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November 2006

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bubbles in the pool

Things I absolutely hate: going some place on my bike and realizing that I forgot the lock when I was ready to chain the bike. Standing in a locker room at a gym in swim suit and realizing that I forgot a cap and goggles. Both of these items happend this week. On my second day of early swim attempt, I was well-prepared this time. I did a nice half-hour swim among old people floating leisurely. I hate getting the bubbles in my chest, which I always do. My injured ankle is still not quite good enough for vigorous running. So I take the bubbles.

Lately I realized that I just need to tell her to "shut up!" when she whines in early morning. At first I thought I needed to put my strength while half-asleep and scream. But in fact I just need to tell her to shut up then she'd leave me alone for the rest of morning. She'd probably do it again the next morning, but now I know what to do.
on november 30, 2006 @ 01:06 am [link]

post-holiday fatigue

I spent beautiful sunday sitting in front of laptop taking care of business. My fiscal year ended a few weeks ago, and I had to get the numbers out to my accountant. My cat kept me company by my shoulder, occasionally demanding a snuggle. I intruppted my day with a swim at Y with Erin, in a very crowded pool (so many Chinese people floating!). By late evening I was pretty much done with everything, when I realized I accidentally busted my printer; I left a pile of files on top of it while printing something. I panicked. Not only I was really able to finish my work, but I have a lot more printing to be done this week before my cooking class next weekend. Thanks to the internet, I shopped for a printer in the middle of the night.

Monday after the holiday. I felt post-Thanksgiving mental fatigue kicking in. I remembered that the drain under the sink needed repair- which I completely forgot about through the holiday weekend. Afternoon was fairly mellow, but evening was busy again. I couldn't get around to do a cheesecake or chocolate chip cookies so many people stopped by looking for, but don't worry they'll return very soon. When I came home I turned the printer upside down once more, and this time I saw a piece of paper jammed deep in the back. And I saw for the first time a flap in the back of the printer to open and clear the paper jam. My printer is fine. My new printer is supposed to arrive tomorrow. I wasn't sure if this was a happy ending.
on november 28, 2006 @ 12:29 am [link]

Giving Thanks

Yes, believe it or not, these cute kids also help me with this 22-pound turkey.

It was a feast. Very American Thanksgiving dinner with an international twist. Big fat turkey, mashed potatoes, my famous stuffing with sausage and cashews, fresh cranberry relish and jellied cranberry sauce out of a can, marshmallow covered yam, oyster stuffing, cous cous with stewed vegetables, pumpkin corn salad, edamame and cheese sticks, and ginger stringbeans. Around the table was also colorful, including Japanese, funny Japanese-speaking Chinese, Israeli, German, Austrian, Puerto Rican, and some Americans. We stuffed ourselves, opened many bottles of wine, and finished up with our annual tradition of burning of Amaretto cookie wrappers. And thanks to my very hard-working Japanese staff, my kitchen was all cleaned up by the end of the night. Yesterday, on my extra day off, I went shopping, and head to the gym to work off some calories. There I also treated myself for a very-painful-but-in-a-good-way massage by very muscular therapist Michael. Boy, his hands were strong. Tonight I made a big pot of great left-over turkey rice soup. I thought it would be a quiet night, still many people out of town, but we actually had the busiest night of the week. Many new faces showed up among familiar ones. I sent my staff home and let the last customers hang out until they were finally ready to go around midnight, because I was feeling good. Really good.
on november 26, 2006 @ 02:22 am [link]

ready, set

Early morning, I biked to Union Square market shopping for my Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I got beautiful Yukon potatoes, some apples, bunches of fresh sage, thyme, rosemary, and dill. My big turkey is sitting in my refrigerator. Cranberries, pumpkin, sausage, walnuts, stringbeans.. I think I got just about everything for the feast. I already baked pumpkin pies and green tea cheesecake. Glass jars are filled with cookies. One last thing left to do was: a haircut to make me look fabulous. I couldn't get an appointment with Akiro san next door, so I was trying out a salon on Orchard street. I must had anxiety about new and unknown; I woke up with a nightmare. I was at the salon, which was so noisy, with someone playing a violent video game on a large screen on the wall. "I can't work like this. I can't." My stylist decided to quit in the middle of haircut. I looked horrible. But he walked out on me. In real life at this beautiful cozy Arena Salon, Arnulfo stayed with me for the whole hour and gave me the best haircut ever. I am so ready for the day of feast.
on november 23, 2006 @ 01:10 am [link]

we all screamed

There's this tall crazy black man who likes to come hang out in the morning at the garbage bin next door. He likes to talk. He calls himself a 'philosopher.' Sometimes he seems very angry yelling and yelling at no one. But mostly he's harmless. He usually just ask for some ice for his cup at my door. The other day, he was hanging out there with a big orange pumpkin. "Hey sista, do you have a knife?" Of course I have a knife. I have large very sharp knives. But of course I'm not going to lend him a knife, especially after seeing him so furious on the street, yelling and cursing, just a day before. "No, I don't have a knife." "I want to cut this pumpkin open. Do you have a plastic knife?" "A plastic knife is not going to cut it!" "I can improvise." I thought he won't be able to harm anyone with a plastic knife, so I gave him one. Just a few minutes later when I peeked outside, he had his pumpkin cracked open. I wondered what he wanted to do with it anyway. He won't be able to eat it raw. It did't look like he wanted to make a lantern. A little later, Tomoko was sweeping our sidewalk, when the crazy man approached her. She said that he took her bloom and began sweeping the sidewalk. She took the bloom back, and said, "It's my job." He replied, "Universe is my job." Then he went back to his belonging he laid on top of garbage bin. He brought back his harvest of the day to show her. "Do you know what these are?" "Pumpkin seeds." "I'm going to make medicine out of these." He's a philosopher all right. "It was too funny." Tomoko was amused. We both laughed.

Gemma was sitting at the counter having her late lunch when the delivery of food supplies arrived. Among the shipment was two 3-gallon green tea ice cream. I ordered only one, but they sent me two by mistake. I told the delivery guy I ordered only one, and I don't have a room for it in my freezer. While he took one back to the truck, I check the invoice. I was charged for one I ordered. "Too bad I don't have room for it. I could've kept a free 3-gallon ice cream. Maybe you had some room." I was joking with Gemma. The delivery guy came back and said, "It's going to melt by the time I get back to warehouse. Maybe you can keep it." He told Gemma. "Really?" Gemma and I were laughing. So he left us this huge container of ice cream. She said it's not going to fit in her freezer either. I called Azumi who lives around the corner. "Come get some ice cream." A few minutes later she came running. When I explained her the situation, she started screaming. "Yeeeeaaaaay! Yeeeeeeaaaaaay!" We all screamed for free ice cream.

This morning I was at my place of worship: Restaurant Depot in Queens. This is 'where restaurants shop,' as it says under their logo. Someone told me once that they build the ceiling of churches so high to make people feel small. At Restaurant Depot I totally feel small, under high ceiling, between towering shelves, admiring enormous jars of pickles, buckets of frozen fruits, blocks of meat, everything is supersized! Among my winnings today were large block of cream cheese (for my 'legendary' cheesecake as Yuri once called) 5-pound block of Fontina cheese (impulse buy, the biggest piece of cheese I've ever bought!) and 22-pound turkey for next week's feast. What a fun place to shop!
on november 19, 2006 @ 01:48 am [link]

getting into the spirit

On sunday afternoon, I watched Rachel Ray's "Thanksgiving in 60 minutes!" special on my favorite food channel. Rachel bounced around chopped squeezed mixed sauteed roasted opened jars peeled baked Thanksgiving dinner in 60 minutes. Amazing. That totally put me in Thanksgiving spirit, although I don't think I'd attempt to cook my Thanksgiving dinner in 60 minutes. I think that defeats the purpose almost. I think it is a day to cook all day with friends and family, eat, hang out, drink, and eat some more. And at my Thanksgiving table, we'll be also burning amaretto cancy wrapper as our annual ritual. After three weeks I feel almost ready to run again. We had very busy afternoon and a customer said to me, "you shouldn't make your food so good." That's a thought. I may begin to serve some really bad food and I won't be sweating as much.
on november 15, 2006 @ 01:43 am [link]

Rice balls for a country man

A few days ago, I got a phone call in the afternoon. "Can you make rice balls?" "Yes, I can." "I want four kinds, two each. It's for a baseball player." I told Hiroe we have to make rice balls for a baseball player. We looked at each other and wondered, could it be...? A half hour later, when we were still working on four kinds of rice balls - salmon, bonito, umeboshi, and pickles - a Japanese customer came to pick them up. "These are for Matsui. We are shooting a commercial with him across the bridge." Our Yankee Matsui! Immediately we were more enthusiastic making our special rice balls.
on november 13, 2006 @ 01:29 am [link]

marathon day

It was a perfect marathon day. Lynn and I trekked across Williamsburg bridge in the morning to see the race on Bedford. We cheered marathoners, drinking sake out of a water bottle. (It was her idea!) This was the first time for me to watch the race since 1999. I ran every year except when I ran Athens classic marathon on the same day as NYC marathon in 2003. I must say running it definitely beats watching. You run through the party that spreads across five boroughs! There's just nothing like it. I enjoyed my morning, aided by my special water bottle, yet it was a little sad that I wasn't among 37000 crazy people really having fun. There'll be next year, but in the meantime I'm looking for another marathon early next year. It feels like I need a closure to my training through this summer. My sprain is getting better, but not yet healed enough to start pounding the street.
on november 6, 2006 @ 12:36 am [link]

Yesterday was Halloween. I had a blast running my monkey business eating my favorite food: bananas. A few people called me a Teletubbie. In fact, when I made the costume and looked myself in the mirror, I exclaimed, "I look like a Teletubbie!" Ears seemed too big. But I think it was pretty good one otherwise. My brown Merrel shoes even gave a perfect touch, with M for monkey on the sides of the shoes. I was also called a mouse, a cat, or a mole. I thought I was cute but made one baby cry. Tomoko was a cat lady with a bright orange wig, and made deliveries in the afternoon. Little Claire stopped by to show her butterfly costume. Lynn called me from across the street, "Come outside. I want to see your costume." I ran around the sidewalk, and entertained her and her friends getting ready for a costume party. Later, Elliot disguised as a 'Demon of Immaturity,' gave me a professional stage make up to turn me into more scary monkey. I had so much fun being silly. I love Halloween.

Last Sunday I saw an amazing dance performance by Sankai Juku at BAM. Beautiful slow movements of the dancers had so much emotion, and the full house of audience applauded at curtian for the longest time.

One week after the accident, my sprained ankle is healing so slowly. I still can't even jog. NYC marathon is only 4 days away, and there's no chance of me running this year. But I'm in such denial that I haven't even cancelled my entry yet. Erin brought in a copy of Elle magazine. In the calender of events page, she found my last year's picture from the finish line, my arms up, with SOY headband on my head. "So even though you won't be running, this makes it that you're there in spirit!" True. This year I'll be in the cheering section. I'll still be a part of the great race.
on november 2, 2006 @ 02:24 am [link]

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