Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snow Capped Santa

I am thinking that maybe we should move Thanksgiving and Christmas to the middle of the year. Whoever said "Christmas in July" may have had a good idea. Sure, a white Christmas is pretty and we all feel nostalgic when Bing Crosby helps us dream of it, but it sure is a hassle! And that snow that is so beautiful when it is falling creates quite a mess for days (or weeks!) to follow.
I am lucky and I have arrived at my Christmas destination: wild and wonderful West Virginia. I was delayed about half a day due to the weather. After work on Monday night I went to my car and it was completely snowed in from the storm we had over the weekend. Because I live in the city and rely almost completely on public transportation, I had not seen the car since before the storm. I was not sure what to expect, but I didn't have time to visit the car and dig it out any earlier, so I prayed for the best and went to the car. I didn't have a shovel to dig out the car but I thought there was a scraper inside that would at least get me started while I came up with a game plan. Plus I was freezing, so why not sit inside and let the car warm up a bit and start defrosting? I'll tell you why not: because it had a dead battery! So now I need to clear off the car in the dark, freezing cold (wearing my nice work clothes) so that I can try to jump start the car and THEN dig a path to drive out of. Oh fun! To make a long story short, the jumper cables did their job and the shovel did its and I made it out. I did not get to leave that night as I had planned, but I got up extra early the next morning and did the entire drive in one day.

It's good to be here!!!

I hope everyone makes it in... Ben, Jen, and Joel were supposed to fly in on Monday. That flight was cancelled due to weather. They were supposed to catch another one this morning. The last I heard it is delayed. I hope it takes off some time!

So really, what would be so bad with having a major holiday during a month that doesn't get snow, ice, and freezing rain? I make a motion... any takers?

The snow is pretty falling over the city.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Wow! It suddenly got very cold here! Just the time I am planning on being out and about the city doing my shopping for the holidays. I guess it's about that time of the year. Mid-December the chill sets in and sticks around until the end of March or so. BRRR!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Vegging Out

Has anyone ever seen a cauliflower that looks like this???:

When I think of cauliflower, I picture the vegetable that looks like broccoli, but is white. A nice round top on it. If my cauliflower looked like this picture, I would probably freak out and throw it away! I'd never seen such a thing... until this past weekend. I found myself over at the Union Square Farmer's market on Friday afternoon and was quite intrigued by this yellow-green spiky thing. Would you eat this? How do you go about it? Does it taste like the standard white variety? This looks like something growing in the sea. Is it Sea Cauliflower?

FOLLOW UP: Writing this post really peaked my curiosity, so I did a little research and found that this is called Romanesco Cauliflower. One site said it is often referred to as Pyramid Cauliflower. There is also a bit of confusion about whether the veg is really a cauliflower or not. Some groups seem to argue that it is called Romanesco Broccoli. Either way, it looks weird to me. Well, you learn something new every day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Nearly every Thanksgiving of my life I have rolled out of bed and onto the couch to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. As I watch the floats and balloons and listen to the bands a delicious smell develops in the kitchen and slowly takes over the entire house. By the end of the parade I am starving and ready to dig in to a juicy turkey, assisted by mashed potatoes smothered in gravy. I love Thanksgiving.

Well this year I stayed in New York for the first time. Instead of rolling out of bed and turning on the TV I rolled out of bed and went to the parade! It was so fun to see the huge balloons going down the streets. Many of them I recognized from seeing them in past years. Most people who had great spots to view the parade arrived at 6:30 this morning. I left my apartment at 9, so a great spot we did not have. Luckily you don't need a great spot right on the street to see the huge balloons. They are so big and high up that you can see them from several blocks away! Here are a few of my favorites as they pass by. I was jealous of the people in the apartment buildings surrounding the parade. I could see little faces in the windows watching everything pass by. What fun!
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Found at the Met...

Check it out! Did I find my knight in shining armour?

Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 13, 2009

Art and Dave

Last week Dave came to visit! He was here for a long weekend and we had a lot of fun. It's nice when people visit because it makes me take advantage of all the fun things there are to do here. For example, we went to the Guggenheim museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and saw a couple of good movies. I had never been to the Guggenheim and it is such a neat building. They were holding an exhibit of the modern painter, Kandinsky. The building itself is such a work of art. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the main area is circular. You start on the ground floor and gradually walk around the outside of the building, while ascending. After a few rounds you end up at the top by the beautiful sky light. The walls are filled with artwork as you go up. Kind of neat, if I do say so myself. The museum also provided headsets that would tell you about certain paintings when you were in front of them. That made it more interesting because I was able to learn about the artist, his techniques, as well as other influences. Sometimes it was a bit too much information and it seemed like they were stretching it, but I liked the concept.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Food on Fridays

This job sure is keeping me on the go... or behind my desk... or in bed trying to get some rest. Working full time and commuting like I do every day is tiring! But do I ever enjoy my weekends! I just LOVE when Friday (my weekend) rolls around. I love the chance to sleep in a bit, have a nicer breakfast and coffee, catch up on chores around the house, and COOK! I went through a few of my old cookbooks and magazines and made a list of some recipes I would like to try. It was rather cold last week, so I was really craving some good warm comfort food. I bought ingredients for two new recipes, but only got around to making one. But oh, it was good. It was a recipe for White Bean Turkey Chili. I found it in an article about what to do with your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. Since I didn't have any leftover turkey but I did have chicken breasts in my fridge, I made it with those instead. It was super delicious. I am moving this soup onto my 'favorites' list. It is thick, hearty, spicy, and smooth... and healthy!!! It uses my new favorite toy - the immersion blender - to thicken/smooth it out. I ate leftover soup for the week and they were fabulous too. I highly recommend giving this one a shot.

(from Cooking Light, November, 2006)


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion (about 2 medium)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 (15.8-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup diced seeded plum tomato (about 1)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 lime wedges (optional)


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and golden. Add chili powder, garlic, and cumin; sauté for 2 minutes. Add oregano and beans; cook for 30 seconds. Add broth; bring to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes.

Place 2 cups of bean mixture in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed mixture to pan. Add turkey, and cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat. Add diced tomato, chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper, stirring well. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Coffee, of course!

It's been a while since I've had a proper coffee picture on here and I don't want people to start thinking that I don't like coffee or something, so here we go. Yummy. Isn't that nice?

Friday, October 9, 2009

It's Here!

The weather has changed.
The chill in the air.
The leaves begin to dry.
The time has come.
Today is the day.
The first soup of the season.

That is my poem accepting the fact that summer is gone and we will only see cooler days from here on out. Making my first soup of the season is a sure sign that I am embracing the new season, even if I am scared of the winter that is to come. This afternoon I mixed up a delicious pot of lentil soup. I do love soup and hope to make many dishes of it this year. With my new job I don't have a lot of time to cook during the week, so my goal is to make a few things over the weekend that I can eat throughout the week. By the way, I have Friday off - so this is technically my weekend.
I enjoy having a day off that most everyone else has to work. Although my favorite thing to do is hang out with my friends, it seems that when we are off work at the same time all we do is hang out and I don't get a lot done. This way I can take care of my business on Friday: cooking, laundry, shopping, etc. Then I will have Saturday to spend with friends and have fun. Ah, the organized life I have thrown myself into. It is amazing how having less time makes one more organized. Funny how I get much more accomplished when I have much less time.

Well, the soup is done and I think I need to test it out. And I have to say: I just love Hamilton Beach Immersion Blender. It is nearly the best thing on the planet. I use it at the end of the soup-making process to make it creamier...mmm... time to taste test. Bon appetit!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

a bite of the apple

For no reason at all I am up extra early this morning. I don't know what that's all about. Oh no! Maybe I am turning into my mom, the way she gets up way too early. Speaking of Mom... I had a couple of visitors last weekend. Mom and Dad came up for their first visit to the Big Apple! We had such a great time. They arrived on Thursday night, just in time to pick me up from work. Over the next two days we spent time seeing the sights of the city and hanging out in my apartment. We really hit a lot of the spots. Of course I took them to Times Square where we HAD to visit M&M World and the Hershey Store! And Mom and I being the shoppers that we are had no choice but to hit every floor of the world's biggest store - MACYS!!! Of the other highlights I'd say going up in the Empire State Building, which I had done years ago, but was a real treat. In the past I had been at night, but this time we went during the day. I could pick out a lot of places from up there. That day there was a chill in the air on the street, but up 80-some floors was quite brisk! Plus the wind was blowing all around! But it was still a great experience to go up in such a landmark and look out over the city.

Also I took them to an opera at the Metropolitan Opera. I figure since I work there and was able to get amazing seats for an amazing deal that they should check it out. We went to Barber of Seville, which was the first opera for both of my parents. I was a little nervous because some people have negative reactions to opera (just because it's opera) or find it boring and want to sleep through the entire thing. In my opinion, Barber of Seville is very accessible and a great first opera. Besides, if you are going to give opera a try you might as well start at the top with the Met. Well, they loved it! I was so happy that it was a success... despite traffic and parking issues.

Lastly, on their way out of town Sunday evening I made them stop at Junior's for a slice (or two) of world-famous cheesecake. We split a slice of original cheesecake and one of strawberry. Paired with a cup of coffee was just perfect! Needless to say, we had two empty plates in front of us in no time at all! New York cheesecake is an absolute must. The texture and flavor just can't be beat.

Those are some of the highlights of our little vacation in the city. I love living in a place that can turn into a vacation for me. New Yorkers rarely go to the places that tourists visit. We have different neighborhoods and in general try to stay away from those busy areas so our lives are more 'normal' and we aren't always fighting through the crowds. Because of this, the city can be instantly transformed into a different place when visitors come and we DO go to those places and see our home from a different perspective. Kind of cool. Well, I'm up early and don't think I'll be going back to sleep, so I might as well go on in to work. Early in means... early out!!! I can handle that!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

what is she doing???

I have been quite the busy bee lately. Buzz buzz buzz...

The main reason I have been so busy is that I took the big plunge! I am now the proud owner of a full time job! Yikes! I am a working woman with a salary and benefits and the whole sha-bang. But I have to put in the hours to get all this stuff. I've been trying out this new lifestyle for two weeks now. I think it's ironic that only a day or so after my blog post where I mentioned how life is so interesting and you really never know where it will go - I am offered a full time position. I didn't even know one was going to be available. I am still at the Met Opera, in the same department, but now doing administrative work, which is much more up my alley.

In addition to the full time work, our season at the Met opened this week! I attended opening night festivities on Monday. I got all dressed up in the trusty black dress and went in to see the brand new production of Tosca. It was all kinds of scandal and drama...which is appropriate for the genre. Some people hated the production, which took a different approach to a standard opera. The curtain call was filled with booing. I heard screams of "Go back to Europe!" being directed at the stage. Ahhh... so fun. The following days have been filled with opinionated reviews from everyone from the New York Times and the Nightly News to random people in my office. Everyone seems to be an expert. Personally I had a splendid night and enjoyed myself immensely, and that's what matters to me...not that there weren't some things I would change about the production...but still. Besides, we must remember that the majority of the art that is most esteemed today was greatly criticized when it was first presented to the public. Again - who knows what the future holds.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy Autumn!!!
Yes, it is a day late, but I can't believe it is fall already! Where did summer go? I do enjoy autumn, as it is probably my favorite season. I like starting to wear comfy sweaters and jeans. I love the colors of the changing leaves and I like the smell in the air as the humidity is replaced with a crispness in the evenings.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

bloggy blog

This morning I have been enjoying the nice weather and relaxing morning. I am finally feeling better after being sick for nearly a week, and boy, doesn't it feel good to feel better! I was looking back through the pages of my blog (because I should be practicing or doing something productive...the best time to look at blogs) and realized I have been blogging for over two years now! Wow - time does fly! It's always fun to look back and see where I have been and what I have done. The blog is nice for that because it provides little glimpses into my life- however boring or exciting that may be. It's also interesting to think of myself when I was writing that blog post from one or two years ago and think about how I had no idea what the future would hold. When I blogged that I was visiting NYC, did I think I would ever really live here? When I started sewing, did I know how many things I would make and how they would turn out? That makes the future seem kind of exciting too. Who knows what will happen. When I blogged about jobs and men... how will that turn out??? What travel adventures await around the corner???

Sunday, August 30, 2009

the bird

I realize that I have hardly written about my recent trip to Jamaica, so I decided to do a post about it and went to my pictures for inspiration. Unfortunately, I was completely overwhelmed when I looked at all the pictures that I took and have no idea where to start or how to organize them into a nice blog post. I've been sick this week and in no mental state to think too hard, so let's start somewhere easy. The bird.

No big deal or story, it's just this bird that was always in the tree outside where we would eat dinner and some of our breakfasts. I really liked this bird. It was like a hummingbird with a really long tail. Apparently he is really fast too. The world's current fastest runner is from Jamaica, so I guess that's appropriate. I liked this bird and his long tail and I think he kind of liked me. At least he didn't mind having his picture taken. Maybe he wants to be famous. He thought he would get his big American break on my blog.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My new toy!

I have been craving a bicycle for some time now. I've had bike envy when I see an attractive bike parked or cruise down the street where I walk. I wanted a bike for several different reasons. Mostly, I think it will be a nice thing for a weekend afternoon to cruise around on for fun. There are some really nice paths going up and down the sides of Manhattan. There is also a really nice area to ride around Battery Park, closer to the tip of the island. It's a very pretty walk, but a whole different experience on a bike. If I really get into riding it could be a nice way to avoid giving so much money to the Subway. Well - recently I bit the bullet, swiped some plastic and got myself a bike! Here she is:

My first new bike! I have ridden for most of my life, but I always had a used bike. I had a couple of pink bikes as a kid since I was a girly girl and loved my pink. I didn't ride much during high school, but picked it up again in college as a quicker way to get to class. So here I am with another pink bike!
I went for a couple of rides in the city last week to break her in. I loved it! Today I went for a spin around the park by my apartment. It was a nice ride with a fairly decent hill in the middle; raising my heart rate a bit. Coming from West Virginia, I am quite judgmental of 'hills'. If there's anything I know, it's how to ride on hills. These city folks may beat me on a track or flat surface, but I'll blow their doors off on a hill! Back in the day I lost my training wheels on the hills- and I'm talking uphill... both ways.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We're back!!!

Saturday morning we packed our bags with dirty clothes and souvenirs and boarded a plane taking us back to the US. I had a lovely view of Montego Bay and the Caribbean Sea as we flew out of the airport. We traveled all day before safely arriving home around midnight. Exhaustion quickly set in from the previous week of work and little rest. It was a wonderful week and an experience to be remembered.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

To Jamaica...

...or not!
This morning we were on our way to Jamaica. We leave the house at a dark and foggy 3AM. We drive to the church and meet up with our group. We gather together and load our bags into vans that take us to the Charleston airport. Once we arrive at the airport, where we intend to catch our flight to Atlanta, we notice a little problem:

No go. Both flights that our group was on were canceled due to fog in Atlanta. After sitting around at the airport figuring out what was going on and what we were going to do, we were told to go home and we will do the same thing tomorrow morning!!! I've never experienced a flight that is completely canceled. I've had a lot of delays and sitting around waiting for the flight to be rescheduled, but being told to go home and come back the next day is a new thing for me! I do have to say I would rather have it happen this way where I can go back to the house, sleep and enjoy the day than be stuck in a random airport or in a random hotel in a random city.
I guess I'll be up at 3:00 tomorrow morning to try this trip again! Hope it works a little better than this time!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

hitting the road...or the sky

I'm getting out of New York for a bit. Time to go to hotter places. I never do the right thing when it comes to seasons and staying in nice weather. I tend to go north for the winter and south for the summer. How does that happen? Well, this time I am heading to Jamaica! Going with the family and a group from church. I will be down there for a week and then plan to spend a few days in WV before coming back to the city. I look forward to a nice time. I don't think I will have internet access, so there will be no blog until I get back, but I'm sure to have beautiful pictures and stories to tell. Bon voyage!

Monday, July 27, 2009

drenched demitasse

I got caught out in the rain yesterday. It had been a beautiful day and I was not expecting anything else. I was trying to get home by walking to the subway station when the thunder crashed and the rain started pouring down. As luck would have it, I was passing by one of my favorite little restaurants when it hit. I took this as a sign that it wasn't quite time for me to go home and be productive, so I ducked into the restaurant to wait out the storm. They had the front wall of doors opened up so I could sit just inside -protected from the water as I watched it come down. The storm hit so suddenly that a couple of the outside tables didn't have a chance to get cleared off as their patrons ran for drier lands. The poor little coffee cup sat filling with rain water until the storm settled down and I could continue on my way.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oh no!

Say it ain't so...

Freshly ground coffee... spread across the floor... a tear in my eye...

New York apartments just aren't big enough to do everything I need to do. Sadly as I was unplugging the grinder and plugging in the coffee maker, a little bump caused a chain reaction with the toaster oven and the dish resting on top of it, which slide onto the counter, sending the coffee to the floor. What a sad moment. With the help of a friend on the phone I did not scrape the coffee off the top of the pile and use it anyway. I mustered up all my will power and mixed it up on the floor before I was too tempted. Thank goodness I had all ready taken out what I needed for my one cup. And thank goodness I had only ground enough beans for 4 cups instead of 18.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wedding Bells

The past few months have been very exciting for my family. Not two weeks ago, we welcomed baby Joel into the world. He is the first of the grandchildren for my parents, so we are all very excited. But before that, at the end of May, we had a wedding in the family. Jared and Alma Lee tied the knot in a beautiful southern ceremony down in Tennessee. The entire family was there - it was so nice to see everyone and all be together for a short time. Unfortunately we were so busy that we didn't get to socialize with each other the way we would have liked to, but that's the way those kind of things are. Rushing around doing our nails, having lunch, rehearse for this, pick up that... time flies and before you know it - time to go home! I guess big events usually are like that. Months and months of planning - days of stress - then 'boom' and it's over. No matter how stressed we get - it all works out in the end, right?

As I said before - the wedding was really beautiful. Both Stacy and I got to be bridesmaids where we bonded while planning our future weddings (no time soon - be reminded of our continuing man crisis) and Ben was the Best Man. I also got to play a little clarinet at the opening (for the parents to come down the aisle). The ceremony was followed by many many pictures and a quaint reception before the couple raced out of the hall, unwrapped the car, and escaped to their Parisian honeymoon.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

a walk across

Brooklyn Bridge, New York

Friday, July 3, 2009

Flower Power

I've had a lot of fun with my nice camera that I got last year. I still don't feel like I know how to use it to its fullest (or even its half-fullest), but it is fun to play with and I am learning as I go. I am lucky that I have an uncle who is also in to photography and has been able to guide me along and help me out with equipment. I learned quickly that the photo world is all about more and more and better equipment. It is never-ending. All of my money could easily be spent on cameras, lenses, stands, cases, etc.

A while back, I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I went last year and had to go again to try to catch the cherry blossoms. We were able to see some and they were so beautiful. It's hard to catch them at just the right time, but we came close. They have many different variety there, so I think there is always something blooming and something not blooming. I got a lot of great pictures while I was there, but oddly enough, my favorites were not of the cherry blossoms, but of other flowers! Oh well...maybe I'm just not in a 'pink' mood.
I have been playing around with taking close-up pictures. I have a few filters to put on my lens that really lets me get in there. Here are a couple of flower shots I took that day with the filters.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Late Saturday night (actually it was Sunday morning in my time zone) I became an aunt for the first time! Ben and Jen had their baby, Joel Stephen. He arrived a few weeks early and we are all so excited that he is here, healthy and ready to take on the world. My little nephew is out in Montana with his happy parents - I can't wait to see him in person. To learn more about him click here.

Friday, June 26, 2009


I just got home from my first performance of the weekend and it went well! I was pleased. It took a lot of focus and intensity, so I am pretty exhausted. Plus I have to be up early early for work tomorrow. Ah, the life...

Today was a nice day - I actually did not work, so I was able to get a few things done and rest up a bit for the concert. I even did a little cooking! I mixed up some of my pineapple chicken salad. I have made it a few times and I think it's a great, light, tasty sandwich alternative for the summer. It's nice to make ahead because it takes next to no time to make and can hang out in the fridge until it's needed. I got the recipe from one of my Cooking Light magazines from back in the day. I now access the recipe online here. Yummy! Can't wait to eat it!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

hitting the low notes

I love my bass clarinet. I've had it for a few years - got it when I was in grad school. I played it a semester or so in school after I got it, but unfortunately haven't had much opportunity to put it to use since then. Without a concert or some kind of goal to reach for, it has been hard for me to keep in shape on the bass clarinet. Many things are the same as playing the regular clarinet, but it is so much bigger and takes much more air, making it a whole different beast. Let me remind you that I have had some problems when trying to practice the bass clarinet in the past.

Lately, I have been spending a lot of time with the BC. A group I play with, the One World Symphony is performing a concert version of the opera, Vanessa by Samuel Barber this weekend and I am playing bass clarinet in it. Actually, it is a reduced orchestra version, so I am playing the second clarinet part, which is mostly bass clarinet, but also has B-flat and A clarinet. Basically that means I am carrying a lot of stuff around and it takes me forever to get everything together before and after the concerts. I am looking forward to the performances, which are this weekend. I feel much more comfortable with the BC now and am having a lot of fun playing it. I mostly enjoy playing low notes - they rumble through me - I like it. :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Do you speak Snacklish?

Snickers, the ever-popular candy bar has been doing some major advertising in New York City. I am curious to know if these cheesy ads are everywhere, or just in NYC. They are very simple, pretty corny, but amusing. They play on current ads by changing normal words to promote snacking. For example, a sign that says "Learn to play the snaxophone" or "Learn to Speak Snacklish". My favorite is super simple and sits on top of taxi cabs. Easy enough, it simply states: snaxi. The genius of logos and advertising is that we don't need to see the word Snickers. We all recognize that label and even though we are looking for a ride, we crave the candy bar. Funny... but smart.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Oh my - I've been sick, sick, sick the past few days. No fun at all. Now I am just sick of being sick. In 'normal life' sometimes I would give anything for a day to lay around and watch movies. But when several days of laying around are given (forced) the appeal is lost pretty fast. Did I mention: I am sick of being sick! Tonight I plan on venturing out into the world for the first time in a few days. I have a rehearsal that I am going to try to pull off. I had to cancel work yesterday and today and have been doing nothing but drinking juice and eating soup! I've gotten tons of rest and I am feeling quite a bit better than I did when this first started. Hopefully going to rehearsal tonight will send my body the message that it is time to get better.

Monday, June 8, 2009

mood fix

As I was walking around the city yesterday I passed by a Dunkin' Donuts with this sign in the window:
I think that is very appropriate. Whenever I find myself in a bad mood, the first thing I should try is a fresh cup. Often that does the trick. There is nothing like a little coffee break!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Congratulations Grads!

Way to GO! Jared and Stacy graduate!
They are ready to take on the world!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Heat and Humidity

I am on a little escapade down in Florida! I jumped down here a couple of days ago, but will be heading back soon. A nice little trip - more to come...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nothing like a little drama...

So you want to know what I've been spending a lot of my time with lately? Opera. Yes - opera. Last year I worked at Carnegie Hall and I was able to see several concerts there. I am currently working for the Metropolitan Opera and have seen a lot of opera. Before I started working there I had a friend who took me all the time, so this little opera affair has been going on for most of 2009. A significant difference between going to a concert at a venue like Carnegie Hall and seeing an opera is the amount of time that it takes. You can go to Carnegie and be out in an hour and a half. An opera is just getting started at an hour and a half! Attending an opera requires an entire evening - it is an event. Which is great! But, it does take up a chunk of time.

Now, I would say the average opera clocks in at around 3 hours. That includes an intermission where you can walk around, mingle, show off your fancy earrings and eat an over-priced cookie. Some operas are a little longer, some a little shorter. But there is this special phenomenon that happens every now and then called the Ring Cycle. I don't want to get into it too much, BUT basically, for those who don't know, Wagner wrote this series of operas (4) that make up the cycle. These operas take huge orchestras (HUGE - he even created instruments specifically for this thing!) and require major productions and are performed (usually) within the span of a week. AND they are much longer than "regular" operas. The Met is currently in the midst of Ring season. This happens every few years - people flock from all over the world to spend night after night at the opera house watching these performances. The first one is only about 2 1/2 hours long and they increase until the last one is a whopping 6 hours long. Ring fans are a breed of their own. These are serious fans. You'd have to be, right? In order to devote about 15 hours to one opera? In one week? Yes, it is broken into four nights, but it's really one huge story. Think Lord of the Rings, opera style. Everyone knows some of the Ring. Click on this to be reminded:

If you are not a serious Wagner fan, the only reason you would put yourself through all this madness is that you are either curious or crazy - or some combination of the three. Anyway - the whole reason I am blabbing about Wagner and Ring Cycle is that today I accomplished the task of watching the entire final opera. All 6 hours of it! Yikes! It was the final dress rehearsal before the Saturday opening performance and they gave us tickets. I was only going to go to the first act (11:00-1:00), but got sucked in and didn't end up leaving until the final curtain at 5:15. Wow. It was pretty amazing and I can add that to my list to say "I've done it". It was great and so epic - the end of the world kind of a thing. But 6 hours! Come on! And just in case you are wondering, I have also seen the first two operas of the cycle. Missed the third, but it will come around again and I will probably catch it just so I can insanely claim to have seen the entire Ring Cycle.

Enough. I leave you with a picture taken 4 years ago. I was visiting New York and had my picture taken in front of the opera house. I had no idea what was to come - I hadn't even been in the building yet...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wacky Weather

We have had the strangest weather lately. It's up and down and all over the place. Hot, cold, rain, and shine all in one day. Forget "one day" - try one hour! It doesn't know what it wants to do! No surprise that I am cheering on the sun and the warm, but it's a struggle. The most confusing times are when it is cloudy, but really bright. How exactly does that happen? I feel so strange - walking down the street squinting, wishing I had my sunglasses, when it is completely overcast. Hmm...who knows. Anyway, we had a few beautiful days over the weekend and I actually had one afternoon off where the weather was nice and I was able to sit outside and enjoy it. I was introduced to a place downtown that is very different from my everyday New York. I almost feel like I am in a different city when I am there. There are some nice cobblestone streets by the water where I can sit at the outside tables and have a nice lunch. Afterwards I can go for a stroll or a bike ride in a little park with the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson River behind me. An afternoon like that is exactly what I need every now and then to refresh and reset in all the madness of daily life.

Speaking of refresh and reset - I am excited about a little trip I will soon be taking. In just a couple of weeks I will fly down to Florida for Stacy and Jared's graduation. I am looking forward to seeing them and the rest of the family that will make it down. I will only be there for a couple of days, but it will be a nice change of scenery. I plan to take an empty suitcase to fill with Florida sunshine to bring back to New York. If I can bottle up enough I will share. Otherwise I will have to be selfish and keep it in my apartment for myself.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Extreme Inbox

I wonder if anyone else has ever experienced an out-of-control inbox? I just had a huge cleansing session with my hotmail inbox. I have a couple of email accounts. One I use more for business stuff and the other that is more family stuff. I tend to not erase messages very often... or ever. Is that bad? Am I taking up too much space out there in the cyber world? I guess not, because even with the 485 unread messages and the billion read messages still there I was only using a small portion of my allotment. But seriously... 485 UNREAD messages? What is the point of that? It's not that I blow off important emails or ignore people. These are mostly emails from stores trying to get me in to the latest sale or my bank telling me my account statement is ready. Anyway, I am so proud of myself because after donating a nice half hour of my life and going through the inbox I am down to 75 unread messages! Yay! I would have deleted more, but I couldn't find them. Haha - yes, that is bad, but I didn't have the patience to click "next page" forever and try to find where they are hidden. Besides, having a few unread messages makes me feel special when I sign in - there is always something there waiting for me!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

For shame, for shame.

Well, here it is - beyond mid-March and I have to admit.... I have been horribly bad at keeping my New Year's resolution. Shamefully bad, embarrassingly sinful, I must say. Almost as if calling it a "New Year's resolution" put a curse on it and made my little goal completely unobtainable. I guess that is what resolutions are for, right? They are made to be broken. Does ANYONE ever keep a NY Res? Seriously? How many diets go out the door; gym memberships unused? Well, my pots and pans have remained empty. Shame on me. All the "cooking at home" I had intended to do... didn't happen. A few times it happened. I've made a few breakfasts, made a couple of lasagnas, and thrown together some sandwiches along the way - but those fabulous cookbooks and magazines are pretty much just sitting around looking fabulous and not much more.

Today I thought I would try to break the curse by mixing up a pot of chili. Maybe it is wishful thinking, but I imagine that very soon it will be so warm out that I won't really want a big bowl of soup. This chili doesn't take many ingredients or too much effort, which is nice. I was able to make it while I did the laundry (I know, I am being extremely productive today). I don't know why I don't do something like chili more often because now I have the leftovers for later in the week when I need a quick lunch before work. At one point in my life leftovers seemed unappetizing but now that life is so busy they are wonderful! Especially the kind I can take on the road with me. Perfect. I should learn my lesson and cook more so I have more leftovers!

Originally I was going to go off in this post about knives. But now I don't think I will talk about how the more knives I have used the more I realize that I am a knife snob. How a bad knife is really worthless. In fact, it is more than takes up time and effort - stealing precious moments and happiness from life. I thought about that as I sawed away on an onion this afternoon with the "whatever knife I could find in the drawer". I have my own set of knives that I keep in my room, but I didn't feel that I had the time to go search for them. Looking back, maybe the time I would have spent searching would have been equal to the time spent sawing and resawing that onion. Plus I would have had the satisfaction of cutting cleanly and quickly through the vegetable. Maybe I have learned my lesson. But my question is, why do so many people have so many bad knives??? Where do these come from and why are they in nearly every apartment I have stayed in? What about quality of life? Oh - but I wasn't going to get into the knife rant. Oops.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Don't get pinched!

If there was grass in New York I would go search for a four-leaf clover and get myself some good luck...but the park is the only place I might be able to do that and someone's dog probably already ate it. No luck there.... I'll have to go search for a leprechaun instead. I bet we have a few of those running around here. Most likely down in the village. I'd guess that would be the place to find a nice little leprechaun. Or maybe Times Square, but I try to keep my distance from that place. I'm afraid with the current economy the pot of gold might be a little lighter this year anyway. Or maybe they will opt for silver this year. Ho hum...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Slow internet, Fast world

I did NOT, in fact, blow away as the previous post and my lack of blogging may have suggested. I have been very busy lately and my internet connection is SO SLOW that it takes me nearly a year to check my email. My bedroom is far away from the wireless router in the apartment I stay in and I just barely get an itty-bitty signal. This is a little annoying when I am paying rent on an apartment that offers "high-speed wireless internet included!".
I am now looking for another apartment. I feel like I am constantly on the move - I have been in 8 different places since I moved to New York last year. That's pretty crazy.... but most were for good reasons... I was the cat/apartment sitter! Now that I want to find a more stable/permanent place it is really difficult. Living in New York is, oh, not exactly cheap, or inexpensive, or even affordable. It becomes a bit of a rat race to find that "perfect" apartment and then to find that "perfect" job to afford the apartment. As I said, always on the move. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the right place will show up just in time. Even more so, I am keeping my fingers crossed that this blog will actually post before I turn 30. Cheers!

Monday, February 23, 2009

she's blowin' away!

I am getting really tired of this:And I do NOT like that March 1, 3, and 4th is supposed to be:

Let's move on already!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day of Birth

My birthday was earlier this week. Those things just keep coming up, don't they? I remember when I was a kid I always looked forward to my birthday. I could not wait to get a year older! Plus the excitement of having a birthday and getting to have cake and ice cream was great! It kind of looses it's flair as I get older, but I still do everything I can to have a fun day.
Last year I posted reasons why I do enjoy my birthday. I would say they are pretty much the same this year. Last year I got to spend the birthday with Dad. I wish we could have been together this year, but instead I got to share the day with Ben. I still can't get over the fact of how many people I share my birthday with. I wonder if this is common. Do other people have friends and family members with the same birthday? Seriously, I have NEVER had a birthday where I wasn't around someone else whose birthday it was. Well, maybe once I did in Tallahassee. I think so, but 1 out of 28... that's crazy.

Well, this year Ben and I hung out and celebrated our day. We didn't have to work, so we went to a movie in the middle of the day and then met some people for dinner. We had dinner/dessert at this place called Max Brenner. I don't even know how to begin telling you about Max Brenner. It's main dish is chocolate. It's a bit of a chocolate factory. They have pipes running across the ceiling and down the walls of the restaurant that are pumping chocolate around. White chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate. They have an amazing menu of chocolate drinks, desserts, as well as real food. Some of the real food doesn't include chocolate... but some does! They have more versions of hot chocolate than you know what to do with. When you walk into Max Brenner you are hit with the deep, rich smell of the chocolate being made there. Oh my.... sometimes when I walk by I want to pop in for just a second to take in a big breath of chocolately air. The atmosphere of the place is really nice too... it's kind of dark and energetic which makes it like a chocolate factory for grown-ups. Appropriate place for a grown-up birthday, right???

Anyway - the group of us that went split a few different plates of regular food, which was delicious, we had some chocolate drinks, and then split a chocolate pizza for desert! The waiter even put a few candles in it for the b-day! Oh my - this "pizza" was just amazing. The menu describes it as warm thin pastry topped with double melted chocolate chunks, melted marshmallows, and candied hazelnut crunchy bits. We, of course, got it with a side of sliced banana to add to the flavor explosion. Mmmm.... mouth watering just thinking about it. I need to go back some other time to try the waffles topped with fruits, ice cream, and chocolate. Or the chocolate fondue at the table beside us looked fun and delicious too. Okay, I'm going to stop drooling. But you should seriously go over to their website and take a look through the menu. Some very nice pictures and descriptions over there.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Union Square

Just a random New York photo.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Good old Val

Well, it is February the 14th. The day that someone decided was the day of love. If you have been on my blog recently, you probably know that I am not having too much of a party today. If Stacy was here with me, you can probably guess what we would be doing. But, to those who observe the holiday, best wishes to you!
Excluding all the romantic mushiness and overblown, overpriced, overly tacky heart shaped everything in every store - I send my love to those out there who I love on different levels such as friends and family.
I will leave you with a photo from my archives of a little kitty valentine. Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wishful thinking

Okay, I have seriously had enough of the cold weather. I am not even joking. Yes, it has been warmer the past couple of days and I think tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer, but I just have to rant for a minute because I know this warmth is only here to tease me. I will get used to it (in the two days I get it) and then BAM! The tide will turn and I will freeze again. I am tired of wearing three layers of clothes, then scarves, hats, heavy coats, extra socks, gloves, etc. I like jeans and sweaters, so we really don't need to jump straight into the blazing stinky sweaty summer yet, but come on! It get's cold here...a biting cold where the wind gusts down the gray streets, sweeping trash past your feet into the curbs... good stuff.
Bring on the sunshine. Bring on the warmth. Bring on the flowers.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Stacy and I haven't always had the best luck when it comes to dating. I've met some great guys and had some nice times, but it seems like there is always some kind of a problem. Sometimes the timing is off. One person is really into the relationship and the other isn't so much. By the time the "isn't" person comes around the "is" person is usually moving on and now not so into it. Or sometimes communication is the issue. Two people want to get along and want to be together, but just cannot get those communication skills in sync with each other. Sometimes the people just drive each other crazy - even though the love each other they are just different and it doesn't quite work. Sometimes one member of the relationship has unrealistic expectations for the other. Maybe there is too much negativity involved and it seems like nobody can do anything right. Or maybe it's distance that keeps people apart. Regardless, there are many many reasons why relationships are difficult and so often won't work out. This can be so frustrating, but as a wise father often says, "The only thing that is easy is getting in trouble." So true.

As the years have passed and two fabulous sisters have watched Cupid's arrows whiz by and puncture everyone else around us, we have decided to take matters into our own hands...the best way we know how. It is becoming a tradition that when we are together we "make men". These men, made out of gingerbread, are delightful. We can create them to be anything we want (or don't want). We have a mold for the "perfect man", but we aren't shallow... we make a variety of men and appreciate them all. We had a tall man, a skinny man, a cowboy, a fat man, a Christian man, etc, etc... and they each had unique personalities when it came to their dress/decoration. They did get a little puffed up when they went into the oven and kind of fell apart when they went into the storage container. But in the end, the most important part... they all tasted pretty good when we bit their heads off and they never had to have the last word. Someday we will find our Mr. Rights at the right time, but for now I will have to be satisfied with what comes out of the oven.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fabulous French Toast!

If I had to say what my cooking "specialty" is, I am not sure exactly what it would be. I love trying new recipes and different ingredients. I have a few things I do repeatedly, but for the most part I try new things. But the one meal that I am always willing to throw together for people is my French Toast! I've been using this recipe since I went to Indiana. I have made this dish for more people than anything else... and there is a reason! I am a huge fan of FT anyway, so I like to make it for myself... and not only in the mornings... FT can be a fabulous dinner!

There are several things that make my French Toast so scrumptious. I can't give away all of my secret ingredients, but I will tell you that the choice of bread makes quite a difference. I used to always use a buttermilk white bread, but I haven't been able to find it in a while. I wanted to make my toast in NY, but got frustrated when looking for the right bread. I tried a few different things, but nothing seemed right. But THEN I ran into Challah bread... a braided egg bread traditionally used for Jewish Sabbath. This stuff makes eggcellent French Toast and I can get it at Fairway Market in New York! Not too far from where I live! YES!

As a part of my new year cooking-at-home extravaganza I busted out my recipe last week and made some breakfast (it was more like lunch, but who's counting). Throw in a side of bacon, orange juice, coffee, and top with maple syrup and you've got happiness on a plate. Bonjour!

Friday, January 9, 2009

predictable, yes, but...

Does this picture make anyone else happy like it makes me???

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sick Chef

Well, my new year quickly crashed and burned as I got attacked by some kind of cold/virus/evil thing. I was in New York for the new year celebration and for a few days after. I guess I had too much fun and got sick from it. Just in time to drive back to West Virginia to spend another week. I have spent the last two days here in bed, barely able to do anything besides blow my nose and flip the tv channel. Not much fun, I tell you. Today I am starting to look up. I hoped to wake up fresh and energetic but that didn't happen. I am definitely on the road to recovery, but I may have to give myself another day or so to complete health.

I did have a nice time over the holidays. I got to spend time with friends, play a little, move into my new place, and have some fun. A resolution I have made for this year is to cook more. I love to cook, especially to try new recipes and foods. Unfortunately, my many living situations, constant moving, and busy lifestyle made it difficult for me to do much cooking. I vow to make more of an effort to make it happen this year. Not only is it fun, but it tastes good and SAVES MONEY! Tell me what is wrong with that?

I started out the year making a couple of recipes from my new cookbook I got for Christmas: Great Food Fast. This book seems like a pretty good one because it has a lot of recipes that look practical and pretty easy to make. I sometimes get into the trap of making things that take forever and make big gourmet dinners, but I don't have a clue what to make for dinner TONIGHT! This book looks like a good one for that problem. It also divides its recipes into sections according to season, which is nice because (if I follow these sections) I will be able to use ingredients that are fresh and in season (aka. better tasting and more affordable!).
Besides this book, I plan on taking several of my cookbooks that I had left in WV back to NY with me. That way when I want to cook I will have a lot of great recipes on hand. I had been trying to look up recipes on the internet as I went along, but when I found myself without high-speed internet I found myself in trouble! In addition to my books, a few of my important tools, pots, and gadgets are going to have to come with me. The only thing I really took last year was my spice box. It, I knew I couldn't live without. Gotta have flavor even if you don't have a recipe or a spoon to mix it with. A girl has to have her priorities.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Welcome 2009!!!