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Verandah Place
17 Jul 2011 02:06 pm

it’s hot out there. i went to queens to seek out some shady parks, but had to make a quick stop at an old favorite, cafe pier. i can’t believe it’s been 10 years since i discovered this place; i used to ride my bike there from greenpoint, over the pulaski bridge, during my post-z unemployment days/daze. i spent many an afternoon there staring at the city.

cafe pier

my true destination though was socrates sculpture park. i really can’t remember if i’d been there before. maybe, ten years ago. i had such a crush on queens back then. today it was a great choice for cool breezes, leafy trees and a ramshackle type of solitude, accompanied by pensive observers and odd structures, some of which were comfortingly strange, and others which were just beautiful.

ssp

08 Apr 2011 03:13 am

my dogs are barking yet again after another day of pounding the pavement. but the weather was great, so i can’t complain.

i started out selecting different nooks for reflection at the Yuyuan Garden. i was familiar with the style of Chinese gardens thanks to the one in Portland; however, this one in Shanghai’s Old Town is over 400 years old.

yuyuan

how could i not queue up for the famous xiaolongbao (shanghainese soup dumplings!) from Nanxiang outside the garden? the wait was twenty minutes, and for $3 i got about a dozen dumplings. this was the real deal, though sadly i think i prefer the [americanized?] ones in NYC’s chinatown.

xiolongbao

on this warm spring day i finally made it out to The Bund, which is a generously wide promenade that borders the Huangpo River. behind it are old Art Deco buildings from yesteryear, and across the way is Pudong, where skyscrapers are born.

pudong

07 Apr 2011 05:58 pm

templeon thursday, i visited the Jade Buddha Temple, which is a bit of a tourist attraction but still a lovely oasis in the middle of the city. it was a maze of halls and chambers housing different buddha statues, some of which were under high security. i spent a little while wandering and watching chinese people bow and make dedications. outside of the temple there were a smathering of beggars - the first i’d seen around shanghai.

i took the metro back to the French Concession and meandered over to a newish place called Seafood Noodle where for 30 kuai (less than $5) i had a huge bowl of delicious noodle soup. it was a tiring day of tromping around town, so in the vacation mode i’ve adopted this week, i returned in the late afternoon to read and snooze. jacob is quite the technology nut, so he had fun trying out Photobooth on my mac.
jacobooth

06 Apr 2011 12:38 pm

i spent wednesday afternoon roaming around the alleyways off of Taikang Road. quite a charming area, with little shops selling all sorts of knick knacks. and everywhere i turned, visions of Obamao taunted american tourists with its propaganda style pop art.

obamao

05 Apr 2011 02:58 am

sam and i were wondering, where does the word “bamboozled” come from, and what does it have to do with bamboo?

bamboozled

our 2-day, 2-night stay in the forest was lovely. the weather was gorgeous for our full day when we tried to hike to the peak but mostly got lost. after a couple hours of hiking we went up to The Lodge for some lunch and coffee. ex-pats are aplenty and we caught up with some acquaintances of sam & daryl’s who were also weekending in the mountain, dachsund in tow.

at our bungalow jacob & i were both delighted by the wood-burning stove, and we rather enjoyed watching the pine logs burn away. they filled the cabin with quite a cozy, rustic scent.

jacob fireplace

03 Apr 2011 07:51 am

i’m really quite fascinated by the flight path we took from newark to shanghai. while i was expecting us to cross the pacific as usual, we kept going up, up, up until we flew right over the north pole. it makes sense i suppose, since china is on the opposite side of the planet; didn’t they used to say you could dig a hole to china? i guess rather than digging a hole you can just fly over the pole.
flight mapice caps
it is mind-boggling that if you journey 14 hours north and then south, on a direct flight you can wind up in china. and here i am, getting out of the city this holiday weekend, spending it at a bamboo forest.

the air is fresh and the eco-bungalow is cozy, complete with a wood-burning stove. earlier today i took a decompression hike with my kind hosts, and then we settled in for some fresh home-cooked chinese food and a game of ’settlers of the catan.’
bambooimg_0959.JPG

07 Jan 2011 06:52 am

verandah placei am having breakfast at verandah place. brooklyn is bittersweet this morning, folks happy that it is friday but squinting through the wet flurries that are brushing by their furry hooded parkas. i have the day off, so i thought i would try the breakfast sandwich that josh has raved about, which he has lunched on several times since he quite frequently brings a laptop here to ted & honey.

i’ve been back east for nearly 8 months, can you believe it? the first month, my legs and feet ached wimpily from tromping around town and up and down subway steps. and after almost 1 year without employment, i have put in nearly 7 months of NYC-style work. a 40-minute commute and a 9.5 work day is my average; upon arriving home i submit to eating out far too often. we collapse on our beloved blue chaise and watch basketball on NBA League Pass until we fall fast asleep despite the clanging and banging heater.

the urban hiking fatigue last summer coincided with moving to a less green city; i am embarrassed by the amount of plastic i’ve used. it’s taken some adjustment, but i am gradually bringing back some of the lessons in eco-friendliness i’d adopted during my portland existence. fortunately nyc is greener than when i left it, and brooklyn embraces locavore organic fair trade. not to mention that Cafe Pedlar sells stumptown coffee not 3 blocks away from our apartment.

my fitness regimen suffered from the move; i’ve gone running what, 7, 8 times in the past 7, 8 months? but in a cliche move, on new year’s eve josh & i joined the Y, which is er, 2 blocks from our home, and so there is no excuse. josh bought a basketball and i am proud to say, my inaugural pre-workday workout was last tuesday. i am re-discovering the AM, which i always cherished before i left nyc; getting out of the house at 7am has helped me reclaim part of my day.

i miss many things about portland, but i now live a couple blocks away from my favorite street in the world. what could top that?

18 May 2010 09:16 am

flying home.i’m going home today, back to the urban streets of jersey city. it doesn’t feel like i’m moving. when i moved from nyc to portland in 2005, i made a grand exit with a minivan full of my belongings and i embarked on a week long journey towards my destination. that definitely felt more significant. today, i woke up in my house and made coffee as usual, and then josh drove me to the airport in our jetta as he would for any other trip.

my more cumbersome baggage today was easily shuffled through security thanks to the slow pace and friendliness of portland. had i been flying out of newark, this would have easily made for the start of a very grumpy day. my carry-on is unusually chock full of valuable items today… two laptops, a passport, all my checkbooks, my external hard drive… oh, and one very fluffy dress.

i need to put together some lists… things i have learned from pdx, things i will miss, places i will return to each time i visit. for now, i will just try to appreciate the magnitude of this simple flight i am taking today that starts an entirely new chapter in my life.

26 Apr 2010 04:05 pm

the playoffs have been a rollercoaster ride as they are wont to be. game 1 was a dream and the following two games were absolutely devastating. no one wants to be blown out in their own arena. the rose garden, which is notorious for being one of the loudest arenas in the NBA, was completely deflated after a listless blazers team crept as low as 30 points below phoenix. i was so nervous before game 4. as josh & i approached the rose garden for this unusually timed 1:30pm saturday game, it began to rain, and then pour. the symbolism was quickly cliche during these playoffs, but of course all the fans were excited to block out the [phoenix] sun(s).

broyonce we scurried into the rose garden, we simultaneously received a text from karl while a ticket guy at the arena asked me “did you hear the big news?” blank stare. “brandon roy is playing.” confusion. josh & i were just talking over our bacon & eggs about how brandon might not even play in round 2. “1-2 weeks” were the optimistic reports i’d heard regarding brandon’s recovery time after a minimally invasive knee surgery. it had been 8 days. confusion.

it was all true. brandon came onto the court to the roar of his fans, and his teammates were clearly rejuvenated, comforted by his presence. i couldn’t believe how amazing the game felt. they beat the suns, 96-87. the series is tied at 2 games a piece. bring on game 5.

john canzano wrote an awesome article using religious imagery to describe brandon roy’s return.

16 Apr 2010 09:03 am

well another Blazer season has come and gone. i tried not to write about them too much on here, because i get rather verbose about them and don’t need to bore you with trivial facts (Batum’s sister is a senior at Lake Oswego highschool! Brandon Roy Jr. wants to be Bayless! Andre Miller likes to rollerskate!)—facts that delight me to no end. but perhaps i should reflect on the highlights and lowlights of the past year.

blazer vetsyear of the vet. this was undoubtedly a year for our veterans to shine. we lacked a veteran presence last year and badly needed it as our young roster progressed into a playoff team. this year, we got solid, seasoned players who led this team through the toughest adversity one could’ve ever imagined. injury after injury, the blazers continued to succeed thanks to andre miller, juwan howard, and now marcus camby. for some reason i have a deep fondness for both andre and marcus, not only because they are stellar players, but also because they are closest to my age.

greg oden goes down. again. at the rose garden, our hearts stopped at the sight of greg oden writhing on the floor in pain. his knee cap broke in half, and you can actually see the odd misshapen joint in photos from that game. josh knew right away that it was a season-ending injury. brandon roy squeezed greg’s hand as the trainers rushed over and later the paramedics, and greg was wheeled off the court. it was so heartbreaking because his play thus far showed signs of the superstardom he was destined to reach.

injury season. for a while there were so many blazers injured: greg, joel, batum, outlaw, pendergraph, patty mills, rudy… and then coach nate went down with a ruptured achilles. it was surreal. the blows kept coming and they were almost not surprising after a while. it was at that time that you could really feel juwan howard’s emotional strength propel this broken team onward.

dre and meandre miller scores 52. they say andre’s a strange guy. he doesn’t speak very much and doesn’t socialize with his teammates. he lets his actions on the court speak for themselves - and he has proven to portland that he is more than worthy to lead the offense for this team. he’s really kept the team playing well and it’s likely we wouldn’t have made the playoffs without him. he scored a remarkable 52 points against Dallas earlier this year.

brandon roy buzzer beater an elating buzzer beater was overdue. it happened at vs. the washington wizards at the rose garden. unreal. roy had a slow night but delivered with 3 seconds left on the clock. solid. the rose garden erupted.

the night of marcus camby. the last game i went to was vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder this past monday. it was electric. marcus camby scored 30 points and was heralded by the arena, chanting his name in a moment Blazer announcers tout as one of the best moments of the last 10 years. marcus says he was embarrassed by it, but certainly touched - he has only been on this team for a few months, but portland has fully embraced him. having marcus on the court just makes me feel safe. we need him to return next season. just imagine what he could teach greg.

bring on the playoffs! roy is out, so what are our chances in passing round 1? should i paint my face? will we win it in 5?

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