Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Until Tuesday, I had no idea what I was doing for Thanksgiving. I had bought a frozen turkey dinner, just in case. I was contemplating going to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade the way I did my first year in the city. The thing is, the weather reports were predicting a miserable day. I was also considering volunteering to help a charity serve Thanksgiving dinner. Then Tom called me and invited me to have dinner with his family. I agreed.

The thing was, I'd kind of gotten pschyed up about volunteering. Then I found my opportunity. I got of work Wednesday, made a batch of fudge to take to dinner, then went to "the theological seminary" to help prepare meals that would be served the next day. I was a particularly valuable member of the crew because cutting onions doesn't make me cry. I also learned a fabulous method for doing so. Too bad I don't really like onions. Everyone there was just so cheerful and warm. Clearly if I had decided to spend Thanksgiving with those folks, it still would have been a good one.

Eventually I tore myself away, quickly went home, showered and packed a bag of stuff for the weekend. Tom's brothers' band (Dead Men Dreaming) were playing at Lit Lounge. I didn't get there, carrying the world's fullest backpack, until after their set was over. I ditched my bag under a bench. (Perhaps that was a mistake. Some of the clothes inside ended up beer-soaked, but at least I wasn't carrying them all night.) At one point I heard a ruckus behind me and Tom was making a wierd face. It turns out Tom's brothers and their friends were giving him thumbs-up and shouts of approval following my arrival.

The next day, we went to his parents' house. His parents, his brothers and his dad's parents all live there. They're this hilarious Italian family: warm and loud and arguing, but mostly happy.
When we came in, I asked Tom if I should remove my shoes. His dad's first words to me were: "That depends. Did you step in shit out there?" Then they preceded to feed me until I thought I might explode. At 1:30 there was a huge antipasto course of meats, cheeses and fried artichokes which, it turns out, I like. They were shocked that I'd never had it before.

His grandmother asked it I like Italian food. I replied that I did. "But you're not Italian?" I admitted I wasn't and she sighed sadly, then shrugged. "Well, at least you like Italian food."

People watched football for a while. Dinner was served at 3:30 and was enourmous, leaving all of us stuffed for hours to come. Then we watched The DaVinci Code (I fell asleep). Then, in lieu of the evening meal we had the dessert course. Chocolate pudding pie, apple pie, pinoli cookies, rainbow cookies, my fudge, nuts and ice cream. There was also port, which is perhaps the most delicious alcoholic beverage I've ever tasted.

The next day Tom and I walked to Prospect Park. Before we left, I told him I needed a snack, but we both forgot. Halfway through the park, my bloodsugar crashed, and he had to half-drag me to a snackbar. I didn't like that. I'm very independent, and it makes me feel so silly. I'm a strong woman, yet if I forget a snack I'm suddenly so light-headed and weak that I'm in need of rescue. On the other hand, it's probably good for me. I have trouble letting myself depend on others. After we got home, Tom make me some amazing Italian dish that involved noodles and clams and garlic and fresh parsley. Yum! I love men who cook.

Saturday began well enough. We made french toast and bacon. Later we went to a birthday party for Tom's friend, Pablo. Pablo is from Barcelona. His wife, Janey, is six months pregnant. She's American, but was born in Korea. They're a fun couple. We had lunch at Heartland Brewery, then went to see Volver, the new Almodovar film. The movie was great except for two notably fake elements: Penelope Cruz's curves and her singing voice. Yep, that is definitely a padded booty(I found confirmation online), and I'm pretty sure her bra was padded, too. And the voice? Beautiful. Very Spanish. Just not very Penelope Cruz.

After that we went to Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station, where we met up with more of Pablo and Janey's friends. I was afraid the smell would nauseate me, but luckily it didn't. We had so much fun. Then Tom and I went back to my place since I wanted to get up in time for church this morning. When I opened the door to the building, I could already hear the music. I knew it was coming from my apartment. I opened the door, and fourty people looked at me. I walked around. Rick was nowhere in sight. We decided to ignore it and go to bed. We even managed to fall asleep. Then, at two a.m., the guy with the speakers arrived. We woke up. People kept trying to come into my room (thank goodness I locked the door...but how many people were in my bedroom before I got home and locked it?) I went out again, in my pajamas. Now there were easily fifty people, spilling out of the apartment into the stairwells, both up one flight and down one flight.

I found Rick and informed him it was too loud. He replied that he didn't know I was home and said he'd keep it down and get them to leave "earlier than I'd planned." But it didn't get quieter. The music was so loud, it was creating waves in the glass of water on my bedside table. I went out again and found Rick. I asked him what leaving "earlier" meant. He replied that it meant 3 or 4 a.m. (Oh, and in the past he's told me Dominicans are very "flexible about time", so 3 or 4 means at earliest 4 or 5.)I told him I had somewhere to be in the morning and would have to leave by 9 a.m. I asked him why he didn't call me to let me know he was having a party. He said, "Well, I would have invited you, but I knew you wouldn't come. I mean, I thought about calling you, but I didn't think you were coming home, so I didn't."

I finally just made him give us money for a cab (It cost $45!) and at 2:30 a.m. Tom and I left to get a cab to his apartment in Brooklyn. As we were leaving, Tom heard a guy on the stairs say, shaking his head in disgust, "How you not gonna tell your own roommate?" Hee. Even the partygoers were on my side. I did not wake up in time for church choir practice. I am, even now, mad at Rick.

But that aside, it was a wonderful Thanksgiving that reminded me of how lucking I am to have my friends, my family, my boyfriend, and all my opportunities. I know that I have something to offer, ways to make this world a better place. I'm doing my best to find them and use them to the best of my ability. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Hi, Mom!

My mom hadn't spoken to me in a while, and she said it'd been a while since I posted (6 days). So since my internet connection is actually working for once, I better update while I can. Thursday night I had Parent Teacher Conferences. It went fine; I'm great with parents. Then Friday I installed an overhead light (a quite affordable paper lantern) in my bedroom. Yay! It's no longer all shadowy in there. Now I can read well or put on makeup with accuracy. Then I made fudge for Fake Thanksgiving.

Friday night, I stayed at Tom's because Rick was having a loud party, and I was not in the mood. Saturday, Tom and I went to Fake Thanksgiving at his friends' house. It had all the trappings of normal Thanksgiving, only cooler. The football game was on TV, but muted with great music playing. Dinner was so delicious. Everyone loved my fudge ("You made this? Seriously?") After dinner we all played Trivial Pursuit, which we all feared might be boring. Actually, I've rarely laughed so hard in my life. We got together at 1 p.m. and didn't go home until midnight. Then Sunday Tom and I hung out more, watching movies and eating Chinese food.

Today was work: I found out that I'm supposed to do nothing but test preparation from now until the statewide exam in January. Yep. That won't be at all boring for the students. They definitely won't get bored and act out as a result. Nope, not at all. Grr. Two more days until vacation.

I haven't decided how to spend Thanksgiving yet. I'm trying to decide between going to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or volunteering serving dinner to the needy. I'm leaning toward the shelter idea. If I don't talk to you before turkey day, dear family and friends, know that I love you. I am so greatful to have your love and support in my life.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tsampa, Solas, Carne and Otto's Shrunken Head

Those are just a few of the places I've been spending time. It's been so long since I posted! It's partly been because I've been busy, and partly because of a faulty internet connection. Anyway, two Saturdays ago was Tom's birthday party. It was in Brooklyn, and hard to get to due to train repairs. It's a continual problem for citizens of Brooklyn. That's when I realized: Tom and I have a long distance relationship! It took me more than an hour to get to his place. More than an hour is a long distance relationship.

I was hanging out with all of his friends, and they were a lot of fun. I got to see Lex, too, which was nice. Tom liked his present: The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal. On the inside cover, I inscribed it, "If we had an inside joke, this is where it would go." That made him laugh. I spent the night at his place where we made out and ended up having the relationship talk. The result: He's officially my boyfriend. The next day we lazed around in bed, ordered pizza for lunch, watched a movie, had leftover pizza for supper and watched the Simpsons before Tom drove me home.

Then there was a week of work --the less said about that, the better-- and then it was the weekend again. Yay! (The most interesting thing about that week is I read a new book, Bee Season, which started out charming with an intoxicating take on language. It ended up all weird and sad and disorienting. Anyway, back to the story...)

Friday night the girls and I went to dinner as usual, but Tom ended up joining us. You see, Laura made it seem like all the guys were coming. Laura was wrong.Tom didn't mind, though. We had delectable Tibetan food at Tsampa. I devoured every scrap of my food, then scavenged leftovers from Laura and Riza. "Wow, Erin," Laura exclaimed. "I've never seen you eat like this." Then we had drinks at Solas before going to Otto's Shrunken Head. Who By Fire (Laura's boyfriend Ryan's band) had a gig there. Yes, that's the name of the band, and they stand by it. The band's pretty good. The lead singer sounds like he's channeling Jim Morrison, though, and Tom correctly surmised that it would help if they played some of their songs in different keys to make them more distinctive.

The next morning, Tom and I decided to make brunch. The bacon frying set off the fire alarm. Oops! Also, I'd never made pancakes and he hadn't made them in years. They were rubbery, not fluffy. Any suggestions? After that we went for a walk in Morningside park. It's a decent little neighborhood park, the most distinctive attribute of which is a gorgeous waterfall. We walked by the cathedral of St. John the Divine and its nearby trippy Peace Fountain, which includes a giant crab, giraffes and the Archangel Michael fighting satan. Nestled in the base of the fountain was a live albino peacock just wandering around. (Seriously. No, seriously.) For supper we went to a restaurant named Carne (Meat? Who names their restaurant Meat?) where we got some scrumptious hamburgers.

Then we tried to go see Stranger Than Fiction at Lincoln Center. It was sold out, though, so we just sat on the edge of that pretty, lit fountain in front of the Metropolitan Opera (see photo at left I downloaded froma talented photographer's blog, Livinginny. I didn't take the photo, nor am I in it, but it's a perfect shot.) and talked and kissed. He spent the night again and I barely made it out of bed in time for choir practice Sunday morning. I went to church and sang my heart out.

Monday it was back to work and today was Parent Teacher Conferences. Now it's just tomorrow, Thursday (with the second half of Parent Teacher Conferences making my work day last from before 8 a.m. to after 7 p.m.) and Friday until it's the weekend again. It's probably not a good sign when you're counting down to the weekend on a Tuesday night, but oh, well.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Last night, Tom and I went to see the Village Halloween Parade. It was a crazy crush of people, and a mad show of color and light. I had my digital camera, which is challenging to adjust in the dark (I think I might have a time-release setting?). Also, many of the pictured were taken one-handed with the camera held over my head. The result is a bunch of blurs, but it really captures the craziness of the event,

This was a freaky ghost-baby-butterfly puppet that swooped over us.

This is Kiss.

These are crazy lit-up pumpkin-man-puppets. There were guys wearing crazy suits that controlled the pumpkin man puppets around and above them.

I have no idea what this float is, but the swirling color is exemplary of the parade, which included a few floats, some marching bands, people on stilts, and random costumed individuals. You see, anyone who wants to be in the parade can be! They just have to show up at the staging site.

We eventually managed to squeeze our way out of the crowd and went for a peaceful dinner before making our way home to catch a bit of sleep before work in the morning. So much fun!