me photographs of her tree on her camera phone, and it's beautiful: different colored round ornaments, monochromatic lights, etc. However, over the course of a few years, Craig's mom has gifted us with different (and lovely) ornaments, Craig and I purchased a Danforth Pewter ornament in Burlington, VT, and Craig repossessed some of his childhood ornaments. So, this experience will be interesting for me. I wonder how I will react? Craig is excited about the haphazard collectibles, and I'm excited that he's excited, so that's all that really matters.*We've had a hectic week - went to see the New York Rangers hockey game one night, attended a co-worker's mother's wake another, and altogether haven't felt like we have been home much. Craig is showering now and then I will and we are going holiday decoration shopping in the neighborhood. I went to Rainbow Ace again, which is surprisingly not that picked over yet (I figured by now the 20% discount on all merchandise would have people scrambling to save on household goods!) and purchased a 5-quart slow cooker (my other is only 4) because I believe that Mary's Guiness Chili recipe, which I'm making tomorrow, might require a larger space, given the quantity of ingredients. I also bought several more tubes of my favorite toothpaste, which now yields a total of like 10 tubes of my favorite toothpaste (I can only use one brand, which I've used for years, farther back than I can even remember - Arm & Hammer Baking Soda & Peroxide - it has to be that specific one, no other will do!) which means I will have clean happy teeth for approximately the next 5 years., give or take! After decoration shopping, we will come home and clean, clean, clean. I re-organized my kitchen pantry this morning to make room for what Craig believes to be an excessive second crock pot. Tomorrow, Adam and his girlfriend Julie are coming over to watch the second-to-the-last Dexter episode of the season (which is going to be hair-raising!) and I'm serving two kinds of chili - Mary's Guiness one, and either a white chicken or red turkey one. Our tree will be up and so the apartment is going to smell like evergreen and chili - it will be cozy and wintery. This week I received my first Christmas gifts from a colleague - a bottle of Grey Goose and a bottle of Bailey's - so the booze cart is looking good in time for our holiday gathering in two weeks. So far, I've got an attendance of Erik and his wife Kate, Scott and Alison, possibly Alison's father (who lives in Woodside, Queens), and Adam and Julie (potentially Julie's roommate Emily, also). I'm hoping Amanda and Mark can make it, but all of my other Indiana native friends will have already traveled home at that point! I'm also going to invite Michelle and Al (we're traveling to Jersey to attend their holiday party next Saturday, likely crashing in Jersey because it's about a two-hour trip one way on the NJ Transit). I'm really, really, really excited to play hostess again. It is one of the most rewarding things to me - gathering friends together, tidying the place, cooking, cooking, cooking! I'm really enthusiastic about it! Off to shower for our day. Thank goodness a weekend has arrived, despite the fact that I will blink and it will be Monday morning again. Oh, well. Optimism now!