Wednesday, July 27, 2005

To my cousin Judy...

Pooch Cafe by Paul Gilligan

From my brother to you...

My brother wants me to share this with you.

Personally I find it quite disturbing. Obviously this man has some mental health issues. Anyway, here it is: Husband eats dead wife, chokes and dies

Don't get me wrong. If he did kill her, I suppose it was some karmic retribution. It just seems funnier in a Herman cartoon than in real life.

Now, my initial reaction to the Boy Scout Leaders electrocutions during the Jamoboree is a reason why I need to go to penance.

You're gonna make it after all.........

It’s another blistery, hot and humid day in the city. It’s so hot, you can sweat just standing still, in the shade, with nothing on but a tank top and shorts. I haven’t been in blogville for awhile and I realize that I do miss it. I miss sharing and I miss reading everyone else’s entries. However, the primary reason I haven’t blogged in awhile is simply because of work. Work has been quite hectic and stressful. Everything I’ve written so far is work related. Maybe once the turmoil has passed, I can post them but for now, until the turbulence subsides, I will need to keep my seatbelt fastened.
All I’ll say is that everyone has gone through what I’m going through here, but this is my first time going through it and I’m nervous, angry, anticipatory and stressed. Perfect for blogging, right? I just want this feeling to be over with already. I hate feeling like I’m in limbo.

Funny thing is, I’m surprised how passionate I am about this. For the last two years, I’ve focused less on my work life and more on home life. My years in technical systems led to a life filled with late hours at work, holidays at the office and taking work home. Now, I believe I’ve found a satisfactory medium.

Anyway, like I said, when all my stress about work passes, I’ll be back to good old pantrygirl, obsessing about one thing or another.

Last week I wrote about my night of crazy cooking. Well, most of the food is gone. It would have been completely gone had it not been for my husband and possibly our cousin catching food poisoning. This teaches you, Lrudlrick, about eating other people’s food when you have perfectly good eats at home. Just teasing but you should have stuck to my spaghetti and meatballs and left it at that.

Well, the cooking was part de-stresser and part preparation for cousins that were supposed to arrive for the weekend. Someone recently pointed out that I talk about my cousins a lot. I have to note that yes, I have a lot of cousins. My husband is Hispanic and I’m Asian. We have big families. Well, plans changed and on Thursday, they asked us to go up to PA to visit.

Long story short, since it was primarily a get together for the male cousins to relive some youthful days of debauchery, the ladies stayed in NYC. I can’t attest to what our men did up in PA but it most have been a doozy. By Sunday, my husband was laid up in pain. On Monday, I left work early to be with him at the doctor’s. It was a scheduled appointment so it wasn’t an emergency but still. I’m not even going to tell you my thoughts on partying the weekend before a planned doctor’s appointment.

So as our men recuperate, us ladies are going to the Berkshires this weekend for some RnR. We leave tomorrow. Personally, I feel like I’ve already started my “It’s about me” weekend. With the guys away last weekend, I spent Friday night catching up on girlie shows and Saturday walking around the city like I did when I was single. I felt like Mary Richards but without the beret. The weekend would have included a biking tour but my bike decided to have chain issues so I guess I’m headed to the bike shop on Sunday to get it fixed. I must have done something wrong to bikes in my past life.

I’ve never been to a weekend RnR retreat like this before. The closest I’ve come to this was a trip to a spa resort where we spent most of the day in robes and being treated like Kobe cows. This trip involves meditation and yoga. I’ve never done yoga so this will be interesting. I gather it’s like the mediation and stretches I do so I shouldn’t feel too self-conscious. Oh, and I’ve scheduled some type of ayurvedic massage that consists of oils, vigorous rubbing and rhythmic movements. dirty I’m not sure what makes this different than the basic massage which is $25 cheaper but if it can melt away my work stress, I’ll be quite happy.

I’ll post pictures when I return.

Things I learned at the Met:

1. Don’t get drunk at Matisse’s home
Matisse draped his fabric all over his home. It’s a psychedelic trip without the nasty side effects of drugs.

2. Matisse is one of the first fashion designers
It’s all about fabric baby. Oh, and the models are super tiny. The coats and vests displayed could fit a pre-pubescent child.

3. If you want to know what it feels like to be a rat in a maze, go to the Met
I am a very good navigational pilot. My girl scout training has taught me well but by hour 3 at the Met, I was so exhausted, I couldn’t find my way back out to the front entrance. I must have passed the Arms and Armor collection at least 6 times before I found my way out.
I never felt more helpless. I flashbacked to when I got lost at Bloomingdales when I was 8 years old. I was ready to kick my shoes off, sit on the floor and start crying until I weaved my way to the gift shop and found freedom.

4. The closest I’ll get to Egypt is on 84th and 5th
My cousin Dave and I are seem to be the only people who have a desire to go to Egypt. After last week’s bombings, I’m going to assume that the closest I’ll get to being in Egypt is standing at Pernab’s tomb, conveniently located on 84th and 5th.

5. I could never be a knight
I could have worn the displayed codpiece as a helmet. How the heck did these guys move around? Oh, and I’m pretty sure, these men were quite ripe after a days work.

6. Drinking a martini on the roof of the Met on a blisteringly hot day may not be the best way to cool down
I was so dizzy afterwards, I nearly passed out in the cramped elevator. I felt like one of Sol Lewitt’s sculptures.

7. I could never be a fashion designer
As I weaved my way passed the throngs of visitors at the Chanel exhibit, one thing became clear to me, I may love clothes but I am no designer. Honestly, I felt like I was going through aisle upon aisles of mannequins at Macy’s. Now, I do love the simplistic lines but I just don’t get why there has to be an exhibit of it in the Met.
I’m all for the period piece exhibits. Those are always fun to check out but Coco Chanel? Guess, that’s why I shop at The Gap.

8. Death by sword seems more noble than death by gun shot
I had a difficult time staying in the gun gallery. However, I could have stayed a little longer at the sword display. I suppose there is a level of craftmanship and skill I can associate with swords. Being in the dark room filled with guns just seemed creepy and cold.

I'm going to have a Piazza.

Backgammon set made of bone and ivory

The size of this armor is intimidating.

The closest I'll get to going to Egypt.

On a clear day, you can see forever.

Blue skies and martini highs.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Cannelloni, Take Me Away...

Last night I went into mama mode.

This last week at work has been painfully stressful, especially yesterday. I came home at 8 exhausted and still wired. To decompress, I went into my haven, the kitchen, and began cooking up a storm. I didn't have a plan. I didn't have a menu. I went Iron Chef.

I usually cook when I want to unwind but yesterday I went iron chef crazy. Part of the reason was that last night was one of the cooler nights in the city. The last few days have been so oppressively hot and humid that the idea of standing over a hot stove seemed torturous. Since the forecast stated it would be humid again tonight and subsequent nights, I took the opportunity to cook a feast that should last us through the weekend if not more.

Another reason was our cousins were coming to visit. Up until last night, I was under the impression that they would be coming to our place to visit. Since our cousins have kids, I wanted to make sure I had kid friendly eats around. The visit plan changed, of course, but that’s another story.

So last night, I prepared the following:

Chorizo Rice with Pigeon Peas
Grilled Chicken Legs w/Lime and Cilantro marinade
Meatballs with Bolognese Sauce
Chocolate Pudding Cups with Fresh Berries
Baby Back Chinese Spare Ribs
Chef Salad
Walnut Brownies w/Fudge middles

I had a blast. The house smelt divine. I was definitely in the mama zone. I call it the mama zone because when I was a child, I grew up in a predominately Irish/Italian neighborhood. Whenever I went to my friend’s house, their grandmas, aunts and mom would be cooking up a storm, hence, mama mode.

By the time Lrudlrick came home at 10:30, I had already packed them into containers. I felt so Iron Chefy. Lrudlrick doesn’t understand how cooking is relaxing. I’m sure he thinks I cook to impede his “Ultimate Fighter” aspirations. He’s told me already that we'll have fat babies. Yes, all references to Monica from Friends.

I’m not sure why I cook when I want to decompress. It came to me suddenly. I suppose cooking is like project management except without meetings and paperwork. You determine the outcome you desire, formulate the plan, acquire the tools necessary, modify as needed and evaluate the outcome. With cooking, it’s a one woman show. With my projects at work, it involves a lot of hands and sometimes too many cooks spoil the broth which leads to delays and as my boss says, “bullshit”.

When I cook, with a little help from science, I can guarantee the outcome and ensure a timely completion. It’s satisfying for my OCD. I may not be able to control the total outcome of my projects at work but I can with a simple Fettuccine Alfredo with Proscuitto and Broccoli Rabe.

Everyone needs that one activity that satisfies the quirks we all have.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Go Go Gadget Copter...

A recent study conducted by the NY Daily News states 9 out of 10 New Yorkers stock emergency supplies. My question is, what does the NY Daily News define emergency supplies to be? I would also question the pool surveyed but that’s another issue all together. For the NYers I know, matches, bodega candles and maybe an am/fm radio are emergency supplies.

In NYC, the government has this campaign, Ready New York, which suggests packing a ‘Go Bag’ for emergencies. Yes, this sounds scout-ish but it is wise to be prepared.

The study states 55% of NYers have a ‘Go Bag’. I suggest that 55% of NYers have a ‘Go Bag’ in theory. They know where the stuff is they need to stuff into their bag. It’s just not actually situated in a duffel bag. Typical NYers live in closets. We barely have room for a full size bed. Where would be put a giant duffel bag?

When I mentioned to Lrudlrick that we should have a ‘Go Bag’, he laughed at me.
It’s not that he thought it was a ridiculous idea. After blackouts and terrorist attacks, we both keep sneakers and/or rollerblades at work. We also keep flashlights, candles, matches, a portable tv and a am/fm radio in a cabinet in our bookcase.

It’s that our ‘Go Bag’ would be gi-normous. It’s not like we can just pack for two. We’ve got these dogs you see and well, getting around in a disaster with two dogs and giant bag may not be feasible.

I must confess that I really considered buying one of those husky backpack thingies they have for dogs. It looks like a saddle you strap onto the dog so they can carry their own luggage. I hang my head in shame of the idea. My dogs are city dogs not Burmese mountain dogs.

I wouldn’t be able to have a ‘Go Bag’ without filling my old lady shopping cart with my stuff and I’ve never ever seen a disaster movie where people are fleeing with old lady shopping carts.

Imagine in The Day After Tomorrow you saw a petite girl dragging a giant black granny Go cart weaving in between cars trying to get to the library for shelter. It just doesn’t work.

Now, I hope that I’m slightly more prepared than Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds. At least my kids would have food. I have emergency numbers, paperwork and my obligatory bodega candles and matches. We have our emergency meeting place and outside the city contacts but in all honesty, when an emergency happens, things you didn’t think of will happen and you just have to find another solution. Most people I spoke to after the Eastern blackout couldn’t make it home. Even if they had a ‘Go Bag’, they couldn’t get to it.

If Lrudlrick and I had kids, I’m sure we’d change our tune. A ‘plan’ would have to be formulated but for now, I can do the best I can realistically to prepare and just hope that we do as well as we’ve done with past emergencies.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Slow roasting in the city...

This is week 3 on the ponytail hairdo. The humidity is disgusting and although my hair doesn’t get frizzy, it loses all its body.

I’m sick of ponytail. Well, I've never been fond of the ponytail, at least for work. I look young. Put me in a ponytail and I look younger. So I try to avoid the intern look and leave my hair down at work.

This heat though has relegated me to ponytail/bun/twists. Can it rain already and wash away this humidity? Seriously. Two days ago, I was reading about flash flooding in Jersey and the first thought in my head was, “Lucky bastards.”

As I was walking home last night, droplets of rain fell intermittently. I hoped that a downpour would follow. 20 minutes later, it was still bright as anything and the sprinkling only left my shirt spotted and my glasses hazy.

For the love of Pete, please let this humidity go away.

Z-girl isn’t keen on long walks now. With this humidity, she can’t even make it to the park without panting obscenely. She beelines towards to the building after she does her business. Unfortunately her brother, P-man, takes his time and has to sniff every crack, tree and pole. She looks like a pointer pulling my left arm towards the building while I’m being dragged towards another hydrant by P.

Now I have to make a confession. For the last week or so, the dogs and I have passed by the kids park where they have a sprinkler doodad that the kids run back and forth under. I have wanted desperately to run in there with the two dogs to cool off. This isn't bad except, I've pictured myself terrorizing the kids with the dogs to hog the sprinkler. I hang my head in shame.

I know I have one more installment of my BI notes to write about: What to do. Personally, the best part of BI is doing nothing but I will include some activities soon. I haven’t had a chance to write it out. I will also add some more pictures. Maybe the pictures of the cool water will ease the discomfort. It’s just too darn hot to do anything when I get home.

For the last few days this has been my schedule:

Wake up
Walk Dogs
Go Home
Walk Dogs
Do something that doesn’t require lots of movement/exertion
Walk Dogs
Shower (depends on heat)

So, sorry but there isn’t much in Pantrygirl’s life to rant/rave about except the damn humidity. As soon as I can tear myself away from the multiple showers required to survive this heat, I’ll finish my BI notes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Things I don’t understand about my mother’s side of the family:

1. Why it’s so difficult to coordinate a dinner. Pick a damn restaurant and stick to it. It shouldn’t take 3 days to decide to go to the same sushi restaurant we went to last time. BTW, the sushi is way overpriced and not as fresh as it should be.

2. Why no one can make a decision without consulting the big book of insults. You know what, whatever you decide is going to tick someone off somehow. Get over it. ”I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.”

3. Why everyone has to do everything in a damn cluster. If you want to go shopping, go shopping. Don’t wait for me to go. When I said I wanted to visit a museum, the entire clan tagged along, bored out of their minds. How the hell am I supposed to enjoy the museum when I’ve got a band of Chinese groupies following me bored to tears.
There is something called the hospitality line. It’s like the personal space line. One should not expect the host to plan every single minute nor should the guest hang onto the host like a barnacle. I’m just picking up dry cleaning. I’m pretty sure you can do the same thing where you are from. Dry cleaning stores are pretty much the same everywhere you go.

4. Why when you go off and do your own thing, you’re a rebel and insulting someone. When my in-laws come over, we eat a few meals together, do an outing together and the rest of the visit consists of them doing their thing and us doing ours. To my knowledge, my in-laws love it that way. Lrudlrick and I love it that way. We both get to do what we need to and we still get to spend time together. Hospitality goes both ways, folks.

5. Why everything is an act of insult. No wonder my mother walks on eggshells for everything. Good grief. If I hear, “I just don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’m easygoing.” one more time, I’m going to gag myself with my own fist. I’m sure that line will garner a host of strange google searches. If you arrived here because of such a search, sorry, hit the back button. Not everyone is going to like what you have to say. That’s what makes life interesting. If we all walked around with the same opinion, we’d be in a Huxley novel.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Where is this anger coming from?

There has got to be some correlation between the ridiculous actions of sports superstars and the use of human growth hormones and steroids. I mean, people don’t just punch/shoot/stab people without having some hormone induced rage. - Pantrygirl

Washing women's clothes...

Firstly, I want to say I am a lucky woman to have a man who does the wash. After 7 years of washing his clothes, we've switched off and he now does the wash and dry. I fold but that's another story.

Now, although I appreciate a man who can do wash there are specific rules for women's clothing. Since women’s clothing is finicky, I ask my husband to follow one rule:

Do not wash anything your wife wears without asking her.

Ok, there is a second rule (see below) but this is the golden rule.

Why? Because you may think you are being nice but you'll only open a can of worms.

See, it's probably some item she really truly loves. A bond has been built between her and that merino wool sweater. Any person/animal who tries to break this relationship will suffer the wrath of a woman scorned. It will be two times worse than any sudden burst you may receive while her Aunt Flo visits. If Aunt Flo is around when you have a laundry faux pas, for your safety I suggest you refrain from speaking for the rest of the night. If this isn't possible, spend the night at a friend's house.

Whether it is a towel or a silk chemise, she probably put it there for a reason and it wasn't for you to take it. The towel on the one-seater was probably put there so she remembers to refresh the bathroom towels. Don’t ask how it reminds her of this. It just does.
After 7 years of me doing the laundry, Lrudlrick has taken up laundry duty. Actually he does the laundry and I fold it and put it away. It’s been working to an extent.
We have two rules with my clothes:
1. If I don’t give you my clothes to wash and you see an item of mine laying in the bathroom, don't just assume you can wash it. Ask me.
2. Remove all delicates after the wash cycle. Do not put them in the dryer.

The problem is my husband thinks all my clothes are delicates. Trying to get him to realize a pair of crop pants aren’t delicates is a hopeless cause. If it’s my clothes and it doesn’t weight 5lbs wet, he brings it upstairs after the wash cycle. So every week, I’ve got a bathroom and bedroom that smells April Fresh because I’ve got my crop pants, cotton tees and tanks strewn all over. I’m about to hang some shirts on my ceiling fan.

For you guys who don’t understand why it’s so complicated, here are a few quirks in regards to women’s clothing and laundry: Ladies/gents, if you have any additional to add, feel free to add them in the comments section.

1. Bathing suits do not get washed in a washing machine. They must be hand washed. It takes a woman a full year of bathing suit shopping to find the perfect suit. Do not be surprised to suffer the wrath if her bathing suit for the season is ruined by a spin cycle.
2. Silk does not get washed in a washing machine. Ok, some silks are ok but who wants to play the game of chance?
3. Thin bra straps, thong/v-string underwear, chemises and well anything you guys like seeing us in will tangle and collect pilling. It is important to handle these items delicately and separate if possible.
4. Those tiny sweater seats that accentuate our bosoms usually contain silk and/or wool. Washing and drying some of these will lead them to shrink into doggie sweaters/toddler sweaters. Read the labels to be sure they are machine washable.
5. Bras must be hooked closed. If not, they can get caught on machinery or snag clothes. The front hooks are ok but the back hooks need to be closed. Otherwise, your wife will be stealing your needle-nose pliers to bend them back into shape. I keep one in my bra drawer because this is a common occurrence.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

"Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon..."

"We were delighted to hear of the exemplary service provided by the bus operator you cited in your message. MTA New York City Transit is committed to meeting the highest standards of safe, reliable, courteous, and accessible service and this bus operator exemplifies the best of our efforts. In recognition of your kind words, she will receive a certificate of commendation and an Apple Award pin to wear on her uniform.

Thank you for your thoughtful message. We look forward to serving you again." --- Mr. Kelly, MTA

"Thank you so much for your hard work and generosity during this year's Skip Lunch Fight Hunger campaign! Because of all of you, we raised more $200,000 to help feed New York City's hungry kids and their families. That's enough money to help feed close to 3,000 people for an entire year!" -- Ms. Rottino City Harvest

Ok, so the last one was a stock letter to every participant but sometimes it feels good to get a group hug.

BI: Let's get to the eating and drinking already...

Dining and Dancing

Essentially, anywhere you go there will be good eats, especially seafood. We are on an island in New England. On holiday weekends, be prepared to wait an hour for a table. Most places, like Harbor Grill have a lounge area where you can order a few drinks, kick back and wait for your table.

Some of my favorite places are Finn’s and Harbor Grill for dinner, Mohegan Café and Three Sisters for lunch and 1661 for breakfast. There’s another great place for breakfast which is next to Finn’s but I can’t recall it’s name. The smell of sausage sent me floating there one morning.

The airport also has a cozy diner. Whenever I ride by the airport, I always expect to see Lowell pop out.

Hotel Manisses and Spring Hotel are great romantic dining establishments but a little pricey. Personally, when I’m on the island, I like the casual comforts of a Big Sister sandwich, with chips and drink eaten on one of their cute picnic tables. If I were to get out of the rat race, I’d open up a cute eatery, such as Three Sisters.

If you have a kitchenette and want to try your hand at cooking some fresh seafood, you should stop at Finn’s Fish Mart for some fresh seafood. The main grocery store we frequent is Block Island Grocery. They have a deli that a New York City girl can appreciate. Nothing beats a roast beef melt after a long swim.
Usually, I pack all my kitchen essentials and just pick up perishables on the island. The prices as you may expect are a little high.

Nightlife on the island for me consists of sitting at a local bar, like Sharky’s (He's a Brooklyn native. Go Yankees!) and watching the crowds of people try to squish onto the deck at McGovern’s. I’m not into crowding myself into clubs like McGovern’s and Ballard Beach. First of all, you can hear the cover band perfectly fine across the street. Secondly, I’d prefer to lounge in a deck chair than stand in a crowded deck balancing my drink and avoiding someone’s back sweat. On a personal note, McGovern’s drinks are a little watered down for my taste. A pina colada there left such a weird aftertaste in my mouth, I found myself sucking on limes just to mask the furry tongue. My brother kept singing, ‘Lime in the coconut’ after that.

If you want to see cover bands, you need to go to Captain Nick’s which is directly across the street from BI Grocery Store. While we were there they had an Abba Tribute band (They really dressed up like Abba, men and women) and a Rolling Stones cover band. Once, I saw a man dressed as a cow and one as a pig doing a jig by the band. It was 4pm.

The party starts early on BI. Where nightlife in NY doesn’t start popping until the wee hours, BI bars close at 1am. Some establishments will even close around midnight/12:30 to avoid the mass exodus.

Here is Pantrygirl's PSA: If you plan to go to a bar or club in the evening, you plan to drink towards the tipsy end of the scale and it’s not within walking distance of your hotel, hail a cab. Don’t try to bike it or moped it. For your safety and the safety of others, do no attempt to bike home. There are no street lights on the island, at least not on most of the island. The streets are narrow and curvy and many don’t have signs. Heck, the buildings don’t have street addresses. Play it safe and hail a cab. "The more you know... Da da da da..."

BI: Mode of transportation

Mode of transportation
First, know that you’ll have to either take a ferry or take a commuter plane to the island. The standard ferry from Point Judith, RI takes about an hour. They also have ferries from Montauk, NY and New London, CT. They also recently introduced hi-speed ferries. If you plan to take a car into the island, reserve your space early. We’ve been known to reserve space 9 months before.
Note to all ferry riders: when the seagulls start flocking, make sure you have an overhang for shelter. These birds have excellent aim.

You really don’t need a car but we usually load all our goodies in it and hang our bikes off a rack to make getting the stuff to the hotel that much easier. Or you can just leave you car in the mainland and take one of the many taxis available on the island. At Point Judith, there is parking everywhere. The closest parking to the ferry is behind a tiny motel, The Lighthouse Inn. It has a giant Mr. Potato Head fisherman in the front.
Darth Fisherman

The price for parking is $10/day or $15/day on holiday weekends.

On the island, taxis have a flat rate system. If you are staying in the town area, the average trip is $6.00 with luggage/bike.
Taxi drivers are extremely friendly. Most of the drivers I’ve spoken to don’t live on the island. In fact most people that work during the summer in the service industries have multiple jobs on the island just so they can spend their summer there.
You can hail a taxi anywhere. Most taxis are vans so they just stop and pick up people along the way. All are courteous and friendly. Ask them to take you to a great place for eats and each one will tell you a different place you never even thought of.

Once you’re on the island, the best mode of transportation in my opinion is the bike. You can rent bikes and mopeds and even convertible cars on the island but they are a bit pricey. (A moped rental averaged $55 for 2 hours this season.) Plus, mopeds are restricted to the paved roads.
I suggest bringing your own bike. One year, I rented a bike and the gears were horrible. Trying to make it up the hills was so painful, I wound up walking the bike up most hills. If you have your own bike, bring it. You’ll save money and you’ll have a better ride. Up until recently, I never locked my bike. I never had a problem until this past summer. I suggest you bring your lock with you.

But pantrygirl, I’m not very active. You are talking to the Queen of door to door service. When you wear 4 inch heels everyday to work you enjoy the comforts of cabs. The terrain is steep and hilly in some areas but if Pantrygirl can do it, you can do it. You don’t need to be Lance Armstrong to bike here. Just wear a lot of sunscreen. For the first two days, I was two toned. I looked like a cooked lobster, my front was pale and my back was bright red.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Recommended by Lrudlrick...

I break from my Block Island posts to give you this:

Steve Don't Eat It.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to cook and I'm extremely adventurous when it comes to food.
However, I married the most finicky, tummy sensitive man known in the Northern Hemisphere. It took nearly 7 years to get him to drink Orange Juice uncut, 5 years before lobster touched his lips and a lot of dicing and mincing to get him to eat his greens. Heck, even Alton Brown's note to him to eat his fungi won't get him to eat mushrooms.

So when Lrudlrick found this site he had to share it with me, of course.

BI: Where to stay

Where to stay
Just about any BnB or hotel on the island is wonderful. The island is shaped like a pork chop or as my Dad saw it, a baby chick. There is one main strip, Water Avenue (aka Old Harbor), that is what you see in most pictures. Most accommodations are here. Another popular section for accommodations is New Harbor.
Remember the island is 11 square miles. You’re not far from anything.

Surf Hotel, The Blue Dory Inn, The National Hotel and The Spring House Hotel are nice places to stay. The National is the white building in the above photo.
If you want a place where you can sit on a white lawn chair, put on a straw hat and stair out into the ocean as the sun sets, The Spring House is the place to be. Then again, you can dine there or just grab a chair and go to any beach and do the same thing without paying the high prices for a room.

If you don't mind the expense or have a group of friends that you can stand sharing living quarters with, you can always rent a cottage. It's the closest thing to being a resident on the island.

BI: When to Go

When to Go
As a kid, we usually went during the summer holidays. This was to accommodate my dad’s work schedule. However, residents will tell you the best time of all is in early September. The summer weather has left the ocean warm and the tourists have left.

Now if you love boat races then go in June during the boat race.
If you love triathlons and races, BI has several races per year. I believe one is in June and one in September but I’d contact the Chamber of Commerce for a more detailed schedule.

Reasons why I love BI

Reasons why I love BI
1. The seafood. “Acres and acres of seafood and it’s all mine.”
2. The appreciation the residents have for nature and historical preservation. The whole island should be a landmark if it isn’t already.
3. The salty sea, the warm afternoons and the breezy nights.
4. Falling asleep to the sound of the ocean.
5. A journal, a camera and a good book = entertainment. I’m surprised the next great novel hasn’t been written here yet. Or has it?
6. You can bike the island a million times and still find a new path or undiscovered nature every time.
7. Steak Fries, Clam Bakes and other community socials.
8. There is one local newspaper. Once you’ve read it cover to cover, you can pretty much figure out where everyone will be on a given day.
9. You can't take a bad picture in BI. Every photo looks like it's a postcard.
10. It’s my own Merchant Ivory film but without the corsets and social class issues.

A valiant attempt to save the castle.

Personal thoughts on Block Island...

After writing a few missives here, I’ve gotten a few questions about BI. I highly recommend a trip there, even if it’s a daytrip. Disclaimer: Nothing on paper could describe BI and its personality.

One thing you’ll find is that a Google search won’t give you anything about BI except pictures and fab reviews. This again, is due to BI’s nature. It’s laid back. It’s unpretentious. It’s a provincial seaside you would read about in novels. It’s On Golden Pond without the crotchety old guy with Alzheimer’s.

I’m not saying I’m a Rick Steve’s of BI. I’m just here to offer my 2 cents. If you’ve visited and have tips, feel free to add them to the comments section. I’m sure there will be questions that I haven’t answered so feel free to email me or write it on the comments section and I’ll try to answer it. Or maybe a fellow BI visitor/resident will answer it.

If you like New England and its relaxed atmosphere, you’ll like Block Island. If you’re looking for drunken debauchery, you can get it at certain locations but that’s not why you should go there.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I'm officially back. My routine is returning.

I'm officially back today.

I really enjoyed my vacation. Sure, it was too short and my bike was stolen but by next year, I'll only remember the good times.

BTW, if you are in Block Island and see a black men's mountain bike with a brand new kick stand and black bell with compass, email me. On the side of the bike it says, 'Outlaw'. That bike was the bike my husband bought and rode home after the East Coast black out of 2003. It was also a replacement bike for me after my original bike was stolen. Yes, I have bad bike karma. I'm 2 for 3.

Block Island brings a lot of memories of my dad. I feel his spirit there. When we boarded the boat home, I found myself crying. I couldn't stop it. But it wasn't a sad cry. It was cathartic. Poor Lrudlrick looked bewildered and I couldn’t explain how it felt like I was saying goodbye to my dad again but it was ok.

We got back to NYC and spent a day doing the touristy things. We walked around Times Square and even waited on the obscenely long TKTS line. We watched as a NY1 Noticias reporter juggled cameraman duty and on-air duty then watched as the steel drum band started working the tourist crowd for ‘money for the band’. Oh, and we also learned that the time share salesmen in Florida also work Times Square. Instead of tickets to Disney, they give away Broadway tickets or dinner vouchers.

A few words to NY, London and Paris before I head to bed:
NYC, sorry you didn’t get the Olympics.
London, congrats and condolences. Talk about hi-lows.
Paris, stop being so Paris. Between what Chirac said before the G8 summit and the caddy rumors of bribes for the Olympics, you look like an ugly stepchild.

My holiday in pictures...

I don't know what's stranger, finding a camel in Block Island or that the camel shares his space with a duck.

Tutus on the Fourth

Pan Flute Guy just found his new protege.

Generations and Hope...

Candy Negotiations is big serious business.

Ancient carvings at Vail Beach

To live to 100 and live by the seaside...

There's no need to fear...

WWII Memorial. I was in awe of the many names from the same family.

Lrudlrick, isn't it time for a new car?

Stickes and Stones may brake me bones...

P and Z waiting for us. Thanks Dave and Judy for checking in on them.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Things learned during my vacation:

1. I love lobster. I really love lobster.
2. I’ve missed the sun, the salt and the sea. Memories of summers by the shore flooded me as soon as I boarded the boat. If I didn’t live in the city, I’d move to the seaside.
3. You can take the boy out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the boy.
4. I forgot how my dad liked to rearrange rooms. My brother has that trait. Watching him move things around made me think of my dad.
5. I’m truly a grown up. Watching the foolishness of the young ones makes me glad I’m 30. I can’t believe I was once that foolish and naïve. Oh, and it’s true what they say. You can only watch them make the mistakes and hope they learn from it. If you say anything, you look like the crotchety grandmother.
6. Your shoulders, especially the one that your purse’s shoulder strap rests upon, will burn first. Slather on a lot of sunscreen and hope for the best.
7. I love the sound of the ocean.
8. Biking in BI is much more relaxing than biking in NYC traffic. However, your bike is safer in NYC than in BI. I had to go to Rhode Island to get my bike stolen and they even stole my husband's American flag off his bike!
9. The day you forget to spray bug spray is the day the mosquitoes feast on your flesh.
10. I love the skin I’m in. I love who I am and I enjoy spending time with my husband just lying on the beach or biking around town.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

'Opportunities' to 'Lose Control'

Next mix I'd like to hear.

Come on baby, "Let's make lots of money, Cuz misdemeanor said so"

Thoughts on vaca...

"They don't joke here. Alcohol to the rim of the glass. Ice Cream to the tip of the cone. They don't joke with the good things." -- Lrudlrick on BI.

Thoughts on vaca...

You know, that would make a good strip club name. -- Lrudlrick on reading 'The Ubiquitous Clam', an article in the Block Island Times.

SPF 62

I haven’t been to the beach or been out in the sun for prolonged periods of time for over 12 years. It’s not that I don’t like the sun. I do. Ever since I was a child, I love the water and the seaside. When the first 13 years of your life were spent out in the sun all summer sans sunscreen, you begin to worry about possible sun damage at an earlier age.

I’ve always slathered on sunscreen and washed my clothes in sun screen protectant. I thought I’d be safe. Nothing short of SPF 62 would have prevented the sun burn I received on my back.

I guess I should have realized that my skin hasn’t been used to the sun and I should have taken it easy. I just had so much fun biking I couldn’t stop. The sun burn wasn’t bad. It was bearable. What wasn’t bearable and inconceivable is the sun burn pattern.

First, the sun burn and tan only happened on my back. Since you spend most of your time hunched over on your bike, your front doesn’t get much sun. So I was sort of two-toned. My front was pale white. My calves were slightly brown. My back? Well, this is what boggles me.

I had my bikini on. So you would expect the burn to look sort of like a goal post without the bottom part. My lower back near the booty is crispy but my waist is just tan. Then to make it funnier looking, there is a 1 ½” diameter circle of pale whiteness on my left side near the spine but still on the rib cage. Where the hell is that from?

I’d add a picture but I can only imagine someone taking it and putting it in an S&M site.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Thoughts on vaca...

"Look, they really look like Abba." -- Pantrygirl on 'AbbaMania': The Cover Band

"And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinkin..."

Lrudlrick and I live on different time zones. Lrudlrick lives on Lrudlrick time. Lrudlrick time is usually 2hours past fashionably late.

Now I’m not Ms. Punctual either. However, I try desperately to never be later than ½ hour for any function.

So when I tell you that I lie to my husband sometimes to get us nearly on-time to an event, don’t get angry and indignant.

I didn’t tell my husband our boat ride to the island was set to leave at 7pm. I knew if I did he’d never get us out of the house. I thought giving us 5 hours for a 3.5 hour drive would be sufficient. I was wrong.

L:What time do you want to head out?
pg:12ish/1ish. In retrospect, my 'ishes' made it seem too casual. I should have been more exact.

We left our city at 3pm. Now, I say city because, it doesn’t really mean we’re leaving when we're packed in the car and leaving our block. The trip doesn't begin until he’s finished driving us to the bank, going to the car wash, getting gas and an oil change and stopping at the deli to pick up a Snapple Diet Peach Iced Tea.

The drive takes 3 hours without traffic but since most of it is spent on the I-95 in Connecticut, we’re going to be sitting in traffic for at least 20 minutes. Plus, if there is an accident anywhere on I-95 or Rte 1, we’ll be stuck in a parking lot so you can understand my nervousness.

Every hour that passes, I’m getting more and more panicky. I try to keep my mind busy by listening to Live 8 and reading of all books, The Time Traveler’s Wife.

L:The Who sounds great! Hey, think we’ll get to take our car so we can listen to Pink Floyd at Live 8?
pg:We’re barely going to get there on time. I doubt we’ll have time to load our car.
L:What’s the big deal? You’re stressing out. We can catch the next boat. You always stress out on these drives.

It didn’t dawn on him until my brother direct connects us to say if we miss the boat, we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get to the island.

Now, I’m really stressed out. I’m always stressed on the ride to Rhode Island. Why? Because, when I say we need to leave at 12, we leave at 3pm! Next time we go, I’m going to have to tell him we need to be out the door the day before!

The hysterics hit the hilt after a blow out fight which led to Lrudlrick missing the exit.

L:See you’re so stressed you can’t see straight and missed the exit.
pg:You’re driving.
L:Yes, but you know you’re better with directions.
pg:Well, I was trying to read the directions. I wasn’t looking at the road.
L:Because you’re so stressed you can’t see straight.
pg:How the hell am I supposed to read the directions and stare at the road? You’re driving!
muthafunga:(on direct connect beep Guys. Guys. You there? You’re cutting it close guys.beep

Lrudlrick pulls to the side of the road and I took over. Pantrygirl drove 90 mph on Route 1. Like a mother bird searching for her baby chick, I honed in and found my way to the boat basin. I was frustrated and exhausted but I made it.

We get to the boat basin just in time to hear the boat signal last call. Lrudlrick and my brother grabbed the backpacks, kitchen kit and bikes and booked to my brother’s car. I parked the car in the first slot I saw. I’ve never hauled ass like I did that evening. Dragging my purse and beach bag, I run onto the boat frazzled and in need of a stiff drink.

One hour later, I was on the island. Sanctuary...

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Thoughts on vaca...

"We leave an island to go to an island with less amenities?" -- Lrudlrick, the city boy.

Thoughts on vaca...

"This is a first. Communion alfresco." -- Lrudlrick

Saturday, July 02, 2005

For better or worse. Gone but never forgotten.

We started going to BI after my father took us there one summer and bought a timeshare. As a teenager, it was a boring town filled with adults. As an adult, it’s an oasis, an escape from city life and the hustle and bustle.

My brother went most of the time. By the time I was in college, I felt hanging out with my boyfriend and working at CVS was more important.

The summer after my grandpa passed away, grandma said she’d go with us. It would be a nice getaway like the ones we took in the 70’s to the Jersey shore. That night, after our midnight snack, a cigarette for grandma and a hot non-caffeinated tea for me, I went back to packing and burning a mixed tape for the drive.

I was in the middle of listening to a SoulIISoul song when I heard the beeping of my intercom. After grandpa died, we installed an intercom between my grandma’s bedroom and mine, just in case.

I ran into her room half expecting to see her asleep when I found her on the floor reaching for me. The signs were there. Her left side was slumped over and she couldn’t get herself off her side. She kept rubbing her forehead. My grandma had a stroke.

I immediately called 911 and screamed for my brother. He came down and with his 200+ frame, picked up my 80 lb grandma gingerly and placed her on her bed. Andrew, one of my brother’s best friends who I call my other brother, stood outside in the dark of early morning to flag the ambulance.

We never went to BI that year. Grandma languished in a nursing home for over 5 years after that.

Every year we go to BI after that eventful summer, I have added anxiety. I don’t stay up the night before anymore at least not intentionally. All my packing is done the afternoon of our trip and I get into bed early in the hopes that I can get some shut eye.

Last night wasn’t any different than previous night before BIs. I went to bed at 11pm and tossed and turned until 3am. Add the anxiety of not having the dogs around and I really couldn’t sleep.

It’s funny how our minds and our hearts can retain so much from an event that it carries that same feeling over and over, no matter how much time has passed.

Friday, July 01, 2005

If you ever wondered how I got my name...

My troop leader would be proud.

This is my kitchen kit for my seaside holiday. My husband wants me to mention that my holiday clothes fit into a small backpack.

Neurotic Animal Lover on Board...

We don’t go away often. Don’t get me wrong, we love to travel. If we could, we’d go away more often but we have one thing that holds us back, our dogs. Ok, really it’s two things.

Our dogs are my babies. I pamper them. I spoil them. Many say I treat them like human beings. These are my babies:



In my eyes, no one can love these babies like I do. That’s why when we go away I fret. Knowing my tendency to worry, my husband has taken on the duties to find good boarding for them. Usually we leave them with friends or have our dog walker (when we had one) watch them.

Since the dog walker we’d consider is watching another pooch we decided to board them.

Lrudlrick found this place and from his descriptions, images of Kellerman’s or Mount Airy Lodge come into my mind.

Lrudlrick told me they gave him a full tour and they had seating areas and a large lounge area. I wonder if they call it 'The Bark-a-Lounge'. They do individual walks and customize feeding times.

Setting aside the fact that the description sounds more pampering than my vacation and that the cost is comparable to our ‘human’ vacation expenses, I’m still apprehensive. I can't let my fear cancel my vacation though.

Neurotic pantrygirl has now printed out a list of emergency contacts, including our vet. The contact numbers are ridiculous. I had planned to just list our cell phone numbers but then Lrudlrick pointed out that we could forget our chargers or we could have spotty cell phone reception. So now, I’ve got every number on the island from the rental to the police station. I was two steps from laminating the darn thing when my husband stopped me.

I’ve packed copies of their vaccinations and included a schedule for their walks and feedings. Every item has now been labeled with their names clearly. I’ve packed an old t-shirt with our scent on it and a squeak toy. I feel like I’m packing my kids for camp.

I kissed them goodbye and Lrudlrick is now on their way to drop them off.

pg:Make sure you tell them about P-man’s leg.
pg:and make sure you tell them to give them their bath on the last day not the first.
pg:and be sure to give them the emergency contact list I gave you.
L:You’re only prolonging the inevitable.
pg:ok. Ok. I love you.
L:I love you too.
pg:No. I love you guys. I love you. kiss I love you. kiss

Since writing this, the anxiety has diminished slightly. I know they’ll be fine. I’m sure they’ll have a blast.
I also want to thank our friends for checking in on our pooches while we are gone. I really appreciate it.

Now I have to get back to packing. How do you lose a bicycle rack in a one bedroom apartment?

Words to Live By

Flexibility is a virtue.

Related tags:

Fire up the pan.

Am I the only person that immediately wanted to run out and pick up a ton of ginger, scallions and soy sauce?

I even pictured digging a giant ditch and making some type of grill contraption to cook this thing.

Mmmmmm. Fish...

In this photo released by World Wildlife Fund-National Geographic, two Thai fishermen show a 293-kilogram (646-pound) giant catfish they caught from the Mekong River in Chiang Khong district of Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Saturday, June 11, 2005. Thai fishermen have caught this giant catfish believed to be the world's heaviest living freshwater fish but died and was eaten after environmentalists and officials negotiated for its release to allow it to spawn. (AP Photo/Suthep Kritsanavarin, HO) -- Courtesy of Yahoo and AP