Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday: Can't wait to see you again Augie

The time went by so fast. Before I knew it, it was time for me to head back to SoCar:

The flight was pretty empty, but of course I've got the guy on the cellphone ranting behind me the whole time during boarding. He was yelling at, I'm guessing, a friend: You tell her that she better have that money for the cabinetry! I'm not f**king around. I can steal a Ford truck in less than 2 minutes. And I f**king swear, I will drive it through her house. If I'm going to be f**king homeless, I'd rather be in jail, 'cause then at least I'd get fed...Look, I know she's your mother, but she's f**ked up...Look, she better have that money. I'm not f**king around.

Well, if the news shares a story about a lady who has a Ford truck run through her house, we'll all know she didn't have the cabinetry money.

I was left to ponder the many things that are usually unattractive or repulsive in adults but are so cute on a baby, like footie pajamas, jowls, drooling, and sharting. And at least I had these sweet memories to keep me company:

Like Augie getting a little cocky in his Gamecock jacket:

Sweet cheeks to kiss:

Even when he was sleeping, I couldn't help kissing him:

And my favorite, watching Augie dream things that make him laugh while he's sleeping:

After the flight and drive back, I came home to my own sweet family. Where I was greeted with a healthy meal of sushi rolls and grilled salmon. Hahahaha. Okay, I'm lying about that part--we ate a frozen pizza and the rest of the potato chips the girl started at her sleepover. And impressively, the dishwasher wasn't run the whole time I was gone.

Aaah, home sweet home.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday: The Mermaid Inn

We had a more active day today, with a morning jaunt down to the Downtown Bakery:

They kind of specialize in Mexican food, so I enjoyed a torta with black beans, jalapenos, oaxaca cheese, and, my God, incredibly delicious bread:

Then we headed towards Brooklyn to check out some places. Augie wasn't so impressed with his first subway ride:

When we came back, I covered him with more kisses and changed his diaper. His cuteness quotient doesn't go down at all when getting his diaper changed, right?

It's just tinkle yo!

We watched a bit of the Celtics-Lakers game, but had to DVR the rest because we were getting dressed and ready to go to The Mermaid Inn.

Why, hello ladies

We timed dinner perfectly to overlap Happy Hour (where there are raw oysters and clams for a dollar each):

And where the Happy Hour beer on special was Session!

And Lobsterpalooza was going on, all at the same time:

Topped with chocolate pudding and fortune telling fish:

Augie had the right idea after a such a fabulous dinner out:

Cute and smart.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday: El Cobre

We had a lazy and relaxing Saturday. We went out for an Indian lunch. This time I tried the okra masala:

I kind of realized that I reach my saturation limit of okra sooner than a full entree allows, but still, I cleaned my plate.

And in the evening we tried this excellent tapas bar, El Cobre:

I thoroughly enjoyed their Nochebuena, which featured Scarlet Ibis rum, Zirbenz pine liqueur, and grapefruit bitters. It came with a fascinating giant cube of ice and was quite potent and delicious. I know I'll really enjoy it in warmer weather. My BIL recommended a Portland (where he had lived) black lager called Session, which I kind of enjoyed more in the cooler weather. I don't usually care for lagers, preferring wheat beers, but I enjoyed two bottles of these:

Though the drinks are quite pricey here, a big thumbs up for the mixologists here at El Cobre. I greatly appreciated how crisp cold they kept their beer and excellent balance of my cocktail. The tapas were also delicious. I highly recommend their yucca fries with curry dipping sauce:

And don't worry, Augie joined us for all our food adventures. In fact, the only thing that topped stuffing my cheeks was kissing his:

What a yummy baby.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Change of plans

This guy is ready for anything. Don't you love his go face?

We were going to visit our mom/his grandmother but unfortunately, the car was a bit buried/unavailable.

The big plus was that alternate side street parking rules have been suspended during the crazy snowstorms. Hooray!

So we went to Momofuku. This time we tried their steamed bun sandwiches. So good:

For dinner, we tried Dumpling Man:

Where they make dumplings "right in front of you"!

A delicious way to end a Friday:

We loved the "Surprise" veggie dumpling of the day and the Hot Monster sauce. We thought the Cool Monster sauce was a bit overwhelming and the savory Gold Coin dumplings were all dough and fairly forgettable. The sweet banana Gold Coin dumplings and the Sweetie Pie (pumpkin pie with goji berries, honey, raisins, and sweetened condensed milk) were excellent desserts.

Though we didn't get to do what we planned, we certainly made the tasty best of it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Made it

So I made it to Charlotte:

I made it to LaGuardia:

I made it to the N train:

I made it to the East Village. And man, it came back to me quick how I hate the slush at every New York corner:

But I guess it's worse for the drivers:

But this sweet reward was worth it:

And this healthy lunch of arepas from Caracas was pretty darn good too:

Sleeping babies are the best:

Augie. So worth it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thank God for high thread counts and other silver linings

I have to preface this post with the admission that I have officially become a middle-ager. Sure it's becoming obvious that I'm favoring function over fashion, whether it's my hair, my car, or my clothes. And when I was younger, I was more psyched for the quantity served at restaurants than the quality. Now, I only eat out for the company of friends or if the food is groundbreaking (like delicious vegetarian fare--okay, yes, I said it) or much better than something I can cook (whether it be sushi or well-made hash browns). If I miss out on another slab of grilled salmon, I'll be okay. Also, things like social principles or political issues for me were much more black and white in my 20s whereas now I'm seeing broader strokes. So much so that I'm sure younger me would want to scream and yell at current me for my middle-age opinions. Which brings me to the kicker: that I spend a lot of time inquiring, what is it with kids today?

For the first time I actually left at the required time to make my journey up to Charlotte airport with the recommended hour to spare for my flight up to NY to finally hug and kiss my new nephew. See? Like a mature person. As a conflicting message for my accomplishment, a big snowstorm hit the northeast early. So my flight was canceled. So I had to get into another line to reschedule another flight. And because everyone had a ton of questions, I was stuck waiting in line for a pretty long time and left to ponder this:

Okay seriously, what is it with kids today? How is this even hip or cool? If this kid's underwear was white or had a lower thread count, it would really be a visual case of why bother? Because as it was, this picture is much kinder than the live view--the fabric on this young man's underwear was so translucent, one could discern freckles. Since when did "follow the dotted line to my rectum" become a fashion statement?

Anyhoo, I was rebooked on an afternoon flight. After I got a coffee and hoped to snag some wifi, I got an automated message on my cell phone that the afternoon flight was canceled as well. I rebooked another flight after listening to various theories with the staff about whether certain planes are quicker to be canceled than others, etc. I planned to spend my afternoon here:

But after talking to my sister about the persisting snow in New York and that the other area airports including Philly weren't letting in flights, we came to the conclusion that it was highly unlikely that any flights were going to fly into New York today. Though the optimistic part of me (probably the same part of me that has consistently bet on the Detroit Lions these last couple of years and was rooting for Caleb Hanie to deliver a win over the Packers), thought what if the evening flight actually makes it into LaGuardia? In the end though, the smarter gambler in me switched to the flight tomorrow morning.

Which meant shuttling back to long term parking and driving the 90 miles from Charlotte back to Columbia. Not the most satisfying way to leave an airport. But the silver lining? I was able to hit the Costco here in Charlotte (there isn't one in Columbia) and dropped a figurative cool mil on a ton of stuff.

Another silver lining? I guess the automated system hadn't caught up with my changes because I received an automated call saying that the evening flight was canceled. Aaahh, a good bet pays off.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

FaceBook: Time Vs. The Social Network

After reading Time's Person of the Year article that was highly appreciative of Mark Zuckerberg (creator of FaceBook) and FaceBook's power of reach, connection, and sharing, it should be interesting to now watch The Social Network which, from what I've gleaned from the commercials, is a less than appreciative view of Zuckerberg. Obviously, I'm watching the SAG screener for performances, but I'm curious to see if it will sway me on the concept of FaceBook itself:

But I will confess that I'm teetering on the edge of joining FaceBook--in part, due to the Time article's point that it has become not only become a dominant medium for socializing but for commerce as well. I'm finding that some vendors skip hosting a website and just have a FaceBook page. Kind of makes sense--target market comes to you and you have a captive audience for the information you want to share with them. But I'm still hesitating--I don't need another internet commitment...any former hold-outs out there willing to e-mail me their POV?

Anyhoo I meant to watch the DVD but ended up playing Battleship with the girl instead:

Sometimes a break from the screens is a pretty good break.

Monday, January 24, 2011

More unpacking

Finally unpacked all the pictures that used to be on the fireplace mantle:

Hmm, I might have to get a bigger space for these.

I also hung up some paper lanterns, one of which is also a lamp.

Though I have got to do something about that hanging cord. I think there is some kind of clip that I can get to have the lamp cord lie flat against the wall. The shadow of the cord is driving me crazy.

I also unpacked more boxes. Since we had lost a bookcase to the move, I was hoping that we could donate enough to not warrant a replacement. Unfortunately, I think I lost that battle, though I did manage to fill another box for donation.

Anyhoo, it wasn't all work. The girl had some friends over and they made these pretty chocolates:

Sweet way to end the weekend.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Food Lion: Signs of the Obvious and Clever names

For a change up from the Piggly Wiggly grocery store, the girl and I checked out the Food Lion.

The girl thought this display was impressive:

Personally, I loved the note taped at the bottom, strongly advising that the products were "for display only" and that we should get the actual items from the soda aisle. Whenever I see a sign discouraging something very specific, especially for something that wouldn't strike most people to do, I can only conclude that the specific issue has been an occurrence or problem before.

When I lived in New York, I had a friend who dated a guy who had just moved there. Since New York is one of the most notoriously expensive places to live, he chose to start out at an SRO in Times Square, since he didn't have a roommate, a friend to crash with, or a lot of money. Not to be confused with Standing Room Only at theaters, SRO here stood for Single Room Occupancy, which was basically a bunch of single rooms that shared a common area, which may include bathroom, kitchen, and/or seating/living area. You could usually get a weekly rate which was easier on the pocket than a deposit and rent on a New York apartment. Long-timers at this Times Square SRO tended to be those who were somewhat jobless or panhandled, and/or had a drinking/drug problem, and usually at this point in their lives, had worn out their family and friends' welcomes and patience.

Anyway, this guy was very nice and just needed a cheap place to stay until he could save up for a deposit on an apartment. He and my friend were going to meet up and he had to get something from his room, so he brought her up to the common area which included a kitchen. And above the kitchen sink was a sign in bold black marker that said, "PLEASE - DO NOT URINATE IN SINK". Man, I can't remember how long they dated or even the guy's name, but I will always remember that sign. And that I don't eat off plates that have been washed in a kitchen in a New York City SRO.

Anyhoo, now I don't bat an eye at signs requesting the obvious. In fact, most often, I can't help but crack a smile or smirk when I see them. When I hear someone getting wound up about a sign like "gah! why do we need a sign telling us not to drink from this mall fountain?" I can't help but comment that someone probably did and then conjure up some crazy scenario where some cheap mall-goer thought it was a good idea to slake his thirst with toddler-soaked, dirty penny water and proceeded to vomit all over the mall atrium. And then some mall big wig sighed, better put up a sign.

The other thing the girl and I enjoyed at the Food Lion was their line of generic soda. She and I both enjoy variants of Dr. Pepper. Unlike colas and lemon-lime sodas, that's the one soda that most generics enjoy coming up with other esteemed names. Like Mr. Pibb or the Piggly Wiggly's own Mr. Pig. Well here at the Food Lion, not only did they come up with their own Sir Soda for Dr. Pepper but they came up with a clever take on Mountain Dew:

Dr. Perky and Mountain Lion? This might be a grocery store for me.

Friday, January 21, 2011

At the vet's

I brought my cats in because among other things, apparently all cats are required to have a rabies vaccine in the state of South Carolina. Anyhoo, in general, I don't expect a vet's waiting room to have anything remotely interesting to me beyond "educational" pamphlets made by veterinary pharmaceutical companies, but someone "gifted" the waiting room with this book:

It's kind of in the vein of LOL cats, but frankly, most of the stuff was fairly uninspired, like a cat on the thin line between patience and clawing the owner's face, wearing a hat or sprinkled with playing cards. Or a sleeping cat piled under a bunch of couch cushions or in a mound of gummy bears. stuff + cats = awesome? Think again, my friend.

Okay, this was kind of funny.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I think I can recommend this shredder

Now that I don't have access to an office shredder, I wanted to order a little home-sized (and home-priced) shredder for all the occasional mail, documents, and expired credit cards, that should be shredded as well as the box of stuff I was overdue on shredding:

I found this Aurora AS810SD model for less than $30 on Amazon (free shipping--hooray!):

It went through that box of stuff pretty quickly, without any jams:

I know that I was supposed to get the kind of shredder that does the cross-cut but they were pricier, larger, and louder. And this was definitely a step up from my previous identity theft prevention measure: tearing up a document and putting the various hand-torn pieces in different garbage receptacles in the house.

But I did add this measure:

Adding coffee grinds and other garbage juice to marinate my shreds.

On a side note, for those that are wondering why I'm not recycling the shreds--our recycling system resembles a big unlidded plastic tub where everything (specific plastics, glass, and paper) goes. One reason I don't put these shreds in the bin is that they just might fly out of the tub, littering the neighborhood. Another is adding the annoying task, of pulling the paper shreds off the plastic and glass, to the recycling driver who sorts all the glass, plastic, and paper by hand into the separate bins on his truck. And finally, in the big, practiced scheme of things, it will be very onesie-twosie each week--just enough shredding to cling to a bottle and annoy the recycler.

Anyhoo, unless this thing craps out or spontaneously combusts soon, I give this shredder a B+. Great value, great size for home use--just wished it cross-cut.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Looky what arrived today

That's right, my new shredder (I found a bunch of old paperwork I didn't need anymore, like old credit card statements--hooray for internet statements!) and finally a CD binder so I can move my CDs from all those cases (gah! so bulky!) and those shelves into a simple binder. It also helps that I've been buying mp3 albums lately instead of CDs.

I'm looking forward to some more decluttering this weekend...