Friday, October 31, 2008
Although I was born and raised in Toronto, I think I was too young to really understand the Jewish Bagel Scene. Let me try to paint the picture for you. I could hear the Seinfeld music in my head as my aunt, best cousin and I walked through the doors into the restaurant. We walked through the Bagel World restaurant doors and I could feel all eyes on me. The customers were trying to see if they knew me or if they knew who I was with. The restaurant had no color on the walls, was packed and we combed the room to see if there was an empty table to sit at.
While walking through Bagel World, to the back empty table, someone grabbed my Aunt's arm as if they knew her. Turns out my Aunt hadn't seen this lady for years. I felt that since I had left Toronto and Canada at the age of fourteen, there was no way someone would know/remember me. I was wrong.
We sat down at the table, took a look at the greasy menu and all ordered coffee and orange juice. Every time the front door opened the restaurant customers seemed to stare at the fresh meat walking in. My Aunt asked my cousin " See that man...no not at that table at the table by the window. Isn't that Mr. Cohen and you went to school with his son?" My cousin looked over at the man. "No ma. But they do look alike."
I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich on a bagel and orange juice (can you hear the the Seinfeld music?). The good news is that the bagel was wonderful. I commented on how good the bagel was to my family and was told "of course it's great. Bagel World has been here for 45 years."
Then my Aunt tells me to look over at a table two tables away from us and asked me if I recognized the woman sitting there. "Come on Auntie. I moved to California a long time ago I am sure I don't know her!" My aunt told me that the woman knew my mother. I suggested that I should go over and say hello or kiss her on the cheek as my mother died 11 years ago and this could give her a fright.
We finished up our meal and asked for the check. An elderly man walked past us and said, "Oh what lovely ladies." Bagel World a tradition, packed full of customers and I would go back to the restaurant just for the scene. Do you have the feeling that maybe they know something that we don't?
Monday, October 27, 2008
*Photo: Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco, Ca
I totally agree that San Francisco has wonderful restaurants to choose from, sites that are beautiful, friendly locals and a European feel. During my recent trip home to Toronto, I let people know that I was not just from California, but living in San Francisco. A smile seemed to spread across their faces when they realized that I wasn't from L.A. but San Francisco. Wow. My Canadian friends asked so many questions about the city and asked me if I lived near a cable car or what the hills look like.
I too have left my heart in San Francisco and I seem to smile so brightly every time I think of the city and it's beauty.
"Take it from thousands of avid travelers out there: They’ve left their hearts in San Francisco, their minds in Salzburg and their loyalties with an entirely new airline." By Laura T. Coffey
Top Cities — United States:
1. San Francisco
2. Charleston, S.C.
3. New York City
Top Cities — Europe:
1. Florence, Italy
2. Rome, Italy
3. Salzburg, Austria and Venice, Italy
Top Cities — Asia:
1. Bangkok, Thailand
2. Chiang Mai, Thailand
3. Hong Kong
Top Cities — Africa/Middle East:
1. Cape Town, South Africa
Top Cities — The Americas
1. Buenos Aires, Argentina
2. Vancouver, British Columbia
3. Quebec City, Quebec
Top Cities — Australia/Pacific:
1. Sydney, Australia
2. Melbourne, Australia
3. Queenstown, New Zealand
Saturday, October 25, 2008
My surgery was much more complicated then we had all thought and scar tissue had built up in my knee so I had to have a second surgery a couple of months after my first surgery. I was still unable to put any weight on my leg and moved around by using crutches. (I am an expert with crutches now.) When we heard about the second surgery, my future honey took some time off of work and drove down to L.A. to help. I am was so glad that he was there for me.
While I was in surgery (very minor surgery compared to my last one.) He kept my dad company, they walked around the grounds of the hospital, got to know each other and when I woke up future honey and my father was there to greet me with a huge, warm smile.
After this second surgery I had to go through major physical therapy. If my leg didn't start moving then the scar tissue would build up again. There was no way that I was going to go through this again. He was there for me (forgive the pun) every step of the way. After months of a lot of shooting pain at odd hours and a lot of support from my loved ones I started to show some improvement. Future honey was determined that before he went home to San Francisco that I would take my first steps. There was no one that I trusted more to do this with. He calmly told me that he would help me the entire time and not to be scared.
I was very scared. I had already fallen three times on crutches and the pain was mind numbing.
So, slowly, I leaned on him and gave up one crutch and held the other side of the banister railing in my father's house. Future honey, talked me into taking my first steps. This was the strangest experience of learning to walk again. I was in such good hands but so scared of more surgeries.
Slowly I did it taking small, stiff steps. I practiced for 45 minutes and was tired at the end. Before I could end and rest, my future honey told me that I had to walk without the crutches all together so I would know that I could do it.
One, two, three......
Next chapter. Interracial Dating: Chapter 3 Part 3 Light at the End of the Tunnel
Thursday, October 23, 2008
One of my new favorite networks is the Food Network. Some of my favorite chefs are Giada De Laurentiis and Paula Deen. I also took some cooking classes here in the city which were really helpful. I feel that cooking is like dancing ballet. There are a lot of moving pieces, but once you get the hang of it it all comes togther with the music.
Try out this easy recipe and let me know if you like it. You can also email at email@example.com to share your recipes.
- 1 pound fresh green beans or frozen French-cut green beans
- 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds (2-ounce package)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- Ground black pepper
- 1 can fried onions
Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a high-sided saute pan. If using fresh beans, cut them lengthwise while you wait for the water to boil. Hint *To cut the prep time in half, you can also buy frozen Green Beans from Trader Joes.
Add salt and green beans to boiling water and cook until just tender. Drain beans and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the butter. When butter is melted, add the almonds and cook until golden brown.
Return the green beans to the pan, along with the juice of 1/2 a lemon, add salt and pepper, to taste. When warmed through, top with fried onions.
*If you use the frozen Green Beans, defrost the green beans in a strainer under cold water in the sink for 5 minutes. Then put in the defrosted green beans into a large bowl. Put the beans into the bowl then add 1/2 a cup of lemon juice, kosher salt and pepper and some olive oil. Toss the mixture and green beans together in the bowl. Place the green beans on a flat oven pan covered in tin foil and then add almonds on top of the green beans and sprinkle rosemary. Place in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. After 10 minutes turn green beans over. After the 20 minutes, top with green beans.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sam, the cable car driver, came inside to get tickets from the new riders. He saw me and told me he liked my scarf. I smiled. (This was one of about 30 scarves I own. My motto: Continue to be stylish even when freezing. Don’t you agree?) On this night, the cable car wasn’t very crowded probably due to the weather. So, Sam sat down next to me and told me about a woman who had been riding on his cable car last week.
Sam’s story went like this. A woman, in her early twenties, got onto the cable car on her way back from an appointment. Sam tried chatting with her, but she wouldn’t smile back or talk to him.
“Listen, it can’t be that bad?” stated Sam.
The woman looked at him and tried to smile with her eyes, but still didn’t say a word.
Sam tried again,” OK I bet you my life is worse then yours. My wife just left me, I work until 2:00 am today, my feet are killing me and my paycheck is missing.”
All of sudden the woman starting laughing out loud, but held the left side of her mouth and drooled a little.
“You win," said the young woman. "Your life is worse then mine, but the only reason why I'm not talking is because I just had some dental work done and the left side of my face is numb.”
Friday, October 17, 2008
For weeks, I met many doctors and had x-rays taken on my left knee. I knew in my gut that my knee was messed up and it needed a lot of work. I had hoped that by doing my physical therapy that I wouldn't need surgery. One day the doctors broke the news to me that I would have to have surgery.
"Knee surgery, that could take me awhile to recover. Are you sure?" I asked the doctors.
The doctors were completely sure.
At the time I was living in San Francisco on top of a hill with no car, and my flat was up two flights of stairs with no elevator. I needed help. The kind of help/support that a significant other or family member would give you. I had neither in the city. My knee cap had dislocated and my leg looked like an S shape. With every step, I could feel a sharp pain to the right of my knee cap and my knee swelled up with fluid. I knew, and my future honey knew, that my knee was pretty serious, but we couldn't find a doctor in San Francisco that would do the surgery.
After the surgery I woke up in the hospital and heard that my surgery turned out to be even more serious than the doctor's originally anticipated. I would have to be in the hospital for several days and that large screws had been put in my knee. I was in a lot of pain - the kind of pain that morphine doesn't take away. I couldn't dial out long distance from the hospital phone and asked my hospital suite mate if I could borrow her cell phone so I could call honey in San Francisco. I'm sure the stranger that I was sharing the room with was glad to help as I was in a lot of pain.
I knew that our friendship was now developing into more, when, out of everyone I knew I called him first. I wanted to let him know I was OK. What I actually did was convince him not to drive down to L.A. because I didn't want him to see me in so much pain. He didn't think this was such a good idea, but I convinced him it was.
What was wrong with telling him not to come down I ask you? Well in my mind I thought, we were just friends and he didn't need to come and use his hard-earned PTO time to see just a friend in the hospital? I didn't want him to get the wrong idea about my intentions. (I think I protest too much!)
However, I realized pretty quickly, that I felt better when he was around me or on the phone. He seemed to be the one person who knew me, knew what I was going through and gave me the pep talks that kept me going when it got really tough.
We talked almost every day on the phone. After a couple of weeks, I let future honey, come visit me. He drove 8 hours to see me and stayed at my family's house. This was the first time that my family got to see him take care of me and they fell in love with him. I got to see someone care so much about me that nothing got in his way.
I remember watching him fixing my wheelchair so they could take me out to the park for some fresh air. My father let him take the lead, let him take care of me and let him show me his care and concern. Did my father know something that I didn't? Even though we have so much against us like culture and different religions, is all that really matters is that we found each other?...
Stay tuned for the next chapter. Interracial Dating: Chapter 3 Part 2 More Then Friends? Recovery
Monday, October 13, 2008
My home is located on the California cable car line and I have lived there for five years. At night I can faintly hear the ding of the cable car. When I leave in the mornings to go to work, I can tell if a cable car is coming or not, as I can feel the vibrations of the line in my apartment. Taking the cable car to work every morning is a great way to start off my day. It makes me smile. I can stand on the platforms and stare at the scenery or when its a foggy morning, I stand inside the car. I have ridden the cable car so many times, that the drivers have started to know me.
Last week one of my usual drivers sat down next to me and confided this cable car confession.
Bill confessed to me that he had recently been suspended from driving the cable car for 10 days and fined $5000.00. How you may ask? What did he do to get suspended. Forget to ask for tickets? Be rude to a rider? Well.......
Bill was driving the back of the cable car one weekday morning, when a group of tourists got on. They sat on the seats in the outside platform and stood hanging onto the side of the cable car to take pictures. One of the ladies, who was apart of the group, didn't listen to Bill's instructions when he suggested that she not block the entry way to the door or keep her feet inside the car. So they already had tension. The group that this lady was with, 'Sally', asked Bill to get off at the Chinatown stop. Sally didn't hear this.
When it came time for Sally's group Chinatown stop, Bill shouted at the top of his lungs, "Next stop Chinatown." As the cable car came up to the stop, Bill slowed the cable car down and instructed the group that this is their stop by saying loudly "Chinatown Stop." Sally didn't seem to hear this or see her group get off the cable car. Sally was still standing on the platform of the cable car as Bill started moving the gears again and the cable car starting moving to it's next stop.
"Oh no!" Sally exclaimed "My stop." Sally jumped off the '15,000 pound cable car' to try and catch her group.
This is where Bill was suspended and fined. He didn't stop the cable car. He just kept going. Riders on the bus called the cable car company to complain. They wondered if Sally was hurt. When Bill was questioned by the higher ups at the cable car company about this incident. They asked him why didn't he stop to check on Sally?
"Oh sure. I should have stopped the cable car during morning traffic, put out yellow emergency cones, messed up the entire California line even though I could see Sally walking, fine and meeting her friends."
They suspended Bill. The next time you are in San Francisco look around and listen to the riders. Ding ding next stop suspension. Cable Car condcutors - you gotta love them.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I remember after we had started to hang out at work, a coworker in another group asked if we were dating. "Oh no!" I replied "We're just friends." I couldn't even imagine us dating. We were such good friends, came from different cultures, had a nice relationship and I didn't want to ruin that. Future honey, on the other hand, knew differently. Poor guy.
When I think about our time together at work I smile. We seemed to support one another in a professional, caring way. I looked forward to seeing him everyday and was concerned if he was working too hard. When we had group lunches, it didn't seem the same to me if he couldn't make it. We also had a lot of inside jokes and I felt a little pang of jealousy every time he asked me for advice about a girl he was dating. (I know now that I was putting him through the same torment.)
I fondly remember our weekly Coit Tower conference room discussions. We would start off talking about work, our bosses, interview techniques but then our discussions would turn to personal topics. How's the family, friends, people we were seeing, dating advice and life advice. I felt very connected to him and appreciated all of our touch base talks.
I can remember that it was a dark and rainy day when our casual work relationship first changed. I was coming back from a meeting when I noticed that he wasn't sitting at his desk. I looked, casually, around the office for him. I found him all alone in an abandoned office, staring into at a window at the rain. He wasn't moving. He let me know that he had found out that a really good friend of his had been killed by a drunk driver. His friend was only 22.
I asked my future honey, if I could sit with him. He said yes. We both sat there, quiet and staring at the rain. Some of the time he would talk to me, in shock and some of the time nothing. I hugged him and encouraged him to go downstairs with me to the coffee place for some orange juice for his shock.
That was the moment that we turned into good friends.
I also remember another time that hinted there was more between us. I was in charge of throwing get togethers, birthday parties and happy hours at our office. His birthday was coming up and I wanted to throw him an amazing surprise party. I booked the largest conference room, invited a lot of people, decorated the room and got a cake. All I wanted to see was him smiling and surprised. He was shocked and amazed. Can you say giving a guy mixed messages? Sorry honey.
A couple of months later, I got injured. I had an old knee injury that I aggravated and I starting limping at work. Future honey was so concerned about me. He seemed to be the only one in the entire world that cared. I returned from lunch to find, on my desk, supplies from the pharmacy for my knee that I hadn't asked for. Ice packs, Alieve, ace bandages and candy to cheer me up. There was no note. Like the person did a gesture out of the kindness of their heart and there was no need to thank them. I looked up and around at the people in my office and was met my his smile from ear to ear.
Although I was very reluctant at first to let him help me, he started to go with me to my doctors appointments and drove me to my physical therapy appointments. He was there for me to lean on in a way that I had never leaned on anyone before. When I had problems with my health insurance covering my bills he was the one that helped fight for me. When I found out that my knee injury was a lot more serious then we had thought and I needed surgery he was there. When I took leave from my my job, moved home for a couple of months and had to walk away from my life he was still there for me every day.
Our work friendship which had turned into a deep friendship was developing into more. Well at least it was for me.
The way future honey remembers it as is this:
"He had to try for a year and a half for me to realize that we should be together."
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I believe that the Brazilians seem to know the secret to life and to youth. Well, at least a secret that I wish I was apart of. On our trip, we visited three cities: Buzios, Rio de Janerio and Pararty. All aboard, first stop, Buzios, Brazil.
We arrived safely in Brazil after 19 hours of flying and then took a 3 hour car to Buzios which reminded me of a mixture of several places. Sausalito, Ca, Santa Barbara, Ca, Seattle and San Francisco all in one.
Buzios is a beach side/Fisherman town famous for it's 20 plus beaches. The town is quaint, safe, full of boutiques, filled with amazing food, lively music, fishing boats and cobble stone streets. How did we hear about Buzios? A city that is 3 hours away from Rio de Janeiro? We found it through reading the tour guide the Lonely Planet. I had ear marked all of the places that looked interesting to me and Buzios was one of them. The tour guide explained that Buzios was made famous when Bridget Bardot vacationed there in the 1960's with her Brazilian boyfriend. The paparazzi followed her, took pictures and put Buzios on the map.
We knew we had chosen a great place to visit, when we told some of our Brazilian friends of our plans. "Oh Buzios," they would say,
"It's so beautiful."
My expectations were exceeded after we had arrived. This town was a hidden gem. Filled with so much beauty, hidden turns, fishing boats, perfect sunsets and popcorn stands on the sides of the cobble stone streets.
My highlights from Buzios...
1) Our driver, who picked us up from the Rio de Janeiro airport, asked us in the middle of the Brazilian country-side, in broken English if we were voting for McClain (yes like the guy in Die Hard not McCain) or Obama while we were driving. Thank g-d we said Obama as he seemed very angry at Bush and McClain.
2) The Centro in Buzios is very beautiful. We found and ate at a little Italian place that had the most amazing calzone and at a crepe place, where we watched how they made the crepes while watching soccer.
3) Our hotel/pousada was built into the side of a hill about 50 yards away from the beach. There were only 12 chalets and we had breakfast on the balcony with a view of the beach; we heard the birds and ate exotic fruits like the Acai berry and starfruit.
About the Acai berry. What an amazing berry - it tastes like a blueberry with a chocolate flavoring. Acai berries are extremely rich in organic vegetable protein and seem to be very beneficial to cancer patients. I can tell you it made me feel amazing and refreshed.
4) On one rainy day, we found shelter at the Casas Brancas pousada. The panoramic views from the balcony on top of the hotel were so beautiful. You could see all of the fishing boats. We sat in the lobby and waited for the rain to stop.
5) The Ruas das Pedras, the main strip in the center of Buzios, is filled with all kinds of people, beautiful-well dressed women, children and couples. Most of the clubs and bars were open late into the morning. The people, again, were so friendly and very curious about us. This was not the tourist travel season.
I hope you enjoyed some of these stories of our trip to Buzios, Brazil. The next chapter, Chapter 2 will be: The Differences Between Brazil and America.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Anyone who knows me best, knows, that Walgreens is like Disneyland to me. I can actually hear the angels singing in my head, when I walk through the Walgreens doors. Before me, lay rows and rows of badly lit aisles, all full of affordable beauty products.
You may wonder why is Walgreens so special to me? It changes with the city that I live in. When I lived in Los Angeles it was Rite Aid and when I lived in Toronto it was Shoppers Drug Mart. In San Francisco, Walgreens seems to be everywhere. If there’s a Starbucks, there’s a Walgreens nearby.
I love walking down the aisles, looking at the new and old products and figuring out the good deals. I feel that Walgreens is pricier, but you can find some great deals. Rite Aid has great prices and so does Shoppers Drug Mart.
Some great finds that I would recommend you buy from Walgreens are:
Aussie Deeeeep 3 Minute Miracle Moisture Treatment for $3.99
A great conditioner, for an amazing price that smells great. I like to leave this conditioner for longer then the 3 minutes so I can get shiny and soft results. A good tip: Look for coupons and sales from Walgreens. I have bought 2 for $5.00.
Conair Velvet Touch Round Brush $5.29
For the price, it does the job. This brush, doesn’t get too hot when using it with a blow dryer and the bristles didn't break my hair.
Sally Hansen Double Duty Strengthening Base & Top Coat for $4.49
This is one of my favorite finds. Double Duty is a clear polish that I put on as a base coat and then again as a top coat after nail polish. I reapply every other day. Double Duty strengthens my nails so they don’t break. My nail polish also lasts longer.
Nutra Nail Green Tea Growth Treatment for Problem Nails for $5.99
When I went natural again with my nails, I used this product for about 3 months. The Green Tea seemed to help grow my nails and along with taking vitamins and the above Double Duty product, my nails were healthy again.
Revlon ColorStay Mineral Foundation $13.99
A great budget beauty find! I was using Bare Essentials for a long time, until I found Revlon Mineral Foundation for half the price. I really like how light weight the mineral make up is and has SPF 10 in it. Hey, if Halle Berry can wear it, then it must be Ok for me. (Revlon commercials)
Maybelline Great Lash Washable Mascara, Blackest Black for $4.79
The mascara that make up artists use on the stars of movies and TV. I love the darkest black and it lengthens and curls if I have the time. Try it and let me know what you think?
So, the next time you are in need of a beauty, budget product fix, but are sticking to a budget, maybe try some of these great finds. I'm glad I did.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
If you look closely, Spider Man is about to swing through. After driving in from the airport, we went and visited Times Square. The sun was just peaking through the clouds and the snow was about to fall. Most people seemed to be at home, as it was Christmas day. So it was a great, but slower, not as touristy visit to Times Square.
Snowy playground near Little Italy New York, NY (Taken 1/1/2007)
The first day of 2007, was a very cold and peaceful start to the year. We were walking towards Little Italy, when we walked past this playground. I loved the contrast between the white snow and the colorful graffiti. I also loved how no one had walked on the snow yet. Virgin snow, that still looked like a warm blanket.
This is my Greenwich Village, Spain Restaurant Mood Shot (Taken 12/2006)
My friends that were living in New York at the time, were all out of town and migrated to the warmer weather. So the only people I knew, where my friends parent's and some dance friends still in town. I went to my friends father's restaurant in Greenwich Village for lunch. Go there if you have a chance and ask for Mr. Marques.
Next time you are going to visit New York, be sure to bring your colorful scarves, visit when no one you know is in town and remember to bring your camera, so you can see some of these shots.