Category Archives: Travel Diary

butterscotch ginger

My hands are cold.

I set up shop on the terrace this afternoon and have been working outside ever since, wrapped in a blanket over my clothes.

Finn has been running around the deck, jumping in and out of the planters as if he were training for the Cat Olympics. He gave me a minor heart attack when he dashed across the corrugated roof of the pergola, attempting to launch himself to the next deck.

My writing exercises are much enjoyable when there’s a proper table and/or desk for me to work from. And right now that outpost is outside, either on the terrace or in a coffee shop.

I’ve been writing and researching, all day. Snippets of copy for the company blog, keeping up with my daily blog posts here. Outlining projects for my clients paid and barter. Reading articles to keep my mind alight for critical thinking and analysis.mug.

Finn jumps from the stairs to the table, walks across the laptop keyboard to stake his claim. Almost like a lion on the sub-Saharan desert searching for a palm tree to escape the brutal sun. Except it’s a dining room table covered with books, newspapers and a coffee mug.

It’s time for another cup, a special roast from Supercrown Coffee: Guatemala El Apiario, delicate with butterscotch undertones.

Butterscotch, almost the same color as Finn’s coat. My ginger flame point Siamese has made his move to a cooler location. He settles in with his back to the mirror, a gaze thrown over his shoulder eyeing his reflection.

When he’s calm and chill, he’s almost regal. My Scottish knight of Brooklyn.

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Finnegan meets the cat in the mirror, @prez13


maple, honey, vanilla

I had a craving for chocolate chip cookies. The second day at NY TravFest was just as stimulating as the first and I find myself in a noshing mood. I pull out all the ingredients for the original Nestle’s Toll House cookies, automatically adding the flour, baking soda and salt to a small bowl, mixing the butter and sugars in the larger Kitchen Aid one. I reach into the cupboard for the vanilla extract and come up empty-handed.

A substitution search suggests maple syrup and so I add that with a splash of honey and finish the cookie batter.

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Twenty minutes later the first freshly baked batch is ready for consumption.


One lifetime in a day

One day can feel like a lifetime if you let it.

That’s how it was today.

I was up at the crack of dawn to make sure I made it to my appointment on time. I was even early, and for a split second, I thought I was too early, early enough to be the first. But no, the waiting room was packed.

The good news is that there was good news. The second mammography screening showed nothing but fatty tissue. As in nada, negative: when relief is spelled with an 8-letter word.

Chester met up with me afterward, we took the train to Soho for breakfast.

Bleecker street was alive and kicking. We stopped into LPQ for coffee and a croissant and on our way to his salon, we passed the KITH store on Broadway and Bleecker with a line around the corner, a posse of urban skateboarders and street artists waiting for the doors to open.

New York City is proof that life is one continuous breath.

Back home, I took a nap and then worked on one of my ghostwriting projects before getting ready for girls’ night out.

We bought tickets for World Masquerades Presents at Hudson Terrace and found ourselves in a penthouse lounge overlooking the Intrepid Museum.

 

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View from Hudson Terrace, @prez13

 

Guests were dressed in black tie and masks. I forgot mine at home and improvised with a lace hair tie purchased at Duane Reade. Oh, and the red-nose they sell to raise funds against child poverty.

Jack and Ginger, my drink of choice, served in an old-fashioned lowball glass. Lots of ice. For $17 each. This is one of the reasons I prefer entertaining friends at home. For $17 you can get a magnum of whiskey; enough for a dinner crowd.

Ah, dinner, if only I had eaten before going out the day might not have felt so long.


peace in the city

Tonight CC and I attended a member’s reception at The Rubin Museum of Art. The Rubin presents contemporary exhibits that “emphasize cross-cultural connections” with the art and ideas of the Himalayas and surrounding Asian cultures.

I was first introduced to the museum by Lulu when we attended a Mirror Meditation seminar last fall. The session included a silent walking meditation through one of the galleries followed by an immersive meditation using mirrors to reflect the inner self. The whole experience was calming and zen-like, one of the first times I’ve felt completely at peace in the city.

The museum architecture is perfectly attuned for sound. This evening there was sitar music playing at the bottom of the stairway rotunda and a life-size gong signaling time for the keynote presentation by executive director Patrick Sears.

We were invited to participate in the OM Lab, where individuals record an intonation of OM (A-U-M, phonetically) as part of the largest collective chant for The World Is Sound exhibit opening in June.

 

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The OM Lab, Rubin Museum of Art @Prez13

 

Chanting OM is one of the favorite parts of my yoga practice and I love the idea of contributing my voice in collaboration.

If you’re located in the metro New York area or plan to visit the area before May 8, 2017 you can, too. Details here.


Blackberries and Prosecco

What I love most about special occasions is the opportunity to cook for people. Dinners, dessert, brunch. Last night I hosted Claire and Lee Ann friends visiting from Toronto. We had grilled pizza, tortilla Espanola, prosecco, wine, and chocolate.

I find the preparation cathartic, and at times, meditative.

Tomorrow Lulu will join me for Easter lunch at the treehouse. The weather forecast is dreamy: low 80s with a splash of sunshine. My mind is aflutter with ideas for the menu. I’ll prepare a simple tomato sauce with cavatelli, and a spinach salad. Serve it with fresh bread.

One of my favorite food blogs, Pinch of Yum features a recipe for Miracle No-Knead Bread. It’s a crumbly mess but according to Lindsay’s recipe in 12-18 hours the dough will be ready for the oven.

 

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Crumbled Miracle No-Knead Bread dough, @prez13

 

I’ve been itching to make a blackberry pie. Every recipe has the same formula for the filling: berries, sugar, flour, lemon juice. I decide to use honey instead of sugar, Balsamic vinegar instead of lemon. I macerate the blackberries then pour them into the pie crust.

Next stop the oven:

 

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Blackberry pie with egg white wash crust

 

90 minutes later and the berries are piping hot:

 

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Bubbling berries, Batman!

Next up is sorbet, a favorite complement to pie. I devised the recipe for Clementine Prosecco Sorbet one day when I discovered a flat bottle of bubbly in the refrigerator. It goes like this: Heat up a simple syrup of water and sugar then let it cool; add clementine juice (or any citrus that makes you happy) and Prosecco to the syrup. Then refrigerate until cold. Add to ice cream maker and churn for 25 minutes until solid, freeze for 1-2 hours, and voila!

 


Smiles & Springtime

I have an early morning meeting in lower Manhattan. I exit the subway to a city not quite awake.

My path takes me around the Oculus and 9/11 Memorial Pools. I pause to touch one of the engraved names, make a silent prayer in a morning meditation.

 

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World Financial District & 9/11 Memorial Pools, NYC @Prez13

 

Spring is in the air. Daffodil blooms where you least expect them. Skies are blue, the clouds an art form.

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Jersey City Skyline, view from 225 Liberty Street @prez13

 

I catch a whiff of rain.

The city is alive with new energy. And people are smiling, too. That’s always a good sign.


Gogel-Mogel: raw eggs and sugar

I wake with the sun and start a new day. Double fisting with a berry smoothie and a mug of hot coffee, filled with glee at working outside again.

It’s Easter week and like every lead up to a holiday, I find myself reminiscing about my family. Today I think of Nonna Rosa, my Sicilian grandmother, my mom’s mom.  I have a craving for raw egg and sugar — a treat she would feed me when I was a young child.

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The adult in me questions the raw egg. Is it even safe to eat?

I Google the combination and learn a thing or two. Like its name: Gogel-Mogel, it makes me smile, although there aren’t enough vowels to make that remotely Italian. And of course, it’s not. It’s Yiddish, and its origin is a Central and Eastern European dessert made from raw egg, sugar, and flavoring (honey, vanilla, rum). Nonna would add espresso to mine.

I learn that the Gogel-Mogel is often prepared as a transition food for babies moving from a cereal diet to one that includes eggs and other soft foods. It has also been used as a home remedy for treating colds or the flu, particularly chest colds and laryngitis.

I wish I knew this last week.