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February 2008

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strawberries in winter

Thursday is my bridge-run day. I headed out in 20-degree weather across the Williamsburg bridge over to the track in McCarren Park. It's perfect temperature for a run, only if it wasn't windy like this morning. I love running around Williamsburg, taking different route every week, discovering block by block. There's so much development is going on in that neighborhood, it's also fun to run around dreaming of SOY no.2. I still haven't come across to the perfect spot for it, so it remains just a day-dream for the time being. My body was warmed up, and I was sweating enough on the way back across the bridge, but it was so windy I cursed the fact that these running shoes are so well ventilated my toes were freezing. Seeing at home my running cap covered with fuzzy frost gave me a sense of accomplishment. I found beautiful cheap strawberries in Chinatown this morning. They were so pretty and red, but as I expected, they had no taste. So I decided to make strawberry jam. Every winter my mother made strawberry jam on top of heaters, and the fragrance of strawberries filled our house. I was often made to watch and stir while it simmered gently. My jam simmered all evening and brought back fond memories. At the end of the night, I tasted warm jam and it was just amazing.
on february 29, 2008 @ 12:28 am [link]

SOY is half dozen years old!

I have just past 6 year mark with SOY and celebrated it with friends on Saturday. It did not get crazy as I thought it would have been, and I got lots of compliments on my cute dress and the cuter shoes. My killer sake concoction kept the party going with great bibe. I did not pass out this time, but next day seeing an evidence that I was feeding curry toward the end of the night was proof of my drunkness. When I get drunk and someone says "Hungry!" I tend of feed him a bowl of curry. It's the easiest thing to do when I'm drunk- just heat up some curry. I'm still dedicated to feed everyone even under influence of sake. It's in my blood.
on february 26, 2008 @ 12:15 am [link]

snow day

I had no idea that it was supposed to snow. When I looked outside it was already white everywhere. I was planning to go to Restaurant Depot to pick up supplies. A zip car was waiting for me. But should I really drive to isolated industrial section of Long Island City in this weather? It should be all right, I thought. But I have to walk 15 minutes to the garage. In the snow. Well, it could be fun. I got my Timberland boots. So I went downstairs. Then I realized I forgot my cell. A day like this, I should carry my cell phone. In case of emergency. Maybe I'll be late to return the car because I'd have to drive slow. So I went back upstairs. I went into my apartment and closed the door. The door knob fell out. I reached for the stem but the other side fell out into the hall. I was trapped. I felt like a princess who has to wait for a prince to arrive for rescue and open the door. I took this as a bad omen and decided not to go. Now I had to gather my tools and fix the door knob. Most of my tools were downstairs in the restaurant. I found here in the apartment -a screwdriver, a pair of scissors, a paper cutter, a chopstick. I thought these were enough. I did ply the door open with a paper cutter. I recovered the other part of the knob and I was on the case. It took me a white to figure out why inside knob wasn't screwing back in. By the time I understood that I had to unscrew the outside knob from the stem further out crazy Luis the maintenace guy was coming up the stairs for a job next door. "Hey good looking, what are you doing?" So he fixed it for me in 30 seconds, and everything was all right. I had enough time to walk in the snow for morning shopping rounds. Tomorrow's 4-mile race was changed to 'fun run,' so I think I'm going to skip it. This was actually a blessing now that I'd able to catch up with my beauty sleep before my big 6th anniversary party tomorrow night. I can last longer than the last party (in which I passed out by 1 am.) I almost caught the total eclipse of full moon on Wednsday night- when I ran to the corner after being informed of the phenomenon by a custmer at 10 pm, it was almost completely dark. When I finished closing up then went out to check, the moon had just came out from the total eclipse. It was still fascinating.
on february 23, 2008 @ 12:01 am [link]

How I was treated in a plumbing store

Yesterday, the faucet for hot water in the kitchen was busted. I kept re-positioning and tightening the screw, but it refused to keep it closed. I needed a plumber, I thought. Good plumber is hard to find. Some say that's why I'm still single. The one's I came across are anywhere bad to ok, and they are all pretty expensive. I had one number to call recommended by a friend, so I did. My diagnosis was that the whole faucet needed to be changed. The guy told me he'd be here in one hour. When we got busy with customers in the evening, I realized that he never showed. So this morning, just in case, I unscrewed the part inside the faucet that seemed to be malfunctioning and brought it to the new plumbing supply store up the block. A few weeks ago, I needed to change a rubber ring inside this part, and brought it to them. "I don't have it." The chinese guy said, emitting heavy cigarette odor as he spoke. "Go to our other store at Canal and Orchard. They have it." I pedaled the delivery bike hard and when I got there, guys in the store gave me a gaze like, 'what a girl doing in a plumbing store?' I showed one of the guys the part, and said I want to have this little rubber ring that's just big enough for my pinky to be changed. (That's not exactly what I said, don't worry.) He looked at it, and immediately said, it looks like an import. I said it is not. I know so because I bought it myself and had a Chinese plumber who spoke no word of English put it in after the cheap faucet the first plumber installed got busted only a year after I opened SOY. I was told that time that only domestic (made in USA!) faucets would last. But the guy at this store insisted that it was import, and the whole faucet needed to be replaced. Besides, he said, how am I going to fit the ring in there anyway? But I wasn't convinced. So I went further to another plumbing store on Forsythe, and asked if the ring can be changed. A plumber who was making a purchase muttered, "New faucet." But the guy behind the counter sliced the old cracked ring with a knife, and asked for a quarter for payment. I pedalled very hard back to the restaurant feeling my victory. So this morning when I returned to the plumbing store on Suffolk and again they were sending me to their 'other store' I wasn't thrilled. They are going to look at me like 'what a girl doing in a plumbing store' and tell me I need a new faucet. But the cigarette smelling Chinese guy assured me that they have the part. "Just tell them it's for 'Central Brass,'" which was engraved on top of the part. So I pedalled very hard against gusting wind and got there. A chinese plumber was talking really really fast (like all chinese people do) to a man behind the counter, who was different from the one I saw last time. I waited patiently for my turn. Then I showed him what I had. He disappeared for a long time to the back of the store. A spanish woman with two small children walked in the store. I felt like I had a company. But they were just taking the staires off the storefront up to their apartment. I was still the only girl ever in a plumbing supply store. Seriously, I've never seen a woman in a plumbing supply store. Anyway, after I took a mental nap for nearly 10 minutes he returned with a shiny replacement part! And it cost me only $4! I came back and screwed it back in the faucet and my perfect plumbing repair job was done. So that was a happy ending to my plumbing adventure, but last night also the juicer died. Then this afternoon one of the rice cooker died after one run. With no warning. Something's up.
on february 19, 2008 @ 11:49 pm [link]

Late this time

It wasn't a dream this time. I was late. For the first time since I started running road races in 1999, I was never late for a race. This morning I was. And it was like a nightmare. It was almost 8am, start of the Bronx Half Marathon when the train left 125th street. And there was a short crazy black man was cursing and annoying everyone in the car. We all chuckled and then rolled eyes as the drunk angry man walked around the car waving his hands, bitching and cursing. At one point he stopped in front of me and yelled at me, "Do you know anything? Huh? China woman? China woman?" Then he went on to bother another runner standing with his girlfriend by the door. "White boy! What are you doing here white boy! You got a problem?" But the angry man was so drunk and so gay, he couldn't quite pick a fight with the white boy. The poor guy was indeed the only white boy in sight. He tried to calmly reason with the angry gay black man, saying that he is making a fool out of himself, but of course you can't reason with a crazy. Eventually the angry guy switched his focus and began asking for a cigarette to everyone. No one offered. After what seemed like an extremely long bad play, the train finally arrived to Bedford Park Station. There were bunch other late runners like me, and we all run to the start. Road Runners people waved us at the start telling us to hurry up. So I started 15 minutes late, zipping by hundreds and thousands of runners in front of me. I was passing them by all through the race, which was actually nice. Only two runners past me towards the end. Wind was brutal against us from all directions, knocking over some of the mile markers. I finished a little under 1 hour and 37 minutes, and fortunately the results were given with net time, so I was 40th in women after all. The ride back home was rather peaceful. In the afternoon we were hit by a sudden wet snowstorm, and I was really glad that we missed it this morning. The snow ended in less than 30 minutes- not enough to leave any trace of it. Wind continued to blow mercilessly into the evening.
on february 10, 2008 @ 11:38 pm [link]

Happy New Year..., again!

So this was Lunar New Year. I never made it to Chinatown in the morning to see any of the celebration, but people brought it in. Early afternoon, Alexis came in after encoutering Lions and taking some fabulous pictures. When he took off his coat, colorful paper streamers fell out from the hood. Later, Linda came by with firecrackers and streamers in tubes. Kathy came down and we had a little New Year Celebration to shoot up colores in the air in front of the restaurant. Yuko came to work just in time to take some pictures. Anyway, I wished happy new year all over again with lots of people today, which was nice because we were starting fresh all over! And interestingly we were all happy again to forget about the 'old year.' Yes, we got a second chance. We can have a(nother) new year's resolution. If it felt like you didn't begin the new year in the right foot, here's your second chance. Yes, it's brand new again and it will be right and great this time around.
on february 8, 2008 @ 12:32 am [link]

waking up

It was one of those reccuring nightmare. This morning I was dreaming again that I was late. I was late for my flight. And I forgot something in the hotel room. My cell phone, wallet, or passport. It didn't matter. I knew it and I had to get back. I was trying to get back into the elevator, but it was malfunctioning. Someone was pressing buttons inside the box and it was jerking, stopping, but not stopping in the right place for the door to open. I was so late. Am I feeling like that again, that I'm dreaming this dream? I'm late, I can't get there, I'm trying my best, but challenges are popping up. But all of a sudden I realized. It was only a dream and all I need was to forget about whatever I left behind and just wake up. Just get up and go out running. That exactly what I did. Realization sometimes provides the best and simplest solution. I found this beautiful little book on Penguins in Taschen store over the weekend which I've been proudly sharing every day. The pages are filled with amazing photos of Penguins. Some are just like fashion photos. Some are plain gorgeous National Geographic kind of photos. Some are almost like abstruct paintings. And penguins are darn too cute. What ever happens in my life, I'm sure this book would always put a smile on my face. A little treasure.
on february 6, 2008 @ 01:09 am [link]

American celebration

Beautiful spring-like afternoon was perfect for a long run, except for the wind. A helicoptor flew above Hudson River with a banner that said, "TAMARA, U R A DREAM COME TRUE." How romantic, but what a waste, I muttered. There was an extremely bright area on the surface of the water ashore reflecting the sun, and I wondered how it feels to be in the center of that brightness, or would it feel like somewhere else is even brighter?

After all these years living in America, I still don't quite get the importance of two holidays: Easter and Superbowl. When it comes to Easter, I feel like Stan in the South Park episode on Easter; "What's the deal with bunnies and colored eggs???" which they explained brilliantly that Saint Peter was a rabbit. Not being into spectator sports, my reaction to Superbowl was "Why do we have to get together for Superbowl?" It is an American holiday where people get together. But the idea of being in front of TV, watching a game of American football, in which big guys jump onto each other to interrupt the flow of the game (basic masculine instinct, I suppose), endulging in beer, chips, pizzas, and all kinds of American junk, feels a bit tainted. And you're even supposed to watch all the commercials. So after the desperately needed Shoko's massage after a whole month of her absence, I was feeling too mellow to deal with this American holiday and decided to bail out of an invitation. But it is hard to completely ignore it, for I may miss another historic moment like Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction which haunts our lives even years later. I came home, turned on the TV and it was the half time show. I wondered where those young kids appeared to fill the field, jumping up and down for Tom Petty. Were they hired for 'background' or they paid their way to be there? I couldn't pay much attention to neighther the game nor the commercials for the rest of the evening, but I must say the last minute of the game (which seemed to go on forever) was so dramatic that I wondered if the producers had agreement with the writer's guild.

Later I finished reading "Marathon Woman." There was a perfect quote near the end; "Marathon is exactly like living; you try to plan but are forced in the end to deal with it as it comes." I am so inspired with the book that I'm going to stick with this sport for a while. My spring training begins this week.
on february 4, 2008 @ 06:42 pm [link]

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