Monday, October 18, 2010

Oh, I KNOW there's an obvious joke that I'm missing.

I've been such a good girl lately. I'm cooking lots of healthy veggies and protein and stocking it up in the fridge and freezer, but not so much that it hinders my roommates, and I'm only eating ice cream for lunch like once a WEEK. I'm paying all my bills on time, and outside of a fixation on overpriced gazebo fruit, I'm not making impulse buys or anything no matter how much I Need (with a capital 'N') another Japanese novel because I've almost finished my first and it's only taken me three years! Don't ask how many loaves of bread I've been through in the last two weeks, thanks to a brand new fixation on toast and honey (or un-toast and brown sugar, but we agreed that you wouldn't ask, didn't we?), and it doesn't matter because I'm keeping my check book balanced and doing my laundry every week! Every! Week! At the laundromat, even. Wild stuff when you've grown up with a washer and dryer right downstairs.

So on Sunday, I was lugging my super clean, folded, almost totally dry (that's what hangers are for) laundry back to my apartment, and saw a chance to make due on my Grand Scheme to buy eggs on the way home. (Protein! Look, meat is complicated and beans and eggs are cheap.) There are a number of groceries on the avenue I was walking - as in, a few dozen per block, and I barely exaggerate - so I ducked into one at random, and that's where I met The Greeter, a teensy, barely grown tabby.

(Fun fact - for ages now, our laundry room has doubled as The Cat's Room. Come to think of it, the potential entry into the litter box's danger zone might partially explain why I've always been rather lax about washing my clothes. That, surely; not general sloth.)

"Hey, precious," I cooed, my standard reply to any greeter worth his whiskers. (That does NOT mean you, Walmart employee.) I reached down to offer a scritch, and he leaped up to swat at my fingers and pussy cat awwsies OH THAT'S A SWEETIE and, yes, I need eggs. (And bread, but we have an agreement.) I made my way to the fridge, and The Greeter followed, demanding the affection due to a businessman of his grandeur.

"You're a friendly little guy," I said, reaching out towards his little keppie once more. With great resolve, he lunged forward and nipped at my hand. Oh, so that's how we're playing.

"Hey, that's not nice!" I scolded him. "I don't like that." And then I opened the door to pull out my eggs.

The Greeter, clearly offended by my candor, crawled right inside and hid behind the milk.

Thus begat the awkward need for Amanda to call over the shop's proprietor and inform him that his cat was inside the refrigerator. The guy was mellow about it - in fact, he didn't seem particularly shocked. Apparently, he's got two feline residents, and while the girl keeps to herself, Mr. Greeter has a reputation for mischief. That said, I'm sure I'll be back again next week: the eggs were cheap, the employees can't be beat, and, well, we aren't asking any questions about bread.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Let's get this straight.

So, I'm living in New York. This isn't like living in Nagoya; that was Japan. This is every country on earth. Here, you walk a block and you're on another continent; you cross the street and it's a new ecosystem. Everyone has an opinion, and be it through tirades on the subway about sexual orientation; furious pontifications accompanying passing out of tracts at the station; snickering socialites huddled with signs protesting construction; or verifiable Jerks muttering under their breath at the Nerve of Some People turning My City into a Third World Country by Speaking Spanish; whatever the opinion, you're gonna hear it.

This is New York City, where I live two blocks from a hookah bar. Where I went for a walk yesterday, took the subway to China Town, and immediately found a grocer with a display of fresh fish, including live crabs in a bucket and whole sharks on ice. Where I then walked for all of ten minutes and found myself in a Whole Foods with conveyor belt sushi. Where every store has the world's best bagel, gelato, baklava, or whatever's on sale.

I can't seem to go out for a walk on the weekend without wandering into a street fair, and seriously, at first I was planning it that way but now I wonder why I even bothered. There are museums everywhere, bookstores everywhere, parks everywhere, bikers who defy fate and physics by weaving in and out of cars and other bikers who wear helmets and tight pants and zip down tidy dedicated bike lanes and where I live I have no choice but to do a little from column A and a little from column B. There are bento vendors - two of them - stopping by my office every morning, and trolleys and trucks selling fruit, pretzels, knishes, frozen yogurt, cupcakes, and I'm sure that if I speculate here that there's one out there with caramel apples and old fashioned lollipops, I'll come across it first thing tomorrow. Everyone's reading on the train, from magazines, free newspapers, library books and e-readers, and if they aren't reading, they're gabbing with each other in any of a dozen different languages.

And what still catches me off guard every time? Booze in the supermarket.

Trader Joe's sells wine! Seriously, New York, what is WITH that!

Pfft, I bet they make people pump their own $3 a gallon gas, too.

A girl from South Jersey and the Philadelphia area.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Re-re-regreasing the wheel.

Right, the colds!

Like it could be avoided. I'm in New York now, everyone! Taking the subway to work again. Shopping at corner markets with suspiciously cheap produce. Living in an apartment that doesn't allow cats, but apparently admits rodents free of charge. ("Better a mouse than a rat," to quote a brilliantly optimistic friend.) Enjoying twenty degree shifts in temperature every other day. I'd say a cold was inevitable.

I'm not even going to complain, because I've had worse. (Once, where my sinuses never even felt infected, but my nose ran constantly for a month... let your imagination do the dirty work.) Still, between that and the assault of other sudden changes in the past few weeks, I'm pretty run down. New York City is amazing - even for Amanda, who has zero interest in night life and is too busy reading manga on the train or plugging her eye sockets directly into her laptop to go out and just socialize, already - but if all I have the energy to do is cook, then cook I shall.

Even if cooking is limited to a very burnt grilled cheese sandwich. At least the soup on the side isn't from a can.