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How can you be exhausted? You haven't worked a day in your life.

Updated: 2014-03-18T01:57:24.954-04:00


in your face, Brooklyn cobbler!


As you may recall, I had a really annoying experience with a neighborhood cobbler last fall. The end result was that I was without my favorite shoes aka the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. And to add disappointment to distress, Aerosoles, the makers of said shoes, discontinued the shoe, so that was that. Until now! A friend of mine who also owned and loved the same shoes has discovered that Aerosoles has brought the shoe back, albeit with an unfortunate name. But who cares? It's not like I walk around saying, "Hey, what do you think of my Squish N Chips?" And yes, they really are now calling it the Squish N Chips. Whatever! I just bought them in black and later I will buy them in brown, to replace both pairs of my beloved Squish N Chips. Say it again. Squish N Chips! Whatchoosay? Squish N Chips!

For all my friends having munchkins


Please, please, please consider these for Halloween costumes:

who has a birthday coming up?


Cause this is what you're getting:

a very New York-y week


This week I had two wonderful experiences-the sort that remind me why I spend so much money to live here.

On Tuesday night Jamie and I got tickets to see Elvis Costello at the Apollo Theatre. My friend Patrick won them on Myspace and put them in our name since he lives in Florida- thanks Patrick! It was not a concert, but a television show taping. Elvis has a new program called Spectacle with Elvis Costello that can be described as a mix between Austin City Limits and Inside the Actor's Studio for musicians. A bit like Jules Holland. All shows are taped at the Apollo and consist of interviews and perfomances and a group performance at the end. The taping we went to was She & Him, Jenny Lewis and Jakob Dylan.  I like the She & Him album and thought they were fine on the show, albeit a little blah. Elvis obviously had a lot of respect for Jenny Lewis and her songwriting. I thought she was the strong point, musically, of the guests. I'm still not sure how I feel about her. Sometimes I really like her, but sometimes she seems as much like an actress as a singer---a little too camera-ready and stagey for my taste.  But she sounded really good and held her own. Jakob Dylan was doing music from his new solo album and it was alright too. Not really my taste, but certainly not bad. You could tell that he and Elvis had known each other for a long time because they had a very easy rapport and seemed to enjoy each other's company a lot.  The best parts of the interviews were the random asides and stories that Elvis told. And I loved that he still has Pete Thomas drumming with him with the added bonus of Pete's daughter Tennessee, who is also a drummer. Something so great about the father-daughter drumming duo. 

The highlight of the night was definitely when everyone came out together at the end and performed with Elvis on Peace, Love & Understanding. I got completely choked up like the hippy that I am at heart. Maybe that should be Obama's campaign song. 

On Wednesday afternoon I went to a cooking demo at my alma mater, FCI. It was a pastry demo by Jacques Pepin and I was in heaven. I love Jacques Pepin and when I was in culinary school there, he was always accessible and ready to dispense advice and information. I was en route to the school library one day to do research on a sugar project and I ran into him in the hall (he is a dean at the school). He struck up a conversation, asked a few questions about my project and ended coming to the library with me! He led me to multiple books and sat down at the table with me, sharing knowledge and making suggestions. It was amazing for me, to say the least.  And in recent years, Jamie and I love to watch his show on PBS, Fast Food My Way. Also, they've been showing his old show from the 80's lately, which is the best. Fast Food is recipe based, but his old program, The Complete Pepin, which focuses on technique. 

The demo was great because he is so personable and talented. My friend Kat and I were in the second row (although there is no bad seat in the "stadium") and had a great view of everything. He interacts with everyone the entire, encouraging questions, telling stories. I plan on going to his future demos (and am not quite sure why I haven't been doing more of this since I left school) since I really want to see him do savory. After the demo, I apporached him to have him sign my 2 cookbooks of his and he looked at me and said "You look familiar." Gaa!  No way he reconized me, but I told him how we had met and interacted all those years ago and he said "That must be it." All and all, a great week.

do you need help little man?


I never saw when this was originally on Scare Tactics, but I've watched the clip from it numerous times. It's pee my pants funny, I swear. The gist of it is that they took a very sweet PETA guy who was working for a temp agency and had him go to a lab where they do animal research. The most mean spirited and hilarious stuff follows:

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the construction site in my mouth


This morning I went in for my root canal and it didn't quite go as planned. The other root canal I had to have 2 years ago involved only one root and took about 30 minutes tops. That was certainly not the case today. After the dentist got my mouth numbed, he began what ended up being an hour and half long process. I now know why this whole mess began though. Turns out there is a crack in my tooth! He said it could have happened from something as simple as popcorn, but that however it began, it is what caused the infection. It is also why I ended up having to have 3 root canals today, instead of one. Unfortunately, because of the crack they may not be able to do the post and crown that I have scheduled for next week. He said it's a 50/50 chance that they will be able to do it and preserve the tooth. There is a chance that if they can drill around the tooth to prepare it for the crown and the tooth doesn't simply fall apart at the crack line, then the crown may serve the function of holding the tooth together. If they cannot do it, I will have to have the tooth extracted and have a 3 tooth bridge put in. Which will cost 1500 hundred bucks. *ggrrr* Why can't it ever be easy?

i was an anti-dentite


My ongoing dental saga continues, but finally with positive results. My sinus infection that just kept giving, eventually pushing onto the nerve of my tooth, seems to have been squashed, or so I hope. But it left in its wake a tooth that now needs to have a root canal, a post and a crown. *sigh*

I have no desire to return to the Russian sadist in Bensonhurst, as much for inconvenience as sadism. The last dental office I went to wasn't even a real dentist's office. Not to say that it was a converted Mr. Softee truck, but it was actually more of a clinic. You could only see the dentist one day a week and you couldn't make an appointment, you just had to show up and take your chances. And they were recommended to me by my insurance. Thanks Aetna! I've been calling many different dentists trying to find someone, to no avail. The responses I was getting ranged from "We no longer accept Aetna." to "We no longer accept any insurance." to "We accept insurance, but are not seeing new patients." Eventually my friend suggested I call 1-800-DENTIST and lo! I got an appointment with a convenient dentist that has a lab on site, so I don't have to fuss too much with the whole post and crown issue.

I had my first appointment today with the full mouth x-rays, figuring it all out, etc. Yes, everything can be done in their office in a short, reasonable timespan. But the best part is the cost. I had to pay almost $1,900 out of pocket when I had the same procedure done with the Russian sadist 2 years ago. This whole thing is going to cost me $925 bucks total. Um, yeah. That's a huge difference! I just can't believe the way dental care and procedures can vary from office to office. But I remember one of the things I hated about the Russian sadist was the way she was always trying to upsell me with whitening systems and whatnot while I was trapped with her hand in my mouth.

I don't remember having such difficulties finding a good dentist in Ohio. All dentist's offices were kind of similar there: clean, quiet, sterile. I just haven't found that to be true here. I remember when the Williamsburg Savings Bank building was loaded with dentists, before it was sold for condos. I tried to get in to 2 of those dentists a few years ago and neither accepted insurance. Is this a trend?

hey, it exists!


Of course it does. I had once mentioned to Jamie that I wish there was a website where I can plot my various walks to see exactly how much I walk at a particular time, without wearing a pedometer. I then promptly forgot about this wish until tonight. But I just remembered it and found exactly what I am looking for on Prevention Magazine's website.

Last year my mother-in-law and I did a virtual walking challenge thing where we wore a pedometer for 6 or 8 weeks and walked a "virtual" route around the US. It was a really lame fitness challenge though because I wanted it to show me actual sights and things along my chosen route, which was the Gulf of Mexico. Instead I would enter my daily steps walked and a dotted line would travel across a map. Lame. And anyway, living in NYC and working in a bookstore, I average 16,000-18,000 steps per day and I finished my entire route in less than 4 weeks. But now I have a pedometer for when and if I absolutely must know how far I'm walking. And according to Prevention's website, today I walked just under 6 miles, not including Arlo's morning walk and all of the random walking around the house.

And speaking of Arlo, I just picked him up from the groomer and he's sporting a dashing new summer haircut. But of course, on the walk home he had to go and spoil the look. At the first intersection he decided to sit his white, white butt on the filthy sidewalk and scoot along. So now he's nice and white with a nasty, gray butt. Ruiner.

good things today, despite the heat


I got my new driver's license in the mail today and finally (!) I have a license picture that I am not ashamed of, even happy to have! When I went many years ago to get my DL, I wasn't looking too good that day and the woman behind the camera was frustrating me beyond belief. I wear my glasses all the time and she insisted that I remove them for the photo. I protested, she got pissed off and insisted again that I remove my glasses. The person at the camera directly next to me was having his photo taken with his glasses on and when I pointed this out, it just pissed her off even more and she threatened to make me leave. So my previous DL picture was one of sarcastic surprise, sans spectacles.

This time around, my hair looked cute, I wore lipstick and the woman didn't hassle me about my glasses. And it's a good picture. Yay!

I've had 2 days off, in fairly good health, giving me an opportunity to get a lot of things done that have been languishing on my "For Christ's Sake, Kaci, Just Fucking Get It Done Already" list.
-Lug large quanity of coins to bank
-Take Arlo to the groomer, which helps solve....
-Removing disgusting amounts of animal hair everywhere
-Clean out fridge
-Listen to records
-Color hair a more shocking shade of red (why not?!)

Along the listening to records line: I have a friend who has a tendency to come home late at night after a few cocktails and listen to a particular album, song or artist over and over and over again. That's basically what I've been doing the past 2 days, minus the cocktails. I've listened to Cat Stevens' Firecat and the Teaser at least 15 times. Right now I'm listening to Xanadu (just once, but it had to be done while Jamie's at might be a deal breaker) and I'm going into a repeat performance of Richard and Linda Thompson's Shoot Out the Lights.

And going in to the holiday weekend, Jamie and I both have to work on the 4th proper, but I will be off early enough to head to Jersey City for my friend's barbecue. Saturday night we will be going to see our friend John's band play and if you've never been , the M Shanghai String Band is one of the best live bands I've ever seen. They play the first Saturday of each month at M Shanghai restaurant in Williamsburg, in an wonderful intimate basement space. John is one of the 2 banjo players, joining guitar, mandolin, stand up bass, saw, 2 fiddles, harmonica and multi-part harmonies. It's a foot-stomping good time and you should definitely check them out sometime. The first time I went to see them play they had a guy playing with them on the mandolin and after the show John introduced us to each other. His name was Tommy, he was older, very nice and great on the mandolin. Nice to meet you Tommy. The next day John emailed me and all it said was "You have no idea who you met, do you?" Um, nope. Turns out Tommy is Tommy Ramone. Dar! So yeah. And the bass player is Rose Thomson from Babe the Blue Ox, who was one of my favorite bands in my early 20's. Oh, and M Shanghai the restaurant has incredibly delicious food upstairs, so check it out!

for my birthday I got....


another painful sinus infection and a trip to the DMV!! I feel like the luckiest girl in the world!

I could have renewed my driver's license my mail, but then I'd be stuck with that horrible picture for 8 more years and I couldn't have that. And I could continue to ignore the stabbing pain that doesn't allow me to rest at night for more than 4 hours at a stretch, but then I'd run the risk of infecting my brain, gifting my husband with an invalid wife who has lost all her sass. Couldn't have that either. So, I'm off to the doctor for loads of antibiotics to kill all of the bad and good that lives within my body. On the plus side, my boss is bringing me some probiotic cheese and milk tomorrow to help balance the icky.

311 is (hopefully not) a joke


There are a fair number of dogs that live on my block and all of the owners are responsible, until now. There is a building at the end of our block that often has people hanging out on the stoop. It's normal to see very small children hanging out there at midnight and later. Recently one of the tenants got a pit bull and named her Barbara. Within days of first seeing Barbara, piles of poop began appearing on the block, mostly on our side of the street, which is the same side as theirs. At first I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, that perhaps they actually were cleaning up after the dog and the poop was the result of someone from some other block. But no, this is not the case at all. Some days there will be poop strewn half way down the block.

I'm not really sure what to do. One of our neighbors put up a 'curb your dog' sign, but it doesn't make a difference, obviously. So I decided to call 311 and see what can be done. I'm a big fan of 311 and the woman I dealt with this time was very helpful. She explained that the Department of Sanitation handles the pooper scooper laws and she would file a complaint for me. She needed to know where it happens and when it happens. Um, when? All the time! Apparently when these complaints are filed, they send a DoS person out to try to catch the culprit. Really? So I told her between 4-6pm because that particular day it happened in front of my house in that time frame. But seriously, how is a DoS rep supposed to catch someone not picking up their dog's poop? What if someone on our block caught them and took a picture? She wasn't sure if it would fly, but they can find out for me.

Jamie suggested we gather up all of the vile poop (maybe we could combine it with all of Arlo's) and leave it on their stoop. I actually think this is the way to go. Maybe if my other dog owning neighbors covertly did the same thing, we could prove a point. If I could just actually catch it happening I would say something, but until then, they're probably going to be greeted with a porch full of poop.

now that's how to spend a day


I had to go down to my old neighborhood, Dyker Heights (Dykah) today to pick up Arlo's thyroid medicine. Usually when we head down there to go to the vet's office, we hit a few of our favorite food stops. I usually pick up lard bread at Mona Lisa Bakery on 13th Avenue (they also have an amazing gelato shop on 86th Street) and fresh mozzarella on 15th Avenue.Today I took the train down to 86th Street to stop in to the Bay Ridge Century 21. I'm in serious need of tennis shoes and bras and they always have the best, most affordable selection. My bra situation has been pretty dire lately. I've been buying simple bras at Target, which really has served me well until lately. For reasons that I can't understand, it's as if my ever powerful nipples have begun to devour my bra cups, from the center out. As a result, my bras have become worn through where it most counts and I'm left feeling rather vulnerable. I know I could go to one of the many great "ladies support" shops in NYC and find an amazing bra that will really do the trick, but an outlay of 80-100 bucks for a bra is neither feasible or sane on my salary. Which brings me to Century 21. They have a great selection whenever I go there and the absolute ceiling is usually around 25 bucks a bra, though most are much less. I found a great pair of Adidas sneakers and 3 sturdy, but attractive bras (see, they're practical and alluring) for 65 dollars, so I'm happy.The second part of my solo Bay Ridge ritual is an ice cream soda (or a float, as it's called in Ohio) while sitting at the counter of Hinsch's restaurant on 5th Avenue and 86th Street. They used to make a walnut ice cream that was divine, but apparently they haven't made it in over a year. So I got the coffee ice cream with chocolate syrup and seltzer. Perfect and simple.Then I hopped on the bus to head over to 13th Avenue, where the vet's office is. The past few times I've been down there I've been stopping in a bakery called Goldstar, instead of Mona Lisa. The cookie selection is bigger and the service is nicer. Mona Lisa definitely wins for breads, but for cookies, I prefer Goldstar. Today I picked up almond crescents, vanilla crescents and fresh iced lemon drops (my favorite!). I stuck them in my bag, stopped in to pick up the doggy medicine and headed down to 15th Avenue for the mozzarella.There are 2 main places on 15th Avenue between 78th and 79th. Laticini's and Papa Pasquale's. Laticini's has a meat store and sandwich shop and Papa's is a little more bare bones, with the focus just on pasta and cheese. I'm not sure who makes Papa Pasquale's mozzarella, but I tend to buy from them more often, simply because the old guy who works the counter always calls me dear, without being creepy or condescending. But Papa's is definitely the place to buy fresh pasta, particularly ravioli. I've had the pumpkin, lobster, 5 cheese and the asparagus with smoked mozzarella, all delicious. Today I just picked up a simple 3 cheese mini ravioli and some fresh mozzarella. I then got to thinking that it might be a good idea to compare the mozzarellas from Papa's and Laticini's, so I went to the latter and picked up a small ball of their fresh cheese. When Jamie gets home tonight we'll do a taste test. My train stop used to be the D train at 79th Street and 17th Avenue, so I passed these places every day. Not living in the neighborhood anymore is no excuse to not come down here to pick up such delicious local food.I then wandered over to my old train stop to discover that there was no Manhattan bound service at all, so I had to take Coney Island bound service and transfer at Stillwell. Obviously the universe was telling me to go ride the Cyclone. After all, it is almost my birthday and I used to go ride the Cyclone solo for my birthday ev[...]

exhausted, satisfied


Wow. It has been such a busy 3 weeks, I don't even know where to begin. The X/Detroit Cobras show was amazing, but really deserves its own post, mostly because of the disturbing antics of Billy Zoom. More later.

The Outer Banks were beautiful and truly relaxing. Same group we've gone down with before, only a bit smaller and with 4 children in tow. Since we all had our own bedrooms, bathrooms and decks, I never felt anything less than at home. The weather was gorgeous, my sunburn true to form (tops of feet, tops of boobs).

I made a short trip to South Carolina to visit with my dad and step-mother. The weather there was not so forgiving. Hot, humid, miserable. Similar to what we've been dealing with here in NYC, only nicer. That's a pathetic statement. When central SC has nicer summertime weather than wherever you happen to be, there is something very wrong with your choice of location.

So I came back from SC and went back to work at the bookstore. On the Upper East Side. Of hell. I thought some time away would make that neighborhood and that store more palatable, but no such luck. Catered a wedding in Prospect Park, in the non air conditioned picnic house on Saturday. Got so nauseous from the heat and the milk in my iced coffee that I almost threw up. Huzzah!

Which brings me to now. I just got back from Bobolink Dairy in Vernon, NJ. Jamie had met one of the owners at an event at Solar 1 and he had heard that they were looking for someone to sell cheese at the greenmarkets at Lincoln Center and Union Square three days a week. I called and spoke with Nina, the owner and arranged to come out there. She called my references, etc, etc and after meeting, she offered me the position. I am really excited about it because there was such a comfortable and familiar vibe out at the farm and in her house. I've never seen a person/family stretched in so many different directions and still managing to create a wholesome, delicious product, treat people, animals and the environment so humanely and raise her children with complete patience, humor and love. The people living and working at the farm were a real pleasure to be around also. The hope is to eventually be able to spend one day a week at the farm, learning more about raising the animals and making the cheese. We (my friend Kat graciously ditched work for the afternoon and drove me out there. Thanks Kat!) were given a mini tour of the pastures, the cheesehouse, the bakeyard, one of the cheese caves and the main house. They also raise pigs and meat cows and chickens and there were some new baby heritage breed chickens that we fell in love with. At one point we were walking down a quiet pasture adjacent lane when we stumbled upon and startled a groundhog, causing it to literally shriek at us. I had no idea a groundhog could make the noise this one made. And then a minute later we finally found the shady spot where the small herd of 7 pigs were lounging. They immediately started grunting when they saw us and then, after we had walked a good distance ahead, they flat out ran after us. Apparently they hoped we had a bucket of whey. Sorry pigs.

I'll be at Lincoln Center on Thursdays and Saturdays and Union Square on Fridays. Stop by and buy some of the most delicious cheese you'll ever taste! Hurray! Back with food but in a totally new and different way.

another day in paradise


I seriously need to get the hell out of Dodge. I'm waiting for Jamie to get home with the rental car so we can hit the road and I took Arlo out for a spin around the block. As we were walking down the street and he's meandering along, sniffing for sidewalk snacks, a livery car driver chucks a cup of coffee out of his car window. I shout "Nice! Thanks a lot!" and pick up the cup and chuck it back at his car. In my fantasy it sails back in his open driver's side window, dousing him in old coffee. In reality, it hit the closed back door window and bounced off. But it did alert him to my action enough for him to shout "Stupid fucking cunt!".

Whatever. In a few short hours I'll be listening to the sweet, sweet sounds of John, Exene, Billy and DJ.

i need a vacation from the vacation i'm planning


We've both been really busy lately and I haven't really had much time to buy things/do things/sleep. I had to go after work today to Target to pick up sunblock, toothpaste, etc and as much as I didn't want to, I knew I needed to look for a bathing suit. I've had the same suit for about 6 or 7 years and I like it, but it doesn't fit very well anymore (define fit? it's not supposed to look like a two piece, but it does). This is my own fault, as I've gained quite a bit of weight in recent years. *sigh* I'm working on it, but goddammit I love food. Anyway.

I've been feeling kind of blue lately, kind of like things just aren't really going my way. And I'm not entirely sure that this vacation will do the trick, although I'm willing to give it a try. To add to the blue, I knew I was going to have to take my fat butt somewhere to get a swimsuit and I've been dreading it like a freaking Cathy cartoon come to life. Not willing to spend a lot of money on something that I will not be wearing for more than a season (I swear), Target and Old Navy were my best options. Target ended up having some good choices, but as usual, they were horribly picked over. I ended up finding 2 separates that don't really go together, but I guess I like them both alright. Whatever. I'm just glad that's over with. Ack indeed.

yet another only in new york thing


Our apartment is exactly one block away in both directions from two 4th Avenue funeral homes. It took me a while when I first moved to NYC to get used to having to walk through funerals/wakes while I was coming home from work, the store or walking the dog. I always just try to walk quickly, keep my head down and not let the dog dawdle. Tonight Jamie and I were walking with the dog to the grocery and had to walk past one of the funeral homes (which incidentally has a placard out front with the name of the funeral director, which is Doris V. Amen). Apparently we got there just as what I can only assume were friends of the deceased were trying to haul a loaded casket onto a gurney out on the sidewalk. Four years I've lived here and I've never actually seen the comings and goings of the bodies--the funeral homes are exceptionally discrete. This however was not the doing of the funeral home; these folks were in casual wake-style clothes and seemed to be cracking up. At one point we heard one of them say "I don't think it's (the casket) going to fall off, but it's definitely not stable."

I apparently froze in my tracks, at which point Jamie prodded me on. Our comments to each other:

Jamie: I can't believe your first instinct was to turn around and run away.
Me: It's bad luck just seeing that kind of thing.

Anyone remember what movie that's from?

the elevator rat


Yesterday I finally saw something hilarious and noteworthy at work. And let me say, it's about damn time. That part of town positively stinks of humorlessness.

Here's the set up: My new store has an elevator. The elevator is to shuttle customers with strollers to the second floor cafe and take employees to the basement receiving area and break room. It's only 2 floors plus a basement. Yesterday, during yet another nasty day long rainstorm, my co-worker Terri, a very likable and straightforward woman, took the elevator from the basement to the first floor. When the elevator door opened and she went to step off onto the first floor an enormous New York City street rat got on the elevator as she was getting off. The elevator door closed behind her, with the rat still inside, and headed up to the second floor cafe. At this point Terri bolted up the escalator to beat the thankfully slow elevator. The last thing anyone wanted was to have the elevator doors open into the cafe and have a giant rat stroll out.

She managed to beat the elevator and immediately pressed the down button to send the elevator to the basement receiving area. I was in the basement with a maintenance guy and one other person when the speaker phone starts screaming "The elevator's coming down with a gigantic rat on it! DO NOT let the elevator come back upstairs!" Um, sure. With little time to plan an attack, Tony the maintenance guy grabbed the only things he could find- a handheld shopping basket and a metal shelf. He turned the basket onto its side in hopes of trapping the rat (because of course it's going to run into the basket, not around it) and I suppose the shelf was for shooing or bashing. The three of us waited outside of the elevator for the doors to open and when they did we saw what was indeed a gigantic, rain soaked and frankly confused looking rat standing there. Tony panicked and whacked the rat with the shelf, at which point it bounced and fell right down into the gap, down the elevator shaft.

Anyone who knows me knows I have loved rats before and will probably welcome them into my home again someday. This however was exceptionally funny. It was like something out of a freaking movie! It actually reminded me of when pigeons accidentally make their way onto a subway car, momentarily bonding the people in that car as they scurry away from the pigeon to avoid being shat upon. And speaking of being shat upon, the elevator rat managed to leave a parting gift of a couple of proportionately gigantic turds in the corner of the elevator.

oh dear


I did not need to know what a good, trashy time Gossip Girl is.

how will I ever sleep between now and then??!!


It isn't very often that I want to go to a concert these days. It seems like even when I'm seeing someone I really like, I'm not enjoying myself the way I used to. I loved all Guided by Voices shows, right up to the very end, but with that exception, there always seems to be something a bit disappointing. Neko Case has an incredible voice live, but her shows seem to be lacking in a certain energy and it makes them feel a little sloggy. The last time I saw the Shins I really enjoyed it, but I suspect that was also because of the healthy amount of heckling that Chris Larry was throwing toward the stage. It could also be that my musical tastes have morphed into something a little less indie, but these acts continue to play indie venues. It's pretty boring to stand there at a Laura Cantrell show when the first 2 rows of fans have decided to sit on the floor of the Bowery Ballroom.

However, I recently learned that my favorite band from high school, X, and my favorite band of late, the Detroit Cobras are playing together at the end of the month. It took me a solid 10 minutes to wrap my brain around that nugget of info and pull myself together enough to figure out how the hell I'm going to go to that show, since it happens to take place when I'm supposed to be in the Outer Banks. I mean, really, I probably want to go to a concert once a year, I mean really, really want to go. And what's the thing that I do even less frequently than go to concerts? Go on vacation. So our first scheduled vacation that does not involve family obligations or ill relatives or friends' weddings in three years and it's when X is playing (with the original line-up----Billy Zoom!!!)!?!?! WTF?

My brain was working overtime on the train last night as I was trying to come up with a solution. Why must the Outer Banks be so damn inaccessible? Why am I 35 and just now getting the chance to see the original line-up of the world's greatest band? I happened to have a couple of Detroit Cobras albums on my ipod and I kept getting caught up in Hey Sailor and Midnight Blues and my mind just got to the point where it was not thinking clearly at all ie, I can rent a car and drive myself to the Outer Banks after the show (totally disregarding the fact that I hate to drive and am terrible with directions and am pretty sure I don't have a money tree growing in my living room). But somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that Jamie would come up with some solution. He's a problem solver, that one. Unlike me, the problem creator.

When I got home and presented this new wrench in our vacation plans, I could see his wheels turning. You see, he understands how rare it is for me desperately want to go to a show. Or even to kind of want to go to a show. A little while after I had begun to lose hope, he points out that the NY show is sold out, but that they are playing on that Thursday in Philly, which is not sold out. What's wrong with Philadelphians? Who cares!!!! We're going to the Philly show!!!! We're heading down that direction anyway on Friday to go to NC, so we'll just leave a day early and spend one night in Philly. Hurray! I'm so excited. I hope we get to have dinner at Monk's--their Monk's Flemish Sour Ale is divine!

from the debris pile


When my coworker and I were the only ones left at our old store, just overseeing the demo crew, we found a little notebook in one of the piles of crap. In a stroke of luck, it was the notebook of the psuedo-priest that I've written of previously and it's from 1997. It's basically a daily log of the goings-on in the store and with the staff that he was then supervising. Some excerpts:

July 1, 1997
Summary of Evening
With only myself, Leigh and Jeff the night was a disaster. As per info, double and triple shifts of art customer service, as every zone was short of staff. Resort was constant and most difficult to keep up with. While attempting to maintain calm, everyone was indeed highly stressed. Leigh, myself and Jeff were constantly attempting to keep up and shelve resort in as much as was humanly possible.
p.s. Hourly checks were done but for the most part was fruitless under these extreme conditions.
[Um, keep in mind, this was a BOOKSTORE]

July 6, 1997
It appears that Candace is making a good attempt to curtail her talking and playfulness. She also explained that due to medication withdrawal she has been experiencing periods of nervous energy.

July 8, 1997
Perhaps I should give a staff seminar dealing with stress reduction, handling personality problems, good interpersonal relations and work ethics. Yes-good idea!

Wow. Nice find.

terrifying potential new development


Last night my boss called me and asked, "What do you think of kids?" Unfortunately, he wasn't speaking in a hypothetical way. There is serious talk of putting me in the kids department. On one hand, I know I would likely learn a lot, since it is the number one kids department in the country. However I fear the price would be my sanity and/or my desire to be a mother. The staff in that department is extremely knowledgeable about kids' books, but their primary skill (aside from being barely glorified child wranglers) is an ability to say the right things in the right way to high strung parents. "Is little Taylor reading at level?" instead of "Is little Taylor a dullard?" Pray for me.

next year's christmas card?


(image) This was taken at a wedding in Colorado two summers ago and, as you can see, it was a magical time. We couldn't have better planned the picture that has since been dubbed, The Retard Orchestra Conductor. Thanks Neal.

new store, new weirdness


I started at my new store uptown today. I think it's going to take quite a while to feel comfortable there. In all there were maybe 4 or 5 people who were friendly and helpful. A few were cordial, but kept their distance. And there were about 4 or 5 who were overtly hostile, aka, "Hi, I'm Clockwatcher. Nice to meet you." " I know who you are." So, yeah. They all know that there are big changes in the works and like many people, they are very resistant to change. They also know that I was a manager that now has no home and I'm waiting to be moved back into my position. This is going to be a long month or two.

On the plus side, I'm thrilled to be back around the books. It was a drag to not know what was new and not be able to check out any book I wanted to read. One of the first things I did today was check out a new biography about Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon. Joni's Blue and Carole's Tapestry tend to outshine a lot of Carly's stuff, but I can never turn my back on the woman who wrote You're So Vain.

Oh, another thing about this store is it's our number one kids department in the country. As I told Jamie, it's like a toddler shitstorm is passing through at any given time. There were at least 35-50 toddlers hobbling around the kids department whenever I looked over. Every now and then one of them would escape and their negligent nanny wouldn't notice. That's when I get to go up to the slippery little sucker and say something like, "Where is your grown-up/adult/probably underpaid, but still inexcusably slacking caregiver?" *sigh*

life imitating art


Junot Diaz recently was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. If you haven't read it yet, I'd recommend you do so as soon as you can. I read a load of books last year, but I didn't read anything quite like this. It's the story of a nerdy, obese Dominican immigrant in New York as he grows up and goes to college, while also telling the tale of his sister and his mother. The story is set both in the DR and NYC and despite being filled with horror and violence, actually comes off as a comedy. I only wish I spoke fluent Spanish because the book is littered with Dominican slang that I'm sure would be funnier if I understood more than just the proper definitions. Oscar Wao is notable for many things, but one of the more memorable traits is his colorful language. No matter how blue the language got in that book, I felt like I was so in it, that I didn't really notice, or at least, I didn't walk away from the book with that aspect being what I recall the most. But I just came across this interview with Junot Diaz from LAist and now see that Oscar Wao gets his language straight from the source.

thar she blows


So today I saw an iconic New York sight: a manhole cover that blew up. Today was my day to go in to work and do nothing and around 3 o'clock I started to smell something horrible and acrid. We have a debris container on the side of our building on 21st Street and the manhole directly next to it was smoking. Apparently there was an electrical fire underground and as I was standing there with the fire department the cover just popped straight up and barely missed a car parked nearby. It was great! Not so great was that I then was evacuated from the building and had to open the double doors in the front of the store to get the awful smell out of there. An hour and a half later, I was freezing my butt off and ready to smack someone. While standing in the doorway all that time (I had to wait for ConEd) about 50 people either tried to walk past me to go in to a demolished store or came up to me with a crestfallen look and and an inane comment/question. But not a single person asked if the employees still had jobs. That kind of irked me.