Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Cat Diet

Those of you who know me, know that I am 100% completely and totally obsessed with animals. Particularly, my two BIG cats, Cody and Cooper. Believe me that when I say big, I mean big. Cooper, the smaller of the two, runs about 18 pounds, while Cody is closer to 22 or 23 pounds. These animals could sit on a small dog (insert any small animal here) and squish the life out of it.

My two big boys, Cooper and Cody, out on the prowl

The Wall Street Journal happens to think that my family is ruining our pets lives by forcing them into obesity, but I ask you, have you ever tried to say no to a purring and cuddly kitty who sneaks his paw on your plate the minute you turn your head to grab the piece of chicken that’s probably been taunting him all night? I think not.

I present to you: The Cat Diet. How exactly I plan to go about this, I don’t quite know yet, but I do know that poor little Cody has difficulty keeping all his hard-to-reach places squeaky clean like he used to about, oh I don’t know, 1 year ago. I am determined to find away to isolate him from eating time with the other cats, (oh did I forget to mention we have 4 cats in the house?) but I don’t know how easy it will be every time I sit down to a meal and he joins me at the table, (no manners.)

Cody's Favorite Time of Day - Steak Time!

Has anyone successfully tried to diet their cat, or exercise them? Tips are welcome!


A Quick Tribute to Dogs in Zurich

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the laws and rules surrounding dogs in Switzerland, but essentially both the dog and the owner have to be highly trained and skilled in matters of doggie etiquette. Dogs are like children, may be seen but not heard. They also walk politely alongside their owners, never run up to strangers, quietly board all public transportation and walk calmly off at their stop, and sit outside of stores patiently awaiting their owners to return to them. It’s quite amazing what the Swiss have done with their dogs, actually. I have never before seen such well-behaved good-mannered canines. And, of course, if they are not, there are fines to pay and behavior school – for the owners.

But while in Zurich, I managed to capture a couple of cute dog encounters. The first where a dog was trying to practice the utmost patience while awaiting his owner inside of an Apothecary (pharmacy). He kept pacing anxiously outside hoping his owner would waltz through, (it took me a few minutes to realize this was what was going on.) In his pacing, he would trigger the pharmacy’s automatic door sensor which would open, welcoming him with open arms, to which he would approach look around him to see if anyone was watching, then look inside for a brief moment before stepping back and taking a seat alongside the entrance, so as not to block it for other customers. It was remarkable as I could just imagine my own bouncy Golden Retriever, Pumpkin, jumping at the chance to dash in as fast as she could manage and cause mayhem with her wagging tail and wiggling body. She might not be very welcome in Zurich…

I hope no one sees me peeking inside!

The second encounter was while walking down a side street in the old city when I happened to pass in front of a bar/restaurant with two little dogs laying in the window on the cushioned seats where patrons must linger in the later hours of the day. They were so content watching the world go by from their perch, and no one seemed at all bothered that there were dogs in an eatery.

Windows on the World


The New York Winter Running Experiment: Part II

So I did it. Despite convincing myself I would never get off the couch and was doomed to my own laziness, I got up, got dressed and ran out the door. I’d like to say I felt a magical lift as my feet hit the pavement and a burst of energy took over as I flew down the streets, but it didn’t quite happen that way.

The bike path in my town, where I planned to knock out a few miles was still snow and ice covered, guess they don’t plow the side of the roads over the guardrails…and why would they? So I struggled for a bit deciding where to go.  This is my childhood town, the town I grew up in, that I supposedly know front and back. However, I have never ever tried to run here! Amazing. I didn’t know what sidewalks would be clear of snow, or what roads might be best to run alongside while still leaving enough room for cars. Basically, I felt lost.

I ran down a sidewalk en route to my former high school, but realized it was a bad idea as parts of the sidewalk gave way to muddy trenches, and so I turned down an area known in town as the “Tree Streets”. I thought this was pretty clever since the Tree Streets is a vast neighborhood of intersecting streets, (all named after trees,) it was bound to take me to 2 or 3 miles. I made my first loop on the outer edges only to realize that the Tree Streets are not quite as big or intricate as I had remembered in my youth. Funny how that happens.

Is that really the best you got, Briarcliff?

I made a few loops around the blocks and feeling the burn in my chest headed back where I’d come from. All in all, it was not a bad run, I managed to get in 3.04 miles…but I have to admit it was incredibly boring, and I mildly feared running into anyone I knew.  I think my next run will require a bit more planning as to where to go so I’m not caught off guard by weather limitations or unexpected encounters with former townies!

To Run or Not to Run?: The New York Winter Running Experiment.

You have probably read about my successful running extravaganza in Zurich, and many successful outings in Paraguay as well…but now I am back home in New York. In Westchester – where the streets are paved with ice and snow, and water flows freely, as on this 54 degree day it is (finally) beginning to melt.

I am looking out the window. The sun is shining and the wind is blowing, quite heavily I might add, but the blue skies and bright light makes going outside enticing. The only problem I face…sitting on my couch is so much easier than putting on my running tights, sneakers, and thermal top. I want to run, out of principal, but am not sure I can give myself enough motivation to actually get up and do it.

Sitting down will imply feeling lazy, maybe accomplishing a few more tasks on my To Do list, and talking to friends who are on Gchat and AIM. Going out will feel great, it will be hard to breathe and I’ll feel a burn in my muscles at first, but when I get back home I will feel accomplished…and hopefully the roads won’t be too wet or muddy from the retreating winter wetness.

The choice seems so clear. Why, then, is it so difficult to get up and go? What exactly is it that holds me back and makes me feel at ease doing nothing at all?

Heroes in Distress

What do you think happened to our heroes behind the scenes?

Looks like someone's had a rough day!

Using Leftovers for Good

I was surprised to find, while in Pret a Manger in London, that they are not only environmentally conscious with their waste disposal, but they also do not waste leftover food. I have often wondered what restaurants or delis do with their leftovers. The sandwiches and cookies and soups that were made but not sold throughout the course of the day. In order to maintain freshness, they can’t sell the food on the second day, (god forbid you purchase a sandwich with browning avocado in it!)

Then I saw this sign in Pret a Manger…

Bravo, Pret. Bravo!

Eating Our Way Through Berlin

So Berlin is kind of a crazy town. It was divided in half for such a long time that when they finally tore the wall down about 20 years ago, each side of the city was completely unrecognizable to the other. Reunification began, and along with it the destruction of  and complete renovation of the Eastern side of the city. As a result, the Eastern part of Berlin has become the true center of the city and definitely houses the hipper and seemingly younger neighborhoods. In some areas, of course, it has also become a bit pricier than other parts of Berlin, my guess would be largely due to all the new buildings and businesses that have sprung up over the last two decades.

While there, A and I took full advantage of the culinary delights that fill the city. We had heard good things about the food, and especially in comparison to the ridiculously overpriced dishes you might find in Zurich, Berlin was affordable and worth every penny. The first place we found and truly loved, was a flower shop/bakery/cafe in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood of Berlin, (North East) called Anna Blume.

It was a rainy and dreary day, but inside was cozy (and delicious!)

Anna Blume's Amazing Cake Display

I had read some reviews of the place before we went, and was so happy to find

Perhaps my favorite warm drink ever!

that they were all true! We each ordered a Chai Tea Latte to start the meal and then moved on two a three story tower of brunch delights, including ham, cheese, melon and berries, eggs, salmon, vegetables, and the list goes on. We also noted that every tower ordered by our neighboring tables was just a little bit different, so everyone had their own unique brunch experience!

The Brunch Tower at Anna Blume

Overall, for a price tag of about €23 ($32 USD) total for the meal, I’d say we got our money’s worth!

We also discovered a delicious Vietnamese restaurant called ChenChe Teahouse in Mitte. The decor and atmosphere in this place was incredible, and they even had about 6 birds that lived there full time and flew around singing beautiful little songs to make it feel all the more authentic. We each had different types of delicious Vietnamese soups, good to keep warm on a cold and wet day! And felt utterly relaxed in the middle of the city. I even had to go for a Vietnamese Espresso complete with condensed milk and lots of sugar to keep up pace with the city, (no, I am not a coffee drinker…ordinarily!)

A was not pleased he had to wait for a photo op before digging in!

This ought to do the trick for a few hours!

Some other delicious, (but not documented in photos,) restaurants we went to and enjoyed were Cafe Einstein which took us at 11:15 even though their kitchen technically closed at 11. We ordered a delicious Shnitzel and Steak which were both mouth watering and also had a very nice bottle of Italian wine. We were definitely the youngest in the restaurant by far, but the food was great! Then we also went to Borchardt Restaurant on our last night in Berlin and had another amazing steak and A had something with lamb or duck in it…can’t remember, just remember he loved it and I refused to try! All in all, another delicious dining experience! Can’t wait to see what else Berlin has to offer 🙂