Archive for May, 2011

a new summer coat

May 21, 2011

Add furniture painter to the resume because I am taking crazy baby steps all over the world of craft! Copious self-pats-on-the-back over here. Gave my desk chair a makeover with a nice new coat of paint, courtesy of Home Depot’s oops shelf. Hooray for pretty 50-cent paint!

Quick (unnecessary?) sanding and coat of primer-and-paint-in-one, and voilà:

I read copious instructions on how to do this—my primary apprehension being with the sanding. I bought a few sheets of 100 grit and sanded my hands warm … and, quite honestly, I don’t even know if it did a thing. But I cleaned it off, slapped on the paint, and here we are.

The best surprise is that I wanted to try for the “distressed” look, and it happened rather naturally as I painted. Finding that primer-in-the-paint mix meant I could paint lightly and let the wood color peek out without having to strategically sand parts of the chair for that refined-distressed (oxymoron?) appearance.

Now I have the bug. The painting bug. Hopefully B stops me before the apartment becomes a technicolor coat.

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from pulp to Prosecco

May 13, 2011

This morning I witnessed a pigeon treating itself to a drink of water—from a dog bowl. Perched on the edge of this stainless steel dish, just outside the pooch-friendly (and exquisite-ricotta-pancake-making) restaurant Five Leaves, this self-entitled little pigeon went to town on the oasis, surely a marked upgrade from the usual puddles of rainwater and spilled soda.

Though he bolted before I could snap a photo, I get to keep this little mental picture thanks to the atypical event of a morning run. Atypical may be putting it mildly: running has been an outright biological anomaly in my life for pretty much, well, all of it. Considering that simply living in New York has caused me to drop at least an Imperial stone, my motivation to sign up at the Y has been low. And sure, I was a steady gym goer in my college days, but more of the elliptical variety. In middle school I was a 10-minute-mile kinda girl. The fastest I ever clocked in for The Mile was 8:57 in the eighth grade. All I remember was my body being unable to decide whether to vomit or faint, so I think it attempted a little bit of both, and the rest remains a vague blur.

In short, I am not a runner.

As with most human progress these days, it was a mix of technology and chance that finally got me started doing what I had been longing (and finding infinite excuses not) to do. The chance? I moved. Just about a month ago. Next door to a couple whose female half feels inclined to strap on her heels or boots at 6:45 a.m. every weekday, despite not leaving the apartment until 8 a.m. (Just this morning, from the sound of it, around her rise-and-shine time she acted on an urge to reorganize her closet, which happens to be on the other side of the thin wall where the head of our bed rests.)

So, finding myself wide awake by 7 o’clock half the week when my alarm had another hour of slumber to go, I started to consider the surprisingly well-kempt track less than a half-mile from my apartment.

Next, the technology. I’d looked into Couch to 5K routines dozens of times in recent years, and I got the gist of it. Intervals of speed that gradually slides the ratio of walking:jogging into the favor of the latter. I had faith it was a good system. What has stopped me till now was the thought of having to focus as much on the timed intervals as the effort of jogging itself. Recall, reader: I am not a runner. Therefore, the act of running becomes all-consuming when I force myself to partake of the novelty. As if it’s not enough to run—I’d have to be constantly aware of exactly how long I’ve been running?

And then I stumbled on an app. An eponym of the Couch to 5K program that I delayed for so long, it clears away all the conscious effort of time and intervals, and just lets me run (and walk; lots of walking). After my five-minute warm-up, a nice lady voice tells me to start running. (You can also switch it to a nice gentleman, or a nice beep.) Then to walk. And so on.

This is mobile application productivity at its finest.

So here I am, reflecting on my morning run. I’ve been awake for more hours than I am generally used to for a weekday by this hour. So, thanks, technology. Thanks, slightly noisy neighbor. Granted, this is only day two of my newfangled routine. But that’s enough of a hurdle that I’ll allow myself a little personal pride, sort of like a pigeon who drinks out of a dog bowl.

good news, bad news, great news

May 10, 2011

A triad of developments this week! Let’s get right into it, shall we?

its innards gooed from the side. this did not detract from the delicious.

Call me Baker. I baked my first loaf of bread from scratch this weekend. Got a little lesson from the Brooklyn Brainery and made a raspberry and chocolate chip mini-loaf. Utterly delectable with a tart pomegranate jam I got from work. It’s amazing what insecurities a two-hour class can smother. Now that the process has been somewhat demystified, I’m rather excited to give it another try. I’m thinking a honey-whole wheat loaf in the coming weeks. (Also found myself quite proud making my dish-drying rack go double-duty as cooling rack. So simple, yet it saved me $20 on unnecessary kitchenware. Hooray!)

squint and you'll see it.

Call me Gardener. I planted a matchstick seed just over a week ago and just the other day I read that the sprouts could take weeks, even months, to appear. I’d decided just this morning to buy a pre-potted, pre-sprouted herb garden to quell my anticipation (and get some herbs a little sooner than July), when I come home to this. Bask in the glory of my little seedling!

Call me Disappointed. Okay, a little sad news comes my way in the new apartment. I’ve already been coping with the adjustment from gas to electric, and today that change revealed an unfortunate revelation. My favorite method of roasting red peppers is no more. This evening, I was prepping a pasta salad that called for a roasted red pepper, when, upon standing over the stove, plump red pepper in hand, I realized it: no flame. My arm went slack as I acknowledged I would no longer get to delight in the crackling, the glowing char that is the roasting of a pepper over an open flame. Sure, I just started up the broiler and cooked it up that way (worked pretty well, even), but the other method offered far more sensory satisfaction—and always impressed (frightened?) friends.

As long as the good outweighs the bad (which wasn’t even all that bad), I cannot find reason to complain. Now to coddle my seedling, and finish that bread …