that's right friends, the semester has been underway for exactly one day and that has already produced two nights of waking up at 1 am and staying awake for hours for ms. pnj. pnj needs to be careful about being up in the middle of the night, let's just say i dont want to end up with another 50 bucks worth of pickles showing up express delivery in the morning...
there is a lot to think about at 3 am. the presidential race, what color tile to put on the wall behind the kitchen sink in our apartment, which hopefully soon will have workmen in it making it habitable again. (that's the awful thing about having a fire, above i could have written that in a much better, dare i say wittier, way -- but pnj was obsessed with pointing out that her apartment had a fire and that is why she is renovating, not because she is wealthy and materialistic (which pnj may well be -- but it is much more appealing to approach the whole thing from the stance of being a major victim, for some reason) anyhow after a fire, it turns out, one feels the need to talk about it. in the first few weeks after we had it, i would find myself mentioning it all the time in kind of inappropriate ways, like when you're getting your eyebrows waxed, or doing other such choice moments -- "large fries or small?" "small please, you see we had a fire in our apartment building and we are living in a temporary place." anyhow, it just felt like an overabundance of drama, even though no-one got hurt, being the owner of an apartment in manhattan, even a smoky, sooty apartment, kind of means you are pretty lucky in the first place), the political situation in Kenya, the three talks you are going to give in the next month, none of which are finished etc.
pnj will tell you what thatcher thinks about at 3 am -- pnj swears the man just sat straight up in bed and said with conviction but while totally asleep -- The Question is: will America get its shit together? and then rolled over and started snoring again.
for my part i decided to contemplate my five favorite restaurants and found that it is really hard to pick just five -- but here they are (subject to change)
-Linda Jeans, Oak Bluffs, MA -The Artcliffe Diner, Tisbury, MA -Mary's Fish Camp, New York, NY -'ino, New York, NY -Grimaldi's, Brooklyn, NY
23 january, 2008
Say it! Say it! Say 'I lost the nest-egg'. Go on, say it!
that's right dear friends, pnj had the MOTHER of all celebrity sightings last night at the overpriced and oh-so mildly uptight italian restaurant in the upper west side that pnj's dad and step mom took us out to. JULIE HAGERTY!!! star of AIRPLANE and LOST IN AMERICA (don't even tell me you haven't seen Lost in America!) i mean it was just so huge to see her there in person, one of the funniest women on earth. and yet, somehow pnj's dad and step mom had NO IDEA who she was. Airplane? Lost in America? what is wrong with people. do you think it might be europe? i mean disneyprincessland? i mean europe? pnj's dad and step mom and are serious europhiles -- they really, truly do know that life is just better in europe where everyone eats better and lives better and is generally more fancy in a better sort of way and where basically everyone is just so very very european. and my dad and stepmom each speak like four or five european languages, so pnj was a bit puzzled last night when over dinner they proclaimed hazel to have a marvelous european accent, one they couldn't quite place, but that was definitely european. pnj was a bit baffled by this, but i was far too obsessed with the celebrity sitting across from me to focus, later thatcher was able to clear up the fact that it wasn't actually a european accent -- it was a DISNEY accent, yes, it turns out that if you wander around your apartment enough saying "nice to meet you, i'm cinderella" "that would be enchanting" and a few other key lines from a dvd you have, that you too might just be able to pass for "European". that is all.
13 January, 2008
buh bye 2007 -- you really sucked.
goodbye to the year we moved our family three separate times, the year our apartment building caught on fire, displacing us, the year pokey was hit by a car, the year pnj passed out in the airport in antannanarivo airport after sweating it out in a bizarre hotel in madagascar for four days with a wicked case of food poisoning, the year Tshepo and Rosinah died. 2008 i am counting on you!
2 january, 2008
yesterday pnj's neighbor in oak bluffs called. could he borrow the old bathtub lying in the corner of pnj's yard? he has a whole bunch of eels and needs somewhere to store them until he goes fishing. take the tub for sure. but, as pnj pointed out -- that is the most disgusting thing pnj has heard of in a long time -- a whole bathtub full of eels.
a few weeks ago our same neighbor, owner and head mechanic at the garage next door to us, came over with a present for the haze. he had bought her a life vest. then he took us on his small boat, our of the harbor and hugging the coast to a fishing spot, he wants to make sure ms haze learns to fish and this was her first time. as pnj steered the boat the haze, with the amazing guidance of our spectacular neighbor fished. she caught three things: a sea robin, a scup, and a crab. the water was choppy and the view was amazing, and it was just the kind of moment you figure you will always remember as a parent. that night while pnj slept she dreamt of the rise and crash of the boat as she steered it so the bow broke the waves.
10 september, 2007
where do they come from and make them stop
so pnj just took pokey out for her evening walk and she must have eaten an entire bucket of chicken. every 10 inches she would stick her abnormally long and velvety nose into some random part of the gutter and in an f-ing new york minute have consumed an entire chicken wing she found there. pnj was so busy chastising her for the previous chicken wing that i didn't notice the next one. this went on for approximately 10 blocks.
pinknicejuice doesn't really eat wings -- not because she is some sort of vegetarian as everyone seems to assume when they meet ms. pnj -- along with some strange assumption that pnj is from vermont rather than the waspy boston surburb of my youth. anyhow WHERE do all these chicken bones come from? it is the same in boston and also in oak bluffs. pnj never noticed until pokey came along, but the great american gutter is positively littered with chicken wings. are that many people eating chicken wings all the time to generate this much fowlish detritus in our nations streets? is there a chicken wing fairy that only dogs know about? is that who pokey prays to in her sleep? or are those really like mouse parts or something like that that pnj only thinks are chicken parts because they often appear to be breaded or teriyaked or buffaloed?
when you suck
you know there is a lot about being an academic that sucks -- but really the worst moments are those like this morning, when the mail brings a review of pnj s book in a leading history of medicine journal. this reviewer not only hates pnj's book -- the thing she spent most of her thirties researching and writing, she thinks pnj is an asshole whose work will make life harder for people with disabilities living in botswana. great. pnj is both a bad scholar and an asshole.
the last review pnj read mostly liked the book (all except for its central premise), but panned the acknowledgments. apparently pnj thanked too many people -- thus branding her too "american" for that reviewer.
before you write a book you feel like these things will just slide off of you -- of course some people won't like your work. some people will pan it, because your work disagrees with their work (as in the case of the first reviewer noted above) -- for others it just won't be their taste. and no book is flawless, so the reviews will be helpful in pointing out how to do a better job next time. so be it. but then when it actually happens, it turns out that pnj feels like she has been punched in the stomach. the day is ruined and even all 51 flavors of ice cream in a giant bowl won't quite salvage it. this is one of those days when changing careers looks like a very fine idea.
4 september, 2007
do you ever just feel like having a temper tantrum, even though you are an adult? well pnj does -- in fact, pnj just had an actual temper tantrum -- i actually stamped my foot on the floor in frustration. why? because thatcher took hazel shopping and bought her what appear to be the castoff shoes of jon-benet ramsay or some other aspiring beauty queen. AND he forgot to buy bread even though i made a list. and WHO buys rainbow colored cheese?????
but you know -- post temper tantrum moments are good for we pagans -- because after the foot stamping pnj remembered to thank mother nature for creating that luscious and ohsopeaceful green plant called marijuana.
could someone please tell mario batali to lose that ridiculous wispy orange ponytail?
layer cake picnic
we have a little picnic table on our roof with an umbrella and a grill. it is an amazing place at dusk all quiet and humming, looking at all the watertowers and helicopters flying by, and all the street life down below. it is one of the very best ways to enjoy new york.
here's another of the best ways -- get off your ass and get yourself to Make My Cake on the corner of 116th street and Adam Clayton Powell in Harlem and get yourself some layer cake. pnj recommends the coconut cake with pineapple filling and also the red velvet cake.
take the cake up onto the roof and you have the best kind of new york moment.
16 august, 2007
laarb (recipe included -- hooray!)
laarb is yummy, laarb is neat, on a hot summer night -- laarb's a treat!!
that's pnj's little song about laarb -- a delicious taste sensation from thailand. here's how you make it.
take about a pound of ground chicken (or ground pork if you like -- and if you get ground chicken then pony up and buy some decent fresh high-end ground chicken, because what on earth could be more suspect than sketchy ground chicken)put it in a bowl and squeeze a whole lime over it. then heat a little oil in a pan and once it is hot add the chicken and start cooking it. then as it starts to brown add some chicken stock if you have it (maybe 1/2 cup). add 2 thinly sliced shallots (big ones or 3 or 4 small) and some salt and pepper and a handful or two of nice roasted peanuts. when the shallots are nice and soft take it off the heat. make a dressing of 1 part thai fish sauce to 2 or 3 parts lime juice. stir in a table spoon of thai chili sauce. throw a big handful of chopped scallions, a big handful of chopped mint, and a big handful of chopped cilantro into the chicken, add the dressing you just made and throw it over a salad of romaine, cucumber spears, add some apple too if you feel like it and there is your laarb. serve with some nice room temperature basmati rice you can throw into your laarb.
my summer as an intellectual
pnj just received a fabulous email from a delightful and super-smart colleague. what was pnj reading this summer? what new literature is out there in pnj's various humanistic disciplines that she might recommend?
pnj read this missive from her iphone while sitting on the sofa eating some brand of organic oreos she recently bought and watching the 2 hour e-entertainment television special on brittney spears.
did i mention that it was 11 am? on a weekday?
9 august, 2007
my pagan child
pnj has decided to raise hazel a pagan. so far it is going well.
9 july, 2007
ok if you haven't seen knocked up, featuring several of the actors from Undeclared, as well as the excellent leslie mann, paul rudd and others - then you need to get off your ass and RUN to the movie theater right now. it is hysterical.
9 july, 2007
pnj hearts new york
there is so much to love about new york -- popsicles on the stoop and the magic feeling you get standing on the roof looking out at the city, the conductor on the #1 train who sounds like ben stein, the bahn mi at the saigon bakery in the back of that jewelry store on mott street, the weird plastic surgery face ladies, the tourists who come into fairway and watch you buy a quart of milk and some pepperidge farm goldfish and a bunch of bananas like it is something interesting, it's all good. but friday -- pnj had a little extra lovin for my city. at 8 am pnj lined up with her friends jennifer and emma for tickets to shakespeare in the park. the performance is FREE, and the box office opens at one. the line stretches well over a quarter of a mile I would say -- and new yorkers, who are so often portrayed as impatient -- are also very good at waiting. so good, pnj almost had a moment of botswana de ja vu. we all sat on our blankets we had brought or park benches, and ate muffins and drank coffee, and some people played scrabble, and others read the paper, emma played jump rope with two other 9 year olds she met behind us in line, people ordered in food and delivery men on bicycles brought them breakfast. some people napped with their dogs, and others worked on their laptops. eventually we all got our tickets and went home. when we returned for the play -- it is like a reunion, there you are seeing all your new acquaintances from the line, and the sun is setting, and you go to sit down with your friends in the beautiful open air delacorte theater. the moon rises and it is full, the play begins and it is amazing. walking home one woman you know points to a beautiful building near the park and says, that's where i got my high colonic. ah, new york... i love you.
2 july, 2007
where has all the babka gone...
long time passing... seriously where has all the f-ing babka gone? pnj just learned that GERTEL'S -- bakers of the greatest chocolate babka on earth has closed on hester street. gentrification, blah, blah, things change, blah. whatever - there is all this f-ing nostalgia from people who read the times, writing in to comment on the obvious -- cities change. they are living organisms and they grow and adapt and evolve as they always have. we are all just tiny specks of bacteria crawling over the great beast that is new york -- bad metaphor, but you get pnj's point. whatever. there is something much more important going on than all this existential angst over the gentrification of the east village, namely -- WHERE AM I GOING TO GET MY CHOCOLATE BABKA???
if you are reading this -- and you know the answer send pnj an email -- please!!!! firstname.lastname@example.org none of that faux-goy-babka that is made with butter and valrhona chocolate -- that weighs like 7 pounds, no the light chocolate babka with crumbs, made from marge -- and so good toasted when its gotten a little stale. the gertel's chocolate babka. who else sells the babka i want?????
2 July, 2007
pnj is home! new york city! yellow taxi cabs and fried plantains and pizza, the 1,2, and 3 trains, shopping at fairway, mr. softee on every other corner, everyone with an i-pod, 60 year old plastic surgery ladies in skinny jeans and converse hi-tops, dogs eating chicken bones in the gutter, rows of tube sox at the local street fair, people sitting on the stoop. it is all still here, and i have rarely been so happy to be home.
yet, re-entry is never easy. one is bound to mess it up in all manner of ways. pnj was reminded of this in the johannesburg airport where she stood near the front of a long queue waiting to get the ok from the flight crew so that we could board the plane for our flight to dakar, and then on to new york. the 50-something business lady from atlanta who was coming back from the Indaba! trade show in durban was getting a bit antsy and in a show of traveling comraderie commented on the long wait to board the plane. did pnj join her in complaining a bit about the wait? did pnj connect with her over our shared american-ness? no, instead pnj managed to alienate her completely with one of those post-field-work re-entry comments that are so uncalled for. i believe that in response to her small quip about the delay in boarding the plane, pnj said, "yes it has been a long wait, but you know, i have been working in the cancer ward of the central hospital in gaborone, where patients often queue for 6 hours or more waiting for a shot of chemo so that they can then board a bus back to their home village vomiting into a plastic bag..."
pnj needs to lighten up... don't you think?
22 may, 2007
do you ever feel like sort of inappropriate things just climb out of your mouth sometimes like verbal farts and are left hanging there, while the person you are talking to wonders if you are a major sociopath or just a little weird?
well pnj does feel that way sometimes -- like today.
so a few weeks back pnj sent haze to the neighbor's place with some cookies i had baked. they are awesome and here is the recipe -- and the best part is that all the ingredients are available right here at the local pick-and-pay supermarket of gaborone.
salted peanut cookies
1/2 cup butter (soft)
scrapings from one vanilla bean
1 cup sugar
add 1 egg
add 1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
then add 1 cup or so of salted peanuts -- and about two chocolate bars (preferably one dark and one milk that you cut up with a knife into chunks)
bake and eat.
then our neighbor brought us a present the other morning at 7 am. this is botswana after all, where one is expected to be up, bathed, and whatever else long before 7. in fact, that very morning, when pnj arrived at work at 7:30 the nurses chastised me because my clothing wasn't ironed. now pnj is a morning person, and i do rise at 5 am most days and enjoy a little quiet time to read and drink kofi (that's setswana for coffee) and pee like twelve times because of all the kofi -- but ironing just isn't going to happen. anyhow, our neighbor, who is so fabulous came by with this lovely present in a green enamel bowl. chicken feet -- cooked in some sort of curried sauce with chilis. they were quite tasty, if a touch cartilage-y for my palate.
18 february, 2007
i'm all out of love, i'm so lost without you...
so that last blog was way too depressing and morbid, don't you think? today, of course, is another day -- and so pnj and her man and her kid decided to embrace the whole when in rome phenomenon, so we got down with the gaborone sunday morning heathen scene. (the serious christians were mostly in church still). pnj donned her best (and only) sequin tank top, and we climbed in the car and drove to the mall singing along to Air Supply on the Gaborone radio station, at the top of our lungs. needless to say, after a morning like that, things are indeed looking up again.
28 January, 2007
dear readers, pinkynicejuice extends her deepest apologies for not having blogged in so long. work, quite frankly, is getting me down. insomnia and nightmares have become the norm. pnj doesn't want to be the kind of person who only sees the dysfunctions in international health ---epidemics are very challenging situations, there is much to be grateful for, and there are many wonderful people who are working very hard (and some who are not). pnj has been a patient in fancy american hospitals -- and they too have their deep dysfunctions. here in botswana because of the hospital there are many patients who are now healthy, there is much laughter, and sometimes (and pnj hopes you all now how thoroughly heathen she is) there are the most beautiful prayers sung in the wards, and yet, there are days my friends, too many days, when for patients and their relatives, even for me as just a lucky, healthy, observer with health insurance that means pnj will never be a patient here walking into the hospital, lying in the hospital, waiting in the hospital means trying to stay afloat and to keep their cool and composure (Batswana are inordinately polite and reserved people on the whole -- they seldom lose their cool -- there is a lesson in this my friends) in the middle of a truly kafka-eque nightmare. yesterday pnj thinks she saw the worst thing she has ever witnessed in her life. an amputation gone horribly wrong... and pnj is haunted by the fears of another amputation -- afraid that the man she brought from his home village, the amputee she thought she was helping to by bringing him straight to the hospital, and pushing him through the system to receive care in time to save his other leg which was now showing signs of rot -- hopefully a referral to a specialist who could reanimate the faint pulse in his remaining leg -- that maybe pnj made things worse -- that maybe he too is now being consumed whole, far from home in a tough institution where it is easy to get lost in the cracks. pnj is simply too cowardly to go to the ward and check on him. afraid i will find him there. afraid that in trying to do good, i may have pushed someone who was already suffering over the brink and into the abyss. the fact that he was headed for that abyss at some point anyway is cold comfort indeed.
26 january, 2007
today after a long long and to be perfectly honest somewhat grim and overwhelming day in the cancer ward, pnj went with the haze and thatch back to gabane -- a village where long ago pnj and thatch once lived in a thatched roof stone house on the side of a hill. driving out of gaborone, through mogoditshane, then past the big iron monkey sculpture by the side of the road, finally reaching the village all green and shady after the rains, with nice fat cattle and their tinkling bells walking up the path and thatch's former soccer team jogging out to practice in the dirt pitch across the road where the agriculture lands start. why were we going there? to pick up methodoius, of course. methodius is the kitten that is staying with us while his owner (yes, pnj almost typed "mommy" -- but i am going to try to refrain from using kinship terms for inter-species relationships) is at home in the states. we had taken methodius to gabane before our whirlwind family trip to durban -- where pnj, the haze, thatch, and two other american families rented a house, grilled meat, swam, drank, and spent an entire day at the zulu themed marine park Ushaka! Ushaka! features an aquarium, a dolphin show (pnj and her friend michelle BOTH want to be dolphin trainers now - you would too, trust me, if you ever make it to Ushaka!) and a waterpark with slides and rides and a giant kiddie pool with fountains, small slides and a small waterfall that is populated by all manner of small kids some wearing diapers that are so inflated with water that they look like beanbag chairs, a kiddie pool that you just know is so chock full of pee that even a zulu warrior might fear wading in it -- haze and thatch enjoyed several hours of frolicking in it, while pnj lounged in a chair, poolside with michelle who regaled pnj with tales of a poop she saw at another waterpark in south africa. while pnj said Ushaka! about 70 million times, because it is so fun to say. the other thing that pnj learned at Ushaka! was that there is a burka-like black lycra bathing suit (or as the southern africans say -- swimming costume) for modest muslim women who like to wade in massive peed-in swimming pools with their kids. another fashion challenge solved by the miracle of lycra (tm).
anyhow we had gone to get methodius from audrey's cattery in gabane -- a paradise for cats where they live in a shady thatched house with like 20 other cats each with their own hammock and sunny spot to relax, enjoying their fellow felines. gorgeous. and there was audrey and her husband whose whole spread there in gabane looks like something from hobbiton meets ushaka! if you can picture that.
i was excited to meet audrey in person (thatch had been the one who dropped methodius off before we left on our trip) because the week before she had rung pnj on the cell phone to finalize plans for methodius' trip to cat nirvana. there we were chatting on the phone about cats, a nice enough lady, i was picturing someone who bakes mince pies and hot cross buns and is married to papa smurf (pnj wasn't far from the truth here it seems) when i heard a man's voice and then all of a sudden audrey screamed "OH SHIT!" into the phone and hung up. pnj had images of a full scale cat uprising. anyhow, upon finally meeting audrey and her husband i was able to establish that what had actually happened that day, was that her husband had sliced off a good bit of his hand with the power saw. another mystery solved!
3 december, 2007.
ngwaga o mosha!
that's happy new year to any of you readers who do not yet read setswana. yes, ngwaga o mosha indeed. pnj is now 40 and sporting a big grey stripe down the center of her hair (yet somehow fails entirely to evoke susan sontag), feeling dumpy, and stuck in the rut that is this career and these choices. will this be the year that pnj finally ditches academia and finds something meaningful or at least fun to do with her life? i doubt it. why? you ask -- well, my dear friends, let pnj explain it to you all -- yours truly is a major wuss -- that is why. and though thoughts of opening a small knitting shop in jamaica plain, or working as a baker somewhere that pnj can learn to take her bread baking skills to the next level, or opening a small deli in oak bluffs, or (heaven forbid) going back to school and training to become a psychotherapist or a nurse (two careers pnj has often contemplated), or even learning to become a different kind of writer -- the kind people actually want to read on a sunday morning over a cup of coffee -- without having it be assigned by their anthropology professor -- well all those options are probably ones that would make pnj happy -- but then what if they didn't? or what if they were fun for about 3 years and then they too got boring -- just like academia -- and then maybe pnj would want to go back to her old career but it would be too late to go back to it -- such is the academic job market -- and then and then and then and then... pnj knows -- who the f- cares about the and-thens? but if you are deeply and truly neurotic in the kind of intensely pure way that pnj is -- life is all about the and-then-what?s. the and-thens just litter the landscape like so much detritis, it is nearly impossible to make a toasted cheese sandwich without tripping over one and burning your thumb or dropping some cheese on the floor. so ngwaga o mosha. ngwaga o mosha -- pnj is going to try hard this year to perhaps at least once a day find a moment to live in the moment, and-then's be damned.
31 december, 2006.
get your pap smear!
in fact, while you are at it, since they are on offer, get a few of them. that is right and if you are a man don't even whine to your dear friend pnj that you have nothing to smear -- just find something and smear it and hand it in at the lab and don't forget to call later for the results. that is right dear readerly friends, pnj has been visiting in the cancer ward -- where otherwise marvelous and deeply good people have come because their body parts are swelling and rotting away in this beautiful country where pap smears are simply not on offer in any sort of routine medical exam. so if you can read this and you haven't had your pap smear lately -- please do not delay, my dears -- pnj has seen the fate of those without access to the pap smear and the mammogram until it is far too late -- and it isn't at all nice.
31 december, 2006
who needs george bush -- we have hazel!
and she's plenty good as an ambassador of american manners and attitude abroad. just when pnj thought she couldn't quite be any more self-conscious about the need to be a polite american in a land where the Bold and the Beautiful is on tv, and the major press event of brittney spears flashing some beaver for her fans has hit the news, and of course the war in iraq in something one gets questioned about quite frequently -- pnj discovers a new frontier in the challenges of representing her beloved homeland-- an american 3 year old (really almost four year old) at a local birthday party.
first let pnj explain that children in batswana are tres marvelous, making toys out of wire, and games out of a clothespin and some sand, running races with one another, driving a donkey cart with a vengeance, and pulling the arms off their barbies just like any self-respecting american child would. they can be served a meal in a basin or bowl meant to be shared among two or three kids and can just work this out among themselves without any fighting or hassle, and a pair of six year old girls can take care of a toddler for an hour while her mother heads to the shops or has her hair done. they are welcoming to new kids, and will include new comers in their games without much prompting.
now hazel is also quite marvelous, indeed deeply fantastic -- but shall i say in different ways. and this was made clear yesterday when family ya pnj headed to the picturesque village of mochudi where a friend of pnj's had invited us to her granddaughter's birthday party. there was a prayer and the happy birthday song inside their sweltering little house and then out to the lovely shady yard for cake! and cheese pops and cookies and some sugary drinks. all other kids could of course sit on the ground while eating these wonderful and special treats. but not hazel, she needed a chair (after all the ground in a yard in botswana is dirt -- not a grassy lawn). all the other children could share the big tin mug of water -- but not hazel who needed her OWN glass. then the birthday girl received her four presents each of which were displayed for the crowd who applauded each one (a pair of underpants, a nightdress, a pair of blue jeans, and a yellow skirt and top, and a nice little wad of cash). but could our american daughter sit quietly (in her special chair) and applaud someone else's good fortune? no -- she threw a minor fit demanding that SHE wanted a present too. Where was HER present? of course it was no use pointing out that she already had more underpants in her closet than the birthday girl had probably had in her entire 9 years on this planet so far, nor that her own birthday was right round the corner. really all one could do was to smile that embarassed smile to ones friends and remind them that we were american, and that americans do things a bit differently. as if they couldn't tell... all pnj can say is thank goodness haze didn't have to pee, as one can only imagine her reaction to their outhouse...(which pnj might add, was meticulous)
and of course, after all this, the ever flexible batswana kids were somewhat fascinated with this truly american form of self-empowerment, and without blinking came and got hazel involved in their game on the sand pile in the yard...
17 december, 2006
that's right -- dear readers -- these days pnj is made to realize that she pretty much sucks. why? you ask -- i know you had always thought me to be rather fabulous and deeply nice -- but at is turns out, pnj has dragged her family to a far off land, where her in a mere five weeks her husband has been hospitalized with a mystery infection, her husbands computer has imploded thus preventing him from doing his work, her daughter has been on an iv drip for severe dehydration, and where, pnj might add it is according to weather dot com -- 99 degrees (but also according to weather dot com it "feels like 97" -- which really is making all the difference). so it seems quite possible that pnj's gorgeous child and super manly husband may have to abandon ship in the coming months and head back to the land of subways and butterless hotdogs ahead of pnj -- thus splitting the family up for a few months. now if pnj were a better mother, she would probably just head back with them right? she wouldn't stay an extra 8 weeks to get a bit further in her research. then again if pnj didn't suck so bad and was one of those mothers and wives whose family was always wearing nicely pressed clothing, and eating at the table while discussing botany or current events rather than in front of the tv discussing nothing at all -- but enthralled in the current episode of Dastardly and Muttley.# permalink
10 december 2006
hot buttered hot dogs!
today we went with haze to the lovely tea garden restaurant in gaborone, that haze calls the "restaurant playground". why? because they have a fabulous playground in a corner of the tea garden -- so you can sit and eat and watch your kid play. anyhow - check this out -- hazel's hot dog came, in a bun, not just with fries, but also with two butter pats on the side. unfazed (unlike her parents) she simply opened them and then spread her hot dog with butter -- liberally. let us hope that this doesn't become a habit with her -- or we will have problems at the pushcarts in new york, when she demands a side of butter with her dog.
2 december, 2006
dinao tse dintle!!!
ok -- so pnj just had her first ever pedicure in gaborone. not just any pedicure --- a pedicure from RACHEL, the amazingly sweet and gorgeous mormon beautician at the Shenaz beauty shop in gaborone. this was a TWO hour pedicure. that's right, rachel spent two solid hours on pnj's feet -- using that little mini cheese slicer thingy and all manner of stones and scrubby things until finally my feet were officially as soft as a baby's ass -- in fact, pnj dares any of you out there to find a baby with an ass as soft as my feet. in fact, if you can produce such a baby -- i will buy you your own hot buttered hot dog as a reward -- in fact, and this is a fact, pnj has shed a half a shoe size there in the pedicure room at shenaz beauty -- and rachel taught me several new setswana expressions while she was at it. botswana - come for the research -- stay for the beauty (and the hot buttered hot dog)
2 december, 2006
pnj hearts dsl
why is pnj finally blogging --- after so much silence? could it be that there is simply nothing going on in the peaceful land of botswana that she thinks her loyal readers might be interested in? no actual use of the word "c-nt" and pnj doesn't mean "can't" or "cent" in the newspaper headline -- this headline was a direct quote about lindsay lohan -- who appears to make news even here? no bizarre encounters at the local hospital with a certain nurse named *marvelous*? no incredible spectacle of traffic and traffic accidents in gaborone when it finally deemed to rain -- almost as bad as the day a flake of snow fell in atlanta -- ?? no, ditsala tsa me, it is certainly NOT that nothing of interest is happening -- it is rather, that when pnj and thatch refuse to learn from previous experience that lightening in botswana will come right up the phone line and fry anything which is connected to it -- well then, you are left rediscovering the joys of the good old dial-up modem -- and this seems to suck all blogging energy right out the window.
dumelang batsala tsa me
that's greetings to you dear friends in setswana, the language of the peaceful african nation of botswana.
pnj is here and after numerous false starts (how many times does one need to have their phone line struck by lightening to remember to unplug it before one goes to sleep at night???) pnj is on the world wide interweb, coming to you live from here in my weirdly large rented house in the bizarrely suburban city of gaborone.
so much to tell you, dear friends, but for now, let me tell you a bit about the parenting time warp that is raising the haze in gaborone. it includes sittinng her down in front the tv to watch Tom and Jerry, the Hair Bear Bunch, Dastardly and Muttley, and the Flintstones on t.v. sending her out to play with plastic guns with the neighborhood boys, buying her and sparkling blonde barbies and high heeled pink barbie dress up shoes to play with, feeding her fanta orange soda and strange flavors of potato chips, like "mildly spiced fried chicken flavor," and taking her on outings to the Apache Spur Restaurant at the local mall. It has a Native American (though I believe they use the term "Red Indian") theme, and specializes in steaks (all the meat comes in "ladies" portion or "men's" portion -- thatcher really wanted me to order the "ladies rump" -- but pnj opted instead for the spare ribs and a "trip to salad valley" the starchiest salad bar i have ever seen in my life). At the Spur the waitstaff whisk your child away to an outdoor little room surrounded by a chicken wire fence where there is a trampoline and playground -- and kids go berzerk while their parents sit around in the restaurant and get tanked. of course, if your kid is lucky, they will also be offered to have their face painted with Apache War Paint and then they will come back to you also sporting an Apache headdress with paper featehr. hazel and indeed all the middle class children of botswana appear to be deeply enthralled with this -- and then in the middle of the eating and the drinking, suddenly this country western music comes on and the Batswana waitstaff all gather together and do the electric slide, much to the delight of the customers.
21 november, 2006
thanks to all my loyal readers who wrote in to educate and inform pnj. lol, as it turns out means "laugh out loud" -- and now pnj is no longer "ETARDED" as her best girl annika calls it. hee hee (pnj prefers to giggle softly right now rather than lol) in fact, pnj wux snurf loogle. don't know what that means? ok, well pnj made that up -- but the point is that it could mean something, once the bored 19 year olds get a hold of it and that, dear friends is what makes these such exciting times here on the "interweb" (another annikaism).
october 26, 2006
saigon bahn mi
don't walk, RUN! that's right get off your fat ass and run down to Saigon Bahn Mi for one of the greatest culinary delights that manhattan has to offer. its on Mott st. between Hester and Grand. don't worry -- you are in the right place, just keep walking past the jewelry store in the front to the counter at that back and order your bahn mi saigon. the amazingly sweet and succulent bar-b-q pork, with big cucumber spears, shredded vinegary daikon and fresh cilantro on a gorgeously crispy yet soft toasted baguette made with a little rice flour to make it all amazingly chewy. available spicy or not -- and with or without mayo. less than four dollars and yet such a very nice size. be prepared to wait five minutes or so for your sandwich because there will be ladies in front of you who called ahead and are picking up like 50 bahn mi at once. there's nowhere to eat inside (which clearly was a decision made to prevent pnj after taking the first bite from her sandwich from leaping into the arms of the woman who made her bahn mi and kissing her on the lips) , so you have to run and find the nearest stoop. hurry go!!!
october 26, 2006
ok -- who can explain to pnj what on earth "lol" means in emailese. all my students keep using this expression, and pnj wants to get to use it too. if you know, please email pnj at email@example.com
22 October, 2006
do you ever feel like you take your own life way too seriously -- when actually it is nothing more than one more hilarious episode of the office? pnj has been struggling for about a week now, feeling horribly self-conscious and like some weird time warp has brought back all the bizarre discomfort of high-school. a few tears, a little insomnia, nothing major -- but nothing pleasant. and here pnj is only a month shy of her 40th birthday -- and yet unable to shake that icky feeling where you are seeing yourself from the outside rather than the inside. please make this pass.
22 october, 20006
i looooooooooooooooooooooove you
today thatch and hazel got into a rental car and drove to the dinosaur state park in hartford connecticut with pokeythedog. they are going to meet up with thatch's parents who are so wonderful and will take pokey with them back to cambridge, ma for 8 long months until we return from botswana. pnj went out to grab a coffee and take out the trash just now and when i returned there was no jingle at the door. no gorgeous, long-suffering, loyal, lovely, intensely smart,passionate-about-all-thing-olfactory, glamorous, and deeply loving pokeythedog waiting there to greet me. no pokey to curl up on the couch with her prodigious nose balanced on the arm rest, no pokey my trusted partner with whom i enjoy such delights as liver and smelly cheese that the rest of my family rejects, no one to bark that loud and annoying racket when someone comes to the door, only to collapse onto their lap belly up and ready to be petted and feted as pokey did only this week to my friend ed, no wise and trusted friend to keep me company. pnj knew she would miss pokey, but i had no idea i would miss her this soon (its only been four hours) and this much. pokey -- if you are reading this, i looooooooooooooooooooooooooooove you. i know you are going to have a good time with your grandparents who are so loving and fun and kind and outdoorsy. and i am sorry that i chose this stupid career, without really taking seriously what it would mean for you.
re tla tsamaya ka Botswana!
that's right "friends" (as they say in daycare) we are on our way to botswana in a mere 10 days. the sky will be enormous, our friends will be fabulous, the weekends a tad boring, the radio amazing, and the air so very hot and dry and mixed with a fine dust that we will be producing boogers the consistency of adobe. i am terribly excited. hooray!! pnj really hopes hazel likes it there.
tally f-ing ho!
you know what pnj likes? i like it when british people say "maths" in the plural, as in"my mathS teacher has the worst dandruff" or "YOU do the mathS".
farting dogs need your support!!
please visit the current blog at http://tulrich.com to learn how talented my man is, and to support farting dogs everywhere.
4 october, 2006
so the zen cleaning guy came today. there he was a guy named carlos from the bronx wearing faux japanese pyjamas and little black cotton shoes. he started by vacuuming and about 46 seconds into his first minute of work in the kitchen, as pnj prepared to clear out of the apartment for a while to let him work his faux-japanese pyjamaed cleaning magic, the vacuum cleaner jammed. what could be blocking the vacuum we wondered? he pulled the brush out from under the cabinet next to the sink and! lo and behold what was stuck to the front of the vacuum, but a dead, totally stiff and bristly mouse carcass. how terribly zen.
2 october, 2007
zen and the blueberry
so about 3 weeks ago this blueberry rolled under the toaster oven. it's been there ever since. the toaster oven is on these little legs so pnj can just see it now. in fact, each time i sit down at my laptop, all i have to do is glance up a smidge and there it is! the blueberry. over time it has gotten a good deal smaller. (despite its high visibility, i do wonder if thatch is even aware that it is there). the blueberry is good, because it makes pnj feel terribly busy. i am writing -- i can't possibly make time to clean up the blueberry. today has been a whirlwind (of going out to lunch with a girlfriend, reading a book, cleaning my closet, and checking to see if anyone bought my ridiculously esoteric book on amazon) and pnj simply hasn't had time to get to the blueberry -- besides it appears to be getting smaller. but now --- the blueberry is on its way out. pnj just got off the phone with the zen house cleaning service and they are coming to my apartment!!!! pnj purchased the "spring cleaning event" (even though it is fall) and on oct. 2 two very peaceful people will show up and they will clean with all natural products and give my apartment aroma therapy, and when they leave, my apartment will be at peace. its like i am taking the apartment to a spa -- as a little gift from me to it. pnj feels that these people will know what to do about the blueberry.
19 sept, 2006
y. -- the totally fabulous girl in the apartment next door just got a hamster. pnj is terribly happy for her. the hamster doesn't have a name yet because her father who is super smart said "it's still under warranty"and she should wait a week to make sure it is still alive by then before naming it. pnj wants her to get one of those hamster balls, where the hamster can just be inside this plastic globe that rolls around the house when the hamster (who shall remain nameless for now) runs. pnj likes that idea, of sitting on the couch, reading a book and eating a cookie, when who comes rolling by -- but the hamster -- out for a spin in his little hamster ball. i think it is very fascinating (and kind of creepy) to get a pet that needs to be kept in plexiglass and separate from you -- but if you must do that, then it definitely should get to cruise around in its own orb. in fact, if the whole hand-sanitizer/anti-bacterial soap (and pnj repeats -- what is regular soap then ? isn't ALL soap-- by definition anti=bacterial? -- speaking of which, pnj just read in the Times that the FDA just approved a new plan where oscar mayer and all the luncheon meat companies are now going to spray their meat with some weird viruses that are meant to eat bacteria, so that people don't get sick from eating sketchy luncheon meat -- pnj has a simpler and less nauseating solution than olive loaf that has been submerged in a viral bath -- but i digress) let's be super clean movement goes any further we will all be out there cruising around in our own little plexiglass hamster balls -- so that we can get around and socialize and generally be independent without ever having to come in contact with one another.
i don't know about you -- but when this happens, i am totally going to get my hamster ball dyed a nice transparent purple with sparkles.
17 september, 2006.
you owe me!
three hours of my life back. that's right -- prof. diarrhea-of-the-mouth-love-to-hear-myself-say-totally-stupid-shit, colleague of mine -- you owe me. all your little five minute interjections during department meetings, when you climb on your political soapbox and spew little five minute nuggest of crap that is TOTALLY irrelevant to the matter at hand -- when you do that the clock is from here on out officially ticking. pnj is counting -- and just because your a self-proclaimed marxist, doesn't mean you don't have to pay. it's an f-ing department meeting, not an acceptable substitute for a social life.
13 September, 2006
i think we may be christians!
pnj was just out there on amazon.com innocently looking for a birthday present for my niece -- when i began to notice a deeply alarming trend. CHRISTIAN TOYS!! yes, there are LOTS of them. (ok there is also a diwali barbie in some kind of i dream of jeanie outfit) ........ that long silence you just read was because pnj was called away from the computer for a moment by hazel who wanted me to come and look at the "dog throw up" in her room...anyhow there are lots of Christian toys and guess what pnj realized when she went into hazel's room to check out the dog throw-up -- WE HAVE ONE -- which i guess means we are practically christians. this of course is terrifically surprising, since previously, pnj had always thought of herself and family as "not at all good news" as our very missionary landlady in botswana used to say. lovely missionary couple in their 60s those landlord people, constantly asking us if we might want to come skinny dipping in their pool, and living in a house decorated with an unusually high number of polished ebony carved african women's torso complete with boobs.
6 september, 2006
do you ever wonder what it would be like if there was a beauty-free day? well pinky does. what if you woke up one morning and had your coffee and checked the headlines and walked out your door and got on the subway in the morning and looked around and noone's hair was dyed, and none of the women were wearing makeup, or had their eyebrows plucked, or their upper lip hair waxed (or threaded -- a special form of hair removal that my friend swears by) or bleached, and no one had their teeth bleached, or their legs or armpits shaved, or colored contacts,or press on nails, or styled hair -- no mousse, no gel, no curling iron, no alpha hydroxy, or eyelash curler, or whatever other twisted thing you can think of. all implants will have to come out -- including the brazilian butt implants, and the botox will be drained and the undereye bags that had been tucked will come untucked and trent lott's hair will just hang there all kind of grey and thin and weird with a middle part? pnj thinks it would be awesome to have a day like that.
5 september, 2006
let's not live in a museum
i just asked thatch to get his fat ass off my beautiful, comfy couch that i inhereted from my grandpa who died this past spring. the couch that still smells like my childhood. the one oasis of adulthood in my whole f-ing life. we have another couch, but it sags to the ground and smells like pokey. that is where thatcher should sit.
anyhow there he was in our dog hair covered living room, the one with the coffee table that is covered with hello kitty stickers, and tinkertoys, the one with the bongwater stain on it underneath the pile of usweekly magazines and anthropology journals, and -- wait is that an actual toenail cutting?? --- or a candy corn from last year?, and the peeling paint on the window frames -- the paint the previous owners halfway removed and then quit and that we then removed just a hair more and then quit, and missing transom glass, with the bit painting hazel made of herself at daycare on the wall.
yes, sitting in that room, with his big old man ass on MY couch that i don't want to share with others, and when i asked him ever so politely to move his giant nerdy self because i wanted to keep that couch clean and not sagging to the f-ing ground he said, "c'mon, let's not live in a museum."
yeah. good point.
september 1, 2006
taste free period
thatch has us on a diet. this is a thatch kind of diet, which means that it is actually a science experiment. we each have a graph chart on the wall about the scale on which we plot our weight each morning. the diet consists of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and then the periods inbetween, which are designated "Taste-free periods." i'm in one right now. can you tell? it's fairly taste-free to blog about dieting.
august 25, 2006
i heart nueva york
today pnj put on her ipod and headed out for dinner in the east village with two of her oldest friends -- friends from college - and that means friends for 20 years -- imagine that. pnj must be old. i don't know this because i am about to turn FORTY in a few months -- i know this because my ass is screaming it at me right now. that's right my ass. you see, pnj has been running, every other day on the treadmill at the gym, running and running and running. it has been pretty great and helped to rekindle my love affair with patti smith -- anyhow on monday pnj was jogging on the treadmill listening to some OUTKAST on her ipod, tick, boom, tick, tick, boom...and feeling extremely athletic. deeply athletic, in fact, so athletic that i was contemplating registering for some kind fo road race and "training for it", so mid pnj as distance running badass fantasy, i decided to crank up the speed on the treadmill and really run -- how fast, how, great -- aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh-- oh no -- onj pulled a muscle in her ass. i tried to keep running but this soon proved impossible (it turns out you use your ass for more than as a glorified pillow to sit upon -- and you can quote me on that) -- and soon i was forced to limp home. since i do not have much experience being athletic, it was clear i needed advice -- so i immediately phoned thatch
pnj- oh no, i think i pulled a muscle in my ass, what should i do?
thatch- is it swollen?
pnj- of course it's swollen -- it's my ass
thatch -- sit on something hot.
anyhow -- here we are two days later and pnj still can't go running, but i figured a little walk wouldn't hurt, so i headed out early for dinner walking a cross the park and down the east side, through grand central, and then murray hill and gramercy and down into the east village. it was beautiful weather, early evening, and pnj had her ipod. i think that is all you need for a good time in new york -- comfortable shoes (or a wheelchair if that is how you get around that is cool too) and your ipod and the city. here's what pnj listened to -- white stripes, morrisey, wyclef jean, bob dylan, patti smith, and public enemy. so that was about 6 miles and my ass is killing me and i am old (though isn't it wild to think that public enemy and patti smith are the music of middle age) -- but i am also reminded of how much i love you new york.
august 23, 2006
the red sox
pnj does NOT want to even discuss this. some things are best left alone.
august 22, 2006
on race and adoption
last week in the new york times there was an article on transracial adoption -- why don't more white parents adopt african american children? it must be racism. why do such parents go abroad to adopt asian children at great expense when there are children here at home who need homes?
this week there are letters to the editor -- responding to the article. in academia where i work, there are scores of articles on transracial adoption -- it is a sort of hot topic and kind of a cottage industry right now.
here's what pnj has to say. f-you all you smug-ass people out there judging any of us for trying to do something very simple -- become parents and make a family. why does anyone out there have a child biologically instead of adopting a child in need? why do people adopt children? no one -- except the overly self-righteous self-important narcissists out there actually is adopting a kid to save the world, or to save even one kid. people adopt children because they want to be parents not saints. and those who think and say they are saints for doing this (think angelina jolie) are doing a real head trip on their kids. remember growing up when you were being a brat and your parents reminded you of how they had just bought you gum today and taken you to the circus last week to shame you? what if they had "saved you"? that's a ridiculous subtext to foist on some kid who was just going about their business when you came to get them and radically alter their life.
adopting a kid is extremely hard. believe it or not it's not actually like some kind of glorified bennetton ad where you go to a shopping mall full of gorgeous babies of all different colors and just choose one -- only some people are so snobby they can't buy american so they have to get a foreign model. no actually it turns out that in america for the most part prospective parents have to put together a promo package and then shop themselves around to pregnant women, who then choose. or you have to start going through the foster care system, which has its own challenges. hooray for the people who have the wearwithall to deal with those bureaucratic challenges and uncertainties -- but let's not throw tomatoes at the people who don't.
believe it or not, not everyone out there who adopts a child from asia is a racist a-hole. some are -- most aren't. many --- like pnj -- are just people who want to be parents, and after years of trying and failing to do so through other means, want to do so through a process with some promise of certainty.
august 21, 2006
pnj has a new boyfriend....and his name is ANDRE 3000!
so tonight pnj, thatch, and the haze went out to dinner with my dad, emily - my stepmom, and ruth, my stepgrandmother. good food, good wine, good conversation. the high point came as we were discussing my stepbrother. it went something like this.
dad: ... well he has to travel a lot for work.
emily: he has to relocate for four months to montana.
thatch: that is really hard
hazel: you know what else is really hard?
hazel: when you have to make a poopy and it isn't coming out.
emily: that is hard.
august 18, 2006
guess who's a massive tool and kind of a putz to boot? joe lieberman, that's who. or wait...guess who's even smarmier and even more unsavory that that garkish from connecticut - senatory allen from virginia. that jackass actually told a staffer from his rival's campaign --after calling him an ethnic slur because he couldn't remember his name -- "welcome to america and welcome to virginia" -- what because the guy wasn't an f-ing wasp he must be a foreigner?
here's what i propose -- from here on out anyone who actually wants to be a senator badly enough to raise a bunch of money, wear some weird toupe (i'm talking 'bout you trent lott)and campaign for the job is AUTOMATICALLY DISQUALIFIED and immediately put on a plane and sent to iraq where he/she will drive around in an unarmored humvee in perpetuity.
August 16, 2006
the other day pnj went to the post office. do i mean the one around the corner where there is always a line out the door and like a million postal workers kind of milling around behind bulletprooof plexiglass eating those weird danish butter cookies - the ones in that blue tin where all the cookies taste the same but somehow you would thumb wrestle your sister to the death for the one that is shaped like a pretzel-- the ones that they once gave all the waitresses at a diner where i worked as our christmas bonus the year our restaurant got bought out by a corporation? yep, that's my local post office. so pnj went in there to collect her mail. we had gone out of town and i had the mail held while we were gone, so now i wanted it back. there were two STAR! magazines in that mail -- not that pnj would subscribe to STAR! -- it was a birthday gift, but as long as it is coming, i am certainly going to read them -- that is if i can pry them out of thatch's big meaty palms -- my goodness but noone loves the celebrity gossip more than my man and probably some valpak coupons. anyhow pnj made her way to the front of the line and you know what the nice postman said to me when i gave him my slip to reclaim our mail? he said --why don't you go stand over there (pointing to the wall at the back of the building) and wait and see what happens. this did not seem to bode well...
august 15, 2006
yes, dear friends. it has been forever. since we were last together i managed to break another toe, try pilates wherein pnj strengthened her "core", watch like a zillion episodes of dora the explorer, get offered a job in my home town at oh-so-breathlessly-fancy-u. and then be forced to turn it down (why you ask? -- its a long story but related to the next and last item on pnj's list of things she has done since last blogging over a year ago), and last, but not least cue the drum roll, and the flotilla of angels with trumpets (speaking of which, thatch and i are renovating our little cottage and this means doing things like looking over catalogues of toilet models with my good friend neil -- and for anyone out there who isn't aware, there is this incredibly bizarre, yet serious postmodern world of toilets out there -- do you realize that you can buy a toilet that just looks like a random hat box that is just sitting on the floor, but finally when you have to pee so badly that you decide you might as well open it and put on some kind of weird british ladies hat like they wear at "Ascot" and that comes in a round white box so that you can maintain your either your dignity or your sense of the absurd as you prepare to pee in the bathtub -- yes when you open that hat box, you discover that it IS the toilet! how whimsical! anyhow that's just one model, there are lots of others (though suspiciously NO stadium urinals for sale) and each toilet model has a name like "the shangri-la", or the "the thinker", or "revery", anyhow pinkynicejuice is certain that there must be one out there called "the golden stool" where each time you take a dump about 50 actual angels come out and blow their golden trumpets and shower you the tears of god himself-- it is only $1250 bucks and comes in eggshell, slate, or ivory.) anyhow these trumpets certainly aren't blowing because someone took a dump -- no THESE particular angels are giving the mighty shout-out to mz. PINKYNICEJUICE on the occasion of a little something called t-e-n-u-r-e -- which is short for a job for life. yours truly is now (another of the) the hastings banda of big state u.
and if you don't know who hastings banda is then you must not be eligible to be featured in this past week's fashion and style column in the nytimes
anyhow -- whatever -- pnj has a job for life and she is on sabbatical. and she has begun to blog. more to follow -- including thoughts on my latest foray into Zen breadbaking, for now pnj must go and be thankful for yeast...
august 14, 2006
pnj's current favorite? the guy who sits underground in penn station next to "TRACKS" which pnj might add is a very sketchy looking raw bar underneath penn station, really the last place on earth in which one would want to eat a raw oyster, probably the only thing that anyone should have at TRACKS is a kamikaze on the rocks. anyhow pnj's favorite is the guy who sits in front of tracks and plays the theme from the flintstones on the recorder. now that, my friends, is art.
this little piggy had none...
yesterday pnj set off at dawn for fabulous state u. pnj's trip entails a subway ride, followed by a train ride (on a big proper choochoo train) and then a brief, yet brisk walk -- total traveling time approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes. well, yes, except yesterday. double that yesterday each way, and you begin to get a picture of pnj's day. but of course, one cannot base evaluations of such complex experiences as travel on such a simple factor as time -- there are quality issues to consider. for example, you might be interested to know that in a moment of deep confusion at the ever-mediocre zaro's bakeshop in penn station pnj managed to order herself a PRUNE danish for the ride to fabulous state u. prune? you ask, snickering softly to yourself. why yes, prune! pnj is still not sure why -- but in fact, it turned out to be fairly tasty and prune will now enter pnj's morning danish rotation alongside cherry, raisin nut, and the occasional pineapple. but despite the surprising toothsomeness of the zaro's prune danish (mind you -- zaros is the most mediocre place on earth and pnj is certainly not advocating that you run on down to zaros -- just that you consider the prune if you are at zaros and selecting a danish), the trip was not without its challenges. for one thing most of the doors on the train were frozen shut, making it entirely unpredictable as to which doors might open when. so at any given stop the train aisle was full of confused and mildly panicking passengers running up and down the train looking for an open door and shouting to one another, while we in the seats either egged them on or pretended not to notice how utterly bizarre some people look when they are running. but the real problem with yesterday's commute was not the train, nor the length of the commute, nor the danish. no the problem happened right over here on 86th street where pnj attempted to climb down the incredibly slippery, slushy steps to the subway station at dawn, while anxious commuters crowded her on all sides -- you see the day before someone, a homeless person who was trying to keep warm, had started a fire down in a subway station way downtown -- and this fire had destroyed a whole room full of switches that was somehow completely vital to two lines of the subway. and now two full lines of the new york subway -- lines that originate in brooklyn and end in the bronx, big, long, majorly huge subway lines (this is not the grand street shuttle we are talking about nor the mysterious W train) -- are totally f-ed. one is not working at all, and the other at 2/3rds capacity. there is no longer an express train, and apparently the problem will not be fixed for another THREE TO FIVE YEARS!!! yes, 3 to 5 years -- the subway, as it turns out is a tad "vulnerable" -- not only to the ramifications of the fact that we completely lack an adequate supply of low income housing and other safety nets that would keep someone from needing to light a fire in an underground tunnel for warmth during a blizzard while pnj is able to sit in her large apartment drizzling something called "truffle oil" on her salad -- but also to its own antiquated self -- no worry though, at least those people who drive the 7 miles to the gallon enormous pickup trucks in wyoming (the one on the ad that is SO BIG that the cattle look like miniature schnauzers -- the RAM TOUGH ONE -- so that in case you are feeling insecure because maybe someone will find out that your penis is only average sized you can preempt this discovery by them by hiding your average sized johnson inside your ENORMOUS pickup truck -- well he had to get such a big truck -- they'll think to themselves when they see you -- he couldn't fit his enormous penis -- not to mention his absoultely massive scrotum in a midsize truck) are receiving ample homeland security funds from us 8 million tax payers in new york to help secure your roadways, we don't really need such funds here in nyc for public transportation, of course not.... anyhow the total f-ed uppedness of the loss of these subwaylines yesterday made for something of a push at pnj's own subway stop where she was attempting to descend gingerly down the stairs -- why gingerly? well -- pnj will tell you! because the day before, the very same day that the homeless man built his fire, pnj broke a teeny tiny bone in her useless toe. you know the toe that you really never remember you have nor every really use, the one you only remember when it hurts, the little piggy who didn't get any roastbeef -- the vegetarian piggy-- pnj broke her. and somewhere in the midst of the stairs down into the subway pnj in her fuzzy hat and bookbag and big winter coat and snowboots was forced to yell "BROKEN TOE! BROKEN TOE!" to clear a modicum of space around herself for her descent into the chaos that was yesterday's commute.
that is all.
pnj is quite obsessed with madeleines, the cookie. they are so yummy. crusty on the outside an all fine and cakey and frenchy on the inside. in the cookie pantheon they are tremendously important. pnj has been known to pick up and walk 15 blocks for a single madeleine to fix a terrible craving. but they are a bit of a pain in the ass to find, and they are also quite expensive for what you get. so pnj bought some madeleine pans (yes, they are so special and french that you have to have special french pans just to bake them in) and has been working at the madeleine. it turns out that they are not easy. yes, you can bake just about anything in that pan and call it a madeleine, but if it doesn't have that fabulous little bump in its middle, and if it isn't truly crusty, and if it is full of big airholes in the middle, rather than a fine, light but dense crumb, and if it isn't really vanilla-y, then why the f- did you just walk fifteen blocks and fork over a buck seventy five for a single cookie? you could have stayed home and had a little schoolboy cookie, or some of those vanilla cream filled wafers that pnj likes so much. anyhow, after much experimentation and research -- pnj has done it. my madeleines rule. and may i say that there is an entire vanilla bean in every batch.
the metropolitan museum of art
pnj is not a museum goer. actually, i do like going to a museum, but i have to go at my own pace, which is fairly quick. i like to stop where i stop and stay where i stay and blow by what i decide to blow by. pnj likes looking at the decorative arts best, usually (all the plates, and utensils, and glass and stuff), though there are lots of other things i like too. anyhow, yesterday we went to the MET -- it is just incredible, truly incredible. there was this amazing tiny statuette of isis/aphrodite, and this completely blow away Raphael in the most gorgeous colors ever complete with truly gold halos, and these 18th century chinese porcelain vases that are really clean and simple and in super rich colors and now you know what all that danish modern pottery is imitating. anyhow it was a short trip, but very inspiring nonetheless. human beings are such fun creatures, and certainly the fact that we make things and decorate things is a very big reason why.
doggarhea day four
poor pokey - pnj fears its getting worse. last night brought five separate trips outside (no small matter for a sick dog who lives in a fifth floor walkup) and something awful that was emitted from deep withinside pokey (no idea as to its point of exit from her body) landing on the floor in the dead of night, which pnj then stepped on in her bare feet in a confused state at dawn as she dressed to take pokeythedog outside for another bout of doggarhea -- which at this point, pnj doesn't mind telling you, is a bit like soy sauce in terms of its consistency. this makes dawn or the middle of the night a preferable time -- despite the perils of perhaps stepping in some form of effluvia in one's own home. pnj fears what will happen come daylight when pokey goes to excrete soy sauce on broadway and pnj is forced to pick it up with a plastic grocery bag from artie's deli amidst a crowd of interested bystanders...
well my pickles arrived today -- pnj is eating them even as she types-- and pnj must say that while they are quite yummy, my father-in-law makes better pickles than these.
anyhow, pnj is not here to tell you about pickles -- though, as an aside -- have you tried planters dry roasted peanuts in the glass jar lately? they are SO good. (only get the dry roasted in the glass jar, not those weird oily "cocktail peanuts". in fact, hazel has kind of a primal reaction to the planters peanuts and when she needs them you had better get out of her way and fork them over.
yes, pnj is here to tell you about what the british aristocracy is up to these days. perhaps some of you read the story in the nypost today (also one in the times) about young prince harry going to a "fancy dress party" in a nazi get-up. ok, yeah that is indeed offensive, but in a throw-away line somewhere in that article you might note that the party itself was not any-old "fancy dress party" , no this one had a theme -- yes how fun, let's us young aristocrats get together and get trashed and watch our mascara run and then hook up with each other and possibly vomit -- but let's do it with a a theme!!! should we have a pirate theme? a wizards and unicorns theme? how about a my little pony theme? hobbits? sponge bob square pants? everyone come as a vegetable!, famous people who wore codspieces? the roaring twenties? spice girls? no... no... you'll never guess what theme they chose as a fun party theme (a party at which prince harry decided to dress as a nazi) THE SOUND OF MUSIC???? NO!!!! wrong again. it was a party whose theme was "colonizers and natives" -- yes indeedy. colonizers and natives -- that's a lovely theme! good grief?!!!?? COLONIZERS AND NATIVES is NOT a party theme -- wake up you dumbass poncey (that's a britishism for upper class twit, as pnj learned while watching the Inspector Lynley Mysteries on MYSTERY on pbs, pasty, weird scary freaking insensitive pea-brains. this is not a party theme.
true story: at around 6 am in a half delirious state -- your erstwhile friend pnj climbed on the information superhighway and ordered $50 worth of pickles from some guy in brooklyn. there was an option to include a gift card and this is what pnj wrote:
here are the freaking pickles you ordered at 6 am. they may be expensive, but they are bound to be more satisfying in the long run than a new purse.
warm regards yourself
yesterday brought a wondrous thing. lunch with my best friend and her sister. it was like old times, since we three have been friends for twenty years now -- literally.
anyhoo -- we ate dim sum and tried to come up with a product to sell to make us all millionaires. (when pnj is a millionaire, she is going to get pokey a tophat to wear all the time like the monopoly man). here's my idea -- its for a t-shirt slogan (and DON"T steal it and sell it yourself or pnj will put the serious juju on you)
"Jesus is my co-pilates"
what do you think?
a little something called doggarrhea-
pokeythedog just woke me up with some serious whimpering in the middle of the night. i could quote the old chestnut about some people thinking it funny, but it really comes out of your dog all so runny -- but pnj doesn't want to mess with pokey's dignity -- dignity that was certainly on display just now when she pulled me down five flights of stairs top speed in my pyjamas, out onto broadway and then started sniffing in a very panicking way searching for just the right spot to do her business.
dogs ARE so mysterious. one would have thought that when in that much distress, any old portion of the sidewalk would do -- but no...
pnj had the flu. she had it for days. this produced a lot of whining. then last night, thatch threw the remote control from the t.v. at me and called me a baby (which you will note is highly ironic -- since babies do like to throw things like the remote). the whining is now over.
The first blog of 2005 a.k.a. the it's all about me blog:
Well some poor guy jumped onto the subway tracks and was hit by the 1 train at 86th street yesterday, thus killing him. I assume this was his intention.
PNJ has long, long resisted defining herself as a new yorker -- no -- i insist -- i'm a bostonian, a lover of clams, a red sox fan, an uptight, snowbooted, new englander (or in pnj's case, jew englander). and yet yesterday after the guy took the header onto the tracks pnj discovered she just may in fact, be in the process of becoming a new yorker.
pnj needed a book that is only available at a special library way up on 168th street (so that she could xerox a chapter to use in her new course this semester), so finding the 86th street station closed with about 750 million emergency vehicles outside it, pnj walked up to 96th street, pausing at every bus stop to see if the bus might be coming (it was not). i tried heading into the 96th street station where a cop told me it was closed. pnj asked -- well how far north do i have to walk before i can catch a train. and he said -- "some guy jumped at 86. there's body parts everywhere, this things going to take a while to clean up." did pnj feel sympathy for this suicidal man? no. did she feel repulsed or shocked at the thought of "body parts everywhere"? no. she came above ground, looked at the immense throng of fellow new yorkers who stood at the bus stop bitching their brains out about the subway (and the bus -- mind you our bus was sitting there a half block away where we could all see it, parked while the driver ate a sandwich), no pnj thought to herself "i bet i could edge that old lady out for a cab... hmmmm" and then she turned her new england ass right around, walked home, and crossed that chapter from that hard to get book right off of her syllabus...