Entries Tagged as 'New York'

The Passing of Our Family Cat, Shorty

February 13th, 2014 · 2 Comments

shorty_red_collar

shorty_computer

Last week our family’s cat Shorty passed away after living a long, long life. He was almost 18 years old, which is older than both of my nieces! I say he’s my family’s cat because he started out with me, but over the years lived with my parents for a while before settling in with my brother’s family for the last 10+ years. He had a long life and lots of love and will be missed. Even though he has not been with me for a long time and my allergies were severe enough that I didn’t cuddle him much while visiting my brother, I thought of him often. We went through a lot, me and that cat!

shorty_shellb_kitten

In the beginning, I decided to get a cat when I moved into the first apartment where I lived all by myself in Appleton, WI. I think I was 21 or 22 years old and it was kind of a dumb thing to do, since I was working a full time job (programmer), a part time job (retail) and going to college at night. I quickly realized I was spending no time with Shorty and I didn’t want him to be lonely, so I got a sister for him. For some reason I can’t remember, I named her ShellB, after myself!

stephanie_shorty
This blonde haired little girl pictured with Shorty will be attending college in a few months!

When people asked me what my cat was called I’d say “Shorty” and then they’d ask me if he was short. I’d say “yeh, compared to me, he’s short.” The truth is, Shorty was almost a year old when I got him. I remember going to this lady’s house in the country. Her son had gotten Shorty as a kitten and wasn’t taking care of him, so she wanted him to go to a good home. Her son named him Shorty after the Tupac Shakur song “Shorty Wanna Be a Thug.” This was on 2Pac’s album All Eyez on Me, which was released in February of 1996. The first vet records that my family has for Shorty were from June 1996. I think they were papers that the lady gave me when she gave me shorty, so this all makes sense. Anyway, Shorty knew his name, so I didn’t change it. Besides, the name Shorty is badass.

shellb_shorty

shellb_shorty_halloween

Eventually I’d had it with my part time job. I used the money to buy a car and then quit. And then I had a bit more time with Shorty and ShellB. One Halloween I decided the cats should dress up. ShellB got wrapped in toilet paper to be a mummy. Shorty was already a black cat, so he lucked out.

shorty_shellb_moving_to_san_diego

I moved to a new apartment. They moved with me. My cousin Kelly and I visited San Diego and I decided I was in love with it. I started thinking about a big move. I ended up getting a job in San Diego. In January of 2000, we loaded up a U-Haul truck and my cousin Sabrina and I drove to the west coast. We towed my Jeep on the back and the cats were in a carrier cage in the cab of the truck between us while we switched off driving. The vet gave me some sedatives, but ShellB still cried the whole way!

shorty_ferns_sd

When I lived in Wisconsin, ShellB would love it if I left my apartment door open so she could explore the apartment’s common area. Shorty never left the apartment, even with the door open. For some reason they switched roles in San Diego. Shorty loved to sit out in the ferns and birds of paradise in my apartment’s courtyard. ShellB would sit just at the threshold of the door and look out, but rarely leave.

richard_shorty

Shorty was always the lovey dovey. When you held him he would wrap his arms around your neck and cuddle. And drool, for some reason. He was warm and cozy. ShellB was a little more snarly. She had more attitude and didn’t like to be cuddled. But Shorty was my snuggler.

shorty_laying_on_desk

Shorty was not a dumb cat. He only dug in the plants if I was out two or more nights in a row. And he also liked to get my attention by pushing things off my desk as he looked right at me. I remember he would inch pens. I’d scold him and he’d push it more. And I’d scold him again and he’d push it off the edge. Of course, then I knew it was time for some snuggling.

shorty_drinking_santas_milk

And everyone could remember him drinking from an unwatched glass. I think he even broke a few of mine. And he wasn’t above drinking Santa’s milk!

shorty_shellb_snuggle

shorty_shellb_mac

Rachelle Skipping I am really allergic to cats, I discovered. After getting two. We always had cats growing up and it was never an issue, but now I found myself waking up in the middle of the night, unable to breath. I went to see an asthma and allergy doctor and found out that I was having allergy-induced asthma attacks. I got an inhaler. The doctor told me to shut my bedroom door and not let the cats into the area where I slept, which was impossible to do, since I lived in the tiniest of studio apartments. It was also impossible to imagine giving my cats away, so I just suffered through. Shorty and ShellB were there for many of my big life events. Like when I bought my first Apple Macintosh computer.

shorty_shellb_move_to_wi

In the late summer of 2001 I had the opportunity to transfer to my company’s New York City headquarters. I jumped on it. I sold all of my things and packed the rest into one huge suitcase. My cousin Kelly was on vacation in Arizona so she and her.. boyfriend (?).. fiance (?).. I don’t think they were married yet… Jeff, came over to San Diego and got Shorty and ShellB. They drove back to St. Louis, where they were living, and my dad and cousin Sabrina drove from Wisconsin to St. Louis to bring them back to live with the family in Wisconsin. 9/11 happened, but I still moved to New York two weeks later.

shorty_bailey

shorty_milo_puppy

I eventually moved back to the midwest.. but the cats continued to stay with my family. Eventually ShellB ran off.. and then reappeared .. and then disappeared. But Shorty was with my brother’s family for pretty much all of that time. He even got a kitty step brother, Bailey, and a doggy step brother, Milo.

shorty

shorty_last_day

steph_jess_milo_shorty

So, even though Shorty and ShellB only lived with me for three years or so, we went through A LOT. And now both are gone, but those were some crazy years and I will never forget that they were there with me through it all!


***PSA: I’ve looked around a bit and I can’t find any photos of Shorty and me together. If you have a pet, go take a photo with it TONIGHT or you will regret it later on.***

[Read more →]

Tags:···················

A Quick Trip to New York

January 28th, 2014 · 1 Comment

birds_window

For Christmas Dallas got me the airfare to take a quick trip to New York to see friends and I took the trip this past weekend.

I finally got to see Jess and Ted’s apartment in Hudson Heights, since they let me crash in their spare room. Their space is a work in progress, they think, but so far it’s so big and spacious and knowing Jess, you know how nice and stylish it looks! The apartment is FAR north in Manhattan, but they have a straight shot down on the A train to work. And actually, it wasn’t too bad getting around, even when we went to Queens. The Hudson Heights neighborhood seems really cute. I can’t wait to go back and visit in nicer weather so that we can check out The Cloisters and Fort Tyron Park.

I arrived late on Friday night because my flight was delayed. Ted was still at work so Jess and I got late drinks and dinner at 181 Cabrini. Jess’s apartment is only a block away from the train stop and a strip of commercial stuff – restaurants, delis, bodegas, bars – so it’s nice and convenient. It’s not like there are a million restaurants, like in some neighborhoods, but there is one of everything, and how many do you really need? Anyway, 181 Cabrini was cute and had a friendly bartender and waiter and good food. It was great to sit and catch up.

juliette_jessica

sripraphai_thai

The next day Jess and I met up with Jeannette and Yvan and Juliette, who is now 9 months old. The last time I saw Juliette was in June, when she was about 6 weeks old! Jess and I took the A train to the 7 and went over to Long Island City, Queens, where they all live. From there we drove to Sripraphai Thai restaurant in Woodside. I realized that I’d been to Sripraphai TEN years ago and didn’t really care for it so much. But this time I loved it! Yvan said that the restaurant has really changed and grown since we first went a decade ago. I remember sitting in a dank basement and this time I saw they’d expanded their storefront on both sides. Everything was nice and bright and pretty. And the food was great. I loved the massaman curry we got with beef. The beef wasn’t like you usually get with the slices of beef, it was more like stewed. YUM!

juliette_rachelle

cannelle_patisserie_praline_crunch

And then because nothing changes, Jeannette wanted to get dessert. And she REALLY twisted our arms to get us to agree. We headed over to a gem of a French bakery that was hidden in a strip mall in Jackson Heights: Cannelle Patisserie. It had started snowing and everyone got coffee to warm up as well as a sampling of some of the delicious tarts. We had the praline crunch, napoleon, apple strip and lemon square. They were all SO good. We ate away and talked some more while Juliette, who was an angel the whole time, flirted with an older man enjoying a cup of coffee at the next table! We also all took something home. How could you resist the thought of a chocolate croissant for breakfast the next morning?

juliette

Jess and I headed back to Hudson Heights and because we’re all wild and crazy party animals, we cozied under some blankets and watched a maritime double header on Apple TV. We saw Robert Redford in All is Lost (good) and Captain Phillips the movie about the cargo ship taken over by Somali pirates (really good).

moscow_on_the_hudson

The next day was time to leave already. We got up and got ready. Yvan ran a half marathon in the morning but was still up for meeting with us in Jess’s neighborhood. So, Jeannette, Yvan, Juliette, Ted, Jess and I had brunch at Le Chéile. Afterwards, we stopped by Moscow on the Hudson, just to check it out. I guess it’s known to be the best Russian market in Manhattan. I had fun looking at all the different canned goods, candies, pastries and meats. And then? We stopped back to the apartment and it was time to go. :/

This was my first time away from Makai for more than a few hours, and it was hard to leave. Dallas was pushing me out the door, practically, but once I was gone, I was good. I mean… I still missed him like crazy, but it was great to see friends and be in New York and I’m glad I went. Thanks for the fun weekend, everyone!

[Read more →]

Tags:······························

A Few More Days in New York

June 10th, 2013 · 3 Comments

Last week I was out in New York for work for a few more days.

tortas_frontera_ohare
Like every trip, mine began with a stop at Tortas Frontera at O’Hare. I was actually kind of afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop because of timing, but then my flight got delayed an hour and I had more than enough time. I changed it up this time and instead of getting a torta, I got the tortilla soup and the fully loaded guacamole. The soup broth was really rich and flavorful. The guacamole was good, but getting all of the toppings was a mistake, I think. I’d stick to just one or two or none next time. Also, maybe it was a fluke, but the chips were SO salty.

long_island_city
Even though my flight was delayed, I arrived early enough to visit with Jeannette and Yvan and Juliette (6 weeks old now, I think). The skies were bright and mostly sunny in Long Island City, so I don’t know what was up with the delays. It seemed fine on the Chicago side too. It didn’t even start raining in New York until later at night. Dallas was flying to Newark at the same time I was flying to New York and he had way more issues than I did.

element_times_square_kitchen
I stayed at an SPG property called the Element Times Square West, located at 39th and 8th. I booked the room because it was a good rate, but it ended up being pretty nice and spacious for a New York City hotel room. Not that I used it, but each room in the hotel had a kitchen with a big fridge, two burners, a sink, dishwasher, microwave, dishes.

element_times_square_bed
Even though I think the Element was on the lower end of the SPG spectrum, they still had the Heavenly bed that they have at the Westin, which was nice.

element_times_square_view
The view from my room at the Element.

new_york_subway
Most days I took the subway to and from work, which made me feel like I was living there again.

dumbo_view
While at work, one of my coworkers was on vacation for two weeks so I used his desk. He has a pretty nice view of the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge!

zaitzeff_burgers

The food in New York is always great! With my coworker, Stephanie, I had lunches at Flavors Cafe, where we got some great salads, and CRISP, a modern Mediterranean spot. My coworker from Chicago, Ranee, has been traveling to New York a ton and took me to Zaitzeff, a great burger spot. The menu is short and to the point, not straying all over the place with fancied up burgers. All the beef is grass-fed here. I got a cheeseburger with avocado and grilled mushrooms and it was amazing. Ranee and I split fries and neither of us finished them, but I was so full from the burger that I didn’t even eat dinner really! I think I had a fruit cup!

I also met up with Jess one night and we had dinner at Tia Pol, a tiny little Spanish tapas spot on 10th Avenue between 22nd and 23rd. I’d hoped to see her new apartment that she just bought and moved into the week before, but it was getting late. I was still glad we could catch up while I was in town!

eataly_batali_books

eataly_pansotti_pasta

eataly_squid_ink_pasta

eataly_oysters_clams

eataly_charcuterie

eataly_bakery

Lastly, but not leastly, the food highlight of the trip was when I finally visited Eataly with Ranee and her cousin, Isabelle. Eataly is a high-end 50,000 square foot Italian food market and shopping center. Mega chefs Mario Bitali and Lidia Bastianich teamed up with restauranteur Joe Bastianich (Lidia’s son) for this amazing creation. The shopping and the tasting rooms are all mixed into one huge crazy experience. You walk along and look at meats and cheeses and then theres and area to sip wine while eating meats and cheese. You’re looking at the bins of fresh produce, when you stumble upon the vegetarian restaurant. There’s seafood and freshly made pasta, a beer garden, an amazing bakery, meats and produce and a whole line of Italian desert stands. I could have spent all day there!

eataly_artichoke

eataly_cedrata_italian_soda

eataly_gnocchi

eataly_gelato

In the end, we put our names in for the pizza and pasta spot and there was a wait, so we went to the vegetarian restaurant, sat at the bar and shared and artichoke that was BY FAR the best artichoke I’ve ever eaten. As we were finishing, with perfect timing, we were texted that our table was ready for dinner. I love gnocchi, but a lot of places screw it up, so I don’t order it too much, but I figured this was the place to get it. The gnocchi here was served with braised lamb shank ragu and was AH MAZE ING! To finish, I had the salted caramel gelato. OMG. So done. I’m sort of glad I don’t live in New York because I’d go broke at this place!

[Read more →]

Tags:············································