Monday, May 31, 2010

The Great Map App Mystery

As everyone iPhone owner (or person with iPhone envy) knows, the map app has this great feature where users can "drop a pin" to indicate their exact location. It uses GPS technology. Or something like that. So how did I end up here?

Add your guesses in the comments section of this post or shoot me an email, tweet or FB message. The winner will get a special (TBA) prize! The answer will be posted tomorrow.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sand art

When I was little, I lusted after those sand art kits that all my friends had. Unfortunately, like glitter, that was off limits in apartment 4F. At various birthday parties and playdates, I got to experiment with the glass vials full of colorful sand, and try my hand at making my own designs, but I was never too good at it. The sand was just so fine, and slithery, it was hard to contain and I got frustrated easily.

Fast forward 20-some odd years and I'm once again obsessed with the stuff. There's a guy in Union Square who is a master of sand art. He's generally there on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays (when the farmers market isn't) with new (and brilliant) designs. He does it without a pattern, without a stencil, just the sand and a little brush. In a ridiculously dirty city where the garbage is vandalized before it's collected, it amazes me that his street art isn't disturbed. I'm not sure what time he packs up for the day, but sometimes I walk through the park at 10 or 11pm on Tuesday nights and it's still there. Passersby take great care to walk around. Dog walkers hold the leashes tightly to keep their dogs from sniffing. I'm not sure when the sand is swept away, or who does the sweeping, but on Wednesday morning, when the farmers set up shop in the square, there's no trace of the colorful flecks. Anywhere.

And if you'd like to see more of his work, he suggests a donation of $1 to help fund his projects.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What SEL's odometer saw today

Instead of this morning's regularly scheduled GTS (group training session) in Central Park, I challenged myself by joining a group of more advanced riders and headed up to Nyack, NY. To say that my bike odometer saw unfamiliar digits would be an understatement.

It was 30 miles up and 30 miles back. The longest miles were 32-42; the beginning of the trip home from Piermont, NY to Fort Lee, NJ. The hills that we whizzed down on the way TO Nyack were not quite as simple on the way back. My odometer measures speed as well. The same hill that I flew down at 35 mph on the way out measured 3 mph on the way home! And at that point, I just wanted to give up. But as I was trekking along, Ken, a 58 year-old father of a teenage leukemia survivor, pulled up next to me and said, "this is SO much worse than anything we'll face on race day!" And that was all the encouragement I needed to finish the second hill, face the third hill and then coast back home. And along the way, I found two favorite cycling hangouts: The Runcible Spoon and Strictly Bicycles. Both have great snacks and more importantly, lovely bathrooms!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Visualizing Race Day

Throughout the course of my training, I have been trying to visualize race day. But I don't see myself sailing through the water, or flying up the West Side Highway on my bike or even breezing through Central Park towards the finish line. This is what I see:

In order to prepare ourselves for that jump into the Hudson, my APES teammates and I have signed up for a "sprint" triathlon on Staten Island the second weekend in June (a sprint is 1/2 the distance of a regular tri). I'm hoping that after the sprint and two swim practices off the shore of Coney Island, I'll be less afraid of open water and ready for race day.

Unfortunately, it was just pointed out to me that the swim portion of the Staten Island sprint triathlon is in the ocean (as opposed to a river). So my visualization looks more like this:

So for now, I think that I'll stop with the visualization and just continue with the training...

Sweet dreams!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Biker babe

Doesn't she remind you of the mean lady from the Wizard of Oz who rides off with Toto singing, "dun dun, dun dun, dun da dun da dun dun?"

I'd really like to have a basket on my bike...maybe after the triathlon...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This used to be my playground

When I was younger, my cousins and I always spent the last week of summer in "the country" with Grandma and Grandpa. One of the highlights of the week was the trip to Little Camp Beach. Nestled in the heart of their gated community, on the shore of the "monstrous" lake, it was synonymous with summer for us. While I was in the Poconos this week, I had the opportunity to drive by Little Camp and check it out. What I remembered as a sprawling beach with shiny white sand, blue water and a huge picnic area was really a dingy pile of rubble with a few (covered) picnic tables on a dirty man-made lake.

Obviously the lake got smaller as I got bigger. But I'm not sure what else happened to make the memory so much prettier than the reality. I guess that's why Madonna said, "Don't look back."

P.S. Happy Sweet 16, Jenna!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

High speed chase

There was a cop car flying around Hemlock Farms today. Grandma and I decided to follow it to see if the police needed our assistance.

Unfortunately they didn't need us. So we kept on going. Grandpa, none the wiser, slept through the whole ordeal.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, May 24, 2010

Yesterday vs. today

Yesterday's wild life:

Today's wild life:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The one that almost was...

I continued my love/hate relationship with golf this weekend by hitting balls at Chelsea Piers yesterday and going out on the course in New Jersey today. I had some really good holes (loved 'em!) and some really bad holes (hated 'em!). The good ones were very, very good (loved 'em!) and the bad ones were very, very bad (hated 'em!). You could even describe them as ugly. But my best hole was the 11th (loved it!). I was well rested after taking a break between the front and back nine, and back in my groove after the 10th hole. The 11th hole of the course is a short one; a par three, only about 130 yards from the womens' tee to the hole. I used my five wood; I generally prefer my driver but that would have been way too much club for that distance. I did what I usually do: I teed the ball up, lined my feet up properly, closed my eyes, swung the club and said the "go in the hole" prayer. And it worked. Just about. According to the caddy, who was near enough to the hole to witness it, my ball hit the green, rolled to the hole, rimmed it and came to a stop about two feet back. I almost had a hole in one! I was able to put it in for a birdie. While my father and uncle (who play golf weekly and sometimes daily) struggled for a par.

And then I shot eight on the par three 12th hole.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bikes for grabs!

During our Saturday morning long training sessions, Team in Training provides a "bag watch." This way, we can leave all of our backpacks and biking paraphernalia while we run and our running stuff while we bike. The bags (and accessories) are watched by a different volunteer each week. It's awesome! During any given run, the bag watch area looks like this:

Actually, this is only about 1/4 of the bikes that were left at bag watch during the run this morning. I'm not very spatially oriented, but I'd say that the total area was comparable in size to a baseball field (infield + outfield). Not a major league field, but not a little league field either. Maybe a recreational field. Or a high school field. You get the point. Unless you're equally spatially challenged in which case, suffice it to say, there's a $hit load of bikes spread out in a large area.

Now I'm no crook, and I'm not going to pretend to think like a criminal, but if I saw all these bikes being guarded by one person, I'd assume they were free for the taking. I mean, what's that one person going to do if I tried to steal a bike? Run after me and leave the rest unattended so that all my buddies can come and grab the remaining bikes? I assumed that Team in Training thought of this and prepared the bag watchers, so I asked one of the volunteers what she was supposed to do if someone grabbed a bike and ran. She gave me a blank look. "I guess I never really thought about it."

Moral of the story: leave your stuff in the middle of the watch area surrounded by *really* pretty bikes and bags. And cross your fingers that the criminals in the park are scared off by a 5' 1" bag watcher wearing pink pants and reading Harry Potter.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fashion Faux Pas Friday

As seen on Broadway.

It's hard to tell in this light but the shoes and hat are pink, too. Everyone was pointing and staring. I'm not sure if it was the outfit or if he's famous??

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Yorkers | Tourists

New Yorkers woke up this morning with a surprise on lower 5th Avenue. Overnight, while the city that never sleeps rested, a street artist took a road marker and put a divider on the sidewalk.

I think it's genius. New Yorkers walk with a certain efficiency; most of us aren't out there to window shop or nibble hot dogs purchased from street vendors while gazing at the architecture, we're on our way "somewhere." Tourists, well, they're out there to question the symbolism of the Empire State Building's current lighting scheme and ponder the differences between Corinthian and Ionic columns. I'm fairly certain that locals would vote to ban tourists from the busiest (if not ALL) sidewalks if such an ordinance was feasible. Alas, it is not, and my comrades and I are stuck sharing these sidewalks with hundreds of tourists going nowhere slowly. This division is an ingenious solution to the sidewalk sharing situation. It would allow New Yorkers to take the express route to their destinations, while the tourists could amble along, pausing to munch, study and photograph their surroundings without disrupting the hustle and bustle of the city. Unfortunately the Department of Sanitation didn't agree because the line was removed by noon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Social"izing on Stanton

Have you ever spent considerable time at a restaurant deliberating between two or three menu items only to finally choose one and then be disappointed with it? Ever uttered "<>, I should have ordered that!" as the waitress passed you with a certain menu item and headed to another table? Well I do it all the time. I go to a restaurant, usually one I've been to before, and closely review the menu (even though I've probably memorized it already). I note the specials, I check out all the new dishes and I find a few that sound good. And then, without fail, when the waitress (or waiter, I suppose) comes to take my order, I revert back to ol' faithful and request something I've had before. Anyone who has ever dined with me can tell you that I'm not a huge risk taker with food. I order the same thing, over and over. I get scared about ordering new things even though I'm bored with chicken fingers and spicy salmon rolls. Which is why, when presented with the opportunity to sample a bunch of little things, I'm pretty excited. Because if I don't like it, there's not a whole lot left to eat (or let go to waste). Dimsum in Chinatown? Love it! Tapas at a Spanish restaurant? In heaven! A buffet? I'm a pig in mud!

Tonight's dinner with my friend Angela landed us at Stanton Social. It's one of my favorite restaurants on the island (possibly in the world). It's an American take on tapas. Everything is served teeny tiny. One of the most delectable (and creative!) items on the menu is the French Onion Soup Dumplings. These little bites of heaven are indescribable.
The picture doesn't really do them justice (but I had to include it since this is, technically, a photo blog). The noodle shell is wrapped around warm, brothy onions. They are served in this little casserole dish with dumpling slots and covered with melted cheese. They are bite sized only to the Jolly Green Giant; the rest of us can do it in two or three bites. I do believe it's the most popular item on their menu.

We ordered a few more little plates (potato and goat cheese pierogies, a tomato and fresh mozzarella pizette, a mini Kobe beef slider and some warm mini donuts for dessert) and satisfied all of our cravings. And with all the choices to choose from on our table, we didn't suffer from even the slightest bit of plate envy. And shockingly enough, I loved everything we ordered! Except for the chives on top of our pierogies and the basil on top of our pizette. That stuff got dropped in the rejection bowl.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


During my first year at NYU, the Department of Housing announced their plans to unveil a new dormitory on 14th Street between 3rd Avenue and Irving Place. It would be named "The Palladium" in honor of the night club that previously occupied the space. Apparently it was a popular club because New Yorkers were aghast. Residents could be heard all over town: "NYU can't take over The Palladium!" Or, "I remember partying at The Palladium when I was young." It just seemed unfathomable to the Baby Boomers that the next generation was taking over their hunting ground in such a different capacity. We all laughed at them, saying, "Oh those old people."

Well, let me just tell you, the tables have now been turned. I was walking up 6th Avenue today, minding my own business, moving rapidly, trying to avoid rain drops, when I walked smack into this:

Yes! The doors to Limelight are open once again. It closed back in 2003 after years as one of NYC's most notorious nightclubs. Andy Warhol hosted the club's opening party back in 1983 (when I was still in diapers). But the new signs outside say it's now the Limelight Marketplace (@limelightmarket). I stepped inside. What?! A "mall?" That can't be. I USED TO PARTY AT LIMELIGHT. Ok, well, maybe that's not entirely true. Unless "party" means "I went there once during college, when it might have been named something else but everyone still called it 'Limelight.'" But I was still shocked to see an upscale, yuppy "flea market" on the site of the former NYC hotspot. It just seems sacrilegious. Current stores inside include Hunter Boots first ever retail location, a Havianas booth and an overpriced boutique where you can buy imported toothpaste for $20. WWAS (what would Andy say)?

Just as I am one of the countless Gen X'ers who will only know "The Palladium" as an NYU dorm, there's a new generation of New Yorkers who will only know "Limelight" as a flea market of overpriced yuppy boutiques. What a travesty.

Monday, May 17, 2010

@SoozEliz works Twitter

Now I'm no Mayor of Twitter like @aplusk, but I do like to tweet every now and then. And I think that my Tweeples enjoy reading the bits and pieces that I post. But every so often, a happening in Twitterville makes me realize what a powerful tool Twitter could be if used properly.

Yesterday evening, after my bike ride, I was catching up on some internet business while flipping channels. I cruised by the USA Network that was airing an SVU Marathon and I put the remote down. The TV acted as background conversation while I got through my to-do list. I wasn't paying attention to the show but Benson and Stabler kept me company and made the evening a bit more pleasant. Wanting to include my Twerps in the evening, I tweeted:

And then I went back to my stuff. A bit later, I went back to Twitter to see if anything interesting was happening there and I stumbled across a new @SoozEliz message:

A quick Google search says that @TedOnTV is actually Ted Linhart, the VP of Program Research on the USA Network. I didn't reference the USA Network by its Twitter name (I found it but it didn't look "used") yet my Tweet was still found and responded to (within an hour). I've also had responses from In&Out Burger, a camping company (that was a misinterpreted tweet), and a few other random companies.

Now maybe if we all tweet @DR_DuaneReade when we have awful customer service, the issue will be responded to.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ogling Cruisers

The West Side of Manhattan borders the Hudson River. In addition to being the waterway of choice for the NYC Triathlon, it's also the port of call for several cruise ships that stop here. The Norwegian Dawn docks here every Saturday and departs on Sunday afternoons. I love timing my bike rides (or runs) with the Sunday departures. There's just something fun about standing along in Hudson River Park waving at the cruisers as they pull out of New York Harbor.

The cruise goes to Bermuda. 7 days, 6 nights. I'm jealous of the people on-board every week. I'm sure I've blogged about this before. But it's become a Sunday ritual for me.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ka-boom-ka-chink at Catherine Slip

I tried out my new bike shoes and pedals today for the first time. I went for a super slow, leisure ride down the East Side to practice clipping in and unclipping without crowds and traffic. I brought Erinn with me (on foot) as my spotter. We decided to turn around about 1/2 mile short of South Street Seaport (at Catherine Slip to be precise). Erinn pulled a U-ey and I followed. I slowed to a crawl (about 3 km/hour), unclipped my right foot, and then ka-boom-ka-chink. I was down.

Yup. I fell. On my left side, under my bike. Going into this, I knew that everyone falls the first time out in cycling shoes but I was positive that I was going to be the exception. But you know what? It didn't even hurt! I unclipped my left foot, picked myself up, clipped back in and kept on biking. It wasn't until I got almost all the way back home that I noticed this:

Compared to other people's battle wounds, this is nuttin'. I'm planning a longer ride for tomorrow but still planning to stay out of traffic and away from people. Although pigeons are proving to be a more challenging obstacle than other cyclists. They are gutsy!! They stroll right across the bike path without checking to see who/what is coming. I'd run them over but I don't want pigeon guts all over my pretty new bike...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Girls do it better (don't they?)

I popped into Whole Foods today for some more Gorilla Munch and walked by the sushi bar. I happened to glance behind the counter, which I don't think I ever do, and noticed this:

Yep. That's a female sushi chef. I don't think I've ever seen a female sushi chef before. Have you? I was tempted to get some sushi and try it just so that I could say "Girls do it better," but I wasn't hungry and the line was too long...

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Had an unexpected turn of events tonight. Started at Blondies/Manny's on 2nd and ended at Corner Bistro. What a fun night.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Take the Blue to the belly button and transfer to the Red

Why carry around a subway map (or iPhone app) when you could wear one?

As seen at the new Nordstrom Rack @ Union Square. Don't be fooled. They actually had some cute clothes at great prices.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

15 Seconds over Central Park

For those of you who couldn't tell from my subtle Twitter and blog references (a security thing), I spent the weekend in Chicago for Mother's Day. Had lots of fun, ate lots of food and spent lots of time letting my leg/hip heal. I had so much fun, I extended my trip for a day and even tried to milk one additional day out of it at the airport this afternoon. But I returned home tonight to a very lonely kitty (and dishes/laundry that didn't do themselves while I was gone).

Flying into LaGuardia today, we took a route that I hadn't flown since before September 11th. We flew up the middle of Manhattan, over the Bronx and south to LGA. Knowing the city so much better now than back then, I was able to recognize so many landmarks in the city. We flew over Battery Park, NYU, Union Square, I saw my apartment building, uptown and over Central Park, through the Bronx, over Orchard Beach (site of the Bronx Biathlon), and right into LGA. It was pretty cool.

My favorite part? The 15 seconds over Central Park.

This is from the west, looking east. I wish I could have gotten the whole park in the picture but airplane windows are only so wide. It's amazing to see how much of the island of Manhattan the park actually takes up. I love that I've been spending so much time in the park lately and how well I know my way around it. And it was even cooler seeing all those sites from the air. Now if only I could run the 6 mile perimeter path as quickly as we flew over it...

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Very Blizzardy Birthday

2010 not only marks the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century but also the 25th birthday of The Blizzard.

The Blizzard is perhaps the most delectable example of epicurian delight. A creamy blend of soft serve and toppings, it's a palette pleaser that can now be enjoyed in 25 mouth-watering flavors and combinations.

The best way, I believe, to enjoy a Blizzard is with Snickers AND Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (NEVER Pieces). And chocolate soft serve? That does not a true Blizzard make.

Happy birthday, dear Blizzard. I hope that we enjoy at least another 2.5 decades together.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bag Boy Pride

The following conversation took place at dinner tonight with friends. Names have been changed to protect the innocent:

SEL: Bob, I like your purse.

Bob: It's not a purse. It is a man bag!

SEL: Sorry. I like your man bag.

Bob: Look at all these fantastic pockets. This one here is for glasses. This one is for my cell phone and other electronics. And this big one, it's for condoms (mischevious grin).

SEL: Wow. That's very nice.

Juliette (Bob's wife): You should come over and see. He has more bags than I do.

My mother pointed out that "Bob" is European. But I love the fact that he carries a purse (sorry, man bag) and he's proud of it!! I meanwhile, rolled up to dinner with nothing but an ID stashed in my mother's purse to avoid repeating last nights denial of beer. That's what we call "Traveling a la Paige," but that's a story for another blog entry...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Introducing Lefty and Righty

As my Twitter followers already know, I had a running analysis and proper shoe fitting this afternoon. I walked into Fleet Feet and almost walked out when I saw a sign that said, "You don't pick running shoes by color." Well how else do you pick them?? Apparently running shoes are highly technical training tools that are specifically formatted to assist runners in their pursuits. After having me put on "basic" shoes, the salesman/shoe expert lead me to a treadmill and videotaped me running (well, mostly hobbling and gimping). He then played the video back for me and used his pointer to illustrate that I have excellent running form but I am experiencing some ITBS (illiotibial band syndrome) because I am wearing generic running shoes that are meant to correct overpronation. He recommended that I switch to running shoes with no pronation support and see if that helps. I nodded in agreement and he brought out three boxes. I swallowed my fashion sense (stop laughing!) and tried on each shoe without regards to color or style. I finally settled on the most comfortable pair (not the prettiest but not the ugliest) and took a spin on the treadmill. My feet were sitting in little boats of heaven. Cushoney and spacious yet supportive and non-abrasive. So without further ado, I am proud to introduce the newest members of my triathlon training team:

I took them (Lefty, top, and Righty, bottom) for a test walk this afternoon. I anticipate that we'll get along just fine...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fashion faux pas Friday

I'm all for white pants, don't get me wrong. But white pants that are too tight, worn with full panties (as opposed to a thong), are a double faux pas. This lady was just a walking shame. I felt bad for her. But I can't save the world. So I kept on walkin'...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The day I met my IT band

For the longest time, my friend Sara was posting on Facebook that she was having trouble with her IT band and couldn't run. After the third week, I wanted to throw a rock at her and say, "If running is that important to you then go buy a new IT Band. Whatever that is!" I thought it was a strap that you put an iPod in. Or something. Little did I know that it's a tendon that goes from your hip to below your knee.

Well, let me tell you, I am suddenly very aware of my right IT band. Today, in the middle of the West Side Highway, it made its presence known and is laughing at me for thinking it could be purchased at Target. I am writing this with a bag of ice strapped to my leg and pain that rivals last summer's broken arm.

I'm hopeful that a weekend of rest will be just what my IT band needs to reassure itself that I'm aware of it's existence and will be respectful of it in the future.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

SEL's Super Special Smoothie

1 mango
1 banana
1 (yellow) apple
1 orange
1 handful frozen (green) grapes
1 tray ice cubes
Liquefy for 30 seconds. Pour into a Caliente glass, pretend it's a margarita and enjoy!

No training today. Took the day off to give my body a break. Feeling a lot of pain (soreness) in my right side from my hip to mid-calf. Hoping it goes away overnight, planning to do a long bike ride tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I was in the presence of greatness (or so I thought)

Just like every Tuesday, tonight was a Group Training Session in Central Park. We emerged from the depths of earth (aka the subway) at Columbus Circle and began our usual trek to the Time Warner building only to see a large white tent, a red carpet and hundreds of flashing white bulbs. I know that Team in Training is making great strides towards curing cancer, but I never expected them to roll out the red carpet for us tonight. As we got a few steps closer to the building, we realized (alas) that the hoopla was not for us but for tonight's Time 100 Party. Imagine how excited I was to be in the presence of such incredible people. I was potentially sharing airspace with some of the most influential people of our time. We completed the workout and sprinted back to the red carpet to hang out with the rest of the gawkers. I was expecting writers, politicians and dignitaries. Maybe even Oprah.

Instead I got Donatella Versace (the over-Botoxed fashion designer).

And Martha Stewart (the b*tch).

And (a very blurry) Demi and Ashton (the Cougar and the Tweeter).

But at least it wasn't Sarah Palin. That could have gotten ugly. For her.

Training: I completed a leisurely 25 mile (2.5 hour) ride up the West Side and over the GWB this morning before anyone was awake. Then there was tonight's Group Training Session in Central Park. We covered hills, hills and more hills (3.3. miles in 51 minutes). That sure does make for some tired calves! And a tired SEL. Until tomorrow...