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August, 2012

  1. Central Pawk

    August 30, 2012 by admin


    It’s been said that New York is the most dog-friendly city in the US.  I must say, it seems like almost everyone has one.  Many stores allow you to bring your dog in, which makes Bernie really happy, he always did love a bargain.  They’ve put little dog parks all over.  But the real kicker was when I found out that in Central Park you can have your dog off leash anytime before 9am (you can have them off leash after 9pm as well, but mamma doesn’t go to Central Park after 9pm, too many memories from the 70’s).  Ken and I took the dogs there this past weekend and it was so much fun.  Happy dogs and happy dog people.

    But in some NOT so dog-friendly news…

    I’m walking the dogs yesterday, one block up where I walk them everyday.  This street, like many others, has some big trees and the city has put tiny, wrought-iron “gates” around the trees to protect them.  Of course on any given day you’ll find 30 cigarette butts inside, a coke can, broken Jagermiester bottle, dead rodent, part of a Dunkin Donut and maybe even Jimmy Hoffa.  But while I’m stopped at this particular gate because Bernie and Niu want to sniff it (because 8.5 million dogs have peed there prior) this uppity, blond, pony-tailed, wrap dress and comfort shoes wearing chick comes up behind me and starts with “you know I read in the New York Times that dogs are killing all the plant life in New York City….I just thought you should know…” and walks away.   I was so stunned that the only thing that I could muster was a “yeaaaaaa?” in a thick Brooklyn accent.  I don’t know where that came from.  I was like, bitch please, you don’t even know that I just spent two years in China holding back a lot of punches and I am ready to get them out RIGHT NOW.  But the truth of the matter was that she was already inside her cozy apartment sipping her mint tea and drawing her nightly bath while flames were still coming out of my nose.

    I’m going to need a thicker skin…

  2. Go climb a rock

    August 27, 2012 by admin

    Rock climbing was always one of those things I never wanted to do.  Ever.  That and sky diving are the two things I was sure never to do.  I like thrills, oh yes I do.  White water rafting?  yes.  Extreme rollercoasters? yes.  Snow shoe hiking? yes.  Mountain biking? yes.  Get a tour of Texas in a car driven by Randy Travis? Actually, no.  But rock climbing? Definitely not.  So you can imagine how elated I was when Mae mentioned wanting to do it on vacation in either Utah or Calistoga and Ken got right on the horn and made reservations for ALL of us.   He got a local recommendation from a Park City resident for White Pine Touring.  They can arrange and guide one through any outdoor activity.  Greeeeat.

    On my first climb up (and after several bites of turkey jerky) I had severe “Elvis Leg” as they call it, uncontrollable leg shaking.  I was more scared than I’d ever been and I had a rush of endorphins.  But we had the best guide, Weston Deutschlander (not a typo, that’s his real name) and his dog Nelson.  Anyone who can coax me into hauling my lard ass up 70 ft. while gripping onto cracks and crevices is a miracle worker.  It turned out to be an amazing experience.  One I may never do again.

    Nelson, bored, on the drive up to the Uintas


    I reached the top!!! (now I have to come down…)

    Mae and Abigael both on their way up


    Go Ken!

    Pre-Climb Stretch

    All done and enjoying the scenery

    And if that weren’t enough dilly dalling for one vacation spot, Ken and I went mountain bike riding the next day on the Mid Mountain Trail in Deer Valley.  The best riding trail I’ve ever been on.

  3. Wino Country

    August 19, 2012 by admin




    Dilly dallying at the Solage Hotel in beautiful Calistoga, CA. It’s actually hard to go farther than the cruiser bikes will take you because it’s just so scenic and they have a fully stocked wine cellar here at the Solage’s Solbar Restaurant, where the food is worthy of 4 “Marie really’s” (really, really, really really good!). However, you must get in the car and drive the 25 minutes to get to St. Helena and eat at Farmstead, the best ever (5 really’s). You can keep your fancy schmancy over-priced French Laundry, I prefer the creative, fresh, country, sublime dishes of Farmstead. Before driving to the Armstrong Redwood Forest in Guernville for a hike, stop over at Oakville Market for the best sandwiches you’ve ever had in your life and a lemonade.

  4. Rex Hairyson

    August 7, 2012 by admin

    No sooner did I type “Rex Hairyson” did I get that song, “I could have danced all night”, from My Fair Lady stuck in my darn head! Oh I hate that. Anycutestdogintheworldhoo, I just had to post this picture of Rex, 4-legged son of proud parents, Natalie and Jared. They have a two-legged son as well but we’re not interested in that right now. Rex lives in Austin and was enjoying a nice restful and contemplative moment when this was captured.

    Which leads me to Zampa a wonderful little Italian restaurant in the West Village (looking at Rex in this photo makes me think of Italy, not sure why). They refer to themselves as a wine bar/kitchen and that’s all I needed to hear. The New Yorker’s love their burrata (I can hear Jenny saying, “who doesn’t??”), it’s everywhere, and Zampa makes some of the best I’ve had. Their menu is fairly small and everything on it is worth trying. I’ve had several fish dishes but they love their meat. Your server will pick you out a wine that will go perfectly with your dish and your taste buds. However, this adorable place is small and crowded so don’t plan on hearing anything that your date is saying, just keep nodding as you swirl more Amarone down.

    Zampa’s rating: really, really, really, really good.

    *this 4 out of 4 “really” rating was based on atmosphere, wine selection, food creativity, really cute lesbian food servers and quality of food. I was pretty typsy but feel certain this is all correctly stated.

  5. Nie Hao New York

    August 1, 2012 by admin

    I had been bugging Ken to take me to Chinatown for some dim sum (okay, I asked him once) so off we went with empty stomachs.  We walked around the streets for some time but as real hunger set in we were quick to pick the “best vegetarian dim sum” restaurant because it was literally right in front of us.   We ordered several items, crispy banana, spinach dumplings, sweet pea this, lotus flower that, etc.   People, long story short, they basically just took a small piece of vegetable and put it inside a huge ball of dough and fried it ’til the cows came home.  “Gross”, is what I said as I wiped the dripping grease off my chin.  And then I looked around the room and realized all the wait staff looked just like big dough balls and immediately asked for the check.

    We spent the next two hours wandering the streets of Chinatown and Little Italy (which is becoming Littler Italy because the Chinese are taking over, but you didn’t hear that from me).  Ken and I often talk about the similarities between our Chinese and Italian upbringings.

    And then we came upon this street sign running through Chinatown and Little Italy…


    Columbus Park


    Post bad dim sum, we enjoy homemade pizza while watching the Olympics