May 28, 2012

Weekend Schmeekend

Holy Hot Weather, batman!

It is officially Summer in the city and Memorial Day weekend is the perfect way to set it off.

This weekend I was busy (not much different than last weekend, or the weekend before, or next weekend) but it was fun!

On Thursday, I was running errands for my dinner party on Saturday and while at Home Depot, I dropped a 2x4 on my foot. OMG! It hurt incredibly bad! It took everything I had to not break into tears like a 4 year old, but I knew it would not be pretty. As I waited for the guy with the saw to cut the lumber, I could see two of my toes slowly turning purple. By the time I got the lumber cut, checked out and home, my foot was throbbing and my two toes were a crazy collage of purple, red, and black. After a few hours, I knew one of the toes was broken. It had swollen up and become a nice shade of royal purple. My big toe also had a great bruise on it, but it was not broken. Who knew such a small bone could hurt so much! This city is made for walking, but not for walking with a broken toe!

On Friday, I took my first ever LIRR trip into Long Island and spent the night with my Mom and her husband who were in town taking care of business. We spent 18 hours eating, drinking, and catching up. It was a short visit, but it reminded me of the weekends when I would come home for a day or so from college just to get away and see family.

On Saturday, I hosted a dinner party for one of my book clubs. A few months ago, we read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and we all loved the idea of having a midnight dinner based on the book's dinner parties. So we did. I am not the type of person who hosts a party and basically just opens up my apartment; I go all out. I decorated, I made themed food, and I tried to keep things close to the book.

Here was the invitation:

Midnight Dinners are a soon to be tradition at la maison Roberts! Dress in your black and white (red scarves optional) and come on up to the snazziest dinner to hit Harlem this year.

“Always precisely at midnight, at the moment the grandfather clock in the foyer begins
...to chime, the first plates will be placed on the table.”

It's true. Dinner will happen at midnight. It was discussed and decided that if we are going to have a midnight dinner, we should try to keep it authentic. Feel free to bring a sleeping bag and spend the night; you are trekking all the way to Harlem and it will be late.

“At dinner, which begins promptly at midnight, each course is styled in black or white but bursts with color once pierced with forks or spoons, revealing layer upon layer of flavors.”

This would amazing, but I don't think any of us have this much magic up our sleeves. Just bring something delicious, fun, and enough to share.

“But the Midnight Dinners have an air of nocturnal mystery already, and Chandresh finds that providing no menu, no map of the culinary route, adds to the experience. Dish after dish is brought to the table, some easily identifiable as quail or rabbit or lamb, served on banana leaves or baked in apples or garnished with brandy-soaked cherries. Other courses are more enigmatic, concealed in sweet sauces or spiced soups; unidentifiable meats hidden in pastries and glazes.”

It was also discussed and decided to make the event a potluck style dinner, but we are keeping with The Night Circus theme and going in with a blind eye. We ask that you tell the group if you are bringing an appetizer, side dish, drink, or dessert, but keep the specifics to yourself. It's more fun that way!

Keep in mind that there are a few food allergies amongst the group: berries, apples, hazelnuts. The main dish will be meat free to cater to the masses, but I wouldn't say meat is off the menu. If you have any additional allergies or requests about the food please let us know and we shall add it to the list :)

Please feel free to bring guests, games, & music playlists. Magic tricks and sleights of hand encouraged. 



Everyone who came had a decent time even though the apartment felt like an oven because it was hot outside and we had food cooking all night. Here are some pictures:
Living room wall decorations
Candles, lots of candles.
Clock on the wall (You have to read the book!)

Appetizers!
Desserts! 

Fancy Jello Shots!
The group with a self-timer camera.
Me and the photographer

No one got any pictures of the main courses because it was midnight and we were pretty hungry! We may have also used my fire escape as a means of cooling down, but I am not saying that we did, because that might be illegal.

On Sunday, I cleaned up. I napped. Then I went to work. Then my friend Jenny and I went in search of fleet week festivities, but instead of finding them we ended up at a bar in Greenwich Village called Blind Tiger. They had decent food, an excellent beer selection, and an all around cool atmosphere.


May 22, 2012

It's a page turner.

I like to think I am an avid reader. I am a member of two different book clubs and I read the books 90% of the time. I also read for pleasure and I spend almost everyday reading on the train. However, I recently came across this list of books that most adults should have read and I was astonished at how many classics I have not read. Of the few, in red, that I have read, they come mainly from high school. I think that I am going to try to spend this Summer catching up to the average adult.


The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
 

The Bible - Council of Nicea
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (I've read as much as I care too of this book)
Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch - George Eliot
Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll 
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
Emma - Jane Austen
Persuasion - Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini 

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
Animal Farm - George Orwell
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Atonement - Ian McEwan
 

Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Dune - Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon 

A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

The Secret History - Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold  

Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
On The Road - Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick - Herman Melville 

Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
Dracula - Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
Ulysses - James Joyce
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
Germinal - Emile Zola
Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession - AS Byatt
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Color Purple - Alice Walker 

The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web - EB White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
Watership Down - Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet - William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Where do you stand? 

May 21, 2012

Perks of Teaching

There are mornings I wake up and want to curl back into my warm bed and go to sleep.

There are mornings that I need a 30 oz coffee to keep me awake.

There are mornings that I cringe at the thought of grading 30 plus papers about the Civil War vocabulary.

Then there are mornings like this morning, where I wake right up, grab a small coffee on my way to school, and show up with a pep in my step.

Field Trip mornings.

Today my class went on a field trip to explore the brand new Yankee Stadium. the fifth grade studies baseball in gym class, so it ties in educationally, but it happened to also be a really fun field trip.

We explored the museum, saw monuments to legends, and sat in the dugout. It was awesome. I love being a teacher.


Weekend Recap



I can officially welcome Spring to New York City. This past weekend was beautiful weather! High 70's, clear blue sky, sun shining.

Be Jealous.

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I spent Friday night out with some friends. We ended up seeing What to Expect When You're Expecting and it was decent. I laughed, I smiled, I cringed at the thought of labor. The movie was funnier then expected, plus it had less  birthing scenes than Knocked Up!  I am still not sold on Jenny from the block as an actress, and I felt that Cameron Diaz wasn't able to pull off being pregnant, but the men cast in the movie were fabulous. If you have a rainy afternoon or a free ticket, then check it out, but don't waste a pretty Spring day on this movie.



On Saturday, I went to The Great GoogaMooga Festival in Prospect Park.  My friends and I got to the park early, had no problem finding a shady place to call camp, and scouted out the vendors. We ate, we drank, we listened to bands we had never heard of. We got dessert, we visited more vendors, and we got a little sun burned. We had a good time. It was pretty much exactly what I expected, until the clock struck 2:30. Around two thirty, you could no longer see the field in front of you because it was covered in people. You could not longer buy food because the lines were either too long or vendors ran out of food. You could no longer buy beer or wine because their system was down. The madness only got worse. People took to twitter to complain about this free festival.





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Honestly, this was the first time this festival has been put on, it was day 1, you gave out 14,000 free tickets. Chaos was bound to ensue. I thought that it was great. I saw some food & drink I wanted to eat (blood orange lemonade, pork belly tacos), I saw some food I would never want to eat (horse bologna, fois gras doughnuts), and I tried some stuff.

Friends!



 Food!


  Crowds!




On Sunday, I skipped the food festival, but I did go to a farmer's market and a book club meeting. Success and relaxing.



Bring on the rain this week, but bring back the sun next weekend!