Friday, April 28, 2006

Fire Regulations

The door to our apartment is the featured "weekend question" in the eight-week-cure page of Apartment Therapy. It was elevated from being a mere comment on the previous thread:

The metal door of our apartment (click here for picture) will remain a bulletin board/message center, although we'll be weeding out some of the crap on a regular basis. It's also a nifty display for our magnet collection.

What I need are suggestions on how to make it look like something other than the door to our apartment with crap stuck all over it.
A couple dozen suggestions followed, most involving some variety of making a frame for the section of the door where we put most of the messages. Then the conversation got around to what to do with that mandatory "Fire Regulation" sticker you're supposed to keep on or near your door:

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Country Cat

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Guardian iPods

I was on the R train headed down to the Apple Store after work this afternoon. Sitting next to me was a young couple with a little kid. The couple had iPods exactly like the one I was headed downtown to buy, and the father was showing his to the kid.

I smiled and caught their eyes. "I'm on my way to the Apple Store to get that exact iPod. How do you like it?"

"Buy it at the Apple Store online, " the guy advised. "You don't have to pay sales tax."

"What about shipping?"

"Free shipping!"

So I headed home instead and logged into the Apple Store, and now the iPod and an Apple Care policy will be shipped to me in 24 hours.

"That was a lucky accident," I told my husband.

"There are no accidents," he joked. "Those were your Guardian iPods."

Meanwhile, time to weed out the stuff in my music collection that's not getting ripped onto the new Pod.

PS: The spell check still doesn't recognize "iPod." It now suggests that I put my music on an aphid.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Home Depot

The Great Apartment Make-over goes on.

I was in Home Depot on 23rd Street this afternoon, talking with the kitchen cabinets guy. I told him that in addition to cabinets, I was also looking to put some thin sheetrock and beadboard on my walls.

"What installer are you working with?"

"I haven't made a choice yet."

It turns out that the same guys who install the kitchen cabinets can install the beadboard and sheetrock, and they also have painters. So I gave them my name and number to set up an appointment for a free consultation.

I asked on Apartment Therapy if anyone had dealt with them. One woman on the Upper West Side had, and was not happy with them. They had quoted her a price $1500 more than the other contractors, for one thing, and didn't want to look at any related problems before they made up the estimate. She ended up getting a recommendation from her super, and I've seen pictures of her cabinets...they're great!

Our building's super has installers he's called in whenever a rent-controlled tenant kicks off and the landlord puts a few bucks into fixing up the place before charging some 22-year-old kid $1800 a month. The trouble is, his guys have been kind of hit-or-miss, and lately more "miss" than "hit" or they would've been the first ones I'd have called.

Well, I have to start interviewing contractors sometime. I just hope I don't come off like a virgin, especially a stupid virgin with a lot of money.

Before I left Home Depot, I stuffed my pocket with paint chips, mostly Ralph Lauren's Island Brights . Stucco also has a certain appeal. As long as I'm not the stuckee.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Safe Deposit

I did manage to get another charge out of the iPod today.

I was listening to it on the subway going home tonight, and when it got to the end of the playlist, I pulled it out of my pocket and picked another playlist. It occurred to me that if I had a photo iPod, I wouldn't be so nonchalant about taking it out on the subway. In fact, it would end up in the safe deposit box along with my engagement ring, which I don't wear because I don't want to live in fear that some lunatic will take my finger in order to take the ring.

This is why city people who buy a car pick one that looks like a wreck, one that nobody would want to steal.

The poor and the rich don't have to consider these things. If you're poor, you don't have to worry about diamond rings and iPods, because you can't afford them. Or maybe you get a photo iPod but not health insurance, since you know you have enough money right now for the iPod but you don't know if you'll have the money for the premiums every month.

And rich people don't have to depend on the subway. Maybe Mayor Bloomberg takes it to look like a regular guy, but he doesn't have to.

It's that broad swath of us in the middle who have to disguise ourselves in dull plumage to shield ourselves from predators.

Monday, April 17, 2006

101 Uses for a Dead iPod

It seems as if I've had to recharge my 3rd Gen iPod about every ninety minutes lately, and this morning it wouldn't go on at all. I could probably get another half-hour or so out of this battery, but I've decided to take the plunge and upgrade to a photo iPod. We can show my parents digital photos of their grandcats. And I've realized lately that the iPod has become my sole mode of listening to music away from my computer, so it may be worth it to splurge and get one that will last me at least as long as this one has.

I'll probably spring for a battery for this one eventually and use it as a giant thumb drive, provided the computer I plug it into has a Firewire port.

I feel as if this is a big step for me, especially because I still refer to my iPod as a Walkman, the way my grandmother would call the refrigerator an icebox.

P.S. The spell check still doesn't recognize the word "iPod" and insists that I use "wiped." As in, "I wiped all the files off my old iPod before sending its carcass back to Apple."

Friday, April 14, 2006

Free Millie!

TV news teams stand by for further developments as animal rescue workers dismantle the basement wall of a landmarked building in my neighborhood to look for Millie the Cat. The eleven-month-old kitten has been trapped somewhere in the walls of the building for the past two weeks.

The news has been reporting her name as "Molly," but there's a big sign in the window of Myers of Keswick, where she's the resident cat, that says, "Free Millie (not Molly). Day 14."

A big envelope nearby reads "Letters to Millie" from a class of local public school kids.

They've been trying to lure her out with food. There was a guy in a giant mouse suit out there this morning, but he left before I got my camera. Must've had another gig.

Chico and Ashley are keeping their paws crossed for Millie's safe return.

Update: Millie was found safe and sound Friday night, and enjoyed a meal of sardines from her grateful owner. Although with these old buildings, I'm sure she found plenty to eat in the wall.

The guy in the mouse suit was from the NY Post.

Chico and Ashley are currently tunneling into the kitchen wall so that we will give them sardines when they're rescued.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Restoring An Antique

Crazy busy at work and home, but I haven't dropped off the face of the Web.

I'm following along with Apartment Therapy's eight-week home cure. The first week requires going through your home and listing any repairs, especially the ones you've put off for ages.

You can post photographs, if you're so inclined. Here's mine. And remember: I'm not living in a dump; I'm restoring a valuable antique.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


I read articles on how to get organized the way anorexics read diet tips, but today I surprised even myself. I got rid of a bunch of books, including a couple of longtime favorites--ones usually in print, that is. If I ever yearn to read them again, I can take them out of the library or get a fresh new copy.

I took them over to the Strand, where I found out they don't buy books on Sunday. So I donated them to Housing Works, which seemed to be having a run on chaise longues. Had I been in the market for a chaise longue, I would be a very lucky girl indeed.

Now that I've cleared some space in my bookcases, I've discovered a bunch of books I forgot about, some of which may be worth keeping, and others of which

Friday, April 07, 2006


My Voter Registration card says "Independent," so I always love it when my favorite editorial cartoonist tells it like it is.*

*Old person's expression from the 1960's.
(If you can read this, you can see better than I can.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ashley's Aztec Pyramid

Ashley's Aztec Pyramid
Originally uploaded by brunobaby.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Back Me Up Ladies II

Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for work, NY1 news had a feature on exchanging cosmetics online. You know, the practice of selling your (hopefully slightly) used make-up on sites like eBay and Makeup Alley.

My husband was appalled.

"That's not sanitary! You should only buy make-up that's sealed."

"That defeats the whole purpose of the site! The idea is you've used it first and then found out it's not right for you. Under what circumstances would it still be sealed?"

" got it as a gift from somebody," he offered, negotiating the precarious waters of Chickland.

"That would only apply about ten percent of the time, like if it's something my mother bought during Clinique Bonus Time." Most of the time, it's more like:

DuWop Lip Venom's "Venom Gloss" would be a great example of that for me. It's this lip gloss that's infused with some kind of cinnamon oil that makes your lips swell up like a temporary collagen treatment. I sampled some in "Snowberry" one afternoon at Sephora. The stuff makes your lips tingle, like wiping them with Red Hots candy. A few minutes later I chanced to look at myself in a mirror, and I had this great, pouty look that reminded me of the girls in the "Slicker" ads when I was a kid. I shelled out the $16 bucks and brought a tube home.

I ended up wearing it exactly twice. I found that either the color clashed with whatever I was wearing, or I was going to work and it was inappropriate to have bee-stung lips, or I would walk down the street on a windy day and end up with fifteen flyers and a discarded copy of the New York Metro stuck to my face. Plus, even though I'm meticulously neat and I would screw the cap on tight after using the product, somehow it leaked all over my make-up bag, and everything I would touch would end up "Snowberry."

I pitched it out, but now I think it would have been a good idea to have posted an ad for it on one of those sites. I would probably have asked about five dollars plus shipping. I could have seen a little of my money back. Plus, the next customer could have used it twice and passed it on to yet another customer, and then she would pass it on to yet another customer, and I would have started some tribal custom going.

And if it's a tube, you're probably not getting a lot of cooties on it. You wash off the opening, the person who gets it maybe squirts a tiny bit of it out and washes it away before putting the rest on her face. Unless there are "air cooties" that get sucked back into the tube after you squeeze it.

So under the right circumstances, used cosmetics are not the worst idea.

Used mascara, way.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Kosher 4 Passover

Having grown up in an interfaith family, I've noticed that the difference in dietary laws between Catholics and Jews is as big as the difference between Catholicism and Judaism.

With Catholicism, God thunders out of the sky pointing a big finger at you and shouting, "I see you eating that hamburger on Good Friday! After what my Son did for you?"

Whereas, two Jews will argue from now to Shevous about what's kosher and not kosher for Passover.

"Lima beans! Lima beans, definitely not kosher!"

There's a discussion on Apartment Therapy: The Kitchen right now about traditional and non-traditional Passover recipes. Wouldn't hurt for Easter, either.

One law according to me: Matzoh should always be eaten with prunes. Trust me.

Or, you could try this.

Hot Dogs As America

Our cafeteria has a special feature this week: "Hot Dogs As America," which is billed as a culinary salute to America's ballparks. It's hot dogs done in the style of different baseball cities.

Today I had the Fenway Frank, a thick Kahn's all-beef hot dog on a split New England roll. It seemed smokier and less garlicky than New York hot dogs, where we would eat garlic ice cream if we could.

The Yanks are at Oakland tonight, and opening day at Shea is about five minutes away. Uh-oh, looking kinda cloudy out there.

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