Sunday, August 31, 2008

Amber & British Booty


...(pictured here in front of Buckingham Palace, where he seems to have stayed) is back from vacation in England with his mom......(pictured here in front of the Glenlivet spring from whence they drank). England is, at the moment, just as crazy about Doctor Who as I am. While overseas, Jimmy saw a production of Hamlet (his full review and professional photography is here) which featured the Doctor in the title role. Then, while browsing in Hamley's, Jimmy discovered a treasure trove of Doctor Who toys!

The toys ranged from reproductions of very, very cool props from the current series... little homunculi of the Doctor in his various incarnations...

...and even some of his buddies.

James reports, "They also have a big Dalek head you can put on to make your voice sound like a Dalek."

Britain is sure Great.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Amber & Remote Blogging

update August 31, 2008 8:31 am: It doesn't work. You can make your title, but there's no place to put any text. Or, maybe they're trying to tell me something about my content.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Amber & Etsy

I have a new web obsession. Etsy is a (new-to-me, but not "new" if you consider 2005 a while ago) online marketplace for hand-made stuff. Craft types post their beautiful wares and craft-loving consumers go and buy them. I have yet to buy anything from Etsy, but I spend alot of time browsing and marveling at the craftiness of others. (I still love Hulu-- I often have a program and an Etsy window open at the same time.) I am inspired to make my own crafts, and browsing the wares is almost the same as going to an art museum.
I dare you to go and do a search on "hedgehog." The breadth and variety and incredible skill are so impressive. And I've never seen so much hedgie amigurumi.

The proprietor of one of the shops I really like has a really wonderful blog that I now read regularly. Tiffany not only has really excellent taste in fabrics but also political candidates.

One of my favorite ways to browse is to look through the Treasury. I find the collections of things almost as amazing as the things themselves. I sure love crafts.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Amber & Losing My Head (if it wasn't attached)

Oy. I am not the most remembering of people. It's definitely a lack of focus, a lack of mindfulness as the yogis would say. The first week I worked as a gardener, I forgot my keys in my desk and didn't realize it until I had gotten all the way home. (I had to come all the way back and then go all the way home again.) And, it often takes me four or five attempts to get out the front door. "Oh! I forgot my phone." "Oh! I forgot the trash." "Oh! I forgot to wear pants." Etc. This is one of my Character Flaws.

This morning, I had to go pick up my x-rays from my general doctor and bring them to the office of a specialist who is going to give a second opinion, at my doctor's request, about getting my nose fixed. This had to be done in person because I also needed to fill out some paperwork. So, I had to schlepp all the way from my house down to 31st and Park, then over to NYU Medical Center on 1st Avenue, and then all the way back over to the 4 train. Only, when my train came out of the tunnel and became elevated in the Bronx, I realized I had left my wallet at the specialist's office. So I had to go all the way back. And then, come back into the Bronx.

Tonight, I am meeting Jimmy for Belated Amber Christmas Dinner (he was in England for the actual holiday), and will have to do some more cross-Manhattan traveling. At the end of the day, I will have been on

A train to 125th, transfer to the D
D train to 34th Street
M34 bus cross-town to Park to destination
X-Ray Delivery
M34 bus cross-town to Broadway
4 train to 161st Street
4 train downtown to 34th Street
M34 bus cross-town to 1st Avenue to get wallet
M34 bus back to Park
4 train to Bedford Park Blvd
BX26 bus to work
BX26 bus to 4 train
4 train to 86th Street, transfer to 6
6 train to 72nd
Dinner with Jimmy

And then, I have to get from the Upper East Side to the Way, Way Upper West Side home.

My Unlimited Monthly Metrocard is sure tired.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Amber & Oldies but Goodies

The foundation of my sense of humor is remembering events that were funny in the Past. If something is funny once, you can be sure I am going to make references to it again (and again and again). There are a bevvy of Jokes of Ye Olde Times that are referenced on an ongoing basis. They are my Modern Classics of Humor.

Some of these are activities, like the Bad Touch game or Boogie Shoulders.

Some are images which have a long history, like this one of CRD riding his bicycle, unclothed style.

There are even phrases which have accumulated so many jolly memories over the years, that they themselves are metonyms for the larger joke. A few of these phrases include "designer shirt" (be careful, that link makes noise), "I'm just resting my eyes," "chaka" (alternately, "bah bah bah"), and "clam fritters!"

Every day, I add new funnies to my Master List. At this rate, by the time I am 60, all I will do is laugh.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Amber & Boxing Day Reflections

My life is like the chile in the Mesa Grill chile relleno I ate last night. At my core, I have a really great mix of friends in a variety of different flavors. Some of them are piquant (Kevin) with a little bite, some of them are fun and calming (Diana) like a delicious melty queso, and some are flavorful and nightshadey (Nick) like an eggplant. (And those are just the ones I dined with last night!)

Then, on the outside, I have lots of pretty crunchy things like outfits and knitting projects. And to finish, I have a nice saucy hairdo thanks to the Genius of Jacqueline.

I sure love chile rellenos.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Amber & iDog Daisy

Why is today different from all other days? Because yesterday, I was on a particular line to acquire a particular robot at a particular store, and I met Daisy, a Yorkshire Terrier. Prior to my acquaintance with Daisy, I was not a fan of the Yorkie. I thought the breed was jittery and of the group known as the "yip yip" dog.

Daisy shattered all of my preconceptions. She was pretty, smelled nice, friendly, and the perfect iDog. Add to Cart. For the time being, I have renamed Woody "Daisy" and am trying him out to see how I like having a dog. I think I like it. I don't think he's going to like it, though, when I put him in a shoulder bag and tote him around town with me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Amber & British Jimmy

"This is what every hotel room Brad Pitt stays in looks like."

James is in London at the moment, seeing the Doctor and Captain Picard perform Hamlet. He sent this photo with this subject header last night.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Amber & Dream Teams

You may have noticed that I didn't get to blog yesterday. It was my mulch manager's last day in the garden, and I needed to very quickly learn everything she knew about mulch before she left.

While I was busy mixing organic residues, grass clippings and Raiser's Edge queries, James was busy assembling his Dream Nero Wolfe Team in the form of icons for his hard drives.

Although we disagree on the merits of the A&E series, A Nero Wolfe Mystery, we agree that there was some amazing casting. I am absolutely smitten with Timothy Hutton's Archie Goodwin. He's everything I imagined while reading the novels and maybe even a little more dapper.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Amber & Wishes, Granted

Every now and then, but never when you expect it, kitties behave exactly as you had hoped. This compliance does not generally occur when you are trying to load them up to go to the vet, or when you are trying to sleep past sunrise, or when all you want is to baby-hold them in the rocking chair. But, it can happen, say, five months after you buy them a special bed that they have ignored.
He doesn't really look very comfortable, does he? I think he's doing it for my benefit only.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Amber & A Feast for an Invalid

This past weekend, my friends came out in force to help encourage me through my recovery. I am still pretty exhausted which is my body's way of reminding me that I may be better but I am not quite well yet.

On Saturday, CRD came over and we watched Love At First Bite, which remains one of my favorite movies of all times.

Then, on Sunday, Kevin and Diana came uptown and made me ratatouille. The brought nice eggplant and tomatoes from their farm share and served it up on linguine. It was delicious. And then, Diana whipped up a loaf of ginger bread mysteriously using random ingredients I had around the kitchen. I had no idea I had a dessert hidden in there!

You have no idea how hard it was to find a picture of ratatouille. I kept getting images of this little guy.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Amber & Good Queen Tigg

James did this. What more can I say?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Amber & Rest

So, I'm still sick. I seem to take one symptom step forward and then two symptom steps back. My complaints keep changing, giving me the thrilling experience of feeling like I have a different illness every day.

Today, my throat is super duper sore and my voice, although stronger, is somewhat froggy. My nose is completely stuffed over again, but my cough has calmed down and my breathing is a little easier. I'll let you know if I like today's arrangement of symptoms better than previous days.

In an attempt to get well, I have decided to follow the advice of CRD and stay in bed for three straight days. That way, I hope, come Monday, I will actually be better. I've been tempting fate by going in to work each day, and to no positive overall outcome. I do have to run out for wet food (Woody is reminding me with his paw in my face right now), but then I plan to make like Zach for the rest of the day.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Amber & New Stuff

Yesterday was an exciting day, even though I am still pretty sickie and had no energy to spare for being excited. I bought three new lovely fabrics. In the back is a lovely ecru wood fern fabric from Amy Butler's Nigella line which I have wanted to make a tunic out of for some time. I also got a gorgeous avocado and chocolate Pod Vine print from Michael Miller and an organic cotton muslin which will become the lining of the tunic and a petticoat.

Sitting on top of this pile of delights is our new Buddy, Gus the Bunny. Gus was a get well gift from Jolynne who didn't have healthy lungs to spare. He is the absolute cutest bunny ever.

This was a tough photo shoot because mid-way through, Miss Tiggy Winkle decided to come and introduce herself to Gus.

I guess she decided he was okay, and that the new fabric was meant to be a bed for her because she settled down in the middle of the shoot and cozied up to Gus.

In the background, you can see Woody noticing Tiggy's comfort. Of course, minutes later he chased her away. I did not document that.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Amber & Mofongo

One of life's great pleasures is mofongo. Who doesn't love garlicky mashed fried green plantains served with a fried meat and a chicken soup broth? What's not to love about plantains that are both french fried and mashed?

During this time of illness, I remember back fondly to my trip to Albert's Mofongo House. It's at the edge of Inwood, right outside the Dyckman A station, and boy oh boy was it good. Luckily, James was along to document the visit, along with Kevin Somers, who is always a pleasure to see, and Craig Chin, who was along to document James documenting the trip.

Kevin got the fried cheese mofongo, which he let me sample (several times) after he had finished his portion. I think the presence of mucho fried pork and chicken lard probably disqualifies this as a vegetarian dish, but maybe "vegetarian" means some different in espanish?
It was a great meal and I would definitely bring folks if they ever came to visit me uptown. Afterward, we would walk back through Fort Tryon Park, but not if they turned into whiny little girls about having to walk uphill. It's called topography, people.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Amber & Non-Glamorous Ailments

In Ye Olde Times, when people were sick, it was romantic.  This is not just my opinion; there are whole books on the subject and even a Wikipedia entry.  Everyone knows consumption is the most glamorous ailment of all times and continues to be glamorous in the cinema.

Somehow, I don't quite look like a failing starlet, being consumed by disease from the inside out.

I do, however, seem to have something in common with another blonde bombshell whose character was consuming.

See the resemblance?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Amber & Pneumonia, Waltzing Style

I went to the doctor today, after a weekend of sickie coughing, sneezing, and generally feeling lousy. Turns out, it looks like I have Waltzing Pneumonia. At least I think that's what the swagman said after she reviewed an x-ray of the inside of my billie. I did some Google research and discovered these cautionary videos about taking one's mathilda seriously.

If you don't get enough bed rest, you might start to sound this guy.

Or, at more progressed stages of the illness, Shane McGowanitis may set in.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Amber & Tiggy Time

I have a very definitive morning routine. Recently I revamped my morning to include home-made coffee and a travel mug and am thinking of bringing back congee to replace oatmeal, but one feature will always remain the same: Tiggy Time.

After I feed Woody and scoop the litter, I go sit on the couch, where Tiggy has been waiting from the moment I got out of bed. Sometimes, she mews to let me know she's ready. This happens next.

It's really hard to document as the really intense whisker bud rubbing makes the camera-- and Tiggy-- shake. We used to call it Chest Rubs, since she is laying on my chest, but that was confusing since she actually hates to have her chest rubbed.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Amber & The Six Hair Plan

So, I am really enjoying having short hair, but have already decided to grow it out. It's odd because I really do like it, and it's perfect for summer, but it's just not a long-term look. Plus, Diana and I want to get perms together and I just don't have enough hair at the moment.

So, with the help of Bumble & bumble's newly improved style book, I have plotted out the course of my hair over the next period of time. I read that hair grows 1/2 inch every month, so I think that means we are looking at maybe six or eight months down the hair pike.

First, I'll grow what I have now out a bit. That might look like this.

Then, after a while longer, there will be more hair. Like this:

When it gets a little longer, it will be more bob-like, and I will probably need to wear my bangs to the side as they even out. Apparently, I may feel dreamy at this stage.
Then we'll be back to the more classic short bob.

And from there, there's no where to go but longer. And it will indeed likely be slightly flippy at this length.

And then finally! Ta-da! I like this length because it works so well with righteous bangs, but also can be pony-tailed or headbanded or... permed!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Amber & the Merry More

I simultaneously want to sing out in joy but also am a touch sad.

So, although Amy knew and was keeping it secret, Nick tipped me off that the Wildlife Conservation Society (the Bronx Zoo folks to you and me) discovered more than 100,000 Western lowland gorillas in a swamp in equatorial Republic of Congo.

There's a really fantastic CNN video here and the full details of the amazing and hope-giving discovery. Be warned: the video contains images of young gorillas trying to spin themselves sick and one young fellow who is practicing for Cirque du Soleil.

This is all amazing, happy news. But, as Kevin said, it would have been nice if the gorillas could have remained hidden in peace. I definitely agree. If a gorilla leads a happy life in the swamp, it still makes a joyful sound even if there are no humans around to hear it.

And, Amy says that was the point of her keeping it secret.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Amber & Gregoire

I woke up this morning dreaming about Gregoire.

Although he had a pretty bleak start to his life, Gregoire has passed the sixty-year mark and is enjoying his late years in a style of which he is most deserving.

Says Jane,

"Nowadays, he is a happy old man. A playmate to the smaller chimps, a lover of music and connoisseur of fine French bread, Gregoire is a truly remarkable chimp."
What a lucky lady Jane is to have a friend like Gregoire. My hero.

(amazing photo by Nick Nichols)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Amber & Fun Forks

Well, I blew it. I neglected to photo-document our Long Island Weekend Adventure, except this one photo which I took with CRD's camera. CRD also pretty much summed up the trip both with his blog post this morning and when, on the trip, he explained his amusement by describing the setting as "same friends, different backdrop."
After the above single photo was taken, showing Kevin and Diana trying to adjust the air flow in the car and CRD filled with joy, we went to visit Peter on the north fork and had fun relaxation at his beautiful abode. Then, we went to Harriet's 80th Birthday Party on the South Fork, where we met Nick, and Diana and I danced. Then, there was more Peter fun, including beach and brunch and sculptures. I have no photos from any of these events so you'll have to take my word for it. Good times!
Thanks, everyone. I feel incredibly lucky to know such wonderful, unique people.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Amber & Womanhood

Everything I know about what it means to be a woman, I learned from Doris Day.

From With Six You Get Eggroll, CRD and I learned to dry your wigs in the oven. From That Touch of Mink, I learned that some ladies are allergic to sexual relations. And last night, from The Thrill of It All, I learned that having a career is wrong and your husband might be perfectly justified to prove to you that you need him by pretending to have an affair with his secretary.

The one thing I haven't learned, which I wish I had, is how to be so amazingly pretty and gentle and big-haired.