Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Amber & Pickle Presents

We have an old Polish tradition in my apartment where, around Christmas, whoever is the first to find Pickles in the living room, gets to rub noses with him.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Amber & If Wishes Were Cheeses...

WHAT IF: Instead of snow, there was tasty cheese on the ground in the winter?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Amber & Post-Mortems

Jimmy took this photo to document why I could not blog today. See? Both of my hands are busy and my brain is busy smiling.

I'm so, so sorry. We are sold out. There is nothing I can do for you. But Cookieyum Adventures is a lot of fun for the whole family and you can do that until your entrance time.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Amber & Blooms

People are like plants. They both come from seeds and then start their public lives begin as very small, cutie buds.

Then, both plants and people, with sunshine and water-- although there's a whole debate about how many glasses of water people should drink each day and plants have very clear needs-- develop into stalks.
Only, people often make timely fashion choices that baffle them once they begin to bloom.

The one big difference between plants and people is that people can travel internationally, but custom regulations usually prohibit plants from doing the same. And I don't think plants can get passports.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Amber & Gardening

I woke up and decided that I am going to spend all day thinking about this little angel.

(See the wings?)

And when grinches are mean to me, I am going to picture myself as this guy and them as giant butts heading for me.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Amber & After Xmas Sales

¡Qué ganga!

News flash! The moment we have all been waiting for has finally arrived! This gorgeous hat has been marked down from its original price of $1,625 to just $999!

Thank goodness for the economic crisis.

Amber & Grinches

One thing that is different about the Plantbuilding Show vs. Zoo Lights, aside from the disgraceful lack of orang utans and gorillas, is that the attendees of the Plantbuilding Show are mostly grinches. Now, maybe you thought there was just the one grinch, the Grinch, but I am here to tell you that he was one of many, many. And, apparently, his peoples love Plantbuildings.

It's a good thing I slept all day yesterday (except for the parts where I took a rest from napping to eat or pet kitties) because dealing with grinches is exhausting! There are definitely some Who's mixed in, and most of the grinches are my co-gardeners.

I am tired and demoralized. And I miss the apes.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Amber & Second Chances

Once again last night CRD and I video chatted with Kevin in his office in San Francisco. Only, this time CRD was at his own home, not over mine for programs, and I remembered to take a screen grab!
It's kind of dark, but there are several things you can tell from it.

1. Kevin is in an office conducting his business with sunshine and high ceilings!

2. CRD is on the couch. We can't tell anything about his ceiling height.

3. I am on my couch, wearing the scarf I knit for Shorty.

4. Friendship transcends distances.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Amber & Missed Phototunities

Last night, CRD spontaneously came up to my house for Hart to Hart on Hulu and pasta with zucchini, chick peas, lemon juice and fresh mozzerella. I wish I could show you how fun that was, or how delicious the food was, or how much fun CRD had snuggling kittens, but I forgot to take pictures. This is kind of what it might have looked like had I remembered.

Only, Ginger is much bigger now, and CRD wasn't wearing his glasses.

Also, while CRD was over, we video chatted with Kevin who was in his office in San Francisco. Kevin gave us a tour of the cubicles and we showed him lots of things from my kitchen (kittens, zucchinis, bunnies, us waving, etc.). Again, I wish I could show you a screen grab from our chat, but it never occurred to me to take one until I sat down this morning to blog. It might have looked like this photo by Jimmy.

Only, there were less wine glasses, and the video was in color.

The sidewalks on the way to work were a solid sheet of ice. You guessed it: no photographic evidence to support my claim or illustrate my post. But, it kind of looked like this.

Tomorrow I am going to take photos of everything I do so I have more blog material. It's not easy having compelling illustrations for your content.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Amber & The Tailbone's Connected to the Ouch

Apparently, in the Bronx and parts of Washington Heights, we don't believe in salting the sidewalks. So, although yesterday was a slushy wet mess, today, with the temperature dipping well below freezing, the sidewalks are a solid sheet of ice.

The good news is that now my annual fall on ice is out of the way and we can enjoy the rest of the winter season without fear.
The bad news is: oh my aching coccyx.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Amber & Animal Friends

Apes are alot like people--and not just because people are apes. One way that people are like our other ape cousins is that we all enjoy kitty friendships.

Meet 49-year-old Tonda. A couple of years ago when her mate, Yakut, died, Tonda got very depressed. I imagine she was lonely and didn't find any satisfaction in buying or chewing shoes. And maybe, unlike Lucy, she just isn't a handbag-type of girl? And maybe didn't really have a reason to look forward to coming back to her empty yard after a hard day at work entertaining zoo-goers.

So, inspired by Koko and her series of kitten buddies, Tonda's keepers decided to get her a kitty friend, which they helped her name T.K. Just having the fuzzy little beast around seems to cheer her up.

Says the New York Post, a surprisingly good source for animal news...
T.K., has brought Tonda back to her own self, providing her with a much-needed friendship zookeepers worried she might never again experience. The orangutan and cat eat together and sleep side-by-side; even when they aren't playing or cuddling, Tonda always keeps a watchful eye on her friend.

Be sure to check out the video on that page.

What is it about cats that makes us apes love them so, so much? Interspecies friendships are beautiful, fuzzy things. I sure love orangs. And cats.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Amber & Snow Storm Snipers!

There's a storm a'comin.

I was fascinated to watch this video, where a Live Storm Takes Aim on Northeast. This baby is gunning for us-- and somehow especially the Bronx with 4 or 5 inches expected there, where I work outside all day today. And then, once it's done with its snowy rampage here, it's going to head up to Boston and finish up it's work there. Beantown Friends, watch out! This storm is armed and dangerous.

Be sure to be real careful from noon to noon-fifteen, New Yorkers. That got its own 15-minute severe weather red box! Red stands for danger!


Update: 12:32 pm After that 15 minute red alert window, this is the view outside my window:

Actually pretty accurate to the forecast. Go figure.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Amber & Gregoire, Remembered

It is with great sadness, respect and solemnity that I report the passing of Gregoire. I first blogged about a dream I had about Gregoire back in August.

The Jane Goodall Institute wrote to tell me that he had left our world for the great Congo in the sky. Says Jane of him...
Gregoire was also a study in resilience, having survived more than 40 years of solitary display in a barren cage at a zoo and then an airlift during a civil war. More than anything, however, Gregoire was a beloved personality, known for his playfulness even far into old age and a mellow disposition. We'll miss him, but we are so happy to have been able to help him find companionship and contentment in his twilight years.
Thank you, Jane, for having introduced me to Gregoire. And thank you, Gregoire, for having been such a gentle and amazing beast. I am glad to have known of you.

There are some beautiful photos of Gregoire on Jane's site. And there's a video that made me sob.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Amber & Winter Mix

Today is what we call the "wintery mix." It's sort of rainy, but Feels Like 30, and there's a sort of white frozen slush on the ground.

I love winter, but somehow I am not looking forward to walking down Bedford Avenue in the wintery mix.

Ginger, on the other hand, is enamored of the elements.

Ginger may love watching wintery mix, but I suspect Pickles just loves Ginger.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Amber & What If

One of my favorite passtimes is playing "What If." This is a fun game in which you imagine a set of circumstances and speculate as to your reaction if that imaginary event occurred. A good example of an exciting "What If" was imagined by Diana. Once a long time ago on the subway, she asked, "What if... we stopped at the station and the doors opened and Woody got on, walking on his hind legs and carrying a boom box?" I still think about this every time I ride the N or R trains. If he was playing loud music, I might say, "Woody, please turn that boom box down or use headphones!" Or maybe I would just have big eyes and forward face and be too surprised to see him to say anything.

Another great example of "What If" popped into my head today when I was getting my shoulder ultrasounded. I thought: What if... they were doing the ultrasound and instead of a muscle tear, they saw a baby growing in my shoulder?
I think I would probably scream and try to tear my own arm off.

But maybe I would be happy and name him Gus and love him forever.

What if....

Monday, December 15, 2008

Amber & Integrity

I was the victim of attempted bribery three times yesterday. Seriously, three different people tried to slip me a Jackson to have their family moved to the front of the line to get in to see the plantbuildings.

The above illustration is not quite representative. First, I don't have a blue uniform-- it's a long black down coat. And the bribers weren't gansters with shoulder padded zoot suits. They were Westchester dads. And, I did not accept the offers. I made no exceptions, and did not trade my tent placement authority for any payment. I understood that the only honest application of the rules was total adherence. Unlike some people.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Amber & Blended Faves

Did you know Jimmy has opened up an Etsy shop? Thus, he has combined too of my favorite things... his photography and Etsy.

Now, if he only had pictures of hedgies....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Amber & Sick Days

Actually, it's my one day weekend. But still, the kitty captures my mood well. I am sick of ouch, bills, chores, piles of undone laundry and fatigue. I am not sick of working, because working pays for my groceries and Alexander Technique lessons.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Amber & Technology

I want to take today to acknowledge what I think are the top five greatest technological advances or inventions of my lifetime. These are all monumental leaps forward which both have improved the quality of my life and are just plain amazing artifacts of human achievement.

1. The Internet

No surprise here. When I was born? There was no Internet. I had an AOL account and a dial up modem with my IIsi back in 1993. We've come a long way, Internet Baby. I really don't know what I did before e-mail or Google or iChat. The Internet has had a monumental effect on every aspect of my existence.

2. The Swiffer

How did I keep my floors clean before the Swiffer? I didn't! It would be impossible to own so many cats without out both the Swiffer Wet and the Swiffer Dry. Sure, the little pads end up in the landfill, but they save electricity and the cat-terror induced by running the vacuum. And, the swiveling head is amazing. The Swiffer makes cleaning so easy, I can't help but clean.

I still think the technology is not quite there to support the widespread use and reliance on mobile networks, but remember when you had to stay close to the wall in the kitchen to talk on the phone and the cord would get all wrapped around stuff? Of course, now you have to stay away from the dead zone that is my couch, and your iPhone earbud wire gets all wrapped around your sunglasses. But still: progress!

4. Fresh Direct

Old meets new: food delivered to your house that you order over the Internet. What more could a hungry girl who lives in a fifth floor walk up possibly want?

5. My sister Candice

Not exactly technology, but definitely invented in my lifetime. And so, so nice to have around.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Amber & Contagion

The great thing about having an inflamed, and possibly minorly torn, rotator cuff muscle is that it's not contagious. (There are bad things though, too, like: pain and iability to lift the arm and how do you get the sling on with only one working arm? But still.)

While browsing soup recipes yesterday, I stumbled across this slide show and related article on the NY Times website which I thoroughly enjoyed. It made me feel much better about my shoulder ouch.

She may be a bag of trouble, but she sure has nice bangs and pretty red lipstick.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Amber & Sisterhood of the Traveling Pains

So, remember how I was told that my four-week headache was actually caused by my jaw? And then I went to see the dentist and she sent me to a place that doesn't take insurance and, according to the wife of a fellow gardener, costs no less than $3,500 per visit? And so, remember how I didn't go to that place, but instead went for a massage and made an appointment for an Alexander Technique lesson this coming Friday?

Well, somewhere in there, I made a bad decision. I woke up this morning, and, despite the tons of Ben-Gay and heating pad and hot baths, the left side of my neck, my shoulder and the top of my arm are Level Four Ouchy. I am going to see my primary care doctor again today to ask "WTF, man?" But, maybe my shoulder is unrelated to my jaw? Maybe it's actually just repetitive stress syndrome from opening a door in the freezing cold for 17,000 visitors all weekend?

Ouch. I am broken.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Amber & Nina Foch, Sophisticated & RIP

CRD normally covers the latest grande celebrity deaths, but today he's all caught up in life with the birth of my new god son. But, he did have a moment to point me to this NY Times article, "Nina Foch, Actress in Sophisticated Roles, Dies at 84."

I had never heard of Nina Foch and would not really have mourned her passing, but just last night CRD & I watched her in a sophisticated guest starring role on the sophisticated program Murder, She Wrote. In the uncharacteristically dark episode, "Tainted Lady," she played a grumpy resident of down-and-out Dry Well, CA, who was recently widowed. She did a bang up job, especially in her scene with the Sheriff, rambling about cleaning out her closet. I respect her acting and she will surely be missed. And, next time I watch An American in Paris, I will try to notice her.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Amber & Weekends

Today is my weekend. I am working tomorrow and Sunday at the Festive Season Plantbuildings Show, and this is my break between last week and the next one. So, I have to cram all of my chores, socializing and relaxation in today.

I'm going to start by getting a Deep Tissue massage at Great Jones Spa. My jaw has been bothersome all week, and now my neck and shoulders are ouchy from hunching up in head pain. I'm going to let someone work out that tension.

Without the tension holding my body together, I might be a mass of jelly afterward when I have lunch with Kevin at Dojo. I used to go to Dojo all the time when I was in college, and this new economy has reset my finances back to 1989, so a soy burger with cheese is just about all I can afford.

Then, I am going to buy dry food, wet food, and litter at Whiskers.

Then, I am going to go visit CRD at his office. He is the publisher of Canadian coloring books, and he promised to have some waiting for me. I hope I can understand how to color in the Canadian lines.

Then, I am going to come home and vacuum and then go to bed.

What a busy weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Amber & Overloaded on Cuties

In yesterday's comments, Kevin was fascinated by this week's Tiggy of the Wink.

Tiggy, in the featured photo, looks uncannily like George, a diabetic De Brazza's monkey at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent. I first saw George on everyone's favorite daily photo site that has all the cuteness fit to blog, Cute Overload. The Cute Folks found him over at the Telegraph where we also learn that...

"George has to be injected daily by his keeper and has a special diet which includes aubergine, apples, pears and not-too-ripe bananas, which are all low in sugar."
This is a stellar week over at CO with some super fine specimens, including this gorgeous baby orang.

And back over at the Telegraph, there was also this little gorilla guy.

I am about to fall into a cuteness coma.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Amber & Obsessions

I remain obsessed with Etsy.

And Etsy remains obsessed with hedgehogs.

A match made in Internet Heaven.

Why is that guy wearing a suit? Hee hee!