Archive for May, 2010

New Life

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Baby #2 arrived last Friday.

We named her Natalia.  We are acclimating to her arrival and sleeping as much as possible (not much, really).  In naming her as we did, we broke two of our own naming rules.  We wanted something short and not overtly religious, we failed in both respects.  Natalia clocks in at seven letters vs the four in Nina.  Furthermore, the root of the name Natalia is the same as the word natal– as in birth– as in the birth of Christ.  We didn’t really think about it until after we decided on the name.  The connection isn’t too widely known, like the name Mary, say.  Actually, it’s the biblical boys’ names are tough to avoid– think about it.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, Michael, Joseph, David, Daniel, Thomas– all Bible names.  It would appear that Xians and their affinity for the afformentioned Bible characters popularized these name.  Look how well the villians’ names fared.  How many guys do you know named Judas, Cane, Pilate, or Goliath?   ;)

Nina is very concerned about Natalia.  Any time Natalia cries, Nina says “bebe” and starts pointing as though we should do something right away.  We hope they’ll be good friends.  They’re off to a good start.

Cati and Natalia are both doing very well.  I, on the other hand, had to eat hospital food AND sleep on a small single mattress in Cati’s room for two nights.  Oh, the humanity!  Worry not, dear readers, I too am recovering nicely.    

Wish us luck; we’re in way over our heads now. 

I thought this song fitting (don’t worry, they’re not Tuvan):

The Visitor

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

My friend LT came for a brief visit from sunny California.  You remember him, right

He flew into JFK and I went to get him at 6AM on Saturday.  The drive there and back wasn’t bad.

I drove through Staten Island rather than take the Holland tunnel; I didn’t want to deal with driving through Manhattan.  Traffic wasn’t bad at all, and it only took me an hour to get there.  It was a lovely drive across the Verrazano bridge and back.

His visit was a short one, but we managed to squeeze in some nice meals, drinks, and talk of Tuvan throat-singing*.  We also enjoyed the weather, chasing Nina around, and we even cut down a superfluous tree in our backyard and re-hung some fencing.

Now I need to buy a chiminea for all the firewood.

I was in Puebla, Mexico last summer and while there I was introduced to sangrita.  Sangrita is similar to bloody-mary mix but it’s meant to be sipped, as a chaser, along with a tasty tequila.  I found a recipe online and modified it a bit to suit my tastes.   Here’s how I make it:

  • 32 oz. of Clamato
  • 4-5 limes
  • 2-3 TBSP of OJ
  • 1/2 TBSP horse raddish
  • 1/2 TBSP celery salt
  • 1 tsp Tabasco
  • Pepper to taste

Mix everything together and place in refrigerator for a day or two (or just drink immediately– who has time to plan their drink chasers days in advance, right?).  Make sure you buy some decent tequila to accompany the sangrita– I like Patron (green label).

We also had burgers, home-made cole-slaw, and strawberries and cream for dessert.  I made the whipped cream myself, and it came out very good.  I think making it myself from heavy cream, vanilla extract, and sugar will be the only way to go from now on– no more Reddi-whip for us.

LT and I are both fans of spicy food and hot-sauces.  I gave him a bottle of this great sauce that a friend of mine from NY makes.  I must take a moment to plug my friend Christopher’s hot-sauce.  I know Christopher from when we worked together in Selkirk, NY.  He would make this out-of-this-world pepper sauce for all his friends at work to try– y’know, as a hobby.  Well, apparently after years of people telling him he should bottle and sell the stuff, he decided to do just that.  This hot-sauce is so thick and hearty, you can eat it on a cracker with a slice of cheese and there are few things better.  Don’t worry, it’s not one of these how-much-pain-can-you-take macho hot-sauces either– it is really tasty (and it comes in ‘Mild’ for all you capsaicin-phobes).  It’s a little tart, a little sweet, a little spicy, and well, delicious.  It’s perfect for pizza.  Because of the sweetness, I am not crazy about it with Mexican food, but there are those who swear by it.  Check out his website and buy a bottle or two ten at  It’s made in Upstate NY, and a couple of bottles would make a great gift for any spicy food aficionado in your life.

Traffic on the way back to JFK was a complete nightmare– it took about 3 hours to reach JFK– this was on Sunday at 4PM.  LT missed his 7PM flight home and had to get a seat on the flight out the next morning at 9AM.  So with a night to kill, he took the opportunity to roam around Manhattan (bars) getting in adventures– y’know, like Caine from Kung-Fu.  But hey, this blog only covers Cati’s and my adventures… go find his blog for his adventures.  ;)

* Ok, back to the Tuvans– the sounds these guys make are downright other-worldly; it blows my mind a little.  Check it out:

LT and I, with our confidence bolstered by the tequila, practiced our harmonic overtone singing.  We discovered how to quickly annoy everyone around us– even Nacho left the room.  I think we’re ready to start touring.   

Check out the Tuvan Simon and Garfunkel over here:

Tia Pol

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Cati and I got a babysitter and took a few hours to pretend that Nina doesn’t run our entire lives (she does).  We decided to head into Manhattan.  We went on a Friday night and traffic into the Holland Tunnel was kind of a nightmare.  To further the illusion that we still have a life, we took the BMW coupe into town (1988 M635CSi).

The car doesn’t like to idle as it gets really hot; it likes to keep moving.  So as we were sitting in traffic waiting to enter the tunnel, I nervously watched the needle on the temperature gauge slowly rise higher and higher.  I imagined what would happen if the car were to overheat in the tunnel.  Imagine– smoke pouring out of a stopped car in the middle of the Holland tunnel.  Homeland Security would be on me like a rat on a cheeto.   I was a little nervous.   Maybe, next time, we’ll take the train.  The drive back was fine.

We ate at a funky little tapas place in Chelsea called “Tia Pol.”  It’s a tiny place that only seats ~40 people.  We ordered various tapas.  The patatas bravas were excellent.  A lot of the food was a little too salty, especially the croquetas.  To get ME to say something is too salty ain’t easy– I typically salt salt.  I reckon they make a lot of money on sangria, so salty food likely keeps the stuff flowing.  I was driving and Cati is growin’ a baby so no sangria for us.

In keeping with the Spanish theme of this post, check this out:

They are freaks with the talent, eh?  They are eponymously called “Rodrigo y Gabriela.”  Incredible music, no?  I actually get the chills– goosebumps and all– every time I listen to it.

If you don’t like this music, you may want to call your doctor because you might be dead inside.  I kid; enjoy.

Also, Nina likes to help me do projects around the house.  She will come, grab my tools, and start doing some approximation of whatever I’m doing.  That’s my peanut.