Monday, August 31, 2009

Amber & Stocking Cap Starts

Today marks the 18th anniversary of the day I met Kevin. It was, perhaps more notably, the day he moved into his NYU dorm room. Due to some previously made friendship, dueling stereo systems, and Kevin's flexibility, he wound up with my friend Jerry as a roommate.

Little did I know, when I saw him in a stocking cap and yellow sweatshirt and knit bootie slippers dancing on his chair to the Pixies that he would become such an important part of my universe and, eventually, my boss.

Nor did I realize at the time that he knew the secret last name of the Virgin Mary which he shared with me in the ice cream parlor in Port Jervis in this photo by James in 2004.

Kevin brings joy to my life. Thank you, Kevin, for eighteen years of friendship.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Amber & Good Family Fun

Washington County Fair tractor pull. Would that I knew how to post a sound file remotely.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Amber & Post Pot Luck

Tara, J.C., Diana and Kevin are playing board games. I am waiting for the peach coconut sorbet in the foreground to get frozen. Next: bonfire and smores.

Amber & Tractor Ride


Amber & Schedule

Where I will be this weekend. Note 5:30's activity.

Amber & The Calm Before The Storm

Ironically, before our trip to the farm, we are having rest stop lunch. It's the opposite of farm fresh, and the contrast will heighten our enjoyment of the food to come.

Amber & Road Trip

Lizzie, Diana, Kevin and I are on our way to Windflower Farm in Washington County for a sleep over with Farmer Ted. I am so excited! But I also am hungry, craving coffee, and needing to pee. All of those needs will met when we stop at New Baltimore's market. Upstate Club!

Amber & Excess

Here at Amber &, we frequently (well, that one time) explore the nature of too much of a good thing. Sometimes I even worry that I went overboard with four cats. But then we all snuggle on the bed and I am sure we did not.

But, I think Conan has found the perfect example.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Amber & Farm Share Week 11

Assorted tomatoes and peppers and peaches. Also (not pictured on account of how I put it all away before I remembered to take a snapshot and am too lazy to pull it all out again): leaf lettuce, cabbage, fennel, cucumbers, red onions, garlic, beets, parsley, and summer squash. Flower share ended last week with lovely roses.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Amber & Meanwhile

The gray cat is tucked in for the night.

Amber & Birthday Treats

Diana made a delicious ice cream terrine with layers of rhubarb frozen yogurt, Italian plum sorbet and peach sorbet. It is frakking delicious!

Holy crap, Diana. You are amazing.

[Update 11:37 pm: I added these photos to show a) that Kevin was not bored by the terrific terrine, but rather with my photojournalistic intrusion...

...b) what a joyous and lovely laugh Diana has...

...c) it was a birthday celebration, and d) I can fill up my cheeks like a squirrel does but with air instead of nuts.]

[P.S. Don't I look oddly like Woody Allen in that shot? Look at the eyebrows.]

Amber & The Namesake

Peter, whose signature style involves colorful pants, striped shirts and slip on shoes, sends this recon from the street. Peter Loopted it thusly: "It is on 9th and Sixth, next to Citarella's and in the former E.J.'s Luncheonette space."

But the question is: what is it? It could of course sell the named resin itself in jewelry form, but I think it's unlikely that merits an entire retail space. The logo looked like a restaurant to me-- maybe a place that should serve pitas or wraps or smoothies? But hardened tree sap isn't really a very appetizing name for a food establishment.

Turns out, after some research, it's a whole chain of pan-Asian restaurants. Web reviews are mixed, and I am disappointed.

I hate this use of my name. But, maybe it will make people remember me more? Or, maybe it will make them associate me with overpriced raw fish.


[Apologies to all the Jhumpa Lahiri readers who accidentally Google themselves to this post. It's a good book, though.]

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Amber & Scale

Look! I am squishing Kevin's head. I squish you!

(I really am so busy today that I needed quick content. I promise to be more compelling tomorrow.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Amber & Birthday Memories

Thanks to CRD (pictured here with sidecar) for a super duper birthday, complete with periodic well-wishes during the day, "Le Grande Mac & Cheese," and laughter. Once again, CRD to the rescue-- this time sans cheerleader movie.

Amber & Birthday

I love this song.

Oh, Iceland, you are a land of beautiful and strange gifts.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Amber & Sundaes

I always like my sundaes with Jimmies on them.


Amber & Beach

I'm about to head back to the city after a delightful weekend on Long
Island Sound. Wait until you see the rocks I have collected!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Amber & Looks Like 99

This is what Feels Like 99 Looks Like.

Note open mouth, tank top and use of headband (because even small hair is too much hair today).

Desert creatures like kitties respond to the heat by stretching out on the floor, thus minimizing energy output and maximizing contact with a cool surface. Note partial belly exposure to capture any passing breezes.

Further to this strategy, the under-bed stretch is popular for the shade it offers and, as Ginger demonstrates below, the ability to capture any cool air descending along the walls.

(Yes, that is a chewed swab in the foreground. Sometimes, we use clean swabs as toys. Cheaper than those fur mice.)

Some prefer the under-middle-bed strategy. This may be more to do with the fact that the vacuum made an earlier appearance than the heat. (Note my bathing suit top in the foreground. How did that get there? I don't know. Why is it there? It has ties which are preferred cat entertainments.)

But some clever beastinas take advantage of the heat-induced sloth of their housemates and enjoy their solitary time at the food tray.

It sure is hot.

Amber & Out of the Frying Pan

I have returned from the Bay Area. All of the kitties are fine: Woody's nose is 99% healed, Tiggy only puked once (and not on my bed!), Ginger is shedding like crazy from a week of not being pet, and Pickles needs to be right next to me everywhere I go. I have some cleaning to do (six days of cat shedding, plus laundry) and some work (no meetings today!).

But, it is really really really hot. Oh man is it hot. I went out to get cat food and an iced beverage and almost sweat myself into a shriveled heap.

I really would move to San Francisco... if it wasn't going to fall off into the ocean in the next 30 years.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Amber & She Is Away Again So I Took This Picture Of Paul & The Vegetables

[Thanks again to CRD for this guest post. This week's share: three varieties of tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, green beans, cukes, cobbed corn, green peppers, a frying pepper, celery, and some other leafy thing tbd hiding behind Paul's head. Eggs. Flowers. Lavash
crackers, multigrain loaf, and, this weeks seasonal delicacy for the bread share queso flautas.]

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Amber & Pop Ups

So, as you may know, dear reader, I am on a biznus trip to San Francisco. What you may not know is that, on Monday, I had a retreat with my professional colleagues upstate which featured stormy brains, projects made out of concrete, and Marin County nature.

This is a photo document of that project with some editorial help from Alison.

One thing you can say about my division is that we are diverse in size and shape and species.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Amber & Professional Colleagues

Today, I am in all day meetings with my Mother Goose Magazine
coworkers. The sure work hard here and have high ceilings.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Amber & Suppenkuche

Bring it on, Bratwurst with sauerkraut and spaetzle. And Congratulations to Marnie and Brian.

Amber & Brunch

Cafe Andre! Bloody good times!

Amber & BART

What if... the BART strike started right now and they took us all

Amber & Sunday, San Francisco-style

After a delightful flight, we have arrived. Diana is changing for her
wedding in the ladies room, and Kevin is checking for retail
compliance of Mother Goose magazine in the terminal bookshop. Fun times!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Amber & Home Chores

Cubbies organized = check! Kitties put away.

Close-up-style (learned from

Admittedly, Gigi put himself away. Ugh. Can you believe his perfection? Or that I still have those striped sheets?

Amber & Errand List

Laundry = check! (Is the reason why they remove my sheets from the
drier before they are dry, while i am standing there, that my elders
know they have less life ahead of them? Or does the greatest
generation just deserve fluffier bedding than I do?)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Amber & Copyright Infringement

Alisa's husband, James, sends this emergency dispatch from his honeymoon with the subject header "Copyright Infringement."

The real Pickles seems markedly unphased.

Amber & Cat Worry

I worry about the well-being of my animal buddies. From thinking their legs are falling off to bringing Ginger into the vet on a hot day because he was panting, my judgment in the realm of the health of kitties errs on the side of paranoia.

So, imagine my concern today when what had appeared to be a puffy black spot on Woody's nose fell off and left an open sore.

You can see there's still some black scabbing inside the nose and the center of the sore seems sort of white-ish. Is it an infected pimple? A bug bite from the River House? Sasquatch Cell Carcinoma which is, I read on the Internet, very common in middle-aged cats? I think a call to Dr. Schaubhut is needed.

Even more worrisome is the other symptom my boy is presenting: spacial disorientation.

He seems to think he can walk on walls.

And yes, Virginia, those are tiny scraps of paper towel all over the floor. Another roll savagely hunted and shredded by Ginger & Pickles.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Amber & Public Speaking

As CRD pointed out yesterday over at Internals Plural, I had two speaking engagements at James and Alisa's beautiful wedding.

For the first I gave a personalized version of the first of the the Nissuin blessings on the topic of holiness. Those readers who remember the story of my epiphany while doing yoga in Madisonwisconsin will be able to guess right where I went: The Grapes of Wrath.

I encouraged the couple to learn the lesson of Preacher Casey and come to recognize the holy in the everyday, in the world around them and in each other. I quoted the part where Casey says...

"I'm gonna work in the fiel's, in the green fiel's, an' I'm gonna be near to folks. I ain't gonna try to teach 'em nothin'. I'm gonna try to learn. Gonna learn why the folks walks in the grass, gonna hear 'em talk, gonna hear 'em sing. Gonna listen to kids eatin' mush.... Gonna eat with 'em an' learn. ... All that's holy, all that's what I didn' understan'. All them things is the good things."
Astute Wrath fans will notice that the part about Casey lying with ladies in the fields and husband and wife thumping mattress were edited out to be respectful of elder attendees of the wedding.

Then, I gave a toast. In that, I was humorous, made references to doing my interpretive dance later and told the story of how James and I almost met twice before we stuck on our third encounter when I was in my flannel nightgown. My point was that when something is meant to be, when two people are right for each other either as friends or as husband and wife, it happens. I said that James, after their first date had very cautiously told me that "there might be something there," and that we all could see exactly what that something was in Alisa and what the something between them was as well. And I thanked them both for being wonderful.

I'm not sure what that face is in this photodocument by CRD. I think maybe it's the part where I am mentioning that James is very good at helping move furntiture in a dorm room?

I think both went pretty well, although there was a bit of weepy at some points. And special thanks to Town Shop for helping me hold it all together.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Amber & Marital Bliss

Who has four thumbs and is getting married today?

This guys!

Congratulations, James and Alisa.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Amber & Farm Share of the Week

Plum tomatoes, green beans, whit onions, cobbed corn, clipped basil,
broccoli, bok choy, pickling cukes, two red lettuce, eggs, lavash
crackers, multigrain loaf, Shephardic challah, apricots, tortillas,
mystery pink flowers (Diana?), and one regular tomato. Thanks to CRD
for picking it up while I was pooped.

Amber & Homeward Bound

The end of vacation is never fun. Especially not when it involves a
cat carrier.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Amber & Two If By River

We get whole fleets and armadas of canoes and rafters and fishers passing by the River House. They have no idea how loud they are talking, or that we can hear every dumb comment they make. "Look! There are people up there!" Yes, and you're lucky we don't have a cannon.

But yesterday, we had a welcome water invasion when Diana and Kevin came to visit via inner tube. It took them about an hour to float down from their River House which is about three miles up river. But, I spotted their pink fleshy forms paddling long before they came ashore.

It was exciting to watch out for them as they got closer...

...and closer. Until finally I was able to greet them on the muddy shore. I brought a noodle just in case there were any accidents.

And noodles can also be used to push back the aggressive weeds along the path.

It was a fun visit that ended hours and hours and several Pimm's Cups later in grilled chicken and vegetables and beets.

Thanks for floating over to see us, Kevin and Diana!