Archive for April, 2009


April 29, 2009

I mentioned I had carpenter ants in my bathroom in a previous post.  Well, as the weeks passed I saw fewer and fewer of them.  Then on Sunday, the temperature went up to 90 degrees.  That morning, my parents came over to help me put up my Ikea blinds that I had bought 5 months ago.  Then I went to brunch with some friends from Hampshire, then I wandered through Prospect Park with Manny and our friend Sam for the rest of the day enjoying the weather.  A red tailed hawk flew right over our heads and we saw a black and white warbler.  Then I got home that evening, I opened my bathroom door and saw dead ants everywhere. On the floor, tub, floating in the toilet, in the sink, windowsill.  They were everywhere.  And they all had wings, which I thought was weird.  So I consulted Google, which told me that many people confuse winged carpenter ants with winged termites.  Google told me that winged termites swarm during the first warm days of spring.  Google told me that if I had winged termites in my house, then I have a problem.  

So, I freaked out.  The next day I called my building management company, declared that I had swarming termites in my bathroom and demanded they send over an exterminator.  And the lady on the phone was all like, yeah ok you really don’t have termites and you need to calm down.  But she obliged and called the exterminator.  So the exterminator came, took one look at a dead insect on my bathroom floor and informed me they were just carpenter ants.  He squirted some peanut butter smelling ant bait in little cracks and crevices and behind my shower head, declared the situation under control, and left.  Three days of stress and fear of swarming insects resolved in less that 15 minutes.  

Why can’t all the issues in my life be resolved so quickly and easily? 

I was accepted into both U of Michigan and Hunter College here in the city.  Michigan has offered me almost a full scholarship.  But just this week they told me I have to take 4 prerequisite classes in order to go there – chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and calculus.  It is even possible to take all these classes in one summer?  Plus, most of deadlines for summer semester at the community colleges in the city have passed.  Plus, some of these prerequisites courses also have prerequisites – for example in order to take calculus I need one year of college math.  In order to waiver this college math requirement, I have to take a test, which I will surely fail because I’m a terrible test taker and particularly suck at math.  So… what do I do? 

I don’t need any prerequisite classes for Hunter, as far as I know.  Going to Hunter is clearly the easiest choice.  I get to stay in the city and not go through the stress and heartache of up-rooting my entire life and being separated from my significant other for months at a time.  While Hunter may not be as prestigious as Michigan, it is still a well respected institution.  And I do really want to go there.  Hunter has been my first choice of school, that is until I was accepted into Michigan.  Is a masters degree worth all of this?  Isn’t what I do with my degree more important than where I get my degree?  But,  I should not just settle on a school just because its the safe and easy choice.  I should go the school of dreams, right?  Up until 2 weeks ago I thought that was Hunter.  Now I’m not so sure.  I want someone to just tell me what to do and how to do it.  

By the way, everything has to be decided by May 5th.  In case you didn’t realize, that’s in 6 days. 

I started reading The Great Bridge last week, a book about the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, but it was not entertaining enough to distract me from my school dilemma. So I quit reading it.  I’m sure its a good story and one that I would like to hear, just maybe I’d rather watch a History Channel documentary about it instead of a read a 600 page book about it.  So I started reading Another Roadside Attraction which has been sufficiently entertaining and distracting so far.  I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about Tom Robbins but never read anything of his, so I wanted to fix that.

The Story Of Edgar Sawtelle

April 19, 2009


My mom recommended this book to me so I picked it up from the library not knowing much about it, but apparently it caused quite a stir among Oprah’s book club fans when it was chosen.  There are 1,167 opinions of this book on Amazon, but here’s mine: I loved it.  It is a modern retelling of Hamlet but with dogs.  A very engrossing story.  I started reading this book on the train going to Queens to visit a friend one Sunday, and its like, a two hour subway ride each way, and I read half of this book in that one day.  This book made the 4 hour subway ride, I daresay, almost tolerable.  I lost many hours of sleep reading this book late into the night.  But it has one of those controversial endings, one that you will either love and it will make the story – or that you will hate and it will ruin the story.  Despite the ending, to me this was worth the read.  One of the best novels I’ve read in a long time.  

I found out on Friday that I was accepted into the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health graduate program.  Its kind of a big deal because its one of the top 5 schools for public health in the country.  I applied to the school almost on a whim.  Kind of like “what the hell I probably won’t get in anyway” type of thing.  But then I got in and now I sort of want to go but don’t know if I want to go at the same time.  I’m still waiting to hear back from one more grad school in the city.  Then I’ll have to make the lovely decision between leaving my boyfriend, friends, family, job, apartment, neighborhood, everything in my life to go away to school or not.   But right now I’m just going to finish off the rest of my Easter candy and watch the Golden Girls.

Why The Late Late Show is the best show on TV:

April 17, 2009

This is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on TV.  Craig Ferguson rules.

To See Every Bird On Earth

April 7, 2009



While looking up information on the Banana book, I discovered that the author Dan Koeppel also wrote a book about his dad, a hardcore “Big Lister” birder who wanted  to see every bird on earth.  At the time this book was published, Richard Koeppel has seen 7,000 birds.  Dan Koeppel wrote this book to try and find out why his dad was so obsessed with birds.  There isn’t really answer, he just was.  Richard Koeppel gave up his dreams of becoming an ornithologist and became a physician to please his parents.  He got married, had kids, bought a house and tried to live a ‘normal’ life, but he could never stopped birding.  Birding came before his wife, his children, his career, and his health.  This book was an interesting look into the more serious side of bird watching.  I did not know there were such specific birding rules that one must follow.  I didn’t even know there were such hardcore birders out there.

My goal is not see to every bird on earth.  But in the past few weeks during my walks around the Shore Road promenade I’ve seen:

Yesterday I was walking down Fort Hamilton Parkway.  Right at the intersection of Fort Hamilton, 7th Ave and 78th Street I heard really loud unfamiliar squawking/chattering noise.  I looked up and saw a pair of monk parakeets sitting on some wires on the top of a telephone poll.  In that in the late 1960’s, a bunch of monk parakeets where shipped to New York from Argentina and escaped from their crates at JFK Airport.  The parakeets quickly adapted to city life.  There are now established colonies of monk parakeets at Brooklyn College in Flatbush, in Green-Wood Cemetery, and in parts of Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Coney Island, and now apparently in Bay Ridge.

Somehow, magically, I have not been sick all winter.  But today I succumbed to a lousy cold/sore throat/body achy bug.  It is finally my turn to use my sick days.  This morning while browsing my blogs I found a recipe on the Smitten Kitchen for 44-clove garlic soup. What better time to eat something with 44 cloves of garlic in it then when you’re home sick alone on a cold rainy day?  So I trudged through the driving rain to the grocery store for lots of garlic and some cream.  Let me tell you, it was worth it.  This soup is out of this world.  Hopefully all that garlic is driving out my cold.  I probably should take another sick day tomorrow just to make sure.