Yesterday I went to the American Museum of Natural History with [ profile] gothgeekgirl (who isn't really on LJ these days), her husband Reed (WINOLJ), and [ profile] cattitude. This was a last-minute outing: Gothgeekgirl called Saturday evening and asked if we wanted to go the museum Sunday afternoon, and we said yes, and arranged to meet her in mid-afternoon outside the Planetarium entrance.

They were running a bit late, so we sat on a bench and watched hawks circling overhead. Then we spent a couple of hours at the museum. We started with aimless wandering, of the "okay, we're on this floor, there are Asian mammals over there." But I wanted to look at soothing rocks, so we went through the Human Evolution exhibit (which is very good and pretty up-to-date) into the Hall of Rocks and Minerals, which is still the 1970s structure I remember fondly from my teens, complete with low carpeted walls you can sit on.

When your familiar old exhibit hall includes a huge amethyst geode of the sort that I can say "Look" and point at from 50 feet away, and has petrified logs out where anyone can touch as well as look at them, it doesn't really need updating, except maybe for the periodic table displays in a few of the educational exhibits. (I lent Reed a lens cleaning cloth I happened to have in my bag, so he could wipe the fingerprints off the shiny cross-section of a petrified log before photographing it.) The hall is an excellent mix of "ooooh, shiny!" and science; we didn't look at it yesterday, but I recommend the case of fluorescent minerals. That's in a room to one side of the large central hall, next to the one with a gem cave and the cases with a variety of large, pretty, and expensive precious gems. A decade or so ago I was glad of the chance to take my mother's husband in there and say "Here's the Star of India."

At the moment, the "recent acquisitions" case at the entrance to the room includes some very nice opals, including three opalized fossil clams.

We ducked out of that hall a little sooner in time for a quick stop in the gift shop before the museum closed. Then Gothgeekgirl and I fortified ourselves with caffeine, after which the four of us took another hour and a half for an early dinner and more conversation.
On Sunday I wandered out to Staten Island, in order to give [ profile] cattitude a bit of time and space to himself. I had been curious about the Staten Island Railroad, a piece of the city transit system I'd never been on, which turns up under "subways" when I go to the MTA website for maps, information about schedule changes, and the like. It seemed like a not-too-strenuous outing, on a warm enough day that the ferry ride across the harbor was also appealing.

details, transit-fan geeky )
There's another hot spell coming in—and I may need to take a break and go sit in the air conditioning soon—but this morning was pleasant and the early afternoon okay. So, I went to the gym, where I had a reasonable workout and a bit of conversation with someone who uses a bunch of the same equipment I do and is on a similar schedule, so we see each other now and then.

After the workout I returned one library book, and picked up another; bought some more Scrabble tile bags at Compleat Strategist (after fixing a seam in the current one on Saturday); and went down to Chinatown for lunch. Excellent Dumpling was closed, in a weird and uninformative way: front door open but blocked by two chairs, and the restaurant contained two people, sitting and talking at one of the tables. So I went a block east, to Nha Trang Centre, for pho: yes, it's a hot day, but the restaurant is air conditioned, and pho is comforting.

Then I walked east and south to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factor, for a ginger cone. From there, I kept going along Bayard Street, keeping a hopeful eye out for the ponytail fasteners I like. I had no luck on that, but I did see South African clementines on sale, so I bought a bag, having been happy with South African clementines in our summer/their winter before. I then bought some roast duck, which I am going to turn into supper (probably in salad form, though I might cook rice instead), and came home.

The trip home was a bit annoying: the subway turnstiles at the entrance I first tried were handing out all sorts of error messages, including a lot of "please swipe again": and then I and, shortly thereafter, another woman got the "just used" after being told to "please swipe again." This was particularly annoying because the part of that station that is reachable by elevator is not the part of the station that has a human being who can sell Metrocards, answer questions, and fix problems. I decided my knees could handle it, and went back up in the elevator and then down the stairs to talk to the clerk, who let me in. (With other things, that came to about eight flights of stairs today; my knees seem okay. But I had some knee pain over the weekend, after sitting cross-legged for more than a few minutes at a time, so still need to track and be careful here.)

gym numbers )
This morning, [ profile] rysmiel and I were at a halal market, which they say has good meat, including good cold cuts, to get fruit and something to put on sandwiches. As rysmiel was looking at the ingredients on some smoked chicken, I looked at a package and went "Matjes!" in pleased surprise. Since I was enthusiastic, and we couldn't find smoked meat (only pastrami, which is a bit different), we got a package of matjes herring, as I wondered idly what language that word is from*. The rest of the large print on the package was in Polish, which neither of us knows. (The legally required small print was in French and English, of course, but the ingredients list just said "herring.")

There is absolutely nothing to stop herring from being halal (or kosher; I regularly buy kosher pickled herring in sour cream). I'm not sure how much of my surprise was seeing matjes in neat packages, and how much was the Polish package in a Montreal supermarket that has lots of hummus and date paste and other Middle Eastern foods (and fairly standard brands of tea and kinds of apple and such).

So, city life.

For dinner we went to an Italian restaurant in the Gay Village and ate pasta. On our walk back to the metro I saw banners on the street with amusing and/or inspirational quotes about various aspects of gay life and liberation. (I couldn't read all of them; my French isn't what it might be, though I can read more French than I can speak.) I spent some time chewing over "Being gay is not a choice; it is a necessity," going quickly from "not for me" to "yes, it is" to wondering what "being" means here. (I may be misremembering the phrasing, and what I'm working with is my on-the-fly translation, not what was printed on the cloth.) I trust the writer's description of his own experience, but once the text is printed on a banner above the sidewalk, people are going to apply it more broadly. For me, it's more complicated; the "not for me" tangles in with the different choices that come with being bi, as well as other people's tendencies to assume I'm straight if they see me with a male partner. But how much effort I make to be visible is separate from not making an effort to hide.

It would be nice to have a similar collection of banners in English, and maybe some in other languages, in my own Village.

*[ profile] cattitude was sitting at his computer when I told him this story, so he asked the net. With that spelling of "matjes," apparently either German or Swedish (Dutch would have another "a"). But I suspect that matjes is the English, and maybe French, for that kind of herring, just as "biscotti" is the French and English for a particular kind of Italian-style cookie.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Mar. 19th, 2012 07:26 pm)
I went to the gym this morning, and have my cardigan back, no thanks to the gym staff. Hint: if you don't have the time to check whether something has been left behind, don't take detailed information and promise to do so. (The sweater was still hanging in the locker I had used on Friday morning.)

After exercising, I stopped at Starbucks for a cup of tea and called my friend L. We'd been doing back-and-forth "I'd like to see you if…" for a while without our schedules matching up, but today we made them fit together. We met at Great New York Noodletown, on the Bowery at Bayard Street, and ate roast duck and rice, and then rice noodles with more roast duck. The afternoon then involved a bit of shopping, in Chinatown and downtown Brooklyn, and tea and conversation. I have restocked on dried fruit and fresh ginger, and bought three pieces of baklava. Also, there is a new cafe on Atlantic Avenue that has good tea, but rather dubious "Montreal-style" bagels; too big for Montreal bagels, too small for New York, and not chewy enough for either. Still, a comfortable place to sit and talk that has good tea and is willing to let us just hang out on a random afternoon is worth knowing about. (I prefer New York bagels, but Montreal bagels are okay, though I wish they were a bit less focused on sesame seed.)

the usual gym details, cut to avoid boring you )

Spring is definitely moving along: there were a fair number of white-flowered trees in bloom on Park Avenue, and drooping cherries in front of L's apartment in Brooklyn. Also, I saw two tiny tree seedlings on my block up here in Inwood. On the other hand, there's a lot of winter aconite still in bloom outside Brooklyn Borough Hall, and some crocuses and fritillaries around, in between the daffodils and first tulips.
This is mostly the post I should have written yesterday or the day before. Tuesday morning I went out to Brooklyn to get the third (of three) doses of hepatitis B vaccine. The city Department of Health has three sites for free, walk-in vaccinations, and this one seemed easiest to get to, just a few blocks from the A train in downtown Brooklyn. (I got the previous dose at the end of summer, at a Department of Health site in Chelsea that closed about three days later.) So that's taken care of, and I can feel both a bit safer and a bit virtuous.

Downtown Brooklyn is also a fairly easy bus ride to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and, as it turns out, the Prospect Park Zoo. I was thinking Botanic Garden, then saw the zoo entrance, and figured why not, I'm a member, so it won't cost anything. It's a fairly small zoo, but I saw a couple of sea lions, an otter, a pair of emus, some turtles, and some very cute red pandas. OK, that's redundant, but it was fun watching one walk carefully down a steep branch.

Then across the street and into the Botanic Garden. Admission is free on "winter weekdays" (that's through March 9); I'm not at all sure I'd have paid $10 to wander through the grounds this early in spring, even an early spring. The garden's web page said something about a Japanese flowering cherry. I didn't find that, but I did see a very nice camellia tree, covered in pink blossoms, near the Japanese garden (just off the "celebrity path"). Unsurprisingly, most of what's visible outdoors is bulbs: snowdrops and crocuses, a few dwarf irises, winter aconite, and daffodils in a couple of places. (I only poked into the conservatory briefly, because I didn't want to deal with the stairs.) Near the conservatory are a couple of witch hazel trees fully in bloom, and a visually unassuming tree labeled "wintersweet," a fitting name. I also saw a very impressive spreading white bush; when I got close my thought was pussy willow, from the bud shape (and they are somewhat gray close up), but it didn't have the pattern of long, basically vertical branches. I have uploaded photos of the camellia, wintersweet, winter aconite, and not-pussywillow to Flickr.

Today (March 1) I went to the gym; I had had a tentative appointment with Emilie, but was unsurprised when she called to cancel. While I was there, one of the other trainers praised me for sticking to my program by myself.
just numbers )
I was supposed to have a session with Emilie this morning, but she texted and left very apologetic voicemail explaining that she couldn't make it. I worked out anyway, and that went well.

After exercising, I tried a couple of errands (one of which worked), then went down to Excellent Dumpling, in Chinatown, for lunch. Thanks to a conversation when [ profile] papersky was in town a few weeks ago, I went ahead and ordered my old favorite sweet ginger duck on rice, even though it hasn't been on the menu for the last couple of years. The server didn't blink. The recipe has changed slightly: they no longer have the red-tinted preserved ginger, but used a generous quantity of fresh ginger root, which suited me.

I'm still trying not to climb too many stairs, and the Canal Street A train station isn't accessible, so I decided to go up to the Village. Since it was a nice day (a bit chilly, but bright), and I was warmly dressed, I walked instead of taking the bus.

On my way up Sixth Avenue, I passed a statue with a gorgeous example of not even trying to translate: "National Hero of Uruguay/Protector de los Pueblos Libres." General Jose Artigas probably is an Uruguayan national hero, but the Spanish is "Protector of the Free Peoples". I don't know/remember enough South American history offhand to know if that plural refers to specific events in the early-19th-century revolutions against Spain, or if it's idiom and the English should be "Protector of the Free People." Or, if we're trying for the same idea in both languages, maybe "Defender of Freedom." [ETA: "Protector de los Pueblos Libres" was in fact Artigas's title at one point, making this not quite as odd.]

Further north on Sixth Avenue, I saw some small white crocuses. Then I stopped in at Grom for gelato (this is indirectly because of something [personal profile] rushthatspeaks's housemate posted to her blog recently. Based on one sample, Grom isn't up to Suite 88, but it's a lot handier for me, and they do understand cinnamon. I walked a few blocks beyond the subway, to Jefferson Market Garden (behind/south of the library), to look at the daffodils that [personal profile] cattitude had told me about. Just a few, but fully open and bright yellow. (There are also lots of snowdrops and some fritillaries.)

I took the elevator down into the West Fourth Street station, went through the turnstile, and about halfway down the ramp started running because I saw an uptown A pulling in. My knees wouldn't put up with that every day, but they were fine with it this afternoon, despite the workout, stairs, and nice long walk. Somewhere around West 3rd Street on my way north, it did occur to me that while I'm used to the idea of having to go out of my way to avoid stairs, this was an extreme case. The last time I did this one, I took a bus from Canal Street to West 3rd to catch that train.

I came home to find that the DSL was finally back, but no dial tone; a few minutes later someone from Verizon called, and asked me to check again. We now have a dial tone, and DSL, on that line, finally. *whew*

gym stuff )
Every so often, I go to one of the local food carts for lunch: chopped lamb (or probably mutton, sliced off one of those skewers used to make gyros) on rice, with onions and lettuce and stuff. They offer a variety of toppings (green peppers, olives, tomatoes, and the like) and sauces. I always ask for just the white sauce.

Today, I got back to my office and started eating my lunch, including the very nice sauteed onions. I noticed after a few bits that parts of it were spicy. I made the mistake of trying to identify those bits (I could see some hot sauce in places). I only stopped when it was actively painful.

I have thrown that out, and gone out again. I am now eating a chicken and cranberry sandwich, despite having originally gotten the lamb and rice because I felt "I don't want a sandwich" half an hour ago. Pret a Manger may not be exciting, but it's reliable, and right now I didn't want to chance another lunch I couldn't eat. My mouth stopped hurting about the time I got to Pret; call it five minutes from when I gave up on that lunch.

I am disappointed, because I like lamb and there aren't that many places that will serve it for a reasonably cheap lunch; angry, because damn it, this isn't difficult, the sauces are in separate bottles; and unhappy, because damn it, that hurt.
There are some groups of young men (I don't know how many) who like to come onto subway trains, announce loudly "it's showtime," turn on music, and do a break-dancing routine, then ask for donations. I don't much care for them: they play the music loud enough to be heard easily over the subway noise, which is loud enough to be uncomfortable. But I've gotten used to trying to ignore them and keep reading my book or doing my puzzle.

Coming home from the gym this evening, I was trying to do that when one of them misjudged his movement and kicked my left knee. My reaction was to yell "Watch it, asshole!"

I'm not sure what I expected from there, but it wasn't a demand that I not call him that or he would spit in my face. Only after that did he say something about "accident." I knew it was an accident: that's not the point, or not most of the point. It didn't help any that one of the other guys there kept saying "It's okay" to me, rather than ever asking me whether I was okay. (To him, I said "tell your friend, he's the one who's threatening me.")

I can't tell from how he handled this whether he just doesn't care about strangers (and hasn't figured out that harming the audience isn't good busking technique) or whether his reaction came from "this is normal, I kick subway riders all the time." Near the end of the routine, he bounced off one wall of the subway car, hand above another woman's head in a way that he clearly did control, so it's not just incompetence. If it was incompetence, I would hope his friends would make him practice, or leave him home. (Mediocre musicians on the subway are merely annoying; breakdancing in a crowded space requires a higher level of skill.)

I iced my knee when I got home, but it's half an hour or so from Columbus Circle to my couch, so I suspect it wasn't in time to prevent a bruise.

the workout itself was good )
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jul. 4th, 2011 11:43 am)
I'm just back from a long walk in the hills with [ profile] cattitude. We looked at lots of plants (some flowers, and some observing of the trees and which saplings looked like they might get enough sunlight to become tall trees), listened to and saw some birds, and gathered a very few berries: black raspberries, salmonberries, and two tiny red raspberries (a total of five of those tiny round berry-lets). There used to be a lot more black raspberry bushes up there. It may be a good blackberry season in 2-4 weeks, though.

By the time we were ready to come back downhill, my knees hurt a bit, and the downhill parts were painful. Fortunately, now that I have rested a bit and am sitting down, they're fine; nonetheless, I shall probably take things easy for the rest of the day. (Inwood has virtues, but it also has lots of hills; going almost anywhere from my apartment except the across-the-street bit of Inwood Hill Park means going uphill and then downhill again.) If they start hurting again, maybe ice; I've already taken 375 mg of naproxen this morning, so no more NSAIDs for a while.

Yesterday Cattitude and I went out for dim sum with [personal profile] marykay/[ profile] marykaykare, her niece Sarah, [ profile] womzilla, L, who arranged this, and Moshe (who I think is on LJ). Good conversation, a lot of it theatre-related (Sarah is an aspiring actor, and in town for the summer for a fairly intense acting course that will be starting in a few days). Then we wandered around, via the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, which had ginger ice cream this time. (Yay!) Womzilla peeled off somewhere in Little Italy, and the rest of us got as far as the Housing Works bookstore. I thought about tea, remembered [ profile] papersky noting that they had been unable to boil water when she gave a reading there, and did without. I was tired enough by then not to want to browse books, so I just talked to Mary Kay and L for a bit. Then Mary Kay and Sarah went off to a matinee, and Cattitude and I went home (and I got tea en route).
redbird: a New York subway train, the cars sometimes called "redbirds" (redbird train)
( Jun. 21st, 2011 10:29 pm)
Sunday evening, I was coming home on the A train (after a visit to [personal profile] adrian_turtle. I was sitting and reading (using my PDA, an iPod Touch). The car was moderately full; there was one empty seat to my left, and two young men were sitting in the seats facing forward to my right, and chatting with each other and a couple of their friends who were standing nearby. I wasn't paying much attention to them, I was reading.

Then the guy sitting to my right pointed at my PDA and said "Let me see that." I said "What?" He repeated himself. I said "No," and then slid left into the empty middle seat on the three-seat bench. The "let me see that" guy urged one of his friends to sit down in the seat I'd just moved out of, but he didn't. I went back to my book. A minute or two later, they all got off the train at Dyckman Street, and Mr. Let-me-see-that said something like "See you around" as they left.

It left me wondering "Did he really think that would work?"
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jun. 7th, 2011 05:47 pm)
I have done my two days and been sent home without being picked for a jury. Given that I spent most of the time worrying that I would be on a jury for a case that was supposed to go well into July, this is definitely a good thing.

long, includes food and wandering )
I got up too early and spent a boring day of jury duty mostly sitting and/or standing around outside a courtroom. Somewhere in there I spent about 2 minutes explaining to the judge why I really don't want to be on the jury for the case in question.

The morning got longer and more tedious as it went on and I found myself wishing for lunch already, and wishing I'd gotten in the line for explanations sooner. And then they sent us out to lunch at 1, with instructions "be back at 2:30." I left the building, turned right on Lafayette Street, walked up to Excellent Dumpling, ordered, started drinking tea, and felt much better even before I got my food. The food was quite tasty, but greasier than it has been before, so I left lots of cabbage bits in the bottom of the platter rather than pick them out of the oil. I asked about filling my thermos with tea before I left, and they said to go ahead, no charge (I tipped more than I otherwise would have, because it seemed to balance things somehow). And then I wandered, east along Walker Street, south on Mott, and back west on Bayard. I skipped the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, but bought a pound of grapes for a dollar from a hole-in-the-wall that was selling only that, and ate between a third and half of them in Columbus Park before going back to the courthouse. (They said no food or drink on that floor; I pushed the point with a big cup of tea from Starbucks, but seeded grapes seemed as though they would be excessive.) I also made notes on things to buy tomorrow, when I will have more room in my pack and not be going to the gym at the end of the day: some ginger, and which vendor had the best-looking red cherries (I don't need bean sprouts, durian, fresh peanuts, or even mushrooms, but I may get blueberries).

This is part of why I asked them to reschedule my jury duty from March to early June: the task itself may still be tedious and potentially inconvenient, but I got Chinatown on a gorgeous, sunny June day. I spent a chunk of the afternoon's waiting around chatting with a woman who lives in the neighborhood, about stuff including not only how slowly the court was doing stuff, but our shared delight in the city. (I wasn't sure whether to be sorry for, or annoyed at, the man who seemed to think that if he repeated often enough that he didn't want to be there, and was supposed to be/have been at work at 4, it would get him excused from jury duty. (He apparently had believed this would work, at least to the extent that he didn't warn his boss in advance so they could arrange for someone to cover for him, rather than leaving his coworker to do the first part of the shift on her own.)

Tomorrow we get to show up at 10 instead of 9, and I will either be told that my reason (travel) for wanting to be excused from a long trial is sufficient, or have to hope that something else I say in answer to questions from the judge or lawyers gets me excused. (If you're going to make suggestions, bear in mind that I have given my word to tell the truth here.)
redbird: Picture of an indri, a kind of lemur, the word "Look!" (indri)
( Mar. 21st, 2011 08:52 pm)
The New York Times has an article on the 200th anniversary of the Manhattan street grid. I hadn't realized, and probably should have, that hundreds of buildings north of Houston Street were either moved or torn down to fit the grid plan. (Greenwich Village was explicitly excluded from the grid, which is obvious on looking at a map or wandering around that part of town.

Less cheerful, the state of the Japanese electrical grid is bad, and unlikely to be fixed in time for summer. The main problem is loss of capacity; a smaller one is that Japan has two incompatible grids, one at 50 Hz and one at 60 Hz, dating back to decisions made in the 1890s. There's a lesson here about excess capacity, and how quickly it can become necessary, which I suspect nobody in North America is going to be allowed to act on. [via [ profile] autopope]
Today was warm and sunny (it's still warm, but the sun has set). I took the afternoon off, to enjoy it in a low-key way. Subway down to Chinatown for lunch (Excellent Dumpling), and then walked up to Greenwich Village to buy socks. Which is to say, mostly, that I wanted a destination at a reasonable distance, and this was straight up Lafayette Street from the Chinese restaurant to Eighth Street. I stopped partway there (near Spring Street) and sat on a bench, reading, for ten or fifteen minutes. There is a lot of construction going on on Lafayette Street: not just the subway station, but a variety of unrelated things. The Sock Man didn't have the socks I wanted in purple, but the staff think they will again; I bought a half dozen in basic black, and took their card since the cashier said I should call in a while and see if they have them in.

Then I walked west and south to the A train; the eastern half of Washington Square Park is fenced off, apparently near the end of being renovated. So, socks, sunlight, and then the train back uptown. The local crocuses that we've been awaiting impatiently through days of apparently unchanging buds have finally opened, quite exuberantly. There are dwarf irises on Isham Street just east of Seaman Avenue ([ profile] cattitude spotted those Wednesday and showed them to me yesterday morning), and lots of daffodils on the eastern slope of Isham Park, along Broadway north of the A train. I spotted those Tuesday, and was very glad of them; daffodils before crocuses are a little anomalous, but they're fine and cheerful and made me feel like it was spring.

I hadn't done this sort of walk for the sake of walking in far too long: first it was my knees, and then it was winter. The knees still need a bit of care, but I'm glad to be walking recreationally again. (Yes, I've been walking quite a bit, but it's been to get somewhere, rather than picking a somewhere as a reason for the walk.)

I had some tea, then went and sat in the park here for a bit as well; I took the afternoon off in order to be outdoors, not in here with my computer and cat, however happy Julian was for the company. I saw some tiny white flowers growing next to a wall, the first wildflowers of the spring. When Cattitude got home we walked a bit more, and I showed him those flowers. My knees are not entirely happy, but that was true when I started the walk; I may yet take some naproxen.

I have, slowly, been filling out the Wiscon programming questionnaire, with a bunch of things I said I would like to attend, but not offering to be on, because the ones I am interested in, I don't think I'm the right person to talk about. I put off deciding whether to offer to be a drop-in moderator (for panels that have enough panelists, either in advance or at the last minute), but today is the deadline. I decided I was willing. I also wrote a last-minute program participant bio that I hope I'll be okay with in two months. Two, actually, one very brief and one longer. I mentioned having been a Tiptree juror in both, because it's the most relevant fact about me for this context.
Last week in Montreal, I was somewhat careful about stairs, but I did climb more stairs than I've been doing at home in months: almost none of the Metro stations are handicapped-accessible, and [ profile] papersky and [ profile] rysmiel live in a walk-up apartment. I overdid things when visiting in July, because I thought for a few days that all was well. Being careful this time, I got home without significant knee pain.

On the strength of that, I went down to Chinatown after work today to do a little shopping (despite checking, I left my tea thermos at Papersky's, and it had already proven useful enough to be worth spending $10 on another). I walked down to the #6 station near my office (two flights, it's one of the relatively shallow lines, old cut-and-cover construction), and rode up in an elevator at Canal Street. After shopping, I walked down to the A station at Canal, and used my usual elevator up here. I got the thermos at Pearl River, which has elevators connecting the shopping floors; useful, given that I first tried the second floor, and actually needed the basement. When I decided to take the train to Chinatown, I figured that if necessary (i.e., if my knees hurt by then(, I could walk or take a bus to West Fourth Street, which is accessible, so I was only committing to the stairs down to the IRT at 33rd Street.

(Tonight's episode of "while the cat's away, the hobbit will eat mushrooms" was moo shu pork.)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Nov. 10th, 2010 10:32 pm)
It's been a good birthday, with a number of delightful cards and plenty of mushrooms. For lunch, I had mushroom soup and some (leftover) salad which included raw mushrooms. Dinner was duck with a wild mushroom and lingonberry sauce, at Henry's End, which we've been going to for occasional celebratory dinners for a quarter century. (I'd been thinking of a bistro near [personal profile] cattitude's office, but they've gone out of business.) It meant a bunch of walking; the nearest subway stops to the restaurant do not have elevators, but Borough Hall and Jay Street/Borough Hall are within walking distance for me. So, nice food, and I probably walked about 2.5 miles today, mostly in bits of say 1/3 to 3/4 mile each.

Also, things at my job seem to be flowing a bit more smoothly; this may be an illusion, but being back to the work I'm more used to helps.
redbird: "Road Not Maintained: Travel at Own Risk" (roadsign)
( Nov. 5th, 2010 08:38 pm)
I walked down to Greenwich Village after work today, figuring on getting tea (two kinds, in two different shops) and maybe some nutmeg and herbs halfway between the two tea stores.

I have my half pound of loose golden Assam tea. I have three boxes of Twinings tea bags for use at the office.

I do not have nutmeg, eleuthero, dried ginger, melissa, or indeed anything herbal. The herb shop isn't there anymore.

Suddenly, no Aphrodisia, just a bunch of plywood and a license for electrical work on that location. However, I suspect they're out of business, not renovating, because there's no sign indicating "under renovation" or "will reopen in March" or even "has moved to Morton Street." I am currently debating the merits of mail order from Penzeys, the tiny Penzeys in Grand Central Station, or a trip to Perelandra. Assuming that's still there.

I don't name these places, okay? Aphrodisia was herbs (including some possibly medicinal rather than cookery), spices, dried fruit, herbals, and essential oils. Perelandra is a health food store in downtown Brooklyn, not so much convenient to me as to Sahadi's (where I get dried fruit, nuts, and the like). I could make a combined trip, either on a Saturday or maybe after work next week.
redbird: closeup photo of an apricot (apricot)
( Aug. 1st, 2010 09:37 pm)
I have been a sensible hobbit this evening, and declined a dinner invitation in order to spare my knees (after overdoing things last weekend). This is annoying: the fun things get sacrificed because I have to go to work, with the commute that involves. (Yes, I've got one that's basically stairless, and that is an incredible help, but it's still at least a mile on foot every workday.)

But at least it's early August, and I made dinner mostly from a cucumber and cherry tomato salad: vegetables from the Greenmarket, a mix of different-colored cherry tomatoes and one large cucumber. (Dressed with olive oil, vinegar, dried basil and thyme, the Penzey's shallot pepper mix, and a little salt.) I had a glass of milk with that, and afterward found myself thinking "I hope [personal profile] cattitude is having as good a dinner as I did". When I was still hungry a bit later, I cooked some basmati rice (that part was [ profile] james_nicoll's fault, indirectly) and added a small amount of leftover smoked duck, which was also from the Greenmarket, but is less seasonal and feels more like a self-indulgence than two-for-a-dollar fresh cucumbers or the four dollars for a pint of really good cherry tomatoes.

When my knees are a bit happier (or I have less else on my plate) I will try to catch up with [ profile] womzilla, <"lj user="supergee" site="">, and [ profile] nellorat.
redbird: closeup photo of an apricot (apricot)
( May. 27th, 2010 09:42 pm)
Yes, it's cool(er) again today, after yesterday's high in the 90s (mid-30s C), but on my way home this evening, after smelling the honeysuckle, I passed a stranger on the street who was remarking in surprise and delight "it's cherries!" Not in the store, on the tree at the corner next to the convent. That's an old tree, but it's only been bearing in the last few years, since the ornamental cherries recently planted across the street have started flowering and cross-pollinating it. One year the convent had some men come in and pick all the cherries; I hope they ate them or did something else useful, rather than just throwing them away. (It seemed that they didn't want to risk anyone climbing after fruit and falling out of the tree.)

A minute later, I was across the street and in the park, and a woman walking in the other direction approached a small group of men with "Señores? Maíz?" They didn't answer her, but I repeated "Maíz?" She turned to me, switched to English without being asked, and asked if I wanted butter and cheese. I said yes, then a moment later corrected myself to just butter; by then there was some grated cheese on part of the ear as well. I walked happily home through the park, eating the summer's first corn on the cob; a few raindrops landed on me, but not enough to dampen my enthusiasm, much less ruin the snack.

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redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)

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