Thursday, April 27, 2006

Female Invasion of the German Persuasion

OK, enough is enough. I'm starting to get verbally assaulted about the lack of
updates here, so let me catch you up on the last week or so. First of all, I
think Spring is finally here! The weather has been pendulating from the 70's
down to the high 40's depending on the day. But the warmth of the 70's is very
much welcome and I celebrated the end of winter by buying new, hot-shot wheels
for my 'blades so that I can resume flying around Central Park in the evenings.

Last week, Alex's sister and her friend from Hamburg came to NYC to hang out for
a week. I haven't seen her in a few years since I was in Germany last and hadn't
met her friend, but they were both excited to be out in NYC. In addition to
bringing me a plethora of Kinder Country chocolate (my favorite!), they hooked
a brother up with a bunch of other treats too, like Milka chocolate, a Germany
World Cup soccer jersey, Puma boxers, and small fashion trinkets like a Puma
wallet from the PR agency that Becca's friend worked at. I like it when people
bring me things (hint hint ;o) !

I also like it when visitors do my dishes. So after establishing that my mini-me
"dining room" table shouldn't be crowded with items (except Kinder Country ;o),
I was pleased to see that they kept the table clean for the rest of the trip
and also cleaned up after themselves (and me :) in the kitchen before venturing
out to shop in the city. They learn quickly!

They had great weather for the first few days, so we met up after I was done
with work and checked out the great parts of the city - i.e. downtown. On
Tuesday, we had work obligations eating tapas and drinking sangria at Sala in
the East Village and then eating dessert on 9th Street at an outdoor garden
called Cloister Cafe. We met up with Sean down in NoLita on Wednesday and tried
to eat at the place that got rated with having the best outdoor garden (Jardin,
conveniently located near my favorite Mexican restaurant ;o), only to find out
the garden was closed because of construction. We ended up eating on Elizabeth
Street at Bar Bossa and then had an after-dinner cocktail at the outdoor patio
at Rialto before heading home.

The weather turned cold and nasty over the weekend, so we spent a good part of
Saturday, after sleeping in nice and late, checking out the U.N. after enjoying
some fresh morning bagles at my local bagle-joint. I've done the U.N. our before
(I love the bookstore!) so it wasn't too exciting - especially considering the
fact that I missed the Liverpool vs. Chelsea semi-final game for the FA Cup
tournament. I sent Sean frequent text messages to find out the score and was
elated to find out that Liverpool overcame the top team in the country to
progress to the FINAL!! Clear my schedule, because I have a feeling I'm going
to be watching that game at the 11th St. Bar on May 13th....

Saturday night was going to be our epic night out at a nightclub, so we got home
at a reasonable hour and the girls slept while I read every newspaper known to
man for analysis on the A's game and the Liverpool game. It was a miserable
night - weather wise - so we didn't have any takers on meeting up with us
downtown until Becca gave Sean a guilt trip and finally got him to come out for
a while. We met up at the Delancey, a place playing music "that we know" - which
was the Germans' only request. The DJ with the huge fro was playing all the 80s
music they could ever want to hear.

We got home pretty late that night and slept in until about 11 the next day. We
were going to do brunch at a certain Mexican restaurant and hoped that the
weather would cooperate so that some other folks would come out to. So we went
downtown and ended up with seven people (one cancelled at the last minute),
filling up a corner of the restaurant. I haven't gone out with a big group for
brunch in quite a long time, so it was really nice to get together and
socialize. The weather gods were kind to us and we were greeted by sunshine
when we walked out as we headed up Lafayette to check out a clothing store
who's designer we had met the night before. Turns out this girl designs all the
clothes herself and they are socially-conscious made in LA from materials from
around the world. With out large entourage filling up the boutique, it quickly
turned into a free-for-all with the clothing marked 70% off for the end of the
season. So I got some fashion-PR-employee approved duds to help brighten up my
wardrobe. The designer was overly friendly with me and gave me an additional
$20 off the already cheap clothing, which was fine with me!

In the end, I was spent. It's been a busy week at work and until last night I've
been pretty warn out lately. Time to get back on schedule with my blog action!

J. Riley, I've established that the previous owner of my iPod Nano was a
mid-20's white girl who probably lives in the UES, judging by the depressing
pop-music and mainstream modern alternative rock music. It hasn't been claimed
by anyone, so I guess it's time for me to accessorize it....

Monday, April 24, 2006

Lost and FOUND!

First of all, I was invaded by Germans last week, which would explain why I
haven't been around much in these parts lately. I'll get into those details in
the near future, but I just wanted to mention that this mornings commute was
very successful, despite the fact that I had to alter my route because of some
delays that were explained in an incoherent language over the subway's
antiquated PA system. I was annoyed trying to get through the throngs of people
lining the tracks at Grand Central until I started heading deep into the bowels
of the 7-Train and noticed that there was an iPod Nano that was discarded by an
irresponsible owner right on the steps - complete with a pink cover and all. I
did the "right" thing and checked it for a monogram and even posted that I
found it on Craigslist. I hope nobody claims it :)

J. Riley, I like this guy (or is it a girl?) James Blunt's music on my new Nano

Monday, April 10, 2006

Invention of the Year

Since I've been wearing glasses since my sophmore year of high school, I've struggled through a couple pairs of sunglasses, opting for eye protection over being able to see...anything. First it was the pair of Revo's (not sure what ever happened to them), then a few years back was a sweet pair of black sunglasses with orange lenses that I picked up in Brazil. Last year I made an incremental improvement by opting for the auto-darkening lenses on my perscription glasses, although they were never really dark enough to prevent me from having to shade my eyes on bright days in places like Brazil and Puerto Rico (yes, I use vigorous test environments). I ordered perscription sunglasses from my uncle a few months back and they finally arrived last week, just in time for the weekend trial session. And, I gotta say, AWESOME invention. They worked stellar, though I kept tripping on uneven sidewalk, they're a little different than my normal pair because they cover the lower half of my vision as well.

These were just the thing I needed on a Sunday afternoon of trekking around SoHo, NoLIta, and the East Village gathering information (websites and phone numbers) for my imminent departure from the Upper East Side - well in August anyway. Due to unexpected circumstances, it looks like I may have a prospective roommate in my sister's long time and family friend. I guess that's better than a closet crackhead roommate that I would find on Craigslist ;o). By the way, the new Trader Joe's in Union Square? Yes, there was a line down the block - just to get in! It's a massive one, but I wasn't going to stand in that line for $1.89 pasta. On second thought, I pay at least $1.95 for pasta down the street from me, so it may be worthwhile....

Tuesday night we had a special guest in town - Paul, returning from his round-the-world trek of living in Cyprus with his wife, travelling to Seattle to administer a wedding (yes, he's an accredited minister from the internet and Universal Life Church in Modesto, CA ;o), then heading down to Southern California for a few days before flying back to Cyprus, stopping by New York for a few days along the way. So he got together with D and I to relive some memories eating dinner at Deborah, cupcakes (or banana pudding for me) from Magnolia Bakery, and then kicking back at a local brewery and watching some A's vs. Yankees baseball. It was a short-lived trip and we eagerly anticipate his and Cathy's return in a few months.

Friday night I got together with Andrea and Liz (ssshhh! Alan's out of town!) for a romantic fondue and wine dinner ;o). I haven't had fondue in ages, so I was pretty stoked on that brainchild plan of Andrea's. The fondue cafe, Kashkaval, is also a cheese shop, so it's safe to assume that their fondue would rule and the wine would be authentic. The gruyere/swiss cheese fondue was fun, no doubt, but I'm sorry - mom and dad's fondue is still the best I've had, however it is they make it (swiss cheese and wine?)!

For those of you who remember her, I have a new "coat-room girl". I was on the long commute downtown Sunday morning and just before getting off at Spring Street, I noticed an adorable lady getting off the subway ahead of me. I didn't see what she looked like but she had a very unique artsy hair-net type thing holding her black hair back that made me open my eyes a little wider and admire her attractive style and look. But by the time I was out of the subway she was gone and I went my own way to check out some apartment buildings while waiting for the eternally late Sean. An hour later, once we finally met up somewhere in SoHo, we went to eat at a supposedly "hidden" Mexican restaurant that was rated the Best New Mexican Food in New York. Given the fact that I'm consistently disappointed with Mexican here in NYC, I figured we'd give La Esquina a chance to impress me. Though I was very impressed with the food (though it wasn't taqueria-standard fare, more like creative Mexican that was good nonetheless), I was astonished to see that my mystery woman from the subway was a waitress in this hole-in-the-wall cafe! After confirming that she was on the downtown 6-line (from eternally-hip Williamsburg, of course), I through some witty lines her way, got some laughs, and introduced myself and got her name. Uhhh...I guess I was too enthralled with her to remember her name; then again, I never remember names the first time I meet someone, but always remember it the second time....

J. Riley, for some reason I think I may be eating a lot of Mexican food in the near future....

Friday, April 07, 2006

Morning Conversation

I share my windowless cage that they call an "office" with two older ladies who
are also consultants, albeit for a different project. One of them has a husband
who's job is on the line and is really stressed out (I know everything about
their lives since I sit next to them). Apparently her husband left home today
without saying goodbye and she wasn't too happy with it because, she said, she
is Italian. "My mother would always say 'You never know what could happen'",
etc. etc. The other consultant said "Yea, Jewish parents are like that too, my
mother used to say the same thing,", etc. They then began discussing how funny
it was that their cultures are so similar. I then pointed something out:

"I think it's because you're both women." :o)

J. Riley, always one to throw in my two cents

Monday, April 03, 2006

Poppin' Pills

Well I haven't gotten the results from my mono test last week yet, but I'm
pretty sure that I can safely assume that I don't have it, considering how I've
been 100% recovered since last Friday. After the tests on Wednesday, I finally
broke down and popped a couple leftover Motrin pills to see how it would affect
my fever and sore throat and was amazed at how much better I felt. So *this* is
why people take these things! I've generally avoided them at all cost for the
past 10 years or so (unless, for example, my mouth is sliced open with a
scalpel), but I'm going to consider using them when I feel like I'm on my
death-bed from now on. In any case, I've felt much better ever since I started
the antibiotics last week, so clearly it wasn't mono. And unless these things
have like a one year dormant period, I didn't get whatever I had from kissing
someone, Terri ;o) !

J. Riley, listening to the Beatle's "Help" album reminds me of childhood
road-trips with the family in the Dodge Caravan....