Friday, February 26

Some ring decision making coming up this weekend!


When Ben proposed a few weeks ago he gave me a really beautiful ring from my favorite jewelry store in Brooklyn. I would provide a link, but they don't have a website!

I was a little surprised when I found out--but it makes sense as they only carry vintage and one of a kind pieces. Once something is sold, it's gone for good. I guess it would be really hard to keep a website up to date with such a unique inventory.

Anyway, my current ring looks something like this:

I say current, because my parents are coming in this Sunday with a diamond that once belonged to my great-grandmother. The stone is currently set in a necklace, and we are going to visit the owner of Elleven to discuss the possibility of resetting and designing around the family stone.

Ben knew about the other diamond when he purchased this ring, and they agreed that I could wear it for up to a month while we made a decision about using the other stone.

At this point I'm pretty sure that we're going to design--it makes sense to use a diamond that is already in circulation (thus avoiding blood diamond concerns), plus the family connection. I also took jewelry classes for many years and still do some metalworking as a hobby. It seems kind of fitting to have a hand in my own ring design!

It'll be a little sad to give back the ring Ben actually proposed with, but hopefully I'll get to wear it until the final ring is actually ready!

Wednesday, February 24

Usually scared of zombie/horror movies..but what an interesting idea behind "The Crazies!"

Usually I'm kind of a chicken when it comes to zombie/horror films.
I like the idea (death, doom, gloom) but not all of the brain eating and gore.
I did actually enjoy Zombieland quite a bit, but I still spent a good portion of the film making squeaking noises and trying not to hide.

Anyway, I didn't really have any intention of seeing "The Crazies" in theatres, despite the fact that it stars Timothy Olyphant and I feel a general need to support his work. Since I loved "Deadwood" and I now feel like I should try to ensure his success in other projects..I know, I'm a little nutty.

The previews made the movie look scary, and I like my movies to be heavy on the total annihilation of the plant/citizens and light on the technicolor blood.
Apparently though, there is a whole subtext to the movie that I had not considered.

According to a NYTimes article, this seemingly innocuous horror movie was chosen very carefully. The film is partially backed by Participant, a politically focused film company founded by the first president of eBay.

They seem to think that "The Crazies" provides a venue for political and social discourse--especially as the plot directly relates to issues of weapons security and the purity of water.

While it's not exactly unusual to find rather heavy-handed messages in disaster and/or horror movies (think The Day After tomorrow: ignore climate chance and DIE), I think it's interesting that the movie was produced almost entirely to address ecological and political issues. I guess this would be less surprising in a documentary, or even drama. But a full-tilt horror movie seems like a more original venue to preach this type of message.

Still not sure I'll see it in the theatres..but perhaps I'll now add it to my netflix Q.
Then I can make the screen extra tiny on my computer and hide when it gets gross!

Monday, February 22

Engagement dinner celebration..a trip back to Craft!!

Holy cow (pun intended) is the food @ Craft delicious.
B took me here for a surprise engagement celebration dinner last week and we had a wonderful evening despite the snowy conditions and overall depressingly gross weather.
I know that Tom C. lost his Michelin star a few years ago, but thanks to a neat article in the New Yorker about their system, I’m going to assume that this has more to do with their stuffy emphasis on classic French cooking than the food at Craft.

B and I ate at Craft a year or so ago. During dinner we tried to remember the occasion. I thought perhaps it was for Valentine’s Day, he says it was for our anniversary. Either way, the last time we visited the restaurant we tried the tasting menu and left very happy, very full, and feeling a tiny bit poor.

This time around we had a gift certificate (thanks to B’s mom & dad!) and felt like it was the perfect occasion to go hog wild (yep, pun intended yet again).
We shared the field greens and an octopus appetizer. The field greens were very tasty, but the octopus was outstanding. Perfectly cooked—not chewy or gummy—but firm and tasty, with a great, slightly spicy sauce on the side that made dipping each piece fun. We fought over the last few bites it was so tasty!

Then on to the steak (B) and the veal cheeks (me). Normally I try to avoid veal because it seems kind of cruel, but Craft has information on their menus about getting all of their meat from local purveyors and farms. Since their meat is thus all locally produced, free-range, etc. I’m (hoping/assuming) that this extends to the treatment of the slightly younger cows that may have eventually ended up as part of my meal.

Humane treatment aside/assumed, the veal cheeks were amaaaazing. Tender and delicious and very filling despite a seemingly small portion. We also shared garlic risotto on the side and a dish of sautéed kale (or perhaps another green? can’t remember). Both the sides were very tasty, although I almost enjoyed the greens more than the risotto.

For dessert I tried a new tactic and ordered the brioche with crème fresh ice cream instead of something super sweet as per my usual tactic. B ordered his usual sorbet and some blood orange segments on the side. I think he almost enjoyed his little bowl of blood orange segments more than anything else—he’s funny like that. My brioche dish, which was similar to French toast but without an egg-y tasting batter was delicious. I slathered it with the slightly tangy ice cream and polished it all off very happily.

Overall, seemed like the perfect way to celebrate our engagement!

Big News..that (almost) everyone already knows!

In order to save myself a little time and energy, I decided to share some big news here on my blog.

Just a week ago, B proposed!

He waited for the uber-romantic holiday of President's Day.. for which I am eternally grateful (I would have killed him if he'd asked on V-day. Blech).

Not much to the story as I spied the box and started to cry before he managed to actually say much, but so glad that it all happened in our apartment with the kitties nearby.

Now wearing a beautiful ring from my favorite jeweler in Cobble Hill, and going in this weekend to (potentially/probably) start the designing process. I'll have to hand this ring back in, but since I have my great-grandmother's diamond it seems a little silly not to design something totally unique.

Wednesday, February 10

NYTimes Reports: New York Senate Expels Monserrate Over Assault

Although I'm still technically registred to vote in Baltimore (and have a license from MO), I've started to feel very invested in New York politics.

I'm sure that a lot of that has to do with the fact that I'm doing a lot of policy work @ one of my current internships..but no matter how it's happened, I'm invested!

Anyway, I saw an article this morning and felt like sharing.
Seems that NY State Senate (finally) decided to expel Senator Monserrate, a Queens Democrat from his seat.

Monserrate was "convicted last fall of a misdemeanor for dragging his companion down the hallway of his apartment building. "

Despite the somewhat bland langauge used in the article, most New Yorkers are aware that Monserrate was arrested after he dragged his (then?) girlfriend out of the apartment and down the hall by the hair and proceeded to generally abuse her in full view of secuirty cameras .

While I'm not sure that the Senate's vote is means much in terms of advancing the rights of women, or highlighting the plight of domestic violence survivors I'm glad that they are at least publicy decrying Monserrate's actions.

Sadly, it seems that Monserrate is still an arrogant, abusive jerk.
His reaction to the vote:

The actions that I’ve committed,” he said, “do not rise to the level of expulsion.”

Thursday, February 4

Brooklyn's 81st Precinct probed by NYPD for fudging stats

Very disheartening, but maybe not that surprising.

A police officer in Bed-Stuy (a Brooklyn neighborhood not too far from ours) recently reported his OWN PRECINCT to internal affairs for fudging crime reports.

Seems like the police officers in the 81st precinct are not that interested in taking reports for serious crimes--including robbery, rape and felony assault.

According to the officer who reported to internal affairs, there has always been some amount of report mishandling in the precinct but it became markedly worse when a new commanding officer, Mauriello, took charge in 2008.

Looking at the numbers provided by the precinct, you do have to wonder about the marked decreases in reported crimes.

There is always the possibility that the area has simply become safer..but I somehow doubt that's the case when during the same period the city was forced to cut funding and the NYPD lost several thousand officers to retirement, low recruiting etc. It just doesn't seem that fewer officers+ less money should = less crime.

This allegation seems to have some anecdotal support (the newspaper found several sources), as well as a general feeling from city residents that police officers definitely try to avoid taking reports for certain types of crimes (including rape).

Although I find this beyond frustrating, it does tie in slightly to my thesis.
So at least I can feel annoyed/slightly productive at the same time.

Tuesday, February 2

I feel like a parent..with no children in sight!


As I was sitting in the exam room of an office on Monday I realized I kind of felt like a parent.

I had sad little monkey with a sniffly nose and a fever sitting on my lap , and I could hear a little kid crying in the waiting room.

Of course the sad little monkey was our almost 3 year old cat, Layla, and not a baby..but I sure felt like a harried parent!

First Bibi (the new kitten) got sick------------>

She then ever-so-sweetly sneezed on Layla for two days, so of course Layla caught the cold.

I took Bibi to the vet on Friday, and then had to drag poor Layla to the same clinic the following Monday.

I spent most of the weekend wiping of their poor little noses and trying to avoid being sprayed in the face every time one of them sneezed.
I was not particularly successful and overall it was a rather yucky weekend!

Bibi seemed to bounce back almost immediately once she was on medication, but poor Layla stopped eating and became so placid it was creepy. She usually spends most of her time trying to scare me to death by popping out from under the bed, or randomly nosing her way into anything and everything (tv screen, laptop, any dish or cup left out).

She seems to be on the mend after a fluid injection, 2 shots, and twice daily meds..but goodness it's been nutty.

Hopefully she'll be in better spirits soon..and up to her usual tricks: