Monday, July 07, 2008

A Long Holiday Weekend

Well, here I am again. I've been trying to blog for days now, but wi-fi is not set up in this apartment so I've been borrowing someone's from nearby, which means it's intermittent. I could use the shared desktop computer with cable internet, but I need my phonecam/laptop Bluetooth connection. I love Bluetooth, yes I do.

So, let's get started!


We were supposed to go on an historic walk through the Revolutionary sites of downtown New York (centered around the old Wall Street area), but having stayed up until 5am comparing travel photos and artsy shots, it was after noon by the time I got out of bed.

If you don't leave the house early, it becomes harder to get out after a certain hour of the afternoon has passed, but I made it. Roomie and I are dangerous, both being only children and therefore sharing a few similar weaknesses. I went to the South Street Seaport to see the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks, visible from most parts of the city. There were three barges along the East River and many public viewing points.

The explosions were so powerful that when one went off, the shockwave caused my clothing to move, although they didn't sound as loud as you would imagine. There were new displays that floated on the water, but I didn't see them because I wasn't at the front. I did see the new ones that changed color in mid-air.

The first set (0.45)

If you can't see the video, here are a couple of photos:

After this, I couldn't keep the raindrops off the lens and it went blurry when the camera decided to focus on the droplets rather than the fireworks.



In the evening, I went on a long walk in the cool following the afternoon rain.

The sun really does go down right there, at the end of the bridge. And most of the sound you hear ahead of the traffic is the waves lapping against the rocks below me.



Roomie took me to her fave French cafe a few blocks away for brunch. Sunday Brunch at small cafes is a hugely popular tradition out here, and it may be difficult to stay home next Sunday. I had a Croque Monsieur, and wow it was so yummy I didn't want it to end; came with a mesclun salad sprinkled with vinaigrette and fresh black pepper. The brunch menu for $16.95 includes a hot and cold beverage, a main, and a dessert. For a few dollars more you can add a morning cocktail! (Maybe next time.) My dessert was a pear, almond and pistachio tart. The portions were perfect and we were full up. I was both bemused and encouraged to see two teens, a boy and a girl about 15 years of age, come in to the cafe and order escargots swimming in garlic butter with a sliced baguette for sopping it up, and ooh it smelled good.

Full stomachs called for a walk around the neighborhood. It is difficult to imagine this is Brooklyn, much less within the New York City limits. Roomie says it is "very Long Island".

Here is one example of New England colonial in a street of varied but stately architectural styles, all raised quite high over the sidewalk.

But the famed local gem by far is this place built in 1916 and nicknamed the Gingerbread House. I could not choose just one shot to show you!

Roomie's parents had brought a giant watermelon for just the two of us...! So we knuckled down and decided to cut into it. One shelf of the entire refrigerator is dedicated to its storage and I suggested making watermelon soup to get rid of some of it.

Afterwards, I was in the bathroom when I heard a shout and a stool fall. I emerged to see roomie standing on a chair pointing at a hideous looking centipede in the middle of the kitchen floor. She said, "I threw a chair at it and it's still alive!" My normally logical and sanguine roommate has a weakness after all.

Now, I thought I was scared of bugs, but I guess my years of exposure to the giant tropical critters along the Gulf of Mexico have inured me somewhat, though I admit that I did scream once when he nearly got away from me. I covered him with a glass vase, stuffed stiff cardboard underneath, tipped him into the vase, drowned him with kitchen cleaner, and flushed him down the toilet.

After we'd calmed down, we went for another walk.


nikkipolani said...

Those look like spectacular fireworks, Liv! I'll have to watch your vid when I get home. I sympathize with your roomie. I feel the same about worms and caterpillars - don't make me touch 'em!

Selba said...

Love fireworks! :)

The ginger house looks a bit creepy, don't you think so?

You gotta go to Australia, the watermelons are huge! your watermelon will be considered as mini watermelon, hehehe... (even here in Jakarta, we got bigger watermelons).

Christopher said...

I love that house in the pictures! Glad you had a good holiday...I'm going to be on a month long holiday in the woods next month and I will be blogging up a storm! Are you enjoying the summer? Bought any new frocks lately? DETAILS! xoxoxo

Flighty said...

Lovely entry! I enjoyed the fireworks.
I do think that you could of just put the insect outside rather than doing what you did! xx

Hui Lin (: said...

It's hilarious how you caught the centipede! :D

I once watched my boyfriend at work with a giant spider. Spraying insecticide didn't work at ALL so he caught it under a plastic jar, same way you did, but instead of flushing it down, he screwed on the lid just so we could gape at it for a while.

It was huge! The size of my palm, and with big hairy legs.

Olivia said...

Nikki - what would Minou and Em have done about this centipede?


Selby - you have too much imagination, though I could edit a photo to make it look creepier!

Well, as for the watermelon, I am sure her parents didn't buy the biggest one, there are only two of us to eat it all!

In Texas my family never bought a whole one to cut up as we knew we'd never finish it.


Kissy - did you see all the firewood stacked on the side there?

And how did you know I have many new frocks. I will have to show you...

A month in the woods is a long time! In Oregon? Can't wait to hear all about it when you come back.



Flighty - I did think of it briefly at first, but my roomie would sooner move out than know that thing is living in the house, she even thought it might come back up through the toilet. This thing was as long as the vase was wide, thicker than my finger, and had 15 pairs of legs. They're called House Centipedes, originally from the Mediterranean but reached NY in the 1880s. Their bite is like a bee sting and they're nicknamed Swifty because of the speed at which they move.

Definitely did not want that in the house or coming back in either!



Hui Lin - ew! I hate spiders! Just reading your entry made me pull my feet up off the floor!

beginninghere said...

Liv, I enjoyed your fireworks and the walking tour. What an interesting "gingerbread" house. I had to laugh about your Roomie throwing a chair at a bug. She would never make it in the Philippines. I was there one summer and never have I seen cockroaches so large or so numerous. I flipped on the light when I walked into my room and about 30 of them (the size of potato chips) flew at me. Yikes. I found out later the trick is to reach in, turn the light on, and wait about 5 seconds before entering the room. Glad you are both safe and sound :)

Olivia said...

Oh my lord! I am never going to the Philippines. Never mind that you can wait while they hide, I would never sleep knowing they were lurking in the dark places. Ugh!

Nabeel said...

this is a cool house. Very smurf like look to it :) I love watermelons ... yayyy !

Glo said...

What an interesting post, Liv! Thoroughly enjoyed the fireworks, the lit up bridge and the watermelon. It looks very yummy and not very pippy-fied.. ;) If I saw a centipede that big, you wouldn't see me for dust...I'm just heading to bed and I'll be looking under my pillow and sheets, now...shiver.

The gingerbread house is so unique...I'd love to have a look inside, too :)

Sounds like you and your roomie are having a ball. The Sunday meal sounded delicious, and a perfect chance to start a new weekly tradition. :)

Michelle G said...

the ginger bread house is amazing, I am taking my camera out with me today and will get some lovely shots of st john's to post on my blog.

I am so glad my bf is sleeping instead of reading your blog with me, he studied biology and focued on inscects(but now is a nurse-lol) because every time I kill a flying ant he gets mad at me.

how big was the centipede? and yes they are creepy

Anonymous said...

I love fireworps I do.
Well done on getting rid of the killer bug Indiana Klonaris, that's the same technique I use with spidders in baths, I bleach the buggers! Grrrrrr! I hate spids and other multi-legged things, if it's got more than 4 legs it better watch out for me and my Domestos!xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

I love fireworps I do.
Well done on getting rid of the killer bug Indiana Klonaris, that's the same technique I use with spidders in baths, I bleach the buggers! Grrrrrr! I hate spids and other multi-legged things, if it's got more than 4 legs it better watch out for me and my Domestos!xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

Oh poo, commented twice again....pah!

Jo said...

that gingerbread house looks like it might house a Hobbit!

Glad to see you're too busy to blog, actually! I've been a bit too busy with Oprah's Book Club (the hens)! So I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like either!

Olivia said...

Nabeel - funny you should mention the Smurfs. The architect had a somewhat Germanic/Scandinavian name.


Glo - it was a seedless watermelon (the best kind!) and we made watermelon soup with it. I will share the recipe soon.

Apparently each owner of that house is elusive. I read an article from January 08 by the Brooklyn Star newspaper, and no amount of knocking could bring them to the door. (I am curious about the interior too!) Roomie tells me the previous owners were Japanese, and had it wonderfully landscaped with bonsai trees - could you imagine - now that would suit it perfectly!


Michy - yes, St John's is so pretty. Why are communities by the water (like ours) so cute?

The centipede was bigger than my index finger. :(

P.S. Thank YOU for the idea of watermelon soup, I never though I'd have the occasion to make it!


Diva - bleurgh. If I say something like, "thank God I haven't seen a big spidder yet" I will probably see one tonight, so better leave it unsaid ;)

You've got some giant ones out in Reading, I bet they were imported from somewhere.



Jo - yeees, your blog has been quiet. I'm not "too busy" just disorganized and distracted now - I have plenty of time really!

I was thinking of Hobbits too!

AmitL said...

Hi,Olivia-how're things?I was a bit irregular at blogging lately,but,now back to 'normal'.:)

Hey,update me-you moved to New York permanently?wow.

A big grin at the centipede wonder your roomie was scared.:)

Hui Lin (: said...

Hi Liv, I thought I'd reply the comment you left on my blog here.

Thanks for your compliment, you really made my day! (: And it's only 1.41 am so the day's got a loonnnnggg way to go hehehe.

My readers are school friends and old friends! From what I gather, they do read but don't leave comments. I never really tried to get traffic from other serious blog readers, though I would really like to! :/ Never got around to it though. Any idea how??

But thanks! (:

Olivia said...

Amit - you are one busy guy. Well, yes, here I am back in the US, no looking back!


Hui Lin - you have a similar issue to me. My friends and family don't comment on my blog either, except for one or two. They prefer to discuss it on the phone, or not at all.

Most of my readers found my blog through comments I made on other sites (though I don't really remember how I found them), checked it out and decided to stay, or by googling for certain topics.

I don't know, maybe some of them will see your comments here and check you out.

Guyana-Gyal said...

This is how life should be, eh? I was just telling Annie [pal mentioned on my blog], that she and my cousin Lis would love this kind of New York...actually, they've both been to NY and love it. The cafes, the art, everything.

Did you hear the *news* about watermelon having some viagra / ciallis -like properties?