Category Archives: New York City

Drip, Drip…

I wouldn’t necessarily call it a resolution, but this year I told myself I’d take one picture a week – specifically, a picture which encapsulates the kind of week I’ve had. Last week I wanted to post a cute picture of the minivan as we returned from our road trip to the Great White North, but I didn’t know which picture to post. I had a few choices:

1. The pic of the new brakes I had to put on the minivan before we left. (Not myself, but by Bruce, my well-named and flawless mechanic.)

2. The pic of the fresh dent I put in the back of the van when pulling out my driveway as we were leaving.

3. The pic of the heating vents in the ceiling of the minivan dripping onto our heads as we drove through Quebec.

4. The pic of the tire pressure light which goes on each time the temp drops below 20 degrees. That light all but imploded as we dropped to -25 in Montreal.

In the end I couldn’t bear to post a pic of the minivan – I hardly want to encourage it. Instead, this week’s pic comes from M – in yet another attempt to subtly remind me to replace the toilet paper.

As I have already made clear, I do not believe in replacing the toilet paper. Other things in which I don’t believe: those crappy little snack-size ziploc bags and the half sheets of paper towel.

Consequently, we have all thawed out from our week in the Great White North; even the minivan. It is now 30 degrees in NY and it feels like Maui. Aloha!

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Filed under Canada, driving, Minivans, New York City, Road trip, toilet paper, Uncategorized

Cookbook Conundrum 

I like a good cookbook. If I know what I want to cook, but don’t know how to cook it, I will sometimes search for a recipe online. When I have no clue what to cook and am looking for inspiration, I open a cookbook.

Because I have many cookbooks I don’t use, I try to be judicious in my acquisitions. Sometimes, I am successful. And then there’s this:

I bought this book after I read an article about it, and even used the recipe in the article. What could possibly go wrong? 

I had NO business buying this cookbook. This cookbook did not inspire me; this cookbook made me want to hang myself. I had no business buying this cookbook because as much as I would like to, I do not live in a farmhouse in France. I live in a colonial in the Bronx. I had no business buying this cookbook because even if I did not keep kosher, I would not want to eat rabbit. I had no business buying this cookbook because this woman has AT LEAST as many children as I do and she looks like a runway model when she cooks dinner and when I cook dinner I mostly look like the Good Luck Kitchen Witch. 

While I am cooking dinner using a dull knife to chop wilted vegetables I have bought at the local A & P, this woman is casually chasing a wild hare around her immaculate kitchen in three inch heels, all while applying lip gloss and making pastry dough from scratch. (And the first person to comment here can HAVE this effing cookbook, free of charge.)

But in preparation for Meatless May (stay tuned!), I bought this book after I heard the authors interviewed on Fresh Air. (That’s right. I am now officially your grandmother.)

 I have promised myself not to buy any more cookbooks. Unless of course one of you suggests a title which which will absolutely change my life. Then of course, I’m all for it. Just don’t having me chasing rabbits around my kitchen with a carving knife. Carving knives are for meat (which we will not be eating for a month), and for chasing children, not rabbits.

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Filed under cooking, food, New York City

How much wood?

Spring may technically have sprung, but it seems to be taking its sweet time. Still, it’s already April… which means we get some of this: 

 

I could not for the life of me tell you what this bush is called, but it makes me happy to see it.

But spring also means that it’s time to deal with this: 

 

This is one of two large piles of logs of wood. We had to have several trees taken down when we moved into the house, because our very chatty and pricey tree guy told us they could fall onto the house at any given moment. The tree guy wanted even more dollars (many more than we had) to chop the wood.

And then M had a brainstorm.

He needed some more exercise in his schedule and he did not need to shell out thousands of dollars to the tree guy, so instead, he shelled out 40 bucks for an axe. Yes, that’s right. He was going to learn to chop and tackle the wood himself, killing two birds with one stone. Everybody, including our Sicilian gardener, laughed. They promised he would chop for 30 minutes and then spent three weeks in bed recovering.

They obviously have not encountered the dogged perseverance that is M trying to prove a point to me, while avoiding shelling out money to a tree guy who probably has three homes of the Hamptons because of us.

Sometimes he chops alone. Sometimes he lets a certain 13-year-old help him. Sometimes he has the assistance of an equally stubborn friend.

I won’t say there are no injuries. I believe this morning he went to work with what appears to be a broken pinky. 

But I believe you need to take achievement wherever you can find it. And if it lies in a pile of snow-soaked wood that may one day be a home for thousands of flying termites, then that’s where it has to be.

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Filed under home improvement, New York City, spring

CAN A HIGHLIGHTER KILL ME?

A certain jet-lagged eleven year old texted me from school:

“Can you pick me up from school. Got highlighter in my mouth and now my stomach is really hurting.”

You will be shocked to hear that I ignored him. And then, hours later, another text finds it’s way to me:

“When are you coming?”

I organized a retrieval, albeit only 90 minutes before the end of the day. (Nobody wants to feel like a complete patsy. Least of all me.)

Kid was just fine. Once I got him home, within the vicinity of both the fridge and the TV, I never heard another word about the offending office supply. 

I did, however, find him doing some research later that day:

“CAN YOU DIE FROM EATING A HIGHLIGHTER?”

  

I still have no idea how said highlighter ended up being consumed.

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Filed under Boys, Jet lag, New York City, Seattle

Dirty Laundry

It was something of a throwaway line. Drowning in jetlag and laundry, I tossed it out: I am not a fan of the clothes dryer.

I like it for towels and sheets and underwear and some socks. I’m sure there are other things I like it for … but I’ve been up for hours and I can’t remember them now. (Kids have also been up for hours. They have eaten three breakfasts and are sitting in front of the television. They are currently beating the crap out of each other. This is how they decide who gets to choose the next show.)

Back to the dryer.

I’m suspicious of it. I think it ruins clothes. I know it shrinks clothes. And while I’m quite fond of the low heat setting, to me it seems slightly menacing. Sort of like a laundry dalek. (Dr Who fans: you are most welcome.) 

I have lived abroad without one and not been happy. Nobody likes a crunchy towel. But when it comes to clothes, I am suspicious. 

When I wrote about this, the response was swift: With so little time on my hands, and so much laundry, how could I possibly insist on air drying everything?

And then came the other air-dryers. They emerged them from dark shadows of their own laundry rooms to testify.

Here are some pictures:

Apartment style air drying.

  This is apparently a Victorian drying rack called a Sheila maid! There is so much to love about this.

  Someone else dealing with laundry room overflow. I am coveting these drying racks as well.

  This is a picture of what I seriously want. I had one of these in my youth in England. It spun. I had absolutely nothing to do with laundry back then, and I’m sure the people that did would’ve been much happier to toss everything into a giant dryer. 

But now when I look out at my garden all I can see is this drying rack of my dreams. I imagine it spinning around. I do not intend on using it for most linens (just table linens?) as in this picture, but I imagine it with our gauzy, sun-soaked, air dried clothes.

Reality is that we live in New York City. Yes, THAT New York. Summer in New York is moist, muggy, and occasionally stormy. Most likely any clothesline that I have will be a swampy wet mess surrounded by an army of carnivorous mosquitoes perching on clothes that refuse to dry.

Stay tuned. And please please post any pictures in the comments of your own air drying clothes.

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Filed under New York City

Seriously though…

The groundhog saw his shadow yesterday.

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(Pic courtesy of Sid’s pre-school teachers who sent home this insanely cute groundhog.) Six more weeks of winter, according to Puxatawney Phil, Groundhog in Chief.

A little closer to home: Apparently there is a Staten Island groundhog who did not see his shadow, meaning that Spring is around the corner.

I’ll let the hogs hash it out. I like winter (there, I said it) and am ok with several more weeks.

A few confessions though:

— I have no idea what black ice is. I’ve never seen it and am not sure anyone has. But people like to pepper it into conversation in a knowing, smuggish way. (She was fine until she hit that black ice; watch out for that black ice…) Frankly, I think it’s all a hoax. A smug people hoax.

— I am hungry all the time in the winter. Snow days are basically an excuse for me to eat the entire contents of my fridge, pantry, and Costco overflow while simultaneously slipping on snow the kids have trekked through the house and yelling at children to turn things off.

— As the season of indoor fire, winter makes me nervous. And not surprisingly (given that Hannukah is basically an excuse for my boys to try to set the house aflame), my phone now corrects “season” to “arson.”

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— The longer you spend out of a bathing suit, the more likely you are to look awful in one.

— As a friend pointed out recently, snow days take on a different meaning as an adult. Yes, there is still a frisson of excitement when snow falls, when it’s announced, when the day is stretched out in front of you, but a few hours in when you’ve run out of marshmallows and feel more like a disenfranchised short order cook than a giddy child, when all the things you have to do get pushed off to another day, displacing all sorts of other things you have to do, it’s time to go back to school.

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Filed under children, Flu season, New York City, parenting, snow, weather, winter

Snow shoes, snow day.

It’s that time of year again.

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Which also means this.

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.. Turning my sneakers into show shoes so I can get out and run.

It’s our first snow day of the year and I volunteered to shovel just to get out the house and away from wiping kitchen counters and responding to the near-constant calls for help and attention. To be clear, shoveling snow is yet another thing at which I’m complete rubbish. Still, it beats “she got more than me,”or “he took mine,” or “I tried to spread the jam but it slid off the bagel and onto the floor,” or “I tried to wipe myself and now it’s all over the outside of the bowl,” (How in God’s name does that even happen?”) or my own personal favorite, “I refuse to eat a bagel with seeds.”

I’m attempting to enforce some child labor (their words) around here. Oldest child made crepes last night and then I actually made him clean up (no, that is not what I’m for).

Him: “hey, this is really cool. What do you call it?”

Me: “a dish rack.”

My work is long, people.

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Filed under New York City, parenting, snow, weather, winter