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Crafting like a kindergartner

A little strapped for cash, so had a think about potential money-saving ideas for Christmas. I know, I know, it’s only November. But in a month’s time, December 25th will feel like a distant memory. Inspired by Jack Johnson I thought I’d do a bit of re-using. Mum will be proud.

See  below for some exceptional potato printing. Except I was using an organic sweet potato, erroneously sold to me as a yam. (More information here for those interested in that kind of thing). Does that make it better or worse? I started out just printing some sheets of newsprint for wrapping paper, but then got carried away and started a veritable printing press.


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Pauline and Sharon’s


Pauline and Sharon’s: Purveyors of Delicious Pizza. This place does, hands down, THE best pizza I’ve ever had. At $3 a slice, I am told that this is ‘expensive’. Those people have clearly never tried it. A single slice is huge and they cut and place your slice in the oven when you order it so it’s always piping hot. The toppings are generous (I can speak highly of the pepperoni and the vegetable version with spicy salsa) and the base is perfectly thin and crispy.

My current favourite thing to do is grab a slice before taking the R uptown – they’re right by the subway entrance. They get me a slice ‘to go’ and I scurry into the warmth of the subway station, sit down and start my dinner. On two separate occasions I have in fact chosen not to board the R train that arrives in order to better savour my pizza pie. Now that’s a recommendation.

What I am not clear about, however, is why I have only ever seen the two guys above in there. Are they perhaps Pauline and Sharon at the weekend? Or are Pauline and Sharon purely fictitious, like the Green Giant? No clues in the previous owner – then it was called Pepe’s. The plot thickens.

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Thursday was Thanksgiving, which is a huge deal in the US. As we had no family out here, De Vito family out in New Jersey kindly offered to take us in. Our presence brought the total to 15. The De Vitos opined that this was really rather small; in past years they’ve had up to 30.

I’ll cut to the chase; you will all want to hear about the food. Well. We began with bread and cheese. But no ordinary cheese – this was parmesan that Uncle Mario back in Italy had sorted out his family out with. It was superb. Strong crumbly cheese, fresh bread and a cracking glass of red. Guests arrived (Uncle Ron was late), each bringing a dish. Then the real fun began.

Turkey, sweet potatoes with marshmallow, garlic mushrooms, cheesy asparagus, stuffing, cranberry sauce, spinach and gravy. It was so good I even had a second helping of turkey with gravy and stuffing. I regretted this almost instantly.

Then came the fruitbowl. It was enormous and filled with chopped melons and berries. It was placed in front of me and I began to whimper.

“There isn’t room!” I said.

“Go on!” replied Mr De Vito. “Fruit is refreshing.”

Out came the pies: Key Lime, Pecan, Pumpkin. Then came the pumpkin squares, the cannolli and other assorted pastries.

“Here’s the whipped cream,” said Mrs De Vito. “It’s hand-whipped.”

“Have some pumpkin squares,” said Marisa to her godfather.

“I’ve had a cannolli,” replied Mr De Vito.

“You’ve only had a canolli? But I made the pumpkin squares myself, you’ve got to try them. I can’ t believe that you wouldn’t taste your own god-daughter’s cake.”

“OK – pass it over.”

The desserts were swiftly followed by the walnuts, hazelnuts and  figs and the hot chestnuts, fresh out of the oven. Then came the coffee, the prosecco, the Frangelico and the Remy Martin.

Shortly after this, Mrs De Vito is trying to offload the Key Lime pie. It looks pretty good – huge great globules of meringue on top – but the lime bit is the texture of Jell-o. No one is impressed.

“Have you tried the Key Lime pie?” Mrs De Vito asks each member of the family in turn. “Try some!” she says as she hands them a spoon.

We left around 7pm with a plate piled with dessert and another with turkey and stuffing. To give you an indication of how much we took with us, as I write we still have two cannolli, one slice of pumpkin pie and two pumpkin squares.

Mad props to the De Vito clan for their Italian-style Thanksgiving. What a blast.

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Walk 2: Greenwood Cemetery and Sunset Park

The second walk took place on a crisp autumn afternoon. Pictures below:

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My week in coffee

Approximate caffeine consumption over the last 7 days:

Friday Nov 9:

12pm 1 cup black coffee at Housing Works Bookstore, a wing of a non-profit that supports people living with HIV/AIDS.

7pm 1 cup black coffee and enormous, three-tiered slice of chocolate cake.

Saturday Nov 10:

2pm 1 cup black coffee in between visiting BCGF and the City Reliquary. (See posts passim).

Sunday Nov 11:

8am 2 cups Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to keep warm while helping out the Wounded Warrior Project at the Veterans’ Day Parade.

12pm 1 full fat Coca Cola

Monday Nov 12:

8am 1 Thermos of black coffee placed next to bed by DSpin who is highly praised for his actions.

Tuesday Nov 13:

8am 1 Thermos of coffee placed next to bed.

3pm 1 teeny tiny cup of super strong espresso made by MJ.

Wednesday Nov 14:

8am No coffee for me; DSpin enquires as to whereabouts of Thermos which is still buried in my rucksack.

Thursday Nov 15:

10am 1 cup take-out black coffee from Juicy Lucy’s in the East Village. Accompany with a slice of their banana, hazelnut and choc chip cake. Mmm.

11am 1 triple shot espresso from MJ. It lurks inkily in the bottom of the mug.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and make myself a cup of coffee.