Spring Musings

April 7, 2009

It turns out that I’m actually a morning person. I had my suspicions that the wee hours of the day might be for me, though I fought it for a long time. But there’s nothing like house-breaking a dog and a few writing deadlines to make you jump out of bed before the alarm goes off. So now that the deadlines are finished and I’ve trained Daisy to go outside and come back in for a morning nap from 5:30-7:00, I find I have a delicious window of free time. It’s enough time to make coffee, put away dishes, turn on the MacBook and do some writing. Granted, it’s a small window of time, but I’m finding that I’m actually more productive in short limited bursts than long infreqent blocks of time.  Duh. Why has it taken me so long to figure this out?

Speaking of short bursts, I went to stay with a friend in NYC for one night and two whirlwind days of eating, shopping, and getting lost. We discovered a mighty fine vegetarian kosher Indian restaurant in Murray Hill called Pongal where we ate crispy spinach fritters and dosas. Who knew? I’d spent time in mid-town before, but I didn’t realize that there were cute little neighborhood cafes tucked away. Like Penelope, for instance. Did I mention the Nutella french toast and the egg and cheese and pesto on a croissant? Delish. Plus, a great place to see the up-and-coming next generation of financiers in their Burberry coats and Tods.

So now I’m home and my crocuses are up and my tulips appear poised for action.  Fingers crossed that we don’t get any of that snow because I refuse to shovel anything that’s not dirt.


Twu Love

March 29, 2009

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California Dreamin’

March 17, 2009

I’m back from six days in San Francisco and still adjusting to life on the east coast. Or rather, I should say I’m adjusting to my own house again after a glorious hotel, my own kitchen after restaurant delicacies, and teaching my students instead of hitting unknown streets in search of urban adventures.  What does all of this mean? It means I’m back to making my own coffee and my own bed.  I’m back to writing on the board and reading drafts and attending department meetings and answering emails.

Needless to say, my head is not back quite yet and I find myself dreaming about Vietnamese coffee (slow brewed over an inch of sweetened condensed milk), Chez Panisse (my own personal pilgrimage to the foodie mecca), steep hills bustling with people from all over the world, the sounds of sea lions in the early morning down at the pier past Fisherman’s Wharf, the chocolate cupcake from Miette bakery, the crispy shredded papaya salad at The Slanted Door, the mango crab wonder at The Naked Fish, the dry martinis at Tosca, I could go on, but it’s making me too hungry and nostalgic for a city that isn’t mine.

But the best part was re-connecting with old friends from both high school and college and the comforting fact that everyone–to the person–looked exactly the way I remembered them. It’s nice to know that even though we’re getting older (and wiser?), we’re still the same and we’re still friends and I can still handle my gin.

So it’s back to the grind for a bit now. And probably time to check in on my house trap and figure out the paint color I want for the bathroom and maybe even clean out the garage so I can find the garden rake.  But until then, I’m going to think about fresh spring rolls and the shumai place in Chinatown and the French cafe on Bush Street with the strong dark coffee and buttery croissants served warm in a basket lined with linen.

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Crap Part II

February 21, 2009

Oye. Where to start? It’s been quiet on the northern Housegirrl front these days because so many other things (like shoveling, running the dog, teaching, etc.) have kind of taken over. Clearly I’ve fallen behind in my regularly scheduled blogging posts and my readers have been complaining. So, Mom, this one’s for you!

As you may recall, I’d been dealing with a backed up house trap and even though I switched to Scott’s TP (hasta luego oh so soft Cottonnelle) and had Apex sewer guy out to snake the line, I was feeling less than confident that the problem was resolved.  So I called the neighborhood sewerline replacmeent Dude (who actually does look a lot like The Dude) and he paid me a consulting visit. We poked, we prodded, we talked, and we admired his photographs of badly clogged lines. And in the end, we decided that the next step prior to full sewerline replacement was to camera my line to see what was what.

And because I’m a girl of action, that’s what I did. Watching the black and white live footage of the camera in my sewerlines was fascinating. It was probably also great preparation and practice for having a colonoscopy someday. Charmant. It turns out that roots are the culprit, but they weren’t so invasive as to require complete replacement. I mean, if I wanted to do the job right, I would put in a new sewer line (and water line while I’m at it).

But c’mon. This is me you’re dealing with. When do I do things the “right” way?

My new best friend is Jason from AA Sewers and Drain. And not just because I love his tag line (“Our business is going down your drain”) but because he’s all about a maintenance plan instead of a whole-hog replacement plan. So, once a year (at least) I’ll give him a call and he’ll come snake my line. The sound you hear is my whoops of joy as I do my happy dance.

Not having to spend $5000 that I didn’t have?

Priceless.

Now I can get back to saving for my 2010 Mexican yoga retreat and splurging on organic avocados. You know, the important things in life.


Crap

January 10, 2009

I stayed in bed this morning as long as possible because I dreaded what I had to do. After a visit from a rotor rooter man yesterday, my sump trap was at least working. But he had left me with instructions to “let the pump dry out” and then “dig up all that paper.” I was, like, um, okay.

First of all, letting your house sump dry out is not an easy thing to do and made me realize all that I don’t know about pipes and water. So I refrained from flushing and using the washing machine. But what about the tap water in the bathroom? It got late and it got confusing, so I turned on the dehumidifier and called it a night.

This morning, I had to fortify myself with multiple cups of Italian Roast before I could face the task of shoveling. I wanted a surgical mask and HazMat suit, but all I could find were some rubber gloves. I grabbed my metal gardening shovel (easy to bleach afterward) and a trash bag and went to work.

Let’s just say I can think of better ways to spend a Saturday morning.

And seriously, I wanted to ask that man what I paid him $140 dollars for. The one good thing to come out of all this is a new brand of TP–Scotts–because it breaks down more easily and won’t clog traps. Plus, it’s cheap. Say good bye to Cottonelle and hello to macho-wipe.


House and Other Resolutions

December 30, 2008

With 2008 drawing to a close, it’s time I drafted a list of resolutions. Usually, these lists remain just lists without actual actions, but as I get older, I find that changing. Case in point: flossing and running have been on my New Year’s Resolutions since my freshman year in college and now I finally do both. So here’s to resolutions that begin as ink marks on a page and (eventually) come to fruition:

  • Look into seamless gutters
  • Finish painting the kitchen, hallway, and upstairs bathroom
  • Wallpaper the downstairs bathroom
  • Fix stereo receiver or get an iPod
  • Take Daisy to the golf course more often
  • Learn how to  cook Indian and Thai food
  • Practice yoga at home
  • Stick to a meditation schedule (or at least make one)
  • Spend more time with friends

Happy New Year and a peaceful 2009!


The House of Meat

December 18, 2008

You know all the usual excuses people use to account for the dead zone that is their blog? Yup, I’ll use those too. LIfe, etc. Discuss.

But I’m on a bit of a hiatus from my own house and am spending some time at my parents’ house. Or rather The House of Meat, as I like to call it. At home, I’m strictly a vegetarian cook. It would be nice if I could say it’s due to ethical commitments and moral living, but really it’s because I can’t stand the feel of animal flesh or the way blood pools in those thin layers of plastic. It’s just too icky for me, so pass the chick peas, please.

But away from home and I’m, like, the biggest carnivore that walks the planet. For the record, here’s a brief list of items I’ve consumed in the past 24 hours:

  • Meat pie (flaky crust, direct from Canada, smeared with ketchup).  A crispy slice of pork heaven, what’s not to like?
  • Pot roast (complete with latkes and apple sauce. My favorite meal.)
  • Bacon. Thin and crisp to the point of melting on my tongue. Need I say more

Taking flexitarianism to whole new levels and dimensions, that’s me!Vacation, all I wanted.