The Stop and Drop Phenomenon

Have I mentioned yet how stupendous it is to have a real, full kitchen?

I say that primarily for two reasons: 1. I love cooking and 2. I spent January 2012 to December 2014 in Grenada where I had no proper stove (just a toaster oven), four cabinets in which to store my food and few kitchen wares, and a grocery store that specialized in unreliable stock.

How thrilled am I to live in a city where a minimum of ten specialty and general grocers are within a few blocks’ radius? Very.

Soft pretzels—one batch with coarse salt, the other with cocoa and minced mint leaves kneaded into the dough—adapted from Peter Reinhart’s recipe in Artisan Breads Every Day (a book I refer to very frequently and would highly recommend):20140524-IMG_372020140524-IMG_3725

Incidentally, the mint found in the sweet pretzels came from a plant my mom and grandma were sweet enough to pick up for us while they were visiting a few weeks ago. Aside from that plant, we are also now growing cilantro, basil and some habaneros. The habanero seed came directly from Grenada, from a plant we had in our Caribbean home.Blog 4-7

Remember my post about our apartment? The one with pictures of the inside? There is a small storage closet with a metal ladder that leads to a trapdoor onto our roof. I was curious the other day and—you guessed it!—climbed up onto the roof.

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting. All of the buildings around here are the same height, so I really just had an excellent view of a bunch of roofs, cable dishes, old chimneys and treetops. But, as I was on the rooftop, I had to take a picture or two. Curiosity sated.Blog 4-6


Have I written enough about the dog population in Bay Ridge? There are simply dogs everywhere around here. Because most people don’t have a yard here, they have to walk their dogs a couple times a day. That means the dogs get more exercise and socialization (generally speaking) than they otherwise might.

Our dogs are not quite used to these frequent walks. They’re going for a few miles every other day, leaving them utterly pooped when they aren’t walking. On weekdays, I walk a dog named Mixon for a little side income. Mixon lives a mile away and his walks are usually about a mile long. So one walk with Mixon is a three-mile walk for me. To exercise our dogs and socialize them (and Mixon), we sometimes take Ajax or Babe with us on our Mixon walks. Three miles is pretty long for our seniors, though Ajax tends to manage okay.

Babe, on the other hand, doesn’t handle exercise as well as her lankier brother.20140525-IMG_3791

She has adopted a technique that I’m referring to as The Stop-and-Drop. When she is tired during her walk, she stops and drops. I mean, she completely collapses to the sidewalk and resolutely refuses to budge until I or Ivan scoops her up and gives her 50-pound butt a ride.20140525-IMG_3786

What’s worse is her second power (yes, that’s right, these are powers): turning on the gravity button. Somehow, when Babe completely relaxes (or, deflates, as we call it), she increases the pull of gravity on herself so that her fifty pounds turns into sixty and we are left staggering under her apathetically droopy body. All of this happens regardless of the number or volume of loads she’s dropped on the walk.

Babe: Pig Dog and Law of Physics SmiterBlog 4-10


Today we took a four-mile walk along the shore promenade, enjoying the warmth and blue skies. There were lots of people out walking and running and biking, etc. We made it to the Verazzano Bridge and turned back. Babe started flagging at two miles in and we were pretty worried, but getting into the shade gave her a second wind. Two blocks away from home, though, she stopped and dropped. Then she got up and walked around a little before stopping and dropping again. She did that a few times before Ivan finally scooped her up and got her home.Blog 4-8Blog 4-11Blog 4-9Blog 4-12

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