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11/30/2008

Thankful

As I write this, I’m lying in bed, strapped to a heating pad.

To understand what happened, we need to go back about 3 weeks. I noticed that the heater in my living room was on the fritz. The vents felt hot, but the air wasn’t blowing and it wouldn’t really turn on (or off). Not liking the idea of random people roaming around my pad while I wasn’t home, I waited to get it fixed until my parents were in town. So on Wednesday, aka Thanksgiving Eve, I took my mom to the doctor for her regular appointment while my dad was stationed inside my apartment all day on heater patrol.

When I came home from my Good Deed, I immediately noticed my furniture was askew. Obviously things had to be moved for the workers to get to said busted heater. But I ignored the fact that heat was now flowing freely because the OCD Fairy whispered in my ear. Must. Fix. Furniture. Now.

I think you see where this is going.

As my dad helped my mom off with her coat, I pushed my sleeper sofa roughly 4 inches to the left. Ah, that’s better. But then the rug got scrunched up. So I bent down and lifted the end of the sofa to straighten it out. Ok good. Now that order was restored in the world, I sat on the sofa and realized my coffee table was too far away. I couldn’t be expected to live like this! So I leaned forward to pull a large wooden table (containing several shelves and drawers full of magazines, catalogues, and books) toward me.

I pulled. My back popped.

Actually, maybe it was more of a tear. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. Either way, I instantly knew something bad had happened. On Thanksgiving Eve.

By 7pm the shooting pains and spasms made it crystal clear I was on the DL. I couldn’t get up, I couldn’t lie down, and I knew there was no way I could drag my sorry ass onto a CT-bound Metro North train for various Turkey Day festivities.

Now, to say my family isn’t great with sudden changes in plans is the understatement of the millennium. But I have to say, they rolled with this one. My awesome brother drove down early Thanksgiving morning to pick up my dad and drop off all the fixings for turkey sandwiches, plus an apple pie, pop-tarts (classic pilgrim fare) and even a cheerful plant. He’s definitely lobbying for Brother of the Year (little did he know, he already had it in the bag). As my dad headed north to represent the family at the official dinner, my sweet mom stayed with me all day and made the most delicious sandwich ever -- with paper-thin turkey, moist stuffing, and tart cranberry sauce, it was Thanksgiving on a Bun.

Fast forward to today: I’ve spent about 89 of the last 90 hours in bed. I feel like Grandpa Joe from Willy Wonka. I might look like him too. I’m much better, but still not great. I think I’ve successfully avoided a trip to the Scary New York City Emergency Room. Still, I could use a hot shower, and I may be getting an ulcer from all the Tylenol I’ve been taking. But I am pretty thankful for my amazing family.

Oh, I also discovered a new channel on TV – LMN (Lifetime Movie Network). I got sucked into their mini-series marathon, specifically Lace, where Phoebe Cates, in all her 1984 big hair and shoulder-padded splendor, turned in her finest performance. In a very strange attempt at a foreign accent (Irish, maybe? Or was it German?), she uttered what could be the best line ever, “Now, which one of you bitches is my mother?”

Even though I filled up on turkey, I still had room for cheese.

So, did your Turkey Day go as planned?

11/25/2008

I Had A Crush on the Free Credit Report Guy

Lately, I feel like I’ve seen him more often than my family, friends or co-workers. It’s the FreeCreditReport.com guy.

He first came on the scene last year, dressed as a pirate with nothing but his boyish grin and a catchy jingle about a hacker who stole his identity. I was hooked (and had an odd craving for chowder and iced tea).

The months went by, and I felt his pain as he married his dream girl but because of HER bad credit, was forced to live in her mom & dad’s basement in a room that was so small his drummer had to use the toilet as a stool. I defended him (and his whack credit) as his posse was getting laughed at and their legs stuck to the vinyl in their used subcompact. I didn't think he looked that bad while rollin’ eco-friendly on a 2-wheel ride. And I cursed the credit gods as his identity was stolen yet again by some punk who prevented him from enjoying the champagne, caviar, and tricked-out exotic cars reserved only for rock stars.

Why such blind devotion to a man with such dubious credit? Because he was so cute!

Sure, I’ve heard that his report isn’t actually “free.” I can look past that. And I think it’s pretty clear he’s lip synching. Eh, so what? But now I hear it’s not even his voice because the actor doesn’t speak English? Well that’s just blasphemy!

Now, he’s all trying to woo me back with his fake sword fights and green wool tights at the Renaissance Faire (where he thought his credit could stink and nobody would care). I say, be gone, fake cute indie rock musician! Your bad credit is no good with me.

11/19/2008

Roll Out the Red Carpet

The following takes place between 7 and 9pm. Events occur in real-time.

Tonight I went to a screening of 24: Redemption. It was a 2hr movie they filmed in South Africa when the writer’s strike prevented work on the TV show. I’ll admit, I haven’t watched 24 since season 1 (season 7 starts in January), but I was still pretty excited to go. It’s not every day I get invited to a movie screening with actual famous people!

It was freezing today, making it impossible to get a taxi. When I did finally find one, I went as far as 47th and 6th in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic before I decided to hop out and hoof it to the theater on 42nd. I should never forget that the fastest way around town above ground is on two legs.

When I arrived and met my friend, G, the first thing we noticed was that the theater was super huge and really nice. After taking several escalators high above Times Square to screen #13, we came upon the red carpet where lots of news crews were interviewing people I didn’t really know. I was all ready to tell them I was wearing Ann Taylor LOFT, but nobody asked.

We were quickly directed to a table where we had to surrender all cell phones, PDAs, and cameras – that could have been a zoo, but it was all pretty well-organized. We were then ushered into the theater, but not before picking up our buttery popcorn and choice of Coke, Diet Coke, or Sprite (sorry, Steve). Free movie treats? Score! The popcorn bags were even branded with the 24 logo. The marketer in me was secretly jealous of the promotion budgets that movie studios have.

Inside, the theater was pretty crowded. We headed up the stairs to a row that looked empty, only to find out that it was reserved for some VIPs. Eventually, we found seats down in the 4th row, and settled into our red oversized chairs. Soon, the lights dimmed to get our attention, then came on again for the head writer and executive producer to each take a turn speaking. I couldn’t help but notice that standing in the wings was Jack Bauer himself, Kiefer Sutherland! He was pretty cute in a dark suit with a yellow tie, but he looked quite short (I always think famous people are taller than they actually are). The wool overcoat he wore told me he wasn’t staying for the show, and he didn’t. As soon as his name appeared on the screen he ducked right out.

You know, action/adventure really isn’t my thing, but the movie kept my attention the whole time. The story was pretty interesting and intense, the characters were believable, and I enjoyed a few casting surprises, like Gil Bellows and Peter MacNicol, both formerly of Ally McBeal. I remember Billy being so cute back in the day, but let me tell you, he has not aged well. Who would have thought “The Biscuit” would be the better looking alum?

Anyway, FOX is airing 24: Redemption this Sunday night at 8pm, so you can see it too! You can even hire a short guy, dress him in a yellow tie, and call him Kiefer.

Check out the trailer:



And thanks for inviting me, G!

11/18/2008

5 Reasons I Hope Lipstick Jungle Doesn't Get Cancelled

Lately there have been rumors swirling about the imminent cancellation of Lipstick Jungle. The show eeked by last year (likely due to the writer’s strike), and now in its second season, was recently moved to Fridays – the death slot!

I’m sure it didn’t help that the show’s star, Brooke Shields, recently said the show needed better writing. Didn’t she learn anything from her guest appearance as Joey Tribbiani's #1 fan? His Dr. Drake Ramoray took a 1-way ride down an elevator shaft after he bashed the writing on Days!

Anyway, I really like the fluffy time I spend with the girls in the Jungle. Here’s why I hope they stick around:

1. Kirby. Ahhh… I could watch that guy for the whole hour. Plus I recently saw an interview with the actor who plays him and he’s actually smart (he’s got a degree in economics from UCSD)! And hot! Nevermind he's like, 12. He just might be the 8th Wonder of the World.

2. Was a better character name ever invented than Victory Ford? Yes, I’m distracted by Lindsay Price’s teeth, which seem to have been severely flattened since her days as Steve Sanders' baby mama on the original 90210, and sure, she gets a little whiny, but her awesome name makes up for it all.

3. Ditto Andrew McCarthy with the weird face, but I’m digging this reunion with one of the stars of one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time, St. Elmo’s Fire (which also starred Emilio Estevez as a guy named Kirby – coincidence? I think not!). Seeing him as a suave kajillionaire makes me almost completely forget his weekends spent with a dead guy named Bernie. Both times.

4. Read My Lips. I love this song! I wonder if you can download it? It would be a saucy little ditty for my walk to work.

5. Someone really needs to throw creator, Candace Bushnell, a bone. With the economy the way it is, if the show gets the boot she may need to trade her Manolos for Payless. THAT would be a tragedy.

So will it get cancelled? I don't know. But I’ve heard that people have been sending lipsticks to the execs at NBC to keep the show on the air. I may just drop a few tubes in the mail myself. I’m lousy with Clinique freebies (seriously, how many Tenderhearts can one girl use?).

11/17/2008

I Heart Otto

In a city where Italian restaurants are a dime a dozen, it takes a lot to stand out. I just got home from having dinner at my personal fave, Mario Batali’s Otto (pronounced OH-toe, not AH-toe, but I say it that way because it reminds me of my childhood mailman named… wait for it… Otto).

Without a doubt, I’ve eaten here more than at any other Manhattan restaurant over the last few years, mainly because I never get tired of the cozy, laid-back atmosphere and the simple pizza/pasta menu. The occasional celebrity sightings – Liv Tyler, Mike Myers, and Mario himself – aren’t too shabby either.

Otto’s train station waiting area, aka bar, is HUGE by NY standards. It’s fun to see the letters on the big board click-click-click into position, telling you your table is up next. I love that the bread arrives all wrapped in paper like a present. And I could literally take a (very sticky) bath in the truffled honey and black cherries they serve with their amazing cheese course.

Certainly, I have my reliable go-to dishes (eggplant caponata and pasta alla Norma, you know who you are!) but pretty much everything I’ve ever eaten there has been totally delicious, with the possible exception of the Pizza Lardo – that one was mainly just bread topped with semi-transparent strips of pork fat, which was as gross as it sounds.

Bottom line: You really can’t go wrong at Otto, but you might want to skip the lardo. And if you decide to go, invite me! We’ll order the olive oil gelato for dessert. It sounds disgusting, but it’s divine – not sweet, very creamy with a sprinkling of kosher salt on top. Delicioso!

What’s your fave NYC eatery?

11/11/2008

5 Reasons to Tune In to Top Chef

Fire up the ovens, Betty Crocker, season 5 of Top Chef premieres tomorrow night!

What? You haven’t jumped on this culinary bandwagon yet? Fear not. This is a classy reality show that you can openly express your love for, much like The Amazing Race, because it’s less about the relationship drama and more about the competitions (this is in stark contrast to The Hills, which magically appears on my DVR and I secretly watch under cover of night).

Tomorrow, 17 “cheftestants” stand ready to take a bite out of Big Apple. Here’s why I’ve made a reservation at the best table in the house (and plan to munch on a far unhealthier snack than apples):

1. I love shows about food. That’s all, just putting it out there.

2. Judges table is most delicious when Padma (does she eat?) and Tom Colicchio (we KNOW he eats) take a seat alongside old favorites like Anthony Bourdain and Ted Allen. Can’t wait to see what past guests, like Martha and Rocco, and new guests like the Foo Fighters (huh??) bring to the mix this year.

3. I really dig the little piccolo music that plays when the Quickfire Challenge is announced. I especially like when the challenge involves making something I love to eat, like the perfect burger. And I love to laugh when the chef who makes the lettuce “burger” loses.

4. The chefs create a lot of great-looking, interesting dishes, but the best is when they battle over the bad stuff, like the bacon & avocado ice cream, or the chocolate ganache with chicken livers, or the butterscotch scallops. So gross, you could taste it thru the TV.

5. What other show tells its axed contestants to “pack your knives and go”? So brave.

Sight unseen, my top picks to go the distance right now are Fabio and Jamie. I can’t wait to watch them sweat out judges deliberations in front of the ultimate ode to product placement, that is the “Glad Wall.”

What’s your favorite reality TV show? Don’t be shy, you know you have one…

11/09/2008

The Dating Pool Is Awfully Shallow

So I did it. You wore me down. Are you proud of yourselves?

I bit the bullet and joined Match, eHarmony, and Chemistry (I told you I would). I took personality quizzes, cropped photos, and wrote profiles that don’t even BEGIN to scratch the surface on who I am.

I’m quickly finding it’s not hard at all to get responses – guys are no different online than they are at your friendly neighborhood construction site. What IS difficult, however, is finding someone you’d even like to share an elevator with, let alone anything else.

Now, I’m no walk in the park. I know I’m particular. And quirky. Some might even say, I can be a handful (anyone remember the spring break travel agent who cursed, “God help the man who marries you”?). But tell me you wouldn’t rather be alone forever than be with ANY of the following guys?

Keep in mind, these are ACTUAL snippets from profiles of heterosexual men who winked, broke the ice, or otherwise initiated conversation with me – and they are just the tip of a very freaky iceberg:

Guy 1: “I love animals and have a cat of my own. If I could adopt all the cats in the world, I would, because I really love cats and my own cat is like my child.”

Guy 2: “I want to hug at least on one evening in the week. Everything less would be too cruel and I would cry and scream and leave the house with our Chihuahua.”

Guy 3: “I walk after work to relieve the stress from my job. I’m tired of teaching, it was having too much of a stress level on me dealing with 60 teenagers a day, all at once. Until I decide what I want to do I’ll substitute teach, as it much less stressful on me and my doctors say I need to reduce stress.”

Guy 4: “I am averse to pets. I don’t like the smells, hairs, and the fact that they reduce your ability to go out spontaneously. Pets are as loveable as an ingrown toenail. If you have a pet of any kind (yes, even fish), you should stop reading now.”

Guy 5: “I love murder mystery's. They allow me to getaway with something without repercussions and keep my brains active trying to figure out who dund it.”

Guy 6: “I hated women for while because I am divorced. But have successfully worked through ALL issues, there’s no baggage.”

Guy 7: “I am an only child, I am adopted, and I have a little toy poodle that I just adore.”

Guy 8: “I am officially separated, but do not let that put you off. My divorce will be final in less than six months. I’m not sure yet what is happening with the house, so I am bunking with friends.”

Guy 9: “I'm very much into dancing and tried ballroom, Argentine tango and salsa dancing before deciding that I like swing dancing the best. I've been to swing dance camps.”

Guy 10: “I am an avid stamp collector.”

Consider yourselves lucky that I didn’t post the pictures that go along with these gems. Let’s just say, I’ve seen a bunch of cats dressed in sweaters, photos of nature (why, exactly?), a few guys waxing cars, and several short bald dudes holding big fish (or rifles).

Umm…I’m thinking, no.

Am I being shallow?

11/06/2008

Thanksgiving in a Box

One of the great treats of living in the city is Fresh Direct. Whoever thought this up is a freaking genius.

Gone are the days of roaming the fluorescent aisles at Kings (a mighty fine New Jersey grocery store chain). I may never load up a shopping cart with a wobbly wheel again. No more bagging my groceries as they fly off the conveyor belt at record speed. And I've played my last game of Parking Lot Ethics -- should I leave an empty cart next to a parked car, or walk all the way back to the store to drop it off? I even live across the street from Gristedes now, but nothing beats a few clicks of a mouse when buying groceries.

Today I received the greatest Fresh Direct email ever: Thanksgiving in a Box. You pick the size of the cooked turkey you want, choose from 2 kinds of stuffings, get 4 different side dishes, and a tasty cake or pie. They throw in rolls, gravy, and cranberry sauce, delivered right to your door. It's a heat and eat Thanksgiving miracle.

It's funny, when I first saw my apartment, the leasing agent looked at me like I had 10 heads when I said I loved to cook. "Nobody cooks in this city," he sneered, "girls use their ovens to store sweaters." A little extreme, but I'm starting to understand...

Maybe I'll just keep mittens in my oven, when I'm not reheating delicious meals from my favorite online grocery store!

11/03/2008

The One

This morning, I was on a shuttle bus chock full of retirees on the way to the airport, after spending the weekend with my parents. It was dark outside and I was tired (and frankly, I’m not much of a morning person), so all I wanted to do was plug in my iPod and zone out to an eclectic medley of songs I like. Unfortunately for me, Selma from South Carolina had other plans…

After some cursory small talk, she asked if I was traveling alone, to which I replied, “Yes.” Then she asked where my husband was.

What I wanted to say was, “I packed him in my suitcase.” What I really said was, “I’m not married.” Selma let out a long sigh, “Don’t worry, dear, eventually you’ll find The One. Or even The Three, like I did.”

It’s a conversation I seem to find myself in fairly often. I must look like I roam the Earth searching behind doors, around corners, and under tables, like I misplaced my keys, muttering, “Now, where DID I leave The One again?”

Well, Selma: I do not believe in The One. (Or The Three.)

Love isn’t like the cross-town bus -- like if you miss it, you’d better pick up a sensible pair of sneakers because you’re doomed to walk forever. No! If you miss it, just wait -- another bus will swing by 5 minutes later. I mean, nobody expects you to live in just one house, or have just one friend, or order just one pizza topping until the end of time. Why do we set the stakes so high when it comes to love?

Just think about everyone you meet over a lifetime. There are SO many different people in this world that you can be compatible with. I refuse to believe I could “miss out” because I wasn’t paying attention in geometry class, or I waited on the wrong line at the DMV, or I sat in 2F instead of 2A on a flight from Orlando to New York -- all while The One passed me by.

I guess my point is, I believe in The Many (but not all at the same time -- I’m not that kind of girl!), because you can’t miss out on love. At least not forever.

Married friends: This is your cue to come out of hiding and tell me why I’m wrong. Comment below!