How to fill a 3-day weekend?  Well, since I’m participating in a fitness challenge through my library, every day is going to require a certain amount of walking.  That makes my fancy new pedometer happy and makes my imaginary land that I can populate through my fancy new pedometer happy.

I let my boyfriend pick our walking location today, and he suggested that we take the train downtown, walk north for a while, and then get back on the train and come back home.  We got off the train at 14th Street, walked north for a long time while occasionally making east and west side trips for shopping and food, and finally got back on the train at 72nd Street.  After that walk we came home, where I went to lie down for a “short nap” that ended up being three hours long.  Then I woke up and we had dinner (a ham and cheese quiche we’d picked up at a farmer’s market downtown).  And now I’m up, and will probably be up for a while.  Which means that it’s time to post some pictures!

We were retracing our steps after the 9th Avenue International Food Festival from last weekend and decided to stop for brunch at a place that looked busy and appetizing called Southern Hospitality.  I joked before we walked in that I’d like to try a BBQ version of Eggs Benedict (I’m a sucker for Eggs Benedict), and — whaddaya know — they had one!

SH Brunch Options

My boyfriend chose the Big as Texas Breakfast Platter and I ordered the Southern Benedict.  He had a beer and I had a bellini, but they also had a big selection of strong and fancy drinks that I would love to try some time that I’m not in brunch mode:

SH Booze Options

BTW, I had the option of choosing a single bellini or a “bottomless” one.  I chose the single, which turned out to be a great decision because this was honestly the strongest bellini I’ve ever had before.  And while we waited for our food to arrive, we listened to live bluegrass music.  Oh, didn’t I mention that every Saturday and Sunday they have a Bluegrass Booze Brunch?  Well, it was a surprise to us, too!

Bellini and Bluegrass

Then the food came, and we had nice big portions that definitely lived up to our expectations:

Big as Texas Breakfast Platter

Big as Texas Breakfast Platter

Southern Benedict

Southern Benedict

Then we left and continued our walk, which led to the subway, and coming home, and sleeping, and dinner, and being awake right now.  No idea yet where we’ll be spending our next few days walking around, but I’m hoping for some more interesting locales and some more great stops for shopping and food.  I should also have time to upload some more pictures this weekend, so stay tuned!

I’m going to be unwinding after an ESPECIALLY hectic week by visiting the 9th Avenue International Food Festival this weekend.  It’s running from 12pm to 5pm today and tomorrow over a long stretch of 9th Avenue.  Anyway, it’s free to go, and then it’s just a long stretch of food stands where you can buy stuff.  A lot of it is pretty standard and you’ll see some stuff repeat as you go along, but there are also usually some cool / unusual choices as well.

Anyway, my boyfriend and I have been visiting this festival for years, but some years we either have schedule conflicts or we space out and forget that it’s happening.  But it’s definitely cool to go if you can make it at least once.

http://www.ninthavenuefoodfestival.com/

Based on my prior experience with this festival, I’ll recommend that you wear comfortable/casual clothes that you wouldn’t mind getting stained, remember to wear sunscreen even if it’s cloudy, and if you happen to be part of a fitness challenge make sure you bring your pedometer, too.

Check back soon for pictures!

Saturday I went to work.  After work I came home, my boyfriend made us dinner, and then we had to figure out how to open the box containing my mother’s ashes and divide them into two containers for me and my brother.  We ended up making the transfer over the bathroom sink, and the whole experience was very, very WEIRD.  It was weird enough seeing the box, but it was even weirder opening up and seeing the contents of the box, if that makes sense.

Then this morning I brought one of the containers (the more official one that had her name on it) to my brother’s place.  I put it down on the coffee table in the living room, but within two minutes my brother had picked it up and brought it into her bedroom.

It’s interesting how he chooses to deal with some things but not with others.  For example, I gave him a box of chocolates for Christmas.  He brought them home from my place in the gift bag and put them on the coffee table, where they remained for MONTHS.  As January turned into February I would wonder if he was ever planning to eat them or share them, but I didn’t say anything.  As February turned into March I started to mention to him that he should probably eat them or throw them out.  By the time we got to April I said that he should definitely throw them out because otherwise he was going to attract mice into the apartment again if he left food out in the open.  And by the end of April I just ended up picking up the box and walking past him to go to the incinerator to throw them out.

Okay, okay, it’s not that I deny that my mother’s ashes are more important than a box of chocolates.  But, you know, STILL …

After we were done at my brother’s place, my boyfriend left to fill his own family obligations (taking his father to the barber and going shopping for his mother), while I made a brief detour to the local pharmacy to get pedicure supplies.  If you’re thinking that sounds a little girly for me, you would be correct, Dear Readers.  In fact, my nail-painting period began and ended when I was 18 years old.  I tried it a couple of times, the polish wore off or chipped so quickly that it didn’t seem worth it, so I never bothered again … until now.

The reason I decided to try it again after more than 25 years is because of a horrifying physical defect.  You see, last summer when we were moving to our new apartment I had bumps and bruises all over from dropping things, bumping into furniture, etc.  On the very last day of our move I managed to knock over a tube of my boyfriend’s aftershave that fell from the top of a dresser straight down onto my big toe.  It left a ginormous black bruise under my toenail that I thought would have grown out by now, but it’s been making such slow progress that it’s currently right in the middle of my toenail.  And I wanted to be able to wear sandals without scaring small children or inviting conversations from my creepier patrons.

Well, it turns out that if you google “how to give yourself a pedicure,” you’ll find a lot of helpful information and videos.  There were some supplies that I already owned (epsom salts, pumice stone, nail clippers, moisturizer) but many more that I had to buy (nail polish, cuticle cream, undercoats, overcoats, etc.).  And so, after a process that took WAY longer than I would have liked, my toenails now look … weird.  But at least they’re not terrifying, and that was the major goal.  And tomorrow is definitely looking like sandal weather!

I had several meetings in midtown this week, which led to some professional brain-stretching and made for some good food shopping opportunities afterwards.  In one meeting we acted out a “Readers Advisory” skit I’d written for a future YA training.  It went very well, in part because some of the volunteers who played small but entertaining parts (the Overly-Friendly Old Lady and the Rowdy Teen in particular) really got into their roles.

A few recent wacky patron interactions from the service desk:

A middle-aged woman standing in front of me answers her cell phone that keeps ringing.  She yells into the phone, “CAN YOU PLEASE PICK UP YOUR PANTS?  YOUR PANTS KEEP CALLING ME!”

The Creepy Old Flirt is trying to sweet-talk one of our clerks who’s sitting at the service desk a few feet away from me with this awkward one-sided conversation: “HI, SWEETIE PIE!  ARE YOU MY SWEETIE PIE?  THE ANSWER IS NO, BECAUSE I DON’T CUT THE MUSTARD, RIGHT?”

Our library has been retaining heat in the worst possible way.  I think it was getting up towards 70 degrees outside today, but it was over 83 degrees inside.  An old guy who came to our movie screening today (which was in our program room, which is even more airless than the rest of the building) started yelling at me as soon as he walked in about how it was “hotter than Hades in here,” and could I turn on the air conditioning … you know, like I didn’t think of that.  I explained that we had no control over the AC, but that it was run through a thermostat.  I didn’t share the explanation that I heard the other day, which was that the cooling system would only be triggered if the temperature OUTSIDE got hot enough.  Which … is … ridiculous if it’s true.  It also begs the question of why we have several thermostats indoors if they’re just going to be ignored.  But you know, whatever.  Far be it from me to question such things.  The library staff will just have to switch to beach party attire for the foreseeable future, or at least until the AC kicks in.

When you combine three of my favorite interests — food, cats, and photography — you get something that looks like this …

Luna Approaching

Luna approaching.  She’s been smelling the chili cooking for over an hour, and now that it’s being served she wants to investigate.  She starts off being a little coy about it …

Luna Investigates the Chili

Luna investigates the chili.  She’s zeroing in!

Checking Out the Cornbread

Checking out the cornbread.  I didn’t realize she was going to be so bold, and I had to shoo her down at this point.

Trying Some Turkey

Trying some turkey.  Yes, I got all the spicy stuff off of it first.  I’m not a monster.

Kitty Approves

Kitty approves!

Oof.  I haven’t posted here for so long that I forgot what I’d been talking about the last time I made an update.  Let’s see what’s new … (more…)

I e-filed my taxes today, which was more of a pain than usual but not as much as I expected.  I think this was the last time I’ll be able to wrap my mind around my taxes by myself.  This year I had to incorporate a 1099-R form into the mix for the IRA I inherited from my mother, but everything else is still in limbo until her estate is finally settled.  By next year I’ll presumably be dealing with life insurance benefits / stocks / etc. and I’ll need to sit down with an accountant and make sure I’m doing everything correctly.  As opposed to now, when I’m just kind of winging it.

We’ve spent more time than usual eating out as part of the Washington Heights & Inwood Restaurant Week (food pictures coming soon).  Oh, and BTW, this “restaurant week” is actually TWO weeks, so you still have time to sample some restaurants if you’d like.  So far we tried the Papasito Mexican Grill and Agave Bar where the food was wonderful and very filling and our margaritas were powerful, but the music was a little loud.  We also had dinner at the Tryon Public House, where the food was … well, it was very good for “bar food,” if you get my drift.  It was also good if you want to watch sports on a dozen screens at once, which isn’t really my thing, but if I WAS into watching sports this would be a great place to eat and watch.  We’re going to pick one or two more places to try next week, too.

My boyfriend and I have been getting more pictures of our new kitten over the last few weeks and days.  I have enough now that I’m going to make a set of pictures over at Flickr very soon.

This week coming up is going to be the anniversary of my mother’s death, as well as the anniversary of when my boyfriend and I started dating.  Last April was also when my aunt died and when Logan (our last cat) died.  So yeah, it was a hell of a month.  It feels good to be moving forward, even as I’m frequently reminded of the past.  Or at least I am on a weekly basis, when I go to visit my brother.  Yeesh.

And speaking of moving forward … D. is coming back from vacation soon, I have another book committee meeting coming up, I’m working on more book reviews, I’m working on a “Readers Advisory” skit for a future staff training, my boyfriend and I will be sharing several anniversary presents (which I can’t share right now because they’re surprises and he occasionally reads this blog), and we’re planning out our next summer vacation when we’ll be going to Charleston and Savannah.

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