Thursday, July 29, 2010

Meet You on Niagara Street

Buffalo, New York, circa 1908. "Erie County Savings Bank, Niagara Street." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Baby's Got a Brand New Play Spot

When John was a wee wee little one, he didn't need much room for much of anything. Now that he's rolling over and on the brink of being mobile in the self-powered way, I decided it was time to designate a nice comfy corner for him in which to play. His "Uncle" DeeAnne purchased these delightful interlocking foam floor tiles by Skip Hop for just such a purpose, and I set them up yesterday afternoon. I learned this morning that the new romper "room" isn't just a great place for baby to hang out in his Fisher Price Kick 'n' Play bouncy seat, but it's also suitable for Mommy to get down and do her 7 Minutes of Magic Qi Gong DVD. I wonder if it is also a nice place for Mommy to nap? Baby got up at 3 a.m. today. Oh, baby...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What Happens When You Wear Eleganza?


Johnny Johnny Quite Contronny How Does Your Garden Grow?

When I was home on maternity leave, I spent a lot of time over at my sister Whipcreamy's house. She and her hubby have a lovely backyard they work on most every weekend which upon buying the place they brought back to life with a wonderful lawn, plants and flowers. Upon seeing it, JD suggested they grow some vegetables. It was planting season afterall, and he urged that they get the stuff in the ground as soon as possible so as not to miss the window. Back in the day when this City Mouse did a stint Upstate as a Country Mouse, he tried a vegetable garden himself by tossing a bunch of seeds into a patch of dirt and had some pretty good success with it. He had enough of a return to produce a tiny salad, afterall. The way he described the process, he made it seem easy, but we were all daunted by the idea nonetheless.

Intrigued, I decided the garden idea was goin' down, no matter what our objections were. Whip and Hubby tossed all the rocks out of a corner of the lawn that got the most sun and tilled the soil. I bought a boatload of different seed packets at the Dollar Store in town, and one night over a few glasses of wine and PBRs we banged it out. Sure, we had a book to guide us, but no, we really didn't know what the hell we were doing. We just plopped the seeds in the dirt into dedicated rows as neat as we could be, highlighted the rows with some string tied to old tent stakes with the designated packets on top, and then crossed our fingers to see what happened with water, sunshine, and time. We named it John's Garden.

I present you with a photo of a newly-planted John's Garden:

Anne and John ~ May 4, 2010

And some of the results:

Anne and John ~ July 2, 2010

Lesson learned: More often than not, it pays to just bang something out even if you don't know what the hell you're doing. So what if its not perfect? If we waited for perfect, we'd have no zucchini. Or John, frankly.

GTL 1905 Style

The Jersey Shore circa 1905. "Atlantic City, on the beach." Surf, sand and Steeplechase Pier in the distance. Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

Do you think The Situation would recognize this Jersey Shore? How could he? The view's the same from the gym, the tanning booth, and the laundromat.

A Good Summertime Read

John, NYC ~ July 14, 2010

Nothing Says Summer Quite Like a Weird Picnic

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mother's Little Helper

I like to keep plenty o' the "appetizing, stimulating tonic" around here. It's "essential at this time."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Got Crabs?

I made this recipe for dinner last night, after having seen it on Dan Eaton's Cooking at Home segment on NY1 in the morning. Now, folks say that Dan creeps them out a little bit. Sure, his voice is on the high side and his hair is on the 80's side, but he invented a good and easy crab cake. I'll be sure to keep checkin' in with Dan and his recipes now that I have a baby, and I have to cook stuff. The days of Saltines for lunch and Miller Lite for supper are over.


Homemade Crab Cakes - Dan Eaton



1 pound canned, pasteurized crabmeat

8 slices white sandwich bread

1/3 cup finely diced red pepper

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

1/4 cup finely diced green onion

1 heaping Tbs Dijon mustard

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Olive oil for sauteing crab cakes

Tartar sauce and sliced tomatoes for serving (optional)


For 1 pound of crabmeat, you'll need to cut the crusts off of 8 slices of bread and finely dice it and throw it into a large mixing bowl.

Take a few minutes to pick through the crabmeat to make sure there aren't any small pieces of shell in it and then add it to the bowl with the cubed bread and add 1/3 cup finely diced red pepper and 1/4 cup each of finely diced red onion and green onion and then add 1 heaping Tbs of Dijon mustard and 1/2 cup mayonnaise and mix everything together.

This amount of crabmeat will make 8 medium sized crab cakes and you'll want to shape them into equal sized 1-inch thick patties.

Cook the crab cakes in batches or in one large nonstick pan with a splash of olive oil until they're golden brown on both sides and hot all the way through.


Feel free to cut this recipe in half by buying 8-ounces of crabmeat instead of 1-pound. Jumbo lump crabmeat is more expensive than back fin crabmeat….either one works fin although there may be more bits of shell to pick out of the back fin meat.

Serve the individual crab cakes with a little tartar sauce and some sliced tomatoes if you like or with a simple tossed green salad.

How Do I Do It?

NERVINE, of course.
Hey. Wait a minute. I've gone through every pocket of my purse. I'm out of NERVINE! Need large package ASAP.

What Happens Las Vegas

John, NYC ~ July 19, 2010

I mentioned earlier that John got a ride in his first ExerSaucer on his four-month birthday, and JD named it The Las Vegas of Playtime because John gets such a kick out of it. Ironically, it is a medieval-themed version with King and Queen, Jester, etc, and looks not unlike the Excalibur Hotel.

Lately we've been playing a game where JD will "fly" John around the room and into Las Vegas: "We're now landing in Las Vegas International Airport, where the time is 4:20 pm and the temperature a comfortable 108 degrees..." And then he plops the baby down in the seat, and we usually have the following conversation with him as he bops around in there and has his mind blown:

  • Good afternoon, Sir. Welcome to the Excalibur Hotel. Are you checking in? Do you need help with your bags?
  • Here are you keys, Sir. Suite 5000. Yes, the Dom is chilling in your room, everything is as you requested.
  • Dinner is at 6:30. Shall we draw a bath in the meantime for you, Sir?
  • Have you had too much to drink, Sir?
  • Would you like another drink, Sir?
  • Is this dealer cold? Would you like to switch tables?
  • You're crying. Have you had enough of Las Vegas?
  • No? Would you like another drink? Can I interest you in the roulette table?
  • Have you tried the slots? Please swivel around and enjoy the buffet.
  • Glad you're having a good time.
  • You're drooling, Sir. There's a big puddle betwixt your toes. Or is that pee?
  • As the Mayor of Las Vegas, I would like to present you with the Keys to the City.
  • Sir, I noticed you got sick on yourself. And you're crying again. And you may have made a little bean pie in your pants. Did you make a little bean pie in your pants? Whoa! Excuse me, Sir? If it's no trouble, might you warn me before you belch your drink of formulakkah in my face? Okay. Can I escort you to your room? Are you ready to leave Las Vegas? You can always come back...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Time for a Re-Post: Dick in a Green Track Jacket

Remember Dick in a Green Track Jacket? I didn't, either, until tonight. Man, I love remembering things.

Most of the time, anyway.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Big Birthdays in Las Vegas

John turned four months old yesterday. Since he's outgrown his "lie around on the Boppy pillow and get a flat head while Mommy watches The Price is Right" stage, I thought it was a good opportunity to drag out the over-sized toy my boss generously donated to us, an enormous EvenFlo ExerSaucer (ie: Neglect-a-Saucer) which had been living in a jumbo black garbage bag in my foyer.

I was hoping against hope that the baby didn't like it so I'd have a reason to donate the saucer someone who lives in a more appropriately-sized dwelling, but to my chagrin, John is bonkers for it. JD calls the ExerSaucer, appropriately, "The Las Vegas of Playtime." Here is Mr. Las Vegas himself literally in his element:

John, NYC ~ July 14, 2010


Additionally, John celebrated his four-month milestone this morning with a new trick after Fido's own heart: He rolled over. His Daddy and I cheered, complete with a high-five. Go Johnny, go Johnny, it's your birthday. Now if you don't like what you see, just spin around, you little twerp! This is Las Vegas!

Do You Know What It Sounds Like When Your Neighbor's Soda Can is Empty?

I do.

He's been fishing around for those last few droplets with a straw for five minutes. Now techincally speaking, he could ingest all the remaining moisture if the can were to be crammed down his throat. Just a suggestion, something I thought of this very second.

Someone's Got His Big Bag of Pretzels On Today

So it's time for a re-post! Enjoy.

Shrimp Recipe of the Day

I made this for shrimp recipe dinner last night, and I highly recommend it for its easily acquired ingredients, quick preparation, and zesty flavors which will impress those folks whom generally aren't very impressed with you.

Garlic Lime Shrimp with Black Bean and Corn Salad by Aviva Goldfarb of The Six o'Clock Scramble:

This combination makes for a colorful and delicious summer feast. It can also be transported to a picnic and served at room temperature. Serve it with brown or white rice.

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined, and thawed, if frozen
1-1 1/2 limes, juice only, 2 1/3 Tbsp.
1 Tbsp. minced garlic, (4 - 6 cloves)
1/4- 1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt, to taste
15 oz. canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/4 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed (or use kernels off of 2 - 3 ears of corn)
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 cup low fat sour cream, for serving (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, 2 Tbsp. lime juice, garlic and kosher salt. Refrigerate it for 15 minutes while you prepare the black bean and corn salad. (Meanwhile, prepare the rice, if you are serving it.)

For the salad, in a medium bowl, combine the beans, corn, bell pepper, 1 tsp. lime juice, 1 tsp. oil, the salt (optional), and 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro (optional). (If you are using fresh corn, boil or microwave it for about 3 minutes before adding it to the salad.) Refrigerate it until ready to serve.

Heat 2 tsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. With a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Sauté the shrimp for 2 - 3 minutes until it begins to turn pink, flipping it once or twice as it cooks. Add the reserved marinade and continue cooking for about two more minutes, until the shrimp is cooked through. Toss it with 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (optional). Serve the shrimp and salad with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

Scramble Flavor Booster: Stir a little fresh lime juice and cilantro into the sour cream before serving, and dice 1 chili pepper, such as a jalapeño or Serrano chili, into the salad.


While the shrimp imported from Asia and Latin America are often not an ideal choice because of the lax environmental and fishing regulations in those areas, there are now more sources to buy U.S. farmed or Canadian wild shrimp which are much better options for the environment. Look for U.S. or Canadian shrimp from brands like Henry & Lisa's Natural Shrimp available at Walmart, Giant Foods, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and Publix, or get a list of stores in your area through

Prepare 1 - 2 cups quick-cooking brown or regular white rice according to the package directions. (Or don't. I didn't)

Friday, July 09, 2010

Weird Engagement Photos Part MCMMLVMVMMVXX

Say cheese. No, seriously. Say it. Cheese.
You know the expression, "Oh, to be a fly on the wall?" This photo makes me want to be a fully loaded pigeon in the sky.

The 2010 World Cup: John Versus Grampa's Gut

John wins!
John, July 5, 2010 ~ VT

Her Latest Trick

Doodle, NYC ~ July 6, 2010

Baby's arrival, age, and general boredom have affected Doodle's mood of late. I seem to remember a time when she wasn't discontent with her dry food and constantly begging for meaty bits from a can like a dog would, but it's a distant memory. Every time I go into the kitchen now, she whines for food, despite the fact that she gets meaty bits for breakfast and dinner. The problem is, I go into the kitchen a lot these days because the baby needs a bottle every few hours and to Doodle, that means Meaty Bits Time. But if I feed her on every occasion she asks for it, she'll either eat it all and throw it up on the carpets, or not finish it, rendering it useless.

The afternoon I took this picture, she had given up on the posturing with audio after a dozen attempts I ignored, and so she simply sat by her dishes. Cats have tremendous patience; she knows that at some point, someone will give in. Yes, the floor is dirty. And yes, that's Ernie atop her dry food dish in the background, a cherished gift from Aunt Whipcreamy.

We're Having a Heat Wave Alright

And after one look at my electric bill, I'm having a heart attack:


Thursday, July 08, 2010

Some Magic From Ms. Anya

Anya Garrett & Lisa Levy Pose The Question: Who is THE WOMAN I’M AFRAID OF TURNING INTO?

Combining vibrant expressive portraiture and in-depth psychoanalysis, NYC comedy scene shutterbug Anya Garrett’s photo series THE WOMAN I’M AFRAID OF TURNING INTO promises her viewers catharsis along with chuckles. This showing of Garrett’s all new work will be hosted at HEREart Gallery, with grand opening slated for July 15th, 2010 from 5 PM to 7 PM. Complimentary wine will be served. Admission to the HEREart Gallery is FREE.

Anya Garrett has photographed celebrated NYC comediennes Abbi Crutchfield, Amy Schumer, Ann Carr, Becky Yamamoto, Carolyn Castiglia, Leah Dubie, Livia Scott, Mara Herron, Ophira Eisenberg, and Sherri Eldin-- as well as herself and her co-producer -- for this exhibition. The project began as a collaboration with “Dr.” Lisa Levy, conceptual artist and self-proclaimed psychoanalyst, who alongside Garrett performed in depth sessions with the subjects about their fears for their future selves. Garrett extracted inspiration from these meetings, allowing her to shoot and create highly intimate portraits of these women in vulnerable yet darkly comedic situations.

145 Avenue of the Americas
(enter on Dominick Street one block south of Spring)
New York, NY 10013


ANYA GARRETT is a photographer, filmmaker, and performer. She’s documented the NYC downtown comedy scene for over 6 years and has been recognized multiple times at the ECNY Awards. Anya‘s book containing a full year of daily self portraits, 365(6), was just published. She’s been seen on Comedy Central’s STELLA as well as onstage at UCB. Works in film and television that she has contributed to have been recognized by the Emmy and Webby Awards, and at the NY Television Festival. She’s currently producing a syndicated late night talk show. Sometimes, Anya even sleeps.

"DR." LISA LEVY is a conceptual artist, self-proclaimed psychotherapist, performer, comedian and advertising art director. As Dr. Lisa, she is the resident psychotherapist for the new GalleryBeat web series from Paul H-O. She also performs psychoanalysis on comedians in her regular show "Stand Up. Lie Down." Lisa also makes conceptual art and has exhibited widely at venues such as White Columns, Artists Space, Printed Matter, The New Museum and the Scope Art Fair.