Saturday, November 28, 2009

Reasons I love Greenpoint- Part 13: Boneshakers

One Greenpoint establishment near and dear to my heart is a vegan/vegetarian cafe situated just south of the BQE at 134 Kingsland Ave. It's the fantastic and bike-centric Boneshakers.

Death before Decaf, I couldn't agree more:

Death Before Decaf

They've been open about a year, but I only started going there this summer. I was instantly smitten and have been back many times since. They have a great selection of sandwiches and baked goods that are vegetarian or vegan, all of which are made fresh daily.

Here are some of the desserts (see chalkboard):

And here is a view of the dessert cupboard:

Apricot Oatmeal cookies baked by Megan

More of the baked goodness @ Boneshakers

Here's the menu for some of the breakfast, sandwich and salad items:

Sandwich & Salad Menu

And here is just a small sampling of the biking decor, including my favorite - "Put the fun between your legs"

"Put the fun between your legs"

When I rode the NY Century Tour in September, I met one of the owners of Boneshakers, Megan. I was excited to tell her how much I love the shop. I also told her how much I love her tweets about what she is baking. (Being a baked goods junkie, I won't lie, it's pure torture, but I love reading her posts!)

Over the summer, they featured an all-you-can-eat vegan pancake breakfast on Sundays-

This was a very dangerous thing for me since I love pancakes and can easily eat way too many of them. I was good though, and opted for the 'short stack' (3 pancakes) instead.

(Here I am enjoying the short stack and coffee from Gimme Coffee- one of my favorite local coffee shops- while I blog-)

blogging over vegan pancakes @ Boneshakers

The all-you-can-eat pancake offer is over, but don't despair! They offer a 'tall stack' or 'short stack' for your pancakey enjoyment. Here is a copy of their current brunch menu:

Boneshakers Brunch Menu

Do yourself a favor and make it over to Boneshakers as soon as you can. The staff is so nice and the food is simply amazing (I *highly* suggest the veggie burger, shown here with a side of oven fries-).

Veggie Burger, $6

Oven Baked Fries $4

And while you're there, if you see the hard working and heavily tattooed Megan behind the counter, give her a smile. Also, don't leave without trying one of her fresh baked vegan cookies. You won't be disappointed!

134 Kingsland Ave
Brooklyn, NY
*note: they also have free wifi!

Follow Boneshakers on Twitter!

Boneshakers Yahoo Maps

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving thanks to the best co-worker ever, William

Today is Thanksgiving. And one thing I am thankful for is that I get to work with one of the nicest, funniest people I know - William (aka Sour Balls). Sometimes I wonder how I would get through the day without him, and I know he is one of the reasons I love my job. So I'd like to dedicate a Thanksgiving blog to one of my favorite people in the world, William. Here are more William tales and quotes:

Nautical Dreams:
Recently William got it in his head that he needs to buy a boat. Yes, a boat. I don't know what possessed him other than learning he can pay it off monthly (like a car), so why not. In fact, I think he said "It would be stupid NOT to." I had to remind him that he often moans "I'm so broke." followed by "Hey Sheryl, Can I borrow 50 thousand dollars?" and that perhaps someone in that position should - oh, I don't know - NOT buy a boat? When I asked him if he ran this idea of boat ownership past his girlfriend, he told me "I don't have the balls to tell her 'Woman, I'm going to buy a boat'!" I added "You also don't have the money!"

Lost Glasses:
Over the summer, William had misplaced his glasses. He was going crazy looking for them. They weren't at work or in his car and he couldn't find them at home. This went on for weeks. So when he appeared at work wearing them one morning, I had to know where they turned up. He told me that he had been straightening up the area where his dog (Bruce) keeps his toys. And among the stuffed animals and chew toys, there, sticking out, were William's glasses! Apparently his little doggie mistook them for a toy and carried them back to his pile. How cute is that?

Sex vs Food
"There is nothing better than two women making out... Except maybe bacon and egg."

William enjoys his favorite breakfast, bacon and egg

On being fat:
  • Before heading to the gym: "I gotta work on my boobies today, soon I'm gonna need a bro"
  • One morning he came in and told me that one of the valet parkers patted his belly and asked him when the baby is due!
  • William sounds down one day. I ask: "Are you ok?" He responds "Yeah, just fat"
On Cheating:
I recently overheard a phone conversation. It isn't eavesdropping since he later had the same conversation with me -
I know I'm going to sound like a male chauvinist pig, but I think it's cheating if a woman kisses a guy. But for a guy oral and penetration is cheating - anything else is ok. Guys don't consider kissing or grabbing boobies cheating - even fingering isn't considered cheating.
How's that for a double standard!

I'm just white:
There's been a lot of talk around the office lately about how white I am. Now, I never thought I was particularly white, but I work with 3 men: an Ecuadorian, a Puerto Rican and a Colombian/Italian. They all think I'm very white. I don't remember what "white thing" I was talking about but William responded: "Don't forget, I'm a spic. I'm not oriented to your whiteness"

I'm just a bitch:
As some of you know, we recently had a big upgrade at work that was unbelievably stressful and we had a ton of problems to deal with after the event. William knows how hard I worked on my stuff for the last year and especially in the last few gruelling weeks. But he actually said to me (and I don't know what he was basing this on): "I don't think this go live was hard enough for you." I couldn't believe he said that. He knew how hard I had been working. He heard the cursing, screaming and moments where I slammed my keyboard and left the office for a walk, in frustration. I responded "Are you kidding? Didn't you see how stressed out and bitchy I was last week?" He told me "Yeah but that was normal!". Nice, thanks buddy! At least he knows how to make me laugh...

William fumbles some phrases. Hilarity ensues:
"Spontanuity is the spice of life" Me: "Did you just say spontanuity? That's spontaneity!"
William heads off to the bathroom and tells me: "I just have to drown the lizard" me: "Um, unless you're going to stick your dick in the toilet water, I think you mean DRAIN the lizard!"

How to be a Player:
According to William, women wear too much perfume and scented body products so you MUST change sheets after every encounter so the next girl doesn't pick up the scent of the last girl's perfume.

I don't have much time left:
William seems to be obsessed with the fact that I don't want to get married. He talks to me about it pretty regularly. He seems to be worried that I am going to be lonely and die alone. He actually said to me "Ten years from now - No - FIVE years from now when your looks are gone, what are you going to do?" Ouch. I didn't realize I only had five years left. I better put my claws into a man while I still can!

On Sneezing:
It's been years since I started my "God Bless You" boycott and this still disturbs William. He *still* tries to make me bless him after he sneezes! Recently he said to me, "Sheryl, If I leave one day and it's my last day at work, and I sneeze, are you going to bless me?" It was so cute and sad, I mean really - how could I say no to that? I told him "William, if it's our last day of working together and you sneeze, I will bless you if it will make you happy." He sounded genuinely excited and told me "That's the nicest thing you ever said to me!" What a weirdo!

Turkey Sex:
Yesterday, the day before Thanksgiving, I heard William have this conversation with no fewer than 3 people on the phone:
How do you tell the sex of a turkey? I bought a turkey yesterday and it says 'young' turkey but they don't tell you the sex! I figured you stick your finger in its little butt and somehow you find out that way. But I googled it and you can tell by that thing on their head. (side note: aren't they decapitated when you buy them in the store? You never see their head!) And it said that male turkeys are bigger."
I was so perplexed by this conversation, I was like "William, why do you need to know the sex of your turkey?!" According to William "You'd expect a female turkey to be tender and juicy and sweet and delicious. I'm not eating a male turkey."

Gentleman Lessons:
For about a year, I have been trying to train William on basic walking etiquette and being a gentleman.
  • Lesson 1: Just like driving: when you walk down the hall (or on stairs, or anywhere), you stay to your right.
  • Lesson 2: When you are waiting for an elevator, and it opens, you let the passengers OUT before you get on.
  • Lesson 3: If you're in the elevator, when the door opens on your stop, since he's a man, he should let the women out first. Alternately, when the elevator arrives, you let the women IN first (after letting the other passengers out, of course).
At first he acted like I was crazy - he really thought I made this stuff up. But I pointed out when the other women and gentleman do it. Somehow, this has all sunk in because I noticed he is doing these things automatically now! But there is one more lesson I don't think I can get through to him...

I told him that I love it when I date a man who knows the proper side of the sidewalk to walk on. (*sigh* I'm just a sucker for old fashioned manners.) William had no idea what I was talking about "What do you mean, the right side of the sidewalk?!" I said "William, you're Spanish. How do you not know this?" I said "I bet Manny (the Puerto Rican guy) knows!"

Me: "Manny, if you 're out with a lady and walking on the sidewalk, what side do you walk on?"
Manny: "The side closest to the street, of course!"
Me: "William didn't know that."
Manny: "That's because he's a fake spic." (they all call each other spics, don't send ME your hate mail!)

William thought I somehow tricked Manny into answering correctly. I assured him that no, real men know that they are supposed to walk on the street side of the sidewalk. When Joe, the Colombian/Italian guy came in, I asked him the same question. He also knew the correct answer. And when Frankie, the Italian guy across the hall showed up, I asked him too - and considering this man wears a hat everyday and exhibits exemplary elevator etiquette - there was no way he didn't know. Unsurprisingly, he also answered correctly.

So William learned that this is a *real* thing. The man is supposed to walk street side to protect the woman he is with. But does he do it? Of course not. I was walking outside with him just yesterday, and I was street side. I said "William, you're walking on the wrong side! You're supposed to protect me from traffic!" He said something along the lines of "Listen Sheryl, if a car comes out of control, you need to get hit so I'm safe." And giggling, he pushed me closer to the street. Thanks little buddy, thanks a lot... I love you too.

Since I'm so tolerant of 'guy talk' and William's sexy ladies on his desktop, the Italian guy across the hall once told William "You hit the jackpot working with Sheryl!" But considering how sweet, calm and funny William is, I think *I* hit the jackpot. On this Thanksgiving I'm very thankful for him and wouldn't trade him for anything! Happy Thanksgiving, little buddy!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Reasons I love Greenpoint- Part 12: The NYC Marathon

One great thing about Greenpoint can be experienced only once annually - it's the NYC Marathon.

The first Sunday in November, thousands of runners from all over the globe make their way to the Verrazano Bridge in Staten Island where they begin their 26.2 mile run through the 5 boroughs of this great city. And at approximately mile 11.5, they enter the neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn - which I am so happy to call home.

Just days before Marathon Sunday, the city puts up No Parking signs along many of the streets, and paints a blue line down the streets - the length of the marathon route. Here's a sign on Manhattan Ave (which I later took home as a souvenir):

No Parking on Marathon Sunday

And the day before the marathon, I photographed a series of signs on beautiful tree lined Bedford Ave, outside of McCarren Park:

No Parking on Bedford Ave for the NYC Marathon!

Finally, Marathon Day arrived on November 1st, 2009.

I started a tradition last year, which I continued this year: On Marathon Sunday, I wake up early and start watching the marathon on TV as I get dressed. The elite women leave the starting line first and I keep an eye on their progress as I get ready. Around the time they are in Park Slope, I leave my apartment so I can see them come through Greenpoint.

This year I brought my bike so I could check out the runners from several vantage points. I first went to the corner of Bedford Ave & Lorimer St and just waited with the crowds of people that were already gathered. Before long, from the roars of the crowd in neighboring Williamsburg, we knew the leading women were coming! Then we see the lights of the police motorcycles heading towards us. Here they come!

I took a brief video of the women as they approached, with Paula Radcliffe (last year's winner) leading the way:

After the lead women passed, I got on my bike headed towards the Pulaski Bridge (which is the halfway point - 13.1 miles) because I knew that other than those elite athletes, no one else would be running through that area for a while. I hoped to photograph the women on the bridge but they had beaten me there and were already in Queens! They outran me on my bike!

I crossed the bridge to Queens anyway, with the intention of going over the 59th St Bridge into Central Park to meet the women at the finish line.

Here's the 13 mile mark on the Pulaski Bridge-

Mile 13, 1 hour 20 minutes into the marathon

I have no idea how I accidentally got this shot of me cycling, but it's pretty great-

I have no idea how I scored this sweet accidental shot

I made it to Queens, and to the 59th St Bridge only to find out the bike lane was closed because of the Marathon, so I headed back to Greenpoint over the Pulaski again. Here are some runners crossing the bridge with the beautiful skyline of midtown Manhattan behind them. You may recognize this spot from a previous "Reasons I love Greenpoint" blog- my ode to the magnificent view from the Pulaski Bridge.

Here the runners are leaving Greenpoint, bound for Long Island City, Queens:

The runners at the Brooklyn/Queens border on the Pulaksi Bridge

I rode back down McGuinness Blvd where water cup stations were set up. I love this shot - especially the falling cup and how everyone's legs on the right are so parallel to each other.

This is a great shot!

It seems like a never ending stream of people when you stand there watching them pass you by.

I made it back up to Manhattan Ave, and the crowd still seemed endless.

This is the corner of Manhattan Ave & Calyer St. They're still coming by the hundreds.

I was lucky enough to catch a phenomenal jazz band on the corner. In fact, they were so good I stood at this point for a very long time so I could watch the crowds while listening to their beautiful music. In this video clip, they played the theme to "Chariots of Fire". The runners who were lucky enough to pass by at that moment obviously loved and appreciated their efforts. As they ran past, some thanked the band, others applauded for them, and still others gave them waves or thumbs up to show their gratefulness as they passed by. It was really touching to witness.

The band packed up and that meant I was on the move again too. Here is 20K point, right in front of beautiful St Anthony's church on Manhattan Ave:

The 20K Mark on Manhattan Ave

At the corner of Manhattan Ave & Greenpoint Ave, New York's Bravest watch:

FDNY watches from the corner of Manhattan Ave & Greenpoint Ave

I stayed in this area for over an hour. Here are a few characters I photographed while on the corner of Greenpoint Ave & Manhattan Ave-

I am guessing this was a soldier that was fortunate enough to make it home from Iraq:

Purple Tutu lady:

Purple tutu - nice!

No Shoes Runner!

"No Shoes Runner"!!

A guy running with an Eiffel Tower costume!

The Eiffel Tower turns down Greenpoint Ave

These two were merely spectators, but they are some of the "local characters" I see on a very regular basis:

Greenpoint Characters

A Puerto Rican General?

Puerto Rican Pride

A very fit looking woman named Megan:

Go Megan!

And finally, Wonder Woman with her invisible jet (What's that? Of course you don't see it, it's invisible!):

Wonder Woman

At some point as I sat there, I realized the running crowd had thinned out significantly. I looked around and realized that so had the spectators. It was pretty much over. After about 3 hours of watching this event, I headed home. As I passed the entrance to the G Train, I found a discarded sign that sums up what thousands of us were thinking:

I *do* love New York!

I have to admit - I never cared about the marathon or running at all before moving to Brooklyn. But now that I've been on my own healthy journey for a few years and have had the opportunity to witness the NYC Marathon first hand, I have to say: There is something so magical about that day. First, just being there to watch it - to see runners of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels just DOING it, and then to see so many people that take time out of their lives to come out and cheer for thousands of total strangers! It's just wonderful. It fills me with pride to be a New Yorker to see such an outpouring of love and support. But it's also special because watching the participants is so profound for me. It stirs up feelings of inspiration, determination and awe.

Congratulations to every person that has ever run, walked, wheeled, hopped or limped over that finish line in Central Park. I am proud of every single one of you. Watching you this year, I decided that the year I turn 40 (just 2 years from now), I am going to join you if I can get in on that lottery. I want to run the NYC Marathon!

Note: The entire Flickr set of pics from this year's marathon can be seen here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ass Tax

(originally posted on myspace 4.14.2005, and my first ever blog)

My brother is getting married this year. Of course I'm in the wedding party and have to be fitted for a dress I hate. This reminded me of the last time I was in a wedding party, in October 2000...

I hate weddings. And worse than attending weddings is having to be in the bridal party. I dread the bridal shop fitting more than my annual gyn visit. First and most obviously, your typical bridal shops are just an aesthetic nightmare - there are more tacky garments than you can imagine. They are employed by middle aged, frosted haired ladies with no style and visited by young girls more into their wedding than their upcoming marriage. And when it comes to the brides maid dresses, it's like they go out of their way to design this stuff to be as hideous and unflattering as possible.

When you arrive, the first hurdle is just seeing the ugly dress the bride picked out for the brides maids (they have to make sure you won't look better than them in the pics, after all). But then the real horror starts when they get to the 'measurement' part of the ordeal.

Those of you that know me know I'm a pretty big girl - especially in the hip/ass area. So the woman measures me around my hips. The horrific number is 48. Yes I said 48. That's right: FORTY FREAKING EIGHT.

My first thought is 'My god - I'm 5 feet tall and 4 feet around!!!!' I haven't even recovered from the shock of that thought yet when the woman measuring me whips out her little 'size chart' and looks up my measurements.

My chest makes me a 12.
My waist makes me a 12.
My ASS makes me a 16!! Two full sizes bigger than the rest of me!!

To make matters worse, I'm informed that 'anything over a 14 is a plus size' (clearly denoted on her chart by an extra dark line between the 14 and the 16). And the woman is kind enough to inform me that due to my HUGE ASS (ok, she didn't put it that way) I had to pay an additional $35 for the 'extra fabric' needed to construct my monstrous tent like garment.

Isn't this sizeist?! I mean, do tall girls pay TALL TAX? I bet not! And I've been through this before, I know when the dress arrives, it's going to be 8 feet long and they're gonna have to hem half of it off because I'm so short. Do I get a SHORT TAX REBATE? Of course not!

Even more maddening, the dress was an A-line style, which is pretty loose in the hip area. And you all know I wear everything skin tight. But I could not talk them out of the size 16 and down to the 14. So not only do I pay 200 dollars for a disgusting strapless green unflattering dress, but now I also had to pay the extra $35 dollars because, according to them, my ass is just too big for a "normal" sized dress.

This was 5 years ago mind you and I am still mad about it. The only good thing was that when I was fitted for the dress for my brother's wedding, I fell into the 'normal range' since I'm smaller now. No more ass tax for me, suckers!