Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An afternoon rendez-vous chez la coiffeuse, Part Three: The one where the moon, the stars, and the planets align...

I'll update y'all with some links to my two previous posts about "ma coif" later in the week. I'm just composing this really quickly because I don't want to keep people in suspense for much longer.'s about a month after my curly hair intervention, and my do was looking fabulous. However, I was starting to run out of product, and while it was nice to travel to Stratford to visit Chantal, it just wasn't always convenient. So I went to the Deva Curl website, typed in my zip code, and prayed that there was a salon in the M-Town where I could buy some of the wonder material that was doing my do lots of kind favors.

Aaand...there WAS a salon in the M-Town!

I went there immediately after work. The minute I walked in I could tell it was a hip, happening place. Not only that, but I got quite the reception from the owner when I arrived:

"Oh look! Another curly girly!"

I couldn't help but smile.

She stopped what she was doing to another client's hair and walked over to me. "How can we help you?" she asked.

"Well, I'm here because you carry Deva Curl."

The owner's grin widened. "Aren't they fabulous? You know, we do haircuts especially for gals like you."

Did I just hear an angel sing?

She went back to her station and handed me a book called Curly Girl. "This is the Bible for curly girls. Go on, read it and one of us will be with you in a moment."

I started reading. I soooo wish that this book existed when I was a kid, because there was a special chapter written for moms on how to deal with curly haired kids. Oh, I could have prevented those years of wearing sponge rollers to bed...

Anyhoo, one of the hairdressers sat down with me and asked me what I wanted to do with my hair. I went, "Uhhh..." You see, kittens, it was a very long time since any hairdresser asked me what I wanted to do with my hair. I just put it in the hands of the stylist, and they did whatever they could, because they never explained to me what they did and why. More importantly, why. And I was honest with the hairdresser when I told her this. She told me she could help me figure out what I wanted to do with my hair.

I booked an appointment immediately.

The following night, I went out with the ladies. At the end of the night, as we left the coffee shop, I mentioned that I was getting my hair cut at this place that specialized in curly hair. At this point, another curly gal in the group embraced me. "Where is it?" she asked.

I told her about the salon.

That's when another woman mentioned that her husband had been getting his hair cut at the very same salon for seven years, and knew the owners very well. And mentioned that they were a blast to visit.

Do I now hear a choir of angels singing?

Well, several days later, I went to the salon for my appointment. Again, I was asked the question, "What do you want to do with your hair?" I said, "I don't know!" I was panicked; I was getting pictures done the following day and needed to look good.

The owner led me to her chair. "Come. Let's take a look."

The next thing I knew she took a few bobby pins and started pinning my hair up in random sections. Soon I had a rawther sexy, killer updo. It looked amazing. Then she took the pins out and let me play with my hair for a few minutes while she tended to another client. When she came back, she looked through the layers of my hair and said, "I don't think you really need a haircut."

I don't?!?!

"You probably think you needed a cut because you were overwhelmed and had trouble styling it, huh?"

I nodded.

"But you still want to be pampered, don't you?" She winked.

I nodded.

Next thing I knew she's trimming the dead ends off my hair--before she washed it. This made so much sense to me; curly hair shortens as it curls and dries, so why not cut it at its shortest?

So I got my shampoo done, and my style done--and the next thing I knew, I looked at my watch and realized I had been there for two hours. The gals were soooo much fun; they were easy to talk to, had killer senses of humor, didn't force me to buy products, and played groovy music.

Not to mention, I got a good cut.

Oh, one more thing--the salon also had a self-styling bar, where you could practice setting your hair yourself before you left. The hairdressers were there to guide you and help you out, but you do most of the work. This was so you wouldn't leave with the "oh, I can't duplicate this at home" feeling when you left.

So that's the story of my hair, and how I learned to love it. It took me a full 33 years to completely accept my spirals, but I must say, better late than never!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Queen's Meme: The Crazy Hospital Meme

I honestly don't have time to write a meme, much less a post tonight, but fear of the dungeon has convinced me that this is a wise move.

. What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you in a hospital (besides your illness)? N
ot enough towels? No condiments? Can't get your favorite channels? Come on, you can tell me.
I was last admitted to the hospital at the end of January, 2005. I had the flu. No sooner did they get me into a room that I turned on the tv and started channel surfing. All, and I do mean, ALL, of the shows that I found had something to do with surgeries going wrong, things removed from/left in/found in the human body, trauma in the get the idea. And it was like that for the three days I spent there.

2. If you had your choice of IV cocktails, what would you choose?
Wine. Any wine will do, but I'd love to have a rotation of champagne/prosecco, a nice cabernet, and a wonderful pinot grigio.

3. Tell us your funniest hospital story.
Flash back to my last hospital stay for a minute. Since I had the flu, I was put in a room by myself, and had no human contact, save for the nurses and the occasional doctor. Anyone who entered my room had to wear a mask and gloves. I felt like I lived in a bubble. I ended up taking a mask and the sign outside my room home as a souvenir. Ahhh...quarantine.

(Yeah, I know it's really not that funny, but I've only been in the hospital three times: at birth, as an infant with pneumonia, and as an adult with the flu. I don't have that many hospital stories).

4. Do you have any hospital phobias?
I've never feared hospitals. I live halfway between two of them, and I constantly hear ambulances go by the house. I'm used to it by now.
5. Imagine you are in bed trying to get some sleep after a long night of interruptions by the nurse on duty who would NOT stop waking you up to see if you were asleep...It is 3am. You finally get to sleep. She comes in at 3:15 and wakes you up again. What happens next?
I tell her to leave me alone for the next two hours. And if that wasn't reasonable, I'd call in her supervisor to ask if these constant interruptions were REALLY necessary.

6. You are stuck in the elevator with an attractive person of the opposite sex. You notice there is no wedding band. Do you strike up a conversation? If so, what is the first thing you would say?
No. Too chicken. Bawk, bawk!

7. A very odd patient wanders into your room from the upstairs psychiatric ward. What do you do?
Call security, the head nurse...whatever I can do to get the guy out of the room.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

An afternoon rendez-vous chez la coiffeuse, part two: Intervention

You can read part one of my tale here.

Curly-haired women have an automatic bond. You may not always form deep friendships, but they always have a bond over the triumphs and tragedies of having spiraly hair texture.

My friend Chantal (not her real name) and I bonded during our college choir days, not just because of the choir itself, but because we both had curly hair and could never figure out what the hell to do with it. We always traded stories of new product trials, haircutting woes, and general frustration with our textures. We wore a lot of ponytails in college.

So two years ago, Chantal and I were on a cruise, and we were putting our respective toiletries in our cramped cabin bathroom. I noticed that she put these ginormous, liter-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner in the shower. This was very atypical of Chantal, who is the most practical traveler I know and always travels with the petite-sized products.

Not only that, but she placed a ginormous, liter-sized bottle of hair gel by the sink. It was from the same line as the shampoo and conditioner.

When Chantal wasn't looking, I picked up the bottle of hair gel (which really was liter-sized) and checked out the price.


For hair gel.

This definitely was atypical of Chantal, who never, ever, ever paid full price for anything.

I resolved to ask her about the situation later.

(NOTE: I'm not being paid to endorse the following products, I'm just telling a story).

So later that day, we went out for tea and sat by the pool and the conversation turned to shopping. That's when I asked the question:

"Why the hell did you spend $45 on hair gel?"

She started laughing. "Because it's a good hair gel!" she replied.

"But what makes it so good? I mean, your hair looks good, but...c'mon, $45?!?!"

She laughed again. Chantal told me about this product line for curly hair called Deva Curl. Her salon had just started buying the products and, for shits and giggles, decided to try it on her hair. Pretty soon, Chantal had a small crowd of hairdressers around her, admiring the products' affects on her spirals. Well, that was enough to convince Chantal to buy the entire product line--shampoo, conditioner, and all.

"YOU should try this stuff, Kitten! It would look great on your hair!"

I rolled my eyes. $45 for a liter of hair gel? No thank you, even if it lasted me for two years.

Fast forward two years. Chantal forwards me an e-mail from her salon. They were hosting a "curly girl makeover" one Tuesday night. They were offering 25% off all services and products, and as a bonus, the Italian restaurant next door was offering a free happy hour to all of its salon's customers, antipasti, wine, and all.

I thought, "What the hell?" It would be a chance to spend time with Chantal, whom I hardly see during the work year. That, and anytime you offer me free wine, I'm there.

So I met Chantal at her salon, and I felt this awesome, friendly, fun vibe. It was a party in there. A real fiesta! Chantal sat down with her manicurist for a polish change and they started chatting away. While she was getting her nails done, I was summoned to a chair where the hairdresser started asking me questions.

"How often do you wash your hair?"

"Every other day."

She shook her head. "Curly girls should only wash their hair once a week," she explained. "If you wash it too often it will encourage frizz. You don't want to do that. But we're going to wash your hair today anyway."

I leaned back and she got to work. She explained which products she was using on my hair. She started with the Deva Curl Lo Poo, which is low-sudsing because it doesn't contain any sodium laureth sulfate, which is alleged to be a carcinogen and also can irritate skin for those who have sensitive skin problems. Then she applied conditioner, and as she was rinsing it out, she called another hairdresser to my sink. She looked at the other hairdresser, who looked at my hair, and nodded.

"She needs a clarifying treatment."

"Yeah, you see all the white flakes coming out of her hair?"

I looked at my shampoo girl. "But isn't that supposed to be dandruff?" I asked.

"Oh no," she replied, "what you have is build up. Lots of it. What do you use in your hair?"

I told her about my rawther unorthodox styling routine. She started laughing.

"Well, your cocktail certainly explains why you have build-up," she explained as she put the clarifying shampoo in my hair. "And you shouldn't blow your hair around too much because it will promote frizz, and the curl will lose hydration."

So I got my clarifying treatment and went to the hairdresser's chair, where she put some of the aforementioned $45 gel in my hair. Then she took a blow dryer, put a blow-drying sock on it, and let it go.


That $45 gel was worth every frakkin' penny.

My hair never looked so good.

I left the salon with the entire product line, not with the liter-sized bottles, but the more conventional 12-ounce bottles, because I wasn't fully sold. I wanted to make sure I could do my hair at home. And if I didn't like the products, I could always sell them on eBay.

The next morning, I washed my hair. Yeah, I know I wasn't supposed to, but I did it anyway. I wanted to try the Lo Poo for myself. It was weird having so few suds in my hair during its wash. Then I put the One Condition in my hair, and rinsed it out. I could tell, just from that one wash, that my hair had retained a lot of moisture. I felt a difference immediately.

I got out of the shower and towel dried my hair with a microfiber towel, a free gift from the salon. Curly girls, I learned, shouldn't put their hair in a turban, because it will flatten the curl. I then put some of the leave in conditioner, the B'Leave In, through my locks, and got dressed. I went back to the bathroom and put some of the AnGEL in my hair, put my face on, brushed my teeth, and sprayed my hair with the Set It Free, the moisture lock that prevents frizz.

Not to brag, but my hair looked awesome.

I could do this.

Since then I have received more compliments on my hair than I ever heard in my entire life. People asked me what I was doing. Was it a new cut? New style? New product? I told them all about Deva Curl and started raving the same way Chantal did. I was sold!

The next step, for me, was to find a salon in the M-town that sold the Deva products.

That's when I got lucky...really, really lucky...

TOMORROW: Part three of my story...

Sunday Stealing: A fall meme

It’s not really fall in until...
The leaves start falling like crazy and there's a morning frost.

What did you need to do in the waning days of summer for it to feel complete?
I went to Manhattan for the day. I needed to do something special to end the summer on a high note.

A person I know was wrong for me but about whom I frequently thought after a break-up was...
The first guy I ever fell in love with.

If you could only attend one major sporting event what would it be?
The one where the Chicago Cubs win the World Series.

Assuming that you write an anonymous or partially anonymous blog, by what non-physically identifying characteristics might you be identified in a bar?
I'm the one drinking wine at the corner of the bar, nose deep in a book, not making any conversation with anyone.

Most blogs cover some sort of niche – personal, political, dating, culinary, etc. What topic, if any, would you like to address on your blog but doesn’t fit into your niche?
Well, this is supposed to be a book blog, but I write about a lot of topics that have nothing to do with the literary world.

If you could manipulate the time space continuum and give as many as three pieces of advice to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give and to what age of you?
1. Age 15: don't be afraid of rejection
2. Age 18: forget about him and move on
3. Age 25: lay off the credit cards

Who among your friends do you really wish had a blog because their stories, or perspective on something ought to be shared?
A friend of mine from church who has a rawther unique view of the world.

If you were to take an e-cation (vacation from the trappings of our electronic world,) and assuming that employment obligations would allow it, how long of a break could you take? What would you miss the most, the least?
I could probably go for a week. I'd miss Facebook the most.

How high are your walls? Who was the last person to scale them? What tools should would-be climbers have on their belt?
I have cathedral ceilings. My friend Brian was the last to scale them, as we painted my condo. Make sure you have all of the tools that mountain climbers have if I ever ask you to paint.

The sexiest thing a man or a woman can say to you (or has said to you) is:
Oh, I don't know...:P

Saturday, September 26, 2009

An afternoon rendez-vous chez la coiffeuse, part one: The story of my locks

I have naturally curly, dark brown hair.

My hair has posed me much drama and trauma throughout my life. Mama Cat used to blow dry it straight, right after my shower and immediately after she doused it with Johnson's No More Tangles. When I was nine years old, I got my first major haircut. It was Mama Cat's hairdresser, and Mama Cat was tired of having to deal with my locks, so out came the scissors and CHOP CHOP!!

Mama Cat's hairdresser chopped it from waist- to shoulder-length, and put layers in. Lots of 'em. Mama Cat had no idea what to do, so she put my hair in those Goody pink sponge rollers before I was sent off to bed.

Did I mention that Mama Cat didn't believe in mousse, gel, or any styling products?

It didn't help that I was the only girl in my class who had hair like I did. I longed, I mean longed for straight blonde hair like my friend Beth's. Or baby-fine hair like my friend Bethany's. Anything but my untamed mess of a 'do.

When I got to high school I did my hair on my own, but I was just as frustrated as Mama Cat was. My hair had absolutely no style. I'd wash it in the morning, and put up the top layers with a barrette, and let it air dry. My hair had grown long again, and it would try in little banana curls all around my neck. People loved to tug at my curls and watch them spring up once they released them.

In college, the situation got worse. I wasn't able to get off campus much; the town bus never went in the area of a hair salon. Hell, I could barely afford a haircut to begin with. The one time I got a mall haircut in college, during my sophomore year, it was...well, awful. Horrendous. Ug-lee.

Following graduation I went to Mama Cat's new hairdresser, who was a personal friend of ours. She understood my hair, and never failed to give me a bad cut. That, and I babysat her grandchildren, so we got along famously.

Then I moved out of the house. I found a hairdresser in New London whom I adored. I mean, adored. Not only did he understand my hair, but he was just an amazing person. We clicked on the first appointment. He and his partner were renovating a house when I went to see him, and he always showed me pictures of the latest updates. He also showed me many pictures of his little dachshund. I was absolutely heartbroken when I moved and had to leave him.

I moved to the M-town and it took me forever to find a new hairdresser. I found one, and stayed with her for three years, but after that time, I needed a change. So I went from hairdresser to hairdresser for about a year or two, never really...well, "feeling it." Ladies, you know what I'm talking about, n'est-ce pas?

Not to mention, I couldn't find a hairdresser who understood curly hair. I met many people who would not only cut my hair as if it were straight, but they'd blow dry it straight every time I got it cut. Then I'd go home, and wash my hair the next day, and of course, I would not know what to do with it because it had been cut as if it were straight.

I finally learned to accept my curls about three or four years ago. I also adopted a rawther unorthodox process of styling my hair:
  • I usually washed it the night before. I'd go to bed with a wet head, but the curls would be about 75% dry by the time I woke up the next morning.
  • In the morning, I used a spray bottle to mist my curls and prepare them for styling. I then used a combination of three products: leave-in conditioner, serum, and hair gel. All of these products were combined in the palm of my hand. I'd rub my hands together, flip my hair over, and distribute the cocktail throughout my strands.
  • I'd get in the car, and, depending on the weather, either turn the heat all the way up, vents at full blast, or roll the windows down. During my commute, I'd use this air to dry my hair. I'd finger comb my hair at stop lights.
  • Finally, I got to work and got out of the car. I'd look at my reflection in the driver's side window, flip my hair over, and shake my hair one more time before entering the building.

So that's how I used to do my hair in the morning. Note that I said used to. Because a friend of mine decided that it was time for an intervention...

TOMORROW: Part two of my story...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Clip of the Week

In honor of the Fame remake that has just been released, here is a classic scene from the 1980 original:

Kitten Confession: I need to see the whole movie, and not just YouTube clips like this one. I ought to make a trip to Blockbuster soon...

50 Questions

Stolen from the good people at Lola's Diner.

1. Where were you three hours ago? At the gourmet food store, buying a baguette for dinner tonight.

2. Who are you in love with? I'm in love with life...I know that's a "what", but I'm not romantically involved with anyone.

3. Have you ever eaten a crayon? No.

4. Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you? Nope

5. When was the last time you went to the mall? Do the outlets count? If so, I went a week ago today.

6. Are you wearing socks right now? No.

7. Do you have a car worth over $2000? Well, it's a 2002 with over 136,000 miles on it, so I doubt it's worth that much.

8. When was the last time you drove out of town? Yesterday, for work. Haven't been back home yet; I'm housesitting from now till Monday evening.

9. Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days? No. I am, however, contemplating going to see Fame. The remake, that is. Is it worth it for me to see? Let me know, kittens; the 80s tv show is rawther close to my heart.

10. Are you hot? Temperature wise, I'm kinda cold right now. Looks-wise...well, I'm pretty modest, so how would I know? Compared to whom?

11. What was the last thing you had to drink? Coffee.

12. What are you wearing right now? A blue floral tunic from Lane Bryant and long khakis. Paired 'em with my Sketchers at work today.

13. Do you wash your car or let the car wash do it? Car wash. Whenever I get my car serviced, I always get a coupon for a free car wash. Can't beat that!

14. Last food you ate? A Jello pudding cup.

15. Where were you last week at this time? At the outlets.

16. Have you bought any clothing items in the last week? Yes! I bought four tunics at the Lane Bryant outlet. All on sale or on clearance. Go me!

17. When was the last time you ran? I ran down the hall at work this morning. Does that count?

18. What was the last sporting event you watched? A middle school soccer game.

19. Your favorite animal? Oh gee, I wonder...:P

20. Your dream vacation? I have to choose just one?!?! Well right now, since it's getting cold here in Connecticut, I'd love to go to somewhere nice and beachy. Anywhere. I'll pick Australia, cause I've never been there and I can get to stalk Hugh Jackman.

21. Last person’s house you were in? Right now I'm in someone else's house. I'm housesitting!

22. Worst injury you ever had? Cut my left thumb with an Exacto knife. I still have a bit of scar tissue in there. The numbness didn't go away for a couple of years.

23. Have you been in love? Who hasn't?

24. Do you miss anyone right now?'s been two months since we last talked.

25. Last play you saw? The Remarkable Thing About Stardust, a play written by a local playwright

26. What is your secret weapon to lure the opposite sex? Play up the eyes. They're big, brown, and have long, long lashes. Wink, blink, and nod. They're my best accessories.

27. What are your plans for tonight? Soak in the hot tub, followed by an early bedtime. I'm beat tonight!

28. Who is the last person to send you a Myspace message or comment? I don't do MySpace.

29. Next trip you are going to take? A cruise of the southern Caribbean

30. Ever go to camp? Day camp. Not sleep away camp.

31. Were you an honor student in school? Not to brag, but yes, I was.

32. What do you want to know about the future? The winning number for my Publisher's Clearing House entry.

33. Are you wearing perfume or cologne? Gap's an old they even still make it?

34. Are you due sometime this year for a doctor’s visit? Going for the lady doctor visit in two weeks.

35. Where is your best friend? I dunno. See #24

36. How is your best friend? See #24 and #35

37. Do you have a tan? It's fading.

38. What are you listening to right now? The refrigerator humming

39. Do you collect anything? I used to collect Beanie Babies. I don't collect much of anything these days.

40. Who is the biggest gossiper you know? Someone I went to college with.

41. Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over? Labor Day weekend. There was a drunk driving checkpoint about half a mile from my house.

42. Have you ever drank your soda from a straw? Yes.

43. What does your last text message say? It was something from Twitter; I'm not sure.

44. Do you like hot sauce? Not the REALLY hot sauce.

45. Last time you took a shower? This morning, around 5:30 AM.

46. Do you need to do laundry? YES!!!

47. What is your heritage? Sicilian on my dad's side. On my mom's side, I'm German, Welsh, Scottish, Dutch, and just a wee bit o' Gypsy.

48. Are you someone’s best friend? I hope so.

49. Are you rich? Not money wise, but thankfully, I'm rich in other ways.

50. What were you doing at 12 AM last night? Sleeping very soundly, thank you very much.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The songs in my head

One of the deals I scored with my recent cable upgrade was having HBO added to my package. One of my discoveries on HBO comes courtesy of Sister Kitten, who turned me on to a show called Flight of the Conchords.

This show is a faux-reality show about a real band from New Zealand. They're a comedy-novelty-folk band. Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie have developed a cult following around the world, and after you view the next two clips, you'll see why.

The show centers around the band and their inept manager, Murray. Murray has a day job at the New Zealand Consulate, and presumably he's only slightly better at this job than he is at managing the band. Jemaine and Bret have only one fan, Mel, who stalks them obsessively.

Anyhoo, what follows is the clip that Sister Kitten sent me about a year and a half ago. This was my first introduction to Flight of the Conchords (note: knowledge of French is not necessary to appreciate this clip, but it doesn't hurt to know it):

And here's another clip, this time from a live appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. After I first saw this clip I desperately want to see these guys live:

Kittens, you can thank--or shoot me--later.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Queen's Meme: The Loud and Raucous Poetry Meme

Thanks to the queen herself, Mimi, for giving me a jolt to get me out of my funk. This week's meme is a fill in the blank with some crazy limerick action!

Blanks are highlighted in bold blue ink.

1.There was an Old Man of the sea,
Who lived upon bread, jam, and tea;
When that did not quench,
He took his mate's wench,
That nasty Old Man of the sea.

2. There was a Young Lady whose eyes,
Were unique as to color and size;
When she opened them wide,
People all turned to hide,
And started away in surprise.

3. There was a Young Lady of Moore,
Who casually sat on a door;
When the door squeezed her tit,
She exclaimed, 'Holy shit!'
This courageous Young Lady of Moore.

4.There was an Old Man with a cane,
Who bumped at it each walking lane;
But they called out, 'Don't pass!
You're a horrid old ass!'
So they smashed that Old Man with a crane.

5. There was a Young Lady whose laces,
Came untied when the birds sate on faces;
But she said: 'I don't care!
All the birds in the lair
Are welcome to sit on my graces!'

6. There was an Old Man of Westfair,
Who never knew what he should wear;
So he tore off his shirt,
And behaved like a flirt,
That intrinsic Old Man of Westfair.

7. There was an Old Man of Mirth,
Who had the most curious girth;
For while he was fat,
He slept on a cat.
That funny Old Man of Mirth.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oh, I got plenty o' nuttin'...

Lately I have not been posting as much as I had hoped. I've started several posts, only to stop them midway. I haven't been satisfied with my writing. I have a lot that I could write about, but somehow, the words don't come out of my brain and onto the computer screen in just the right way.

I think I have writer's block.

That's the real reason why you haven't heard from me much lately.

My "me" time lately has consisted of those endlessly addicting games on Facebook (think Farmville and--oh God--Farkle) and catching up on my DVR programs. That is, when I can find the time to sit still for half an hour. Today I caught up on the Sunday morning shows while ironing. Well, two out of the three morning shows; I still have to watch Meet the Press.

Soooo...I can't think of anything worthwhile to write that would be of interest to you, kittens. Things have been going well lately, but it's in the areas that I don't blog about--work, for instance.

This past weekend I got a head start on cleaning my house. I still have a ways to go during the week, though, but that'll get done. That is, if I don't fall asleep first.

So, anyway, as I stay flat as a pancake, if you'd like to give me any suggestions for future posts, I'd appreciate it! Even though I got plenty o' nuttin', nuttin' ain't plenty for me!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Travels with Kitten: A visit to The Strand

Finally, a night to kick back, relax, and chat with my darling kittens! How is everyone out there in the blogosphere? I've missed you guys!

There really isn't much going on right now, except to report that I've never been busier professionally. And never more satisfied with my job. The honeymoon continues, and I hope it lasts for as long as possible.

I must tell you, though, that I went to the city (that's NYC for those of you who don't live locally) over Labor Day weekend and made a booklover's pilgrimage to other words, I went to the Strand Bookstore, more commonly known as "The Strand".

Now for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, the Strand is the oldest and largest independent bookstore in the city, specializing in old and rare books. They also sell new books at roughly 10% cheaper than cover prices. (I'm not entirely sure about the discount; I don't speak math). Yes, it is a used bookstore, but when they say they have 18 miles of books, they're not kidding.

I couldn't decide, truthfully, about going to the city. Then, that Friday, I saw Julie and Julia with a friend of mine. There is a scene where Julie Powell and her best friend are searching through the carts of $1.00 books in front of the Strand. I took it as a sign.

Anyhoo, there are several carts of books in front of the store that have books that sell for $1.00. They were mostly travel guides from the 70s, locally published poetry books, and other various slim paperbacks. However, it was a lot of fun to dig through these carts and see what you could find. There were old, outdated dictionaries in languages ranging from Polish to Gaelic. There were lots of children's books. You never know what treasures you'll find in those carts.

After searching through the $1.00 bargains, I stepped into the store. Oh. My. God. It was three floors of heaven. When I die, I hope that my heaven is very much like the Strand. There were shelves of books everywhere. There were tables and tables of bestsellers and staff favorites. I found a copy of The DaVinci Code for $4.95, hardcover, first edition, prime condition. I bought it immediately.

I kept browsing and discovered a huge wall of cookbooks of every genre you could imagine. Every type of cuisine was represented there. Of course, there was a huge display of Julia Child cookbooks, given the Strand's brief appearance in Julie and Julia. The store was running a special where, if you purchased the two books that the movie was based on, you got a free Strand apron. I already owned both books, so I did not need to do this.

The main floor housed the fiction section, as well as biographies of film and television personalities, world history, and more. The ceilings were so tall, and the shelves so immense, that in many cases, you had to ask an employee to climb a ladder to get the book for you. (I would have taken pictures, but A), I wasn't sure if they were allowed, and B), I was having camera problems). But I digress.

I ventured down into the basement. This is where they house their technology and foreign language collections. But the best part of all is--ok, brace yourselves, kittens--there is a very, very, very extensive collection of advance review copies of books--hardcover ones--that are sold for 50% off the cover price. There were many recent bestsellers there--I think I saw the latest Sophie Kinsella--and other past favorites. Oftentimes authors will visit the Strand to promote their latest work, and whatever leftover copies there are, get shipped to the basement where their price gets cut in half. If I had a bigger budget, I would have delved into some of treasures.

The second floor houses a rather impressive, extensive collection of children's books. I didn't allow myself enough time to thoroughly browse this floor, but I did go to the third floor--the one which the Strand is most famous for.

The third floor houses the rare books. I'm talking first-edition, leather-bound rarities that can sell for thousands of dollars. Books so rare, you need to be escorted to the cash register to pay for them. Again, I didn't take much time to browse through this section, but the atmosphere itself was worth the visit. It reminded me of the quietest of college libraries, with that wonderful old book smell. I can't quite describe the scent, for words won't do it justice, but it was a heavenly aroma.

I must have spent about an hour at the Strand, and even though I budgeted for my purchases, I still spent slightly more than I wanted to. Still, it's a place I plan to return to again, this time with some fellow bibliophiles. I want to spend more time on the children's floor and on the rare books floor. Hell, I want to spend more time in that store, period. If I lived in Manhattan, I'd try and get to the Strand as often as I could!

But enough of me babbling about this glory of a store. Click here to visit the Strand's official website. And if you're in Manhattan, and you're a book lover, make sure you pay a visit. Take the subway to Union Square (the 4, 5, or 6 lines will get you there). Then cross Broadway and proceed on East 12th Street; the Strand is not that far down. You won't regret this, ever! I'm already planning my next trip there!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Queen's Meme: The Tick-Tock Meme

Lately the only thing I've had the energy or time for posting are memes. And I haven't done the Queen's in a while. I've been in the dungeon before, and don't really want to go there again.

Are you a Rolex watch, a Mickey Mouse watch, or a pocket watch?

I'm a Mickey Mouse watch, no question!

2. Can you think of a time when you couldn't see the forest for the trees?
Sure! Every morning when my alarm goes off. I'm foggy until I have my first sip of my Newman's Own organic dark roast.

3. Can you think of a time when you were on the outside looking in?

What did you see?
High school. I wasn't in the popular crowd, but really didn't care too much about it. However, sometimes my curiosity got the best of me, and some of the things I saw weren't some of the things I'd normally do and feel good about.

4. Go back in time. Maybe a long time ago, maybe today. Pick an hour you'd like to freeze frame forever and tell us why. It doesn't have to be THE most important hour of your life, but make it a good one.
My best friend's wedding, July 2001. I was so happy for her, and I felt like I was actually a part of her family. And, unlike many people I know who got married then, she's still married to the same guy. Quite happily, may I add. :)

5. If you were a cuckoo clock, what would others say about you?
Would you just shut the hell up?!?!?!

6. Can you think of a time when time stood still?
9/11/01. And it stood still for way too long.

7. Watch this! You are a stopwatch. What would you stop?

The National Debt Clock. Seriously, though, I'd love to be the 60 Minutes stopwatch. The real one, not the current computerized version.

8. Imagine you were just born and have infinite wisdom. After the doctor smacks your newborn dust ruffle you look around and say to the Universe: "Give me a whole lifetime to do "this" and I will bless the day I was born."
What did you choose?
How long do I have to live? I'd become a comedienne and make people laugh. Simple as that.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

One word meme

Here's a meme I found over at NurseExec's. I know I haven't posted in awhile, so consider this something to hold you over till the next time I write...whenever that will be. Like I said in my last post, I'm on hiatus till I adjust back to my work-year routine. Thanks for all of your comments...and especially your patience!

Where is your cell phone?

Your significant other? none

Your hair? bun

Your mother? talkative

Your father? bald

Your favorite thing? iPod

Your dream last night? forgotten

Your favorite drink? wine

Your dream/goal? peace

What room are you in? office

Your hobby? reading

Your fear? snakes

Where do you want to be in 6 years ? thriving

Where were you last night? city

Something that you aren't? tall

Muffins? yummy

Wish list item? laptop

Last thing you did? laundry

What are you wearing? pajamas

TV? distraction

Friends? loyal

Your life? great

Your mood? tired

Missing someone? yes

Drinking? pinot

Smoking? NOOOOO!!

Your car? sedan

Something you're not wearing? socks

Your favorite store? Kohl's

Your favorite color? purple

When is the last time you cried? past

Where do you go to over and over? supermarket

My favorite place to eat? parents'

Favorite place I'd like to be at right now? Caribbean

Monday, September 7, 2009


Hello my darling kittens!

Just a quick little post to wish you all a Happy Labor Day! I've had a great weekend so far. I've seen two movies, went to New York yesterday, and have been catching up with some old friends.

Work continues to go well...yet getting up at 5:30 AM is tough after a summer of rising and going to bed whenever I felt like it.

Anyhoo, I'm still going to be on break for a bit longer than I anticipated. There's nothing bad going on, I've just been busy and haven't had any time to blog or read!

I promise that I'll catch up with y'all soon. Not to worry, I haven't forgotten about you!

Ciao for now,