Easy as ABC…

Now that you have The Jackson Five playing background music in your head, I have a confession.  You know those silly/annoying emails that circulate every couple of years in which you answer questions about yourself?  Yeah, I’m one of those annoying people who not only fills them out, but sends them to nearly everyone in my email address book.  I’m a details kinda girl and I love collecting tidbits of information about people.  Who knows what you might learn about your friend that you’ve had since the 2nd grade or some great blackmail information on the annoying coworker 4 desks down?

A couple of months ago I saw a getting to know you post in the format below.  It’s been a long time since I filled one out (probably because everyone on my email list has a secret pact with each other to NEVER EVER send me another!).  Aaaaand it is different than any other that I’ve seen, so I thought I’d give it a go!

How is it different?  Why, thank you for asking: rather than answer questions, you simply list (although WARNING: I never list–I always have to explain!) 26 interesting things about you, each item starting with a letter in the alphabet.  While I’m horrible at explaining, I know that you’re brilliant and by the time you get to “A,” you’ll have it figured out!

One last thing before I begin: individuals did not make this list.  So if you are just reading this in search of your name stop right now and go back to work, uh, I meant lunch.  Don’t pout–invariably I’d leave someone out and then I have to endure years of guilt trips.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!  And honestly, how am I supposed to pick between Bubba and beer?  Although, actually that’s rather easy because I’m 250% sure that Bubba (aka my brother) would agree it should be beer.

Now, back to the task at hand.

The ABCs of Shez:

A is for Addy, my darling pupcicle (you know, in case you weren’t aware that I had a darling pupcicle whom I adore!)…and before you call me out on it, yes, I broke the “No Individuals” rule, but it’s the ONLY time I promise.

B is for Beer…mmmmmm….beer (I hope you heard that in a Homer Simpson voice!).  I don’t think that needs further explanation.  Plus you should have seen it coming.

C is for coffee.  Again, no further explanation is needed, especially those who have had the “pleasure” of seeing me in the morning before coffee–it ain’t purty!

D is for dogs.  Pupcicles are special because they bring so much love and joy into our lives–in so many ways.  Of course, it ain’t all sunshine and roses, particularly when you live in NYC and have to pick up poop for a very large dog.  But they make our lives whole with their amusing antics and unconditional love.  PS–if you’re wondering how much I love dogs, I picked them over dessert!  If that’s not love, I don’t know what is!

E is for Eso se que es, which literally translated is confusing so I like to go with the loose translation of “it is what it is” and whenever I say it, people look at me like “did you just say socks in the middle of my rant?”  No, but yes.  Anyway, it is a reminder that life is bigger than all of us and that any time you think everything is perfectly mapped out, the Fates will take the opportunity to intervene so they can laugh at you.  Thus to keep sane, I like to remind myself of three things: eso se que es, que sera sera, and Lord give me coffee to help me change the things I can, and wine to help accept the things I can’t.

F is for FOOTBALL!

G is for Grace.  By that, I don’t mean elegance or beauty or charm.  Did I mention I was clumsy?  Well, I am.  I come by it honestly (right Auntie K??).  As such, my Ome would always call me Miss Grace (as in, I am anything but).  To this day whenever I hear the word grace, I think of my Ome.

H is for Hamburgers.  Preferably ones with cheese and bacon and avocado and served with onion rings….but any ol’ burger with cheese will do! 😉

I is for Ice cream.  And anyone who doesn’t think it should be on EVERYONE’S list is just wrong.

J is for Jigsaw puzzles.  I love to put them together–although I haven’t put one together in a long time.  Why?  Well, whenever I find one that I love and makes me want to set up a card table and put it together, I remember that I live in a house with Princess Adelaide Grace, who is so named because like me, she is anything BUT graceful…

K is for Kaas (Dutch for cheese).  I couldn’t leave cheese off the list, thankfully the Dutch helped me out a bit.  And before you accuse me of using Google Translate to find a language where cheese started with a different letter than C, I will have you know that I was a Rotary Exchange Student to The Netherlands.  How does this relate to cheese?  I used to live about 6 miles from Gouda and would go on Thursdays to the cheese market…because…how can you go wrong with a cheese market???

L is for Laughter, because it truly is the best medicine–unless you have TB or malaria or something like that, then I would highly recommend medication.

M is for Molasses cookies, my favoritest cookies in the world!

N is for Nelson, as in Willie (and Waylon and the boys).

O is for Oven–I love baking and roasting and I can go without a lot of things, but an oven ain’t one of them!

P is for Peckish.  For most people, it means slight hungry.  But I’m never slightly hungry, so when you hear me say peckish know that it means “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the rider, but I don’t want you to think me gluttonous, so I’m going to just pretend that I’m kinda hungry and then either eat all of the snacks you foolishly set out or go back for seconds and thirds when we do eat.”

Q is for quixotic, which is just fun to say…quixotic, quixotic, quixotic!

R is for reading and don’t ask me to pick a favorite book.  I’m still trying to narrow my list down to 10 so I can post it on FB (and we’ll just pretend I wasn’t tagged to do it a month ago…sorry Becca!)

S is for Shiner…and failing that, Stella (and don’t tell me it’s cheating because I’ve already listed beer…it’s MY list!)

T is for Tolkien.  You thought it would be TEXAS! didn’t you?  I just wanted to share a line in a poem in Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, which completely sums up my life:  All those who wander are not lost.  I do hope, though, that you appreciate that I was still able to work TEXAS! into the T slot 😉

U is for umbrellas.  I totally have Mary Poppins to thank for my love of umbrellas.  Ironically, I hate using them in NYC.  People here are oblivious when using them and tend to poke other people in the head, repeatedly until I feel an urge to grab the umbrella out of their hands and give them a good smack with it.  I refrain, of course, but I know that I’m one huge rainstorm away from needing bail money.

V is for vino.  What?  It’s a word.  It is in my house….and that’s all that matters.

W is for wanderlust.  The reason wine is called vino in this list.  Traveling is truly my passion.  Even more so than eating and drinking.  Luckily, I consider imbibing in the local food and drink an integral part of traveling!  I was bit by the wanderlust bug when I went to The Netherlands (see K is for Kaas) right after high school–and I have no plans to stop any time soon and “I haven’t been everywhere yet, but it’s on my list.”

X is for Xi, which is one of my favorite words to play in Words with Friends.

Y is for Yoga, something I’ve recently started doing.  Who knew stretching and finding on your inner zen could be so draining?  Please don’t write in and tell me yoga is more than stretching and finding your inner zen.  I know it is, but when you’re watching others it looks so relaxing and graceful.  I’m here to tell you for me it is neither relaxing nor graceful, but I do enjoy blundering through class–even if I look like a bull in a china shop.

Z is for zazzy.  And yes, you have to say it like Sheldon.  And if you need further explanation, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore (if you’re worried about it, I can totally be bought with wine, beer, and cheese….but not crappy cheese–if you’re trying to bribe me, it had better be aaaaaaa-mazing cheese!).

And that’s me in a nutshell!

For the record, this was a lot more tedious than I thought it would be, so not as easy as the Jackson Five would have you believe!

Thanks for indulging me!

hey mom are you done with the stupid laptop yet?

hey momma are you done with the stupid laptop yet?

 

Independence.

A few days ago there was a spectacular storm that swept through New York City.  Naturally, social media of every shape and form was quickly filled with stunning pictures, like the one below.  If you’d like to see more of this storm, click on the photo and you’ll get to see a lot of amazing photos.  But this one–this is my favorite.

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Photo credit: @albapro/Instagram

It is no big secret that seeing Lady Liberty is my favorite thing about living in New York City.  Some days, it is the only thing I like about it.  She serves as a reminder of the freedom, the liberty and the hope of all who call America home.  I am lucky in that I am reminded twice a day of the struggles that we as a country had to overcome; it is not something I take for granted.  Sure we have a lot of issues and an entirely new set of struggles that we face, but we face them together.

The poignancy of this photo is especially symbolic today.  On July 2, 1776 our Congress approved a resolution that would grant us independence from British rule.  Two days later, our Declaration of Independence was signed, proclaiming our sovereignty to the world.

Engraved onto a plaque in The Statue’s pedestal is the sonnet The New Colossus, written by Emma Lazarus (as you will remember from an earlier post, the original Colossus was in Rhodes).  So before I go enjoy my beer, brats, and watermelon while waiting for the fireworks to start, I thought I’d leave you with this powerful sonnet:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

Oh Happy Day!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…so here two thousand to sum up my morning. Btw, did I mention it’s a gorgeous spring day here in NYC?? Well, it is–and that’s not just the cawfee tawkin!

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Carpe Cupcake!

Apparently the new job is big on celebrating birthdays. Fine by me, especially when birthday girl happened to mentioned she liked ice cream cakes. I’d like to also mention there is a Cold Stone Creamery within walking distance–12 blocks, to be exact, and not of the avenue-block variety (if you live or been to NYC, you know that there’s a big distance difference between a street block and an avenue block!)

We got on the website to try and figure out which flavor birthday girl would like when we discovered ice cream cupcakes in an assorted pack: problem solved!

After the singing and the wish-before-you-blow-out the candles, it came time to choose a cupcake. Birthday girl went for chocolate decadence, but I went for the birthday cake cupcake.

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One bite and I was hooked! First of all when I went to take off the wrapper, I realized it wasn’t paper. It was CHOCOLATE!!! Seriously. CHOCOLATE!! And maybe some of you aren’t shocked and this is common knowledge, but not to me–the only other time I had ice cream cupcakes, they had wrappers.

On the bottom of the cupcake was a smaller layer of red velvet cake, then the rest of the cup was filled with birthday cake ice cream, topped with pink icing and, naturally, sprinkles.

One word: scrumptious! Honestly, ice cream is never anything that even enters into my brain when someone asks what kind of cake/cupcake I like, but I think that will definitely be changing!!

Oh and before I dip into a sugar-induced nap, Happy Birthday, Ainsley!!

Get Your Hot Knish Here!

Nestled on the Upper West Side is a fabulous place at 80th & Broadway called Zabar’s, who’s motto is New York is Zabar’s…And Zabar’s is New York.  They’re not lying.  Zabar’s was opened in 1934 and is such a New York icon among New Yorkers in terms of gourmet food and coffee at reasonable prices.  I go in several times a week for THE best onion bagel in town.  Quite honestly, I’d live there if I could.  Of course, I’d probably weigh 837 pounds if I did, but I’d be a happy, happy girl!

Now, for everyone who has visited me and I have NOT taken them to Zabar’s…ooops,   don’t yell at me–you just have to come back! Actually, it is because until the last year or so, I hadn’t actually been inside Zabar’s.  I’ve only passed their enticing windows, presumed it was too expensive, and stupidly kept walking.  Thanks to Philip, I have been drinking their amazing coffee since I arrived in New York and one day I just figured what the hell–and went in!  I could, and have, gotten lost in there.  It’s a time warp.  I’m not lying when I said I could live there!

But, I digress what I really wanted to talk to you about is a delectable goody known as the knish (which you’d already know, if you were paying attention to the title!).  I walked in today for THE best onion bagel in town and something else caught my eye.

breakfast of champions!

breakfast of champions!

The knish.  I just…I just…I just had to get it.  I mean it’s sausage and I’m presuming potato and it just looked too damn good not to get.  Besides, with the windchill it’s 10F–so I think I can splurge on something hearty this morning.

Best. Decision. EVER!  Okay, maybe not ever, but definitely of the day… and the week, hell, may be even the month!  Not only is it sausage and potato, but the potatoes are mashed and garlicky with a smattering of sauerkraut.  Just a hint, mind you, to play with your tastebuds a little.  All of this is wrapped in a flaky puff pastry and topped with sesame seeds.  You bite into the warm and deliciousness and your eyes roll back in your head a bit.  It was spectacular!

In my opinion, probably a bit too heavy for everyday consumption in the summertime–but when it’s cold outside and you need something to warm your soul, head to Zabar’s and indulge in a hot sausage knish…you’ll thank me and if you’re feeling really nice, you’ll get me one too!!

 

Song and Dance

One of the best parts about living in New York City is access to great theatre–by access I mean that you don’t have to drive 2 hours one way to see a show, because I know great theatre can be found everywhere.  But back to Broadway: it is, quite simply, amazing.  If you should happen upon The Big Apple, try to make it to a show.  On or Off-Broadway, you’re guaranteed a fun time.  I have had the fortune to see quite a number of shows during my tenure here in NYC.  One of the most fun, though, was a show I went to a couple of weeks ago at 54 Below, which starred Lee Roy Reams.  The show was an homage to Lee Roy’s life in the theatre and it was magnificent!!  He sang, he danced, he relived amazing moments that he has had over the years.  Lee Roy is so entertaining and charismatic that his stories make you feel like you were there when…

54 Below is a supper club on 54th Street, between 8th and 9th Ave.  As such, part of the evening including supping.  And sup we did!  I could have easily eaten everything on the menu, but in the end chose the wild mushroom and truffle risotto.  OMFG.  It was…divine.  It was rich and creamy and the mushrooms were flavorful and not overcooked.  The truffle oil added depth and just enough richness to make you wish you were at Hogwarts and it was a never ending bowl!!

mushrooms and truffles and risotto...oh my!

mushrooms and truffles and risotto…oh my!

Dessert was nearly as scrumptious–it was a pear, apple crumble.  Alas, no picture–as Lee Roy was performing when dessert was served and I dare not interrupt the show!!  But the apples and pears melded well together with a crisp, crumbly top.  It was served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top because…well…how else would one eat crumble?!?

It was a fantastic evening!  If you live or visit New York, check out 54 Below–trust me, you won’t be sorry.  AND if you ever, ever, ever have the opportunity to see anything with Lee Roy Reams in it, GO IMMEDIATELY! And you know, be sure to invite me!!

Forget The Roses…

Everyone should make time in their lives to walk through a park on a cool, crisp autumn day.  It’s truly a sight to behold–colors of gold and green and red and brown; everyone slightly bundled, with a crisp chill in the air so as to keep you bundled; leaves rustling; laughter; hand holding–to me it’s a sight as magical as the holidays.

I think perhaps that is why I love autumn so.  Well, that and also because I grew up in Texas and you never truly get a proper autumn in Texas.  You never really get a proper anything except summer.

I mean, how amazing does this look?

Central Park!

Central Park!

And I know, I know I am very fortunate that the park I usually choose to walk through is Central Park (I’m a bit spoiled that way), but the park near my house where I walk the pupcicle is no less gorgeous or less serene. Of course, if you live out of the city (or in a city not as compact and cramped as NYC), you might find the back porch or a town square just as magical.

The magic, I think, comes from the sense of serenity and peace and a momentary escape from the harshness that can be reality.  I think it’s why I prefer Thanksgiving to Christmas.

GASP! you say.  But it’s true.  For me, the focus has always been on family, friends and food.  Gifts are great, but they also add a lot more stress to the equation.  Of course, I’ve never had a white Christmas.  That might swing the vote the other way…at least for that year because I truly LOOOOOVE snow (you know, when I don’t have to get out and drive in it or worry about how I’m getting to and from work).

Thanksgiving allows us to focus on being thankful and happy for what we have.  Sheryl Crow sings “it’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.”  And it’s true.  I know I’m guilty of focusing on the what ifs.  Generally speaking, we tend to get so caught up in what we think we should have that we tend to forget what we already have.  Where would we all be if we spent more time appreciating and less time worrying?

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

So as you’re prepping for the week countdown to Turkey Day (gobble, gobble) and, realistically, the rest of the year, what are you thankful for?