Monday, August 31, 2009

Shhhh!! Surprise Party!

Tonight I spent a few hours making surprise birthday party invitations for my mother-in-law's 85th birthday next month. I know! 1924!! Wow. Apparently, she's the same age as the Thanksgiving Day parade. At first I wanted to do a, "She was born the same year...blah blah blah happened." I thought it would be cute, but most of the events were pretty sad, like the first death by poison gas in the US death penalty system and a few other people getting murdered and assassinated.

So, nix on that idea.

I've wanted to throw her a birthday party each year, but every year, Peter shoots it down, saying that no one will ever come. This year, I came up with a BRILLIANT IDEA. For those of you who used to watch The Facts of Life in the 80s, you know what that sounds like.

The whole reason Peter didn't want to throw a party was that he was afraid that everyone would not show up and then his mother would be heartbroken. So I came up with the surprise party idea. That way, if no one shows up, no one is the wiser. She won't know that all her kids are heartless jerks. We can just take her out to dinner and the latest Jennifer Aniston movie like we usually do.

So he was all for it and I made these really cute invitations. When I showed them to him, he smiled and looked at me and said, "You know, if everyone DOES show up, she's going to be SHOCKED."

I said, "I know. I was going to write that in the invitation, but felt it was inappropriate."

We'll be moved into the house by then and it would be nice to have everyone over. This will FORCE me to get the house ready by that time.

Although, I had to write something in the invitation that actually said: Do Not Let Her Know About This Party--and I really hope they pay attention to it. The last thing I want is for people to call her up and say:

"Oh, by the way, I can't come to your surprise party...SURPRISE!!"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

She's an Easy Lover

Me (singing): She's an easy lover...

Me (normal voice): Who sings that terrible song?

Peter: Phil Collins.

Me: Why? Why, Westchester WHY???? Why do you play Phil Collins everywhere? What is it that makes you so LAME? No matter WHERE I GO in Westchester, there's that DAMNED Phil Collins!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Will Smith, African American Hero

My sister Jenny went to a school recently as part of her new job where she educates children about the importance of fresh foods and vegetables. She noticed that the bulletin board still had the Black History Month decorations on them from February. I remember my teachers were really diligent about keeping their classroom borders festive with the current holiday themes, but I suppose the February display should get some special play--after all, it's already short-changed by being such a short month, so hurray for that teacher.

On the bulletin board were the photos of 5 prominent African Americans:

Malcolm X
Harriet Tubman
Barack Obama
Martin Luther King, Jr


Will Smith

I wonder if Colin Powell would be like, "HEY!"

But then again, Will Smith has so improved all our lives by teaching us how to get jiggy with it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How Did It Get So DIRTY?

The first time Peter and I had rented a place to strangers, the two youngsters kept the place pretty spotless. Not only that, but they painted the walls in terrific colors which made the place look AWESOME and we ended up selling the place for about $30K more than we listed it the year before we rented to them.

So, let's just say that we were kind of Flabbergasted today when we went to take a look at our house. Our renter moved out and we're planning on moving back in--had we known she wasn't going to stay, we might have just moved back to the house last year, but ALAS! These things happen.

I'm actually looking forward to moving back to the house--I've been missing having a nice huge yard and not having to take the dogs out three times a day. It's so much easier to just open the kitchen door.

Anyway, when we went to take a look at the place, it was SO DIRTY. The lady smokes so everything smelled like the bottom of an ashtray. She had just had a cleaning service over the house so I can only imagine what it had been like before they got there. When I opened the kitchen cabinets, there were dirty crumbs of gunky stuff EVERYWHERE. Now, I use my cabinets A LOT. We cook all the time and I have tons of STUFF, but I don't have crumbs all over everything. There was grime and dirt and grossness EVERYWHERE.

I did get a little freaked out by how much mess ONE PERSON can make in three years.

But the way I see it, she was paying a pretty good rent--so whatever it takes to fix up and clean up the house is fine.

Peter was a little worried about me and said, "Don't worry, we'll have this all fixed up and it'll be totally fine. Are you freaked out?"

"No," I told him. "If she can't be bothered to shave that mustache ON HER FACE, how can I really expect her to wipe up some crumbs in the kitchen cabinet."

"I know, right? Every time I was talking to her, my eyes kept wandering to the mustache. It was really distracting."


Peter and I are going to Rhinebeck in a couple of weeks--mostly to get away from it all--or rather, get an hour and a half away from it all. So if anyone has any good suggestions for something to do up there, I would appreciate it.

We're planning on having dinner at the Culinary Institute up in Hyde Park, which should be interesting, since it's run by all students. I've been reading Trip Advisor ratings to no avail since the reviews are mixed--it's the craziest thing--it's all:

"Hate it! The students are IDIOTS!"
"Love it! "The students are GENUISES!"
"Hate it! My food was cold!"
"Love it! My food was perfect!"

I guess it depends on the random group of students who happen to be there at the time you visit.

A few years ago, Peter and I drove up to Hyde Park on a lark and I told my mom and she said:

"Oh, yes! Hyde Park! That's where the culinary school is and FDR's old house."

The strange thing is that my mother doesn't know anything about anything most of the time, and yet she'll randomly know something about an obscure place up in the middle of New York State. When I asked her how she knew about this place, she said:

"Well, you know, when our Japanese friends come to visit, it's one of the tours. They go up to visit FDR's home and have dinner at the culinary school before they come back down to the city."

Anyway, that's about all I know about the area also.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Christmas Tree Shops Don't Sell Christmas Trees

While my sister and I were in Albany (Did I mention that I went to Albany?), we went to the local mall to place a reservation at the Cheesecake Factory--unfortunately, there was a huge line and the earliest reservation was for 9pm--so we had two hours to kill.

It took us about six minutes to traverse the whole mall, considering we didn't want to purchase any candles or greeting cards. At the tail end of the mall, there was a place called Christmas Tree Shops and Jenny wanted to go inside.

"But I don't even like Christmas Trees," I said.

"Oh, come on! I went inside that Halloween Store you wanted to go to," she said.

Reluctantly, I walked in the store with her...and I found one of the most AWESOME places on Earth!

I found cookbooks for $5.
I found bags of organic whole wheat rigatoni for $1.65.
I found a shower mirror/radio for $5.

Then I heard Jenny yell, "Utz! Utz! $1 for UTZ!"
She stocked up on bags of Utz selling for $1 each.
Jenny also found a basket for transporting her baked goods for $4.
Jenny found a tea towl to cover her basket for $1.

We spent 2 whole hours browsing through this story and I couldn't find ONE Christmas Tree.

It was kind of upsetting because I've seen these stores whenever I've gone to the mall in Paramus and there's one in Hartsdale, but I assumed it sold Christmas trees and never went inside.

"It's terrible marketing," Jenny said. "This is exactly the kind of store we like and we didn't know about it."

It's true.

The next day, while we were driving back home, I told Jenny, "You're gonna be mad because there 's a Christmas Tree Shop in Amherst and you didn't know about it the whole 4 years you were there."

She said:


"Uhm, okay," I said. "I knew that I was going to get a reaction like, Ooooooh, No Way! or Too Bad!, but FUCK!!? You're taking this really badly."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Best View in Albany

I'm in Albany with my sister Jenny--she's on a business trip and I've been working on a fellowship application. We're staying at a local hotel and I was disappointed with the fact that our hotel room's window looks out onto the hallway. That's strange, isn't it? What's up with that?

When she mentioned that to a friend of hers, he said, "Why's she disappointed? That's probably the BEST VIEW IN ALBANY."


No offense, Albanians!

Everyone we've met here is unbelievable super-nice and friendly.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Northern Beans Gone BAD

I have been trying to be better about cooking--I really have--but going out to eat is really one of the only things Peter and I look forward to doing. When both of you work at home all day, it's not only about being too lazy to cook, but it's a reason to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE.

However, because we're trying to save money, I am trying to cook more. And since Peter is a vegetarian, I feel that he should start adding more bean-eating to his diet because pulses are good for you and we must support the pulse farmers of America.

The only problem with beans is the soaking. That means that you can't willy-nilly think of something to cook 30 minutes before dinnertime. It means that you must have soaked the beans overnight, with the intention of cooking the beans the next day.

A few days ago, I put a bag of Northern beans in a metal bowl and filled it with filtered water to let the beans soak. I then proceeded to forget all about said beans for THREE WHOLE DAYS AND NIGHTS.

We came home the other day to the most horrible SMELL. This smell was the most godawful smell that ever was released onto the earth. It was a smell worse than cat pee. It smelled like the regurgitated bowels of three hundred devils, devils who really FUCKED UP and did a whole bunch of BAD SHIT while they were on Earth.

Peter went over to the bowl, lifted the lid I had put on it and said, "What the HELL IS THAT?"

"Oh! It's the...uhm...northern beans I was going to make for you a few days ago."

Those beans went bad. I mean, they went so bad, they went to another realm of bad, the realm known as PURE EVIL.

Not only did it smell like the depths of hell, but they were fermenting and forming a disgusting foam--the kind that SATAN probably bathes in. And of course, since this was ALL MY FAULT, I had to get rid of it, almost throwing up twice in the process.

All this because it's much cheaper to buy dried beans and soak them overnight instead of the handy-dandy canned beans. Suffice it to say, I will be buying more cans of beans.

Northern beans, when you go bad, you go VERY VERY BAD.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

When I Die, I Want to Come Back with YOUR Life

When the property manager came through to inspect our apartment (because of the leak in the ceiling), he saw that Peter was sitting on the sofa in front of the television and he asked Peter, "What is that, a video game?"

Peter said, "It's MLB Power Pros."

The guy looked at him for a moment and then said, "When I die, I want to come back with YOUR life."

After he left, Peter said, "Hey, I don't blame him. I love my life."

Monday, August 10, 2009

I Don't Think I Should Win the Lottery

About a month ago, I was in the kitchen with Peter and I happened to look up at the ceiling. What I saw made me SCREAM. I saw this dark brown THING, which I thought was a bug, but when Peter saw what I was looking at, he said, "Oh SHIT!!"

I'm a bit overdramatic, but Peter always has his shit together, so the fact that he was freaking out did NOT make me feel better. Basically, what I thought was a bug was actually a small brown MUSHROOM growing out of the corner of our ceiling. Not only that, but we noticed that there were bumps forming all along our wall.

Apparently, our neighbor upstairs had been doing some "work" in his bathroom and had been taking showers in his untiled bathroom. Right. So who knew how long the water had been leaking down our wall.

To make a long story short, he fixed up his bathroom, called his insurance company and we were awarded $2,000 for the damage, which was really great because it cost about a quarter of that to actually fix the problem.

However, the day after we were told we were going to receive 2 grand, we discovered that the roof of the garage was totally kaput and rain was pouring down the walls. The cost of the damage? $2,000.


It seems that every time Peter and I get a chunk of money somewhere, something goes wrong and instead of being able to put it into our savings accounts, we have to shell it out to fix some stupid thing or another.

I'm almost afraid to pay the lottery. I mean, what if we win? What horrible thing would happen?

All this damage to our apartment and our house seems to be coming from water, so I wondered if there was some Chinese feng shui thing we could do to prevent this from happening.

I called my mother and asked her if there was something I could do, burn some magic papers in a bowl and mix the ashes with water and pour it over my head? (Okay, that's something I ACTUALLY did a few years ago because my mother told me it would bring me luck...and she had already paid the fortune teller some money to get the magic papers, so I HAD TO do it. And the thing is, I was afraid not to.)

Her reaction was something I totally did not expect. She said:

"WATER? That's GREAT! Water problems are a GREAT SIGN! It means that you and Peter are going to be coming into A LOT of MONEY! Water problems are GOOD LUCK!"

When there was a fire in our building a few years ago, my mother said that fire was also good luck.

What's wrong with these people?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Buy One Get One All Over Your Feet

I took my sister out to lunch today for a "first week at work" celebration. She started her very first full-time job this week helping people in need apply for food programs in the city. We headed out to a Mexican restaurant and I had the enchiladas, but since I am anti-beans, Jenny asked me to request the beans on the side so she could have it. When I told the waiter, he looked at me kind of funny and said, "But they are ALREADY on the SIDE of the plate."

I explained that I would rather the beans be in its own plate--actually, if it were up to me, beans would be on another planet. My hatred of beans has gone back as far as I can remember and even my mother will testify that, as a toddler, I would patiently pick out the azuki in the rice and beans she made one-by-one, flicking them on the floor.

After lunch, I thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of Jamba Juice's buy-on-get-one-free coupon. We drove over to 86th and Lexington Ave and boy, was it hectic. There were about 17 cops milling all around, so I didn't want to be caught double-parking. As I came back around the block, I called Jenny, and when she went to pick up her phone, her Jamba Juice fell to the floor and splattered all over her foot.

When she got in the car, I saw that she only had one Jamba in her hand, which was mine. I felt really badly about it and had a lot of elder sister guilt about it. Thoughts like, "Why did I CALL her?" "I should have gone through my lesson of how to carry Jamba Juices! I know she's almost twenty-two years old, but that lesson got passed over!" I was well-taught by my Chinese parents that any fault or defect of a younger sibling and any failure they may come up against in life is MY FAULT because I DIDN'T DO MY JOB PROPERLY.

Their job was to put food on the table and a roof over our heads and my job was to make sure that my sisters were raised right.

Jenny tried to assure me by telling me that she didn't even feel like having a delicious juicy treat. And HEY! You can turn this tragedy into a semi-funny blog post.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Too Much Information

The internet is a great thing, but at one point pre-internet, you would lose touch with a friend and occasionally hear news about them through a third person and you would be glad to know how they were doing.

Now, you can find their personal blogs on the internet, especially personal blogs told from the point of view from their children.

I got a phone call from an old boyfriend of a friend and we were talking about another friend who had a baby a few years ago--did you get that Internet? 3 people! This is what I call making Peter happy and not using first names of our friends who may get upset to be mentioned on my anonymous (perhaps soon to be non-anonymous?) blog.

Whenever any man calls me, Peter is convinced the dude is trying to see if we're still married. Y'know, 'cause the divorce rate is 50% and you never know... Although I think it's sweet that with all the young single girls in the world, Peter thinks that some guys are still holding a torch for this boring and married old lady.

Since her name came up during that phone conversation, I googled my old friend and found this personal web blog that is told from the point of view of her child. The whole blog is all, "Mommy is so wonderful. She's so beautiful and talented and kind."

Okay, so it's kind of strange if she's the one posting that she, herself, is wonderful from the point of view of her child, but it may be even slightly more disturbing if it's the husband posting the entries. I mean, why does he have to constantly stroke her ego? Is anything going on?

And that's not the strangest thing.

They do this thing.

They do this thing when they travel with their child.

They fling him high up in the air and take pictures of him "flying" in front of national landmarks and historical sites.

I know that any description of these photos will not convey how comical they are, but I don't feel right about posting them because that's a violation of privacy...even though these people have posted them ON THE INTERNET for all the world to see. I still don't think it's right.

Peter thinks that we will probably do a million things to our children that other people would criticize and that's true, but that's not going to stop me from talking about my friends behind their backs when they put Coca-Cola in the baby bottle (fine, I don't know anyone who does that).

Anyway, it's just way too much information than I need to know about my old friends from college.

Thanks internet.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Eric Bana Sucks...Energy

The other day I was listening to NPR and the host was interviewing Eric Bana and he was describing his character in the Apatow movie "Funny People."

"I play this guy who sucks all the energy out of the roomKSHHHKSHhhkKshhhhh."

Not only is he a movie ruiner, apparently, he also sucks all the energy out of the RADIO because NPR went all static and I couldn't listen to the rest of the broadcast.

This confirms it. Eric Bana sucks.