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Posts from December 2003

She's Crafty*

Well, I survived my birthday -- what better way to celebrate than with a week off work!? This week will be spent seeing movies, socializing, and trying to get to some of those little projects that have fallen by the wayside during the past year. One such project is my knitting. In true urban hipster chick style, I started knitting what was supposed to be a scarf last year. but as you can see, it has become way too fat to be a scarf, and it's made of very fat, squishy yarn, so even if I made it long enough to be a scarf, it would never fit around anyone's neck.


I turned to the internet for help. I found three yarn stores in my neighborhood -- Purl, in SoHo, Downtown Yarns, in the East Village, and Knit New York, a knitting store/coffee shop. I chose Downtown Yarns, since some of the reviews I had seen online spoke very highly of the place. I had already decided that I want to turn this thing into a purse, and I knew I would probably need supplies to do this. When I went to ask questions, one of the women there was somewhat nasty to me, saying that they don't generally tend to help people who bring their own yarn and who don't buy things there regularly. She also acted as if I were a complete and utter moron when I asked basic questions. I felt like saying, "look, lady, I haven't made anything with yarn or a needle and thread since home ec in junior high -- cut me some slack." I got a little bit of guidance, two tapestry needles, and some big, fat needles with which to start my next scarf. It will be very narrow. Not sure I'll be heading back to Downtown Yarns anytime soon. Luckily, I have a friend who knits who will not be so condescending when I ask moronic questions. Perhaps I should try another crafty hobby -- suggestions are welcome!

*A tribute to the Beastie Boys song of the same name.

Me! Me! Me!

Today, it's all about me. It's my 33rd birthday. A birthday is the one day a year that I think everyone should get pampered, spoiled, and given special treatment. Especially me. :)

Having a birthday the day after Christmas very often results in having a celebration or a present sort of squished in among Christmas/Chanukah festivities. This is not good. Over the years, I've trained friends and relatives pretty well -- they tend to avoid the dreaded "combo" gift. "I don't give you a combo gift," I explain, "so you shouldn't give me one." Over the past few years, I have had a celebration with a group of friends on my actual birthday. There's usually a strange mix of people in town, which simply adds to the fun of the evening. This year, I have a family dinner tonight. The friend-based birthday festivities will happen later, on a surrogate date.

So -- Happy Birthday to me! Woo hoo! (PS -- if you're looking for a gift for me, food always works!)


What I Like About Jew

It's always a little odd being a Jew in New York during the Christmas season. Despite all the political correctness in our midst, it really is still Christmas season. No doubt about it. Christmas decorations, Christmas trees, Christmas music . . .

But yesterday I saw it. A sign from above that, yes, it is Chanukah season here too. As I was smack in the middle of Herald Square (which might as well be Christmas central), I heard the tinkling of "Rock of Ages" being played over a loudspeaker. I turned, and in all its glory was -- The Mitzvah Tank.


For those of you who aren't in the know, the Mitzvah Tank has been around since 1974, prompting Jews to do good deeds, or mitzvot. Now, I don't know if it makes more appearances during Chanukah, but it was a comforting sight nonetheless. Later in the evening, I also saw a jeep-like vehicle with a large, blue menorah strapped to the top. It was one of those moments when I really wish I had my digi-cam with me. Damn.

I have never done the "traditional" Jewish Christmas of movies and Chinese food, so this year, I am going to Makor to watch Woody Allen movies and eat Chinese food with fellow Members of the Tribe. I am seriously considering following that with going to the Knitting Factory to see What I Like About Jew, a parody rock revue with a Jewish flair, with songs such as "Hanukah with Monica" (She put that age-old myth to bed - 'bout Jewish girls not giving head). Oh yeah.

Granted, as a Jew, I have never felt truly left out during Christmas. My stepfather isn't Jewish, so I always have Christmas eve with him and my mom, and Christmas day with my (step?) aunt and cousins. Basically, it's the best of both worlds. Happy Chanukah everyone -- even the goyim!

Tips on Tipping

As mentioned in my last post, many people come to my site to find information about holiday tipping for doormen in NYC. I have no concrete information on this, but the New York Times had an article addressing the issue this weekend. One of the points made in the article was that nobody likes to talk about how much they tip people. So -- here's my info, out on the internet for everyone to see. NY1 also did an article about tipping a few weeks ago, and New York magazine addressed it in a not-so-helpful Q & A.

Let me preface all this by saying that I work for a non-profit, so my salary is by no means exorbitant. To deal with holiday tipping season, I opened an ING Direct Orange account, and have been siphoning money into it for a few months now. Every year we get a holiday card from the staff of my building. There are well over 30 people that work in my building. They are very helpful and really stepped up to the plate during the blackout. That said, my buidling hasn't adopted any sort of pooling practice, so it is up to each tenant to figure out who each of the people on the card is, when they are working, and then track them down to give them their tip. This stresses me out to no end -- there are so many people, and I am much better at faces than names. I'm never sure that I've gotten around to everyone that I've encountered during the year, and there are always a few people that I'm trying to track down, even after Christmas proper. Ugh. So today I went to the bank and took out a fat wad of cash in 5, 10 and 20 dollar bills. Tonight, I will put $15 or $20 into a bunch of envelopes, and try to figure it all out and distribute them all over the next few days. The super gets $40 or $50. Am I cheap? No idea. Can I afford to give more? Not really. If I gave every staff member in my building $20, I would be out $680. I can't do that and still give gifts to my family and friends. Granted, it's part of the price I pay for living in a doorman building. Well -- maybe I'll start now with my campaign for a tipping pool next year. Wish me luck!

Search and Ye Shall Find

One of the fun things I've learned about having a blog is that you can get all kinds of stats about how people get to your site. One way is through various searches -- google, yahoo, etc. -- and not just in the U.S., either. People are finding out about me in Australia, France, Canada, Russia, and the UK! Crazy thing, that internet. I wanted to share with you some of the search terms that people are typing into their search engines that bring them to my site, because they really crack me up:

  • scary monsters
  • proscuitto pictures
  • tipping doorman for holidays in NYC
  • slim pickins
  • sweet nicknames
  • nicknames for guys
  • venezuelan food east village NYC
  • riding on the metro
  • dorks unite
  • crazy shit
  • paul prudhomme egg cream
  • turducken washington dc
  • committment-phobic men
  • sushi memo
    Okay, so I'm easily amused . . .

  • Time is on My Side* (or is it?)

    Perhaps, dear readers, you can help me with an issue that's been bothering me for some time now. I'm mystified by the concepts of time, timing, and scheduling and how they can mean such different things to different people. This comes up primarily in the context of dating, but it is not exclusively a dating issue.

    Let me clarify. I am a doer (do-er?). What this means is that when I'm talking to someone and we get a good idea for something fun to do, for example, "a murder mystery party? Sounds like a fantastic idea," the next sentence out of my mouth is not "let's do it sometime," but it's "let's pick a date. How about next Saturday?" "Dim sum?" "Sure! What are you doing this weekend?" I don't want to hear the word "sometime." I want to know when.

    I'm trying to figure out if this is a gender-specific phenomenon. If so, it might make me a little more understanding. If men just don't think this way, then I can't really expect them to. So -- what do you all think? All comments, stories, suggestions, and thoughts are welcome.

    * A tribute to the Rolling Stones song of the same name.

    Clearly, the Holidays are Here

    And how do I know this? Because this weekend, I made butter-crunch toffee. This is the third year in a row that I've made it, ever since I read the recipe in the New York Times in December, 2000 -- it has become somewhat of a tradition. The recipe for "English Toffee" was adapted from Chocolate, by Nick Malgieri, and is relatively simple to make. The only special equipment you'll need is a candy thermometer. I made two batches -- about 6 pounds of toffee -- which I am dividing up and giving as gifts to the staff at Otto. They have been wonderful to me this year -- friendly, hospitable, even going above and beyond the call of duty to make me comfortable, so I figured it was the least I could do. The only problem with making the toffee was that every time I spoke to a friend or relative on the phone and told them what I was doing, they wanted me to make some for them, too! Looks like I'll be making a few more batches.

    I spent the rest of the day cooking for a small holiday soiree I'm having on Saturday night. I made latkes (potato pancakes) and spinach and feta wrapped in phyllo triangles (phyllo is such a big pain in the ass!), which I popped in the freezer. Later this week I'll be making lemon squares, and if I have time, cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.

    Food, food, and more food. Yes, the holidays are here, indeed.

    All About My Mother*

    This post is dedicated to my mother. This picture was taken with the digital camera that she and my stepfather gave me as a gift. It was on a random weekend afternoon, when we were sharing some wine at Otto. Every single time I show people this picture (and I know she won't believe me, but it's true), they comment on how beautiful she is. I'd have to agree.


    Now, enough about her. Back to ME! (just kidding, mom!)
    * A tribute to the Almodóvar film of the same name.

    Fellow dorks, unite!

    Guardian Unlimited Film | News | Jackson confirms return to Hobbiton

    Dorks around the world celebrated in the streets yesterday upon hearing the announcement. Plans are already underway for über-marathons following the prequel's release -- watching the prequel first, followed immediately by all three movies in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. All said and done, approximately 12 hours of hobbit-filled pleasure.



    You may be wondering, as I was, what my parents' reaction to my weblog would be. (You may not -- in which case you should probably skip this post entirely.) It was very -- underwhelming. I'm not sure it was because a) they didn't really take the time to read it; b) they don't really care; or c) they did take the time to read it and do care, but weren't particularly excited by it. I'm rooting for a. My dad offered one comment -- "you're funny! Especially the thing about the hotdish. And it's great that you have a link to the recipe for Kim's cheesecake." I'm going to interpret the surprise in his voice when he said, "you're funny" as a compliment. Something along the lines of "gee -- who knew my daughter was so witty!" Maybe they don't quite "get" the weblog as a medium. They're not super-techno-savvy. I sent my stepmother an Evite and she was flummoxed. Dad had to help her respond (which she did -- nice teamwork!). I'm hoping they realize that they can comment on entries if they choose to do so, etc., and actually take the time to check it every now and again. I think my brother and sister read it from time to time. Keep in mind, that I actually have two sets of parents. I haven't given my mom and stepfather the link yet. Maybe later this week!

    And by the way -- how 'bout that snow!?