June 17, 2009


(2) Pics for the "Plants, Not Flowers" photo assignment (I did not use them)...
Some kid's motor boat in Central Park from when M&D were in town...

I'm home with time to spare tonight! Errands are run, exercise at NYSC complete (accomplished 2 miles of mostly running with some brisk walking and cool down thrown in), and two split chicken breasts are roasting (olive oiled, sprinkled with kosher salt, onion powder and cayenne pepper) to be shredded for ontop of a brightly colored salad that I will be constructing soon. But! Time for KB while Craig hits his gym...with a TRAINER! Aye! He's going to have his ass kicked, haha! So I wanted to just blog at random. It's too big an endeavor to update craigkristin tonight, but I'm kicking myself...I need to soon! We've got so many pictures I've yet to post. And I just jotted a few notes into my iPhone (yeah, weird, I know) about tomorrow night's activity - packed evening! Leaving work early would be heaven sent but I doubt that will get to go through, especially with Friday off for our trip to Chicago. Ah! But one thing at a time. The random pictures above are just that: random pictures. I'm embarking on a summer filled with "photo assignments" with my co-worker Sadaf who is an excellent photographer - she's also blessed with having purchased the grown-up version of my Nikon :) but we just accomplished our first mission, an idea I stole from The Internet's Brain, called "Plants, Not Flowers". It went well, I think! I will post actual photos I "used" for the "assignment" later on. The next assignment is "Windows," which has me just giddy because here in New York City, nothing is more fascinating than the windows. Hmm, I say nothing but I mean very little. And what happened to me with our "Plants, Not Flowers" assignment, is, that even without the Nikon on me, many days I would have my eyes peeled for interesting photo opps. Since I stare curiously at the windows in New York City all the time anyway, this ought to really get some inspiration spiralling in directions. Moving along, working out has been going very well. In fact, it's been going so well that I'm mentally lashing myself for not joining a gym earlier. Although, the "recession" prices did quite help my ability to do so. For almost a year, I've wondered, "Why don't I just go outside and run already?" There is this huge world of New York out there where I could run and run and run for free, and see interesting things all the while. But! Seeing as it's free, and I'm not losing money on it, there is little to no motivation. Paying approx. $100/month (I know. I know.) more motivates me to get myself up to 3rd Avenue and make it happen. Look at it like this: my gym is no more than 2 minutes from me. How less intimidating could that be?? And the clientele are varied, not like what I imagine Craig's gym to be, which is a sea of Desperate Housewives and their pool boys eyeballing themselves and each other in giant mirrors on the walls and ceilings. Sorry Craig, but ew. :) So anyway, he's "training" tonight (neither of us has ever done that so I asked him to take notes because I do also have a free single session at my gym) and I'm gathering we'll eat our huge lovingly prepared (soon) salads and just conk out. But tomorrow's gigantic. An H&M opened in one of the Bovis high rises built at 86th & Lex. Seeing as I'm saving for a Macbook Pro in its beautiful aluminum SEVEN HOUR BATTERY GLORY, I'm unable to continue to splurge on such stores as Banana Republic and Bloomingdale's. Haha, to compare those two. Bloomingdale's would swallow Banana Republic whole. So, with H&M in the picture (and a big, nice, new, shiny, awesome one, at that!), I can feasibly deck out a wardrobe for the weekend in Chicago for very little money and feel satisfied with what I find. Craig claims I buy something new (to wear) everytime we travel. Okay. So I do. I'm just gosh darn bored with every stitch of clothing I see in my shoe box-sized closet. It could all go up in smoke and I'd not remember a color of any of the shirts or pants.*Oh. Speaking of up in smoke. This morning I heard sirens. Tons of them. Then they were suddenly in stereo. I think I was tousling my wet head of hair to shake some shower from it when I headed to the living room to see what might be up. The same sirens outside were on our television. Aggh! An apartment fire! 92nd and 2nd! That's where we live! Egads!! The news channel informed us that a 10th story apartment had caught fire around 6 a.m. and was being dealt with by local firemen. One smoke inhalation treatment, no deaths or anything. So we went about our business to get ready, left the apartment, and holy firetruck convention!! There were firetrucks littering our little corner of the universe! Like 30 of them! Lined up with flashing reds and yellows along 92nd Street from 2nd Ave to 3rd, and from 93rd to 91st along 2nd! WTH! So many firemen and trucks?? Really??? We sort of did our normal thing, stopped into Dunkin Donuts for our usual coffees then headed to the train, but weird morning! I'm just chalking it up to yet another thing we've witnessed that phases next to no one because New Yorkers are survivors. It's amazing.*So, tomorrow after my first trip to our brand new neighborhood H&M, I'm doing several other things, including manicure, pedicure, working out, picking up laundry, and on and on, then I have to shower and figure out a way to be a rockstar to go to a Pete Yorn concert at 11:30 p.m. at Joe's Pub. I know! 11:30 p.m. That hour commonly finds me swimming into some weird dream. Before the show, we're going to our fun little Korean restaurant on St. Mark's Place (I hope since it's summer that they have their yummy Watermelon Soju!) I'm going to review it for Hungry? which means dragging along my friend the Nikon. But, Pete Yorn! Pete Yorn. I saw him live in Detroit in like 2002 with my old Cinci/Kentucky friend Jay who worked on the airport with us. Pete Yorn's music is awesome but he also covers things with such skill and grace that I could just fall apart. He covers "Dancing in the Dark" and it sounds like a brand new song. He covers "Panic" by the Smiths! Ah! He covers "China Girl"...really?? Really??? But again, his original music is even amazing. Craig listened to him a little on the way home from the gym yesterday to get in gear for the show. I need to. Maybe I will put him in while waiting for Craig and our salads.*Friday morning, our flight to Chicago indeed leaves pretty early. Our eyeballs will be stuck shut, I know this. But, Friday when we land, we're taking a cab to Dusty and Fiona's to meet with Fi - will head to lunch with her (Dustin will be at work) and then - who knows?? It's Chi-town. I will bask in it because I don't get to spend time there, ever, and I was born there. My dad's a Cubbies fan. And a Bears enthusiast. And he loves Ditka. :) I've got family that lives there - not the first trip, but perhaps the 4th of July trip when we go again, I can see my Aunt Claude, Uncle Jim, Cousin John, Cousin Kate, Cousin Carol, Aunt Dee or maybe even the new baby born to our family who was a preemie (he is doing rather well, fingers crossed for growth). Craig would help me facilitate any of that.*I'm unsure of how many things I accomplished journaling here, but the chicken is out to "set" and the vegetables must be cut now. Craig's salad will have an Asian flair because I bought him a ginger dressing that I hope he likes (akin to what he gets at Ookie Sushi when he orders a salad). I'm making mine with tons of tomatoes, red, yellow and orange, goat cheese, spinach, mesclun, yellow peppers and cucumbers. It'll be like a little salad bar of sorts.*KB, off to work. Another good day.

June 13, 2009


North in CP
I'm not over this girl statue bird bath, yet...I think she's so quiet and sweet!

Today is one of those times I can sit back and reflect and genuinely feel life is okay. I've had an exciting week, not at work as much as at home. I worked out mid-week and it felt great. I'm working out later this morning and I can't wait to feel that light almost "high" sensation again following a work out. I cooked dinner for us the entire week, as well: sun-dried tomato pesto with feta, arugula pesto over linguine (I splurged on freshly shaved parmesan, mmm), (oops, sushi one night, too, ordered in!), something else I can't recall??...and last night's dinner: last night was hands down a keeper recipe. I'm going to really break this one down, because this one impressed us both and I renewed my faith in myself in the kitchen, even, in the preparation of this (which includes analyzing a recipe to chronologically and successfully arrange the steps - I rarely follow the actual "steps" of recipes, simply because I'm such a snail at certain things that I have to make up my own "steps"!) To begin with, the recipe is from Cooking Light (only from April 2008, so I don't feel like I have been missing this forever or anything!) and is simply titled "Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese." While many are put off by the idea of goat cheese, feta is a satisfactory substitution for this one, however, I love goat cheese and wouldn't sub anything for it as a matter of personal opinion. Oddly enough, the recipes calls for 3 cups of Tyson grilled chicken breasts. Seriously? I understand the need for speed for some families, and for working types and others, but for me, Tyson grilled chicken breasts are the jarred spaghetti sauce of chicken. Hmm, I don't mind jarred spaghetti sauce for some things, so maybe that's a rotten parallel. Nevertheless, I wouldn't be paid to use those things in anything I prepare. So, I thought about it. Boneless skinless chicken breasts remain a neverending problem for me to make. They're not easy to get right, really. And I feel like I can't trust the expiration date at grocery stores on their boneless skinless chicken breasts. Paranoia, but I can't help it. So, I decided I'd roast split chicken breasts, skin on, on bone, instead. I found another foodie's website who broke down a very basic roast split chicken breast recipe: rub the breasts in extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, roast in oven for 1 hour at 350. Nice! And so I did that. Meanwhile, around 30 minutes in, I grabbed my bright red bell peppe (summer's here!) from the fridge, chopped about a cup of it (despite that the recipe calls for 1/2 cup), chopped half a red onion, thinly sliced some fresh basil, threw those items together in a container and dashed the mix with dried oregano (recipe calls for fresh, but that's harder to come by here.)
Then I began to boil the water for the orzo. Craig picked up some multi-colored orzo for us the other day, so I was anticipating quite the colorful dish. :) As the water boiled and the time narrowed for the chicken to roast, I got our wheat bread buttered and sprinkled with garlic powder to pop in the oven once the chicken came out. Orzo into the water, chicken out of the oven to rest for 10 minutes, bread into the oven; I tossed the red bell pepper/onion mix into the bowl, began to chop the chicken, tossing it ontop of the pepper/onion mix, then quickly drained the orzo. The arugula went ontop of the chicken/pepper/onion, then the orzo ontop of it to wilt the arugula. Meanwhile, I had mixed a red wine vinegar/extra virgin olive oil/salt/pepper concoction and that served as the dressing to be mixed in. And, goat cheese ontop. Voila! It was amazing! There were so, so many flavors dancing around in this! And roasting the chicken was a must. It was melt-in-mouth savory. So yummy. We both ate seconds and there are still leftovers for our lunch today! Add in a little more fresh arugula, sprinkle with goat cheese, and there you have it! Craig commented that it also seemed an appropriate summer salad. I would totally recommend this to anyone who loves a good chicken pasta salad! Orzo? You can really rarely go wrong with that.*Moving along. Much of my week was then absorbed by my short story obsession. I swear I go through this once a year, maybe give or take, a little more or less than that?, but whatever the case, it all began (again) by stumbling across a short story contest through a website called "flatmancrooked." The short story judge is Aimee Bender. Aimee Bender, I repeat! Most people who know me understand that she is, simply put, my favorite authors. I am a superlative human being and have superlative loves (as pointed out lovingly by an ex in college) but seriously, if someone actually seriously came to me and said, KB, this is IT, one author, CHOOSE, I'd pick her. The only, only issue I have is that she hasn't written enough. But she's young. She's got time. Flatmancrooked publishes what seems to be a majority of stories penned by MFA students, either matriculating or currently teaching or what have you. And I'm no MFA in Creative Writing degree expert, but I've researched it good and plenty, and know a number of them in my life, and they're not always the most skilled story tellers. However, on flatmancrooked, it appears that they hold high standards for publication. And I like their standards. So I've spent the latter part of my week consuming short stories, one after another after another, on my iPhone on the train, on the computer, from books (I gathered together my Julie Orringer, Miranda July and JD Salinger short story collections, then last night, located my Raymond Carver one) and over the course of a month, I intend to swallow just about as many short stories as I can. The structure of a short story is such a fragile skeleton, and it takes serious talent to sculpt it well. Each word holds relevance, because there are only so many words and pages available. Quantity of characters must be limited, and they each must mean something to the underlying basic theme of the story. It's just hard. And those who do it well, well, they really do it well. I love language and feel fairly competent at turning a phrase. But I have yet to write what I would deem a narrative worthy of short story status. It's a tough task. I read, earlier in the week, that to break it down, an author can: 1) put a man up a tree, b) throw stones at him, c) get him down from the tree. And those are the basics. Sounds simple enough? It's just not. So, in the next month, while wholly consuming my reading time with nothing but the short story, I want to live in my mind in these pared down vignettes. That is, I want nothing epic. So this good thing has happened to me. I've been reminded of countless times where I have finished the last line of a story, closed the book quietly, and just meditated on how difficult it must have been to construct that! How flawlessly people are able to say so much by saying so little. I hope I stay here with this for a while. I'd like to think it's something I've always just loved but haven't been loyal enough to. Thus begins the loyalty.*On to a restful weekend, although, the forecast predicts rain, so there may be less photography than I hoped. Drats.

June 08, 2009


nin is unleashing something here, something rocking and fierce!
perry ferrell, musical gazelle!

I feel like I'm not posting as much as I used to, or as much as I'd like, at least. Time picks up speed in the summer. So, this past weekend we engaged in a few events. Friday night I cooked a Chicken-Chorizo Burger which was raw chicken pulsed with chopped Chorizo sausage, jalapeno and torn corn tortilla shells (I cooked them in a skillet on the stove). The recipe calls for an avocado mayonnaise which has lime juice, cilantro and avocado, and I added slices of Pepper Jack cheese (using, of course, whole wheat Weight Watchers rolls!) They were incredible, a memorable experiment that we will revisit. Saturday night we traveled to Brooklyn to attend a party at Julie's (our friend Adam's girlfriend) at their new apartment and for her roommate Emily's birthday. It was a total blast, which included conversations about college days (censor!) and a lot of gushing over their new place, which is on Nassau Ave in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. While it was somewhat of a hike to get there, once there, we had a terrific time! Sunday morning, needless to say, we woke up feeling plowed. We're just too old to stay out that late anymore. But, Craig had secured us tickets to see Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction out at Jones Beach, and right around this time last year, we saw R.E.M. out there, so why not, right? It's like our newfound "vintage music" summer tradition! Somehow, through the thick fog of a morning after a late night, we showered and walked to 86th Street to, dutifully to our wallets, take the subway. But our Long Island Rail Road train would be departing at 1:40, and as anyone who has ever ridden a weekend subway can attest, the subways run much less frequently weekends and can become an obstacle if you have to catch a train from Penn Station. Resigning ourselves to the fact that the 6 to the E to Penn Station would take half the day, we emerged from the station and grabbed a cab. Our driver somewhat sucked, so we rolled up to Penn with something like 12 minutes until our 1:40 would leave. Craig darted to the ticket machine and I hurriedly checked the track schedule. It was like being in an action movie, really, since we were running through the station waving our tickets sweating bullets that we'd miss our train! Or something less dramatic than that...but still, we cut it close, and shew, made it. The trip to Freeport is actually not that bad. Then, once to Freeport, we grabbed a taxi to the Nautical Mile, where there just happened to be a carnival happening. We grabbed crabcakes and beers for lunch, then sort of bar hopped up and down the Mile, people watching all the while (with fascinating content to watch, really!) Once, in a bathroom waiting in line, I was surrounded by a group of Long Island women who were all shrieking at each other in Long Island accents. First, they told this older blonde lady that she was "such a good dansa" (because she'd been dancing up a storm with her hubby on the patio.) The blonde (thickly accented also) said, "Wouldja believe I have 7 kids? This is my only date night a week," to which a couple of others squealed, "You have 7 kids? Get outta here! She's got 7 kids!" and they all proceeded to be, well, Long Island women together. We were all anxious to use 1 of the 2 stalls, so this one woman turned to the group before entering the stall and said, "Ahl be the fastest pissa you ever saw!" Too, too awesome and hilarious!! I loved it, and left the bathroom to tell the entire thing to Craig. After spending some more time at the Mile, watching the crowds, drinking beers, we called a taxi to get us to Jones Beach. Our tickets got us into the VIP tent which is the only location serving beers in an otherwise dry venue. During which time we had a beer, some band called the Street Sweeper Social Club was on, and the Rage Against the Machine guitarist is in it. They rocked a little too hard for me at my older age :) but sounded good, anyway. After that, NIN...ohhh, it was soo good! He did play Terrible Lie and Head Like a Hole and a whole string of other oldies...between NIN and Jane's, we grabbed another beer, then JANE'S!!! It was just incredible. Perry Ferrell kinda puts some of the older rockers to shame, really. He's wild and full of energy and his voice is such a classic, original and amazing sound. We had so, so much fun, and it was worth it getting back to Manhattan around 1:30 this a.m., although now we are both just shot. Craig is serving jury duty, beginning today and returning tomorrow for an indeterminate amount of time. Work is work. I'm on the brink of buying a Macbook, or a Macbook Pro, depending on the pros and cons I determine as to which I should get. Apple made announcements today, and prices have dropped tremendously and while 10 years ago, I wouldn't have dreamed of attempting to buy anything as expensive as an electronic thing, these days I'm a little more flexible with spending (ahem, including the Nikon purchase, which remains one of the best things I've ever bought!) Once I establish which laptop I want, and once I save the money so that I'm buying it outright and not charging it, all will be well in the KB-expensive purchase land. I will be done for a while! The only thing that agonizes me and delays my laptop purchase is that I'm for once and for all going to have to get organized, really, really get organized: my writing, my photography, and so forth. It's going to challenge my smarts something fierce. But, it's inevitable. I must make it so.*Off to rest the rest of tonight.