Book Review: One More Thing

I've been in a pretty big book funk for the past six weeks. I finished reading Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings (which I loved) in mid-January.

Since then I've tried to make it through two books, Gary Shteyngart's Little Failure and Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch and I just couldn't do it. I felt like Little Failure was the same story over and over again, chapter after chapter. I picked it up after hearing Shteyngart on NPR but in retrospect I should have known better since his previous book Super Sad True Love Story totally weirded me out. The Goldfinch gave me more anxiety in the first 100 pages than any other book I've ever read and I quickly lost interest even though it was the first book of me, my Mom and my Aunt Lau's book club (sorry, guys!).

Last night though, I heaved myself out of my funk by finishing B.J. Novak's new collection of short stories One More Thing. I don't think I've ever seen anything Novak has been in and I'm not a total fan of short stories, but this book got a lot of buzz so I figured it must be worth the read.

The stories in Novak's book range from one page to more than 30 and I genuinely enjoyed every one of them. Some of them are funny, some are sad and some left me a little confused but happy that I had read them none the less. My favorite story comes in the beginning of the book and its a story about a man meeting his grandmother in heaven. It is so not what you think its going to be, but I read it three times it was so wonderful and brought me such comfort. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone, I loved it!

On a totally unrelated but still B.J. Novak note...why are Mindy Kaling and B.J. not dating? I know that its 2014 and men and women can be friends without being in love but still I ask: would they not be the best couple? Like ever? I will continue to hold out hope!

Our Weekend in Pictures...

This weekend was so great!

Saturday involved a haircut (for me, not John) a trip to Trader Joe's and dinner at my Grandmother's house with my parents and sister.

Saturday night, John and I took a harrowing drive to Queens (seriously the pot holes in this city are intense these days) for frozen yogurt and a drink with some of our friends. Our walk home from the bar took us past this somewhat creepy leather chair.

Yesterday I spent all day with cats that are available for adoption! Are you in the market for a cat or kitten? WELL go to this website and see the cats (and dogs) that K9Kastle has available.

John came to visit me a few hours before my shift was over and I introduced him to all of the cats and he didn't even flinch at their cuteness. I however basically exploded every time I pet one of these cats. That picture is of Ray, an 8 year old kitty girl who is blind and has asthma. I would have convinced John to take her home were it not for her asthma. Because my husband has asthma and that is enough for one house. We're also both still dealing with how things turned out with Mim and think that when we finally are ready for a new kitty cat family member, she will need to not have a chronic health condition.

Even if you're not looking to adopt a pet, you can come visit them or me on Sundays at PetCo Unleashed in Brooklyn..I think I'm going to be a regular volunteer!

Hope your weekend was lovely! Happy Monday!

Friday's Letters

Dear Friday, I am so glad you are here! We've had a rough few weeks in the Olsen home and we're excited for this weekend will include a hair cut for both of us, some sort of excursion around the city AND on Sunday I am volunteering with the organization that we adopted Dilly and Mim from. I am so excited because KITTENS!

Dear Boots, I really like you! I like you especially because you are not my rain boots or my snow boots and that I got to wear you to work yesterday!

Dear Snow, thank you for melting! Keep it up, I believe in you!

Dear Dilly, you don't even miss Mim a little bit do you? Its OK, you can tell me, I know its true. You took such a hard core nap on my lap on Monday's day off that you didn't even realize how close my crochet hook was to your eye. So dangerous! You are back to sleeping in bed with us and have reclaimed your position as spoiled rotten only cat.

Dear John, you win the prize for best Valentine's Day gift this year. Even though my gift of "I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats" was a real contender. I am so excited to get a bouquet of flowers for the next two months! I am even more excited about the mason jar that these flowers came in. I'm ordering a Cuppow cover immediately!

Some Things I Feel You Should Know About

During my blog hiatus, I've basically been compiling a list in my head of things to tell you guys. I have like 300 things to talk to you about but figured I'd start slow with this introductory THINGS I FEEL YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT post. Also holy crap did you know I could change the color on this thing? I just discovered that I could!
People's Pops is a delicious popsicle  establishment on Union Street near 7th Avenue. During the summer I basically want to go there every day for a sour cherry popsicle even though one popsicle costs about as much as an entire box of popsicles would cost me at the grocery store.

The brilliant people at People's Pops realized though, that no one wants a popsicle when it has been snowing for four straight weeks and you can't dig your car out of the frozen tundra that has encased it. INSTEAD they rented out their shop to the proprietors of Winter Warmers (I love that both of these places are alliterations). I need you to know that we now know about the business situation of both of these shops because John and I were so intrigued that he asked the guy behind the counter what the deal was. We are now those people.

Summary: go to Winter Warmers and get one s'more to share with your husband and get a small hot chocolate WITH the giant marshmallow for yourself (seriously do not share it). I know it seems like a lot of marshmallows but I swear its not and you will thank me.

When you go to Carnegie Hall there are these giant dispensers of Ricola hard candies. I know this because last month I went to see my friend, Jared, conduct there. I know, right? So cool! The Ricolas are meant to soothe your throat and prevent any coughing during the performance. I had about six.

FULL DISCLOSURE: 14 hours after consuming my last candy, I came down with a crippling 24 hour stomach/fever/flu situation. I whined for a full 24 hours while rolling around in our bed and alternately sweating and shaking with chills.

I don't want to blame the Ricola, but I feel like I have to. Consume at your own risk.


I am now going to be a typical Park Slope asshole and talk about brunch for a minute. I KNOW I'm sorry.

Here's the deal: there is a diner in our neighborhood that we go to pretty frequently. I'm not telling you the name and you'll see why in a minute. A month or so ago our recently sworn in Mayor, Bill DeBlasio (a Park Slope resident), mentioned in an interview that he loved this diner. DINER RUINED. We now cannot get a seat for late breakfast OR brunch OR late lunch. Its basically the worst, and while I'm not totally sure I can blame the Mayor for this one, I'm going to because it makes me feel better about the lack of diner eggs in my belly.

Luckily, there are a bunch of other options in our neighborhood including one of our favorites, Applewood. Everyone raves about Applewood and their farm to table food, blah, blah, blah. Everyone also raves about their biscuits. I am here to tell you DO NOT EAT THE BISCUITS. Just don't do it. They are awful and John and I have tried them three different times to verify that they didn't forget an ingredient or that we got a bad batch. The biscuits are terrible. But they do give you milk for your coffee in this adorable bottle and the drinks are delicious!


Thus ends this week's edition of Some Things I Feel You Should Know About. You're welcome.

Later Losers!

ANNOUNCEMENT! American Apparel lets you print anything you want on their tshirts. BIGGER ANNOUNCEMENT! There is an employee there to help you do it. BIGGEST ANNOUNCEMENT! You can even print on their dog tshirts. Yup I said it. Dog tshirts.

Did you know that Holly talks? Well, Alyssa talks in her voice, but she has been known to have full on conversations with all members of our family and guests. She even has catch phrases! For a while, she was saying "I do what I want!" whenever she did something naughty (i.e. poops on the floor, begs for food, digs on the couch, humps her puppy cousins).

Recently though, whenever she walks out of a room we're all in she says "Later Losers!". I know this entire post is insane, but the entire Holly dialogue kills us as a family. We laugh at it constantly, every time she says something!

When I went to American Apparel to get some Christmas presents and I saw the puppy tshirt.

And then I spent 40 minutes with the college student who worked the tshirt station to format Holly's shirt jussssst so. I gave it to her the day before Christmas Eve, basically as soon as John and I got to my parents' house because I just couldn't take the anticipation.

And wouldn't you know it, Holly loves to be dressed like a human. She wore that shirt for basically the entirety of Christmas, and if you asked her "Holly, want to put your shirt on?" she ran right over and picked up her front paws. She is a genius.

I anticipate Holly getting a full wardrobe, even though my Mom tells me that dog clothes are "too expensive". Whatever, Mom! I have at least two pairs of flats that cost more than $100, and those don't even have my catch phrase on them! Side note: do I have a catch phrase?

Life Lately...

I'm still here!

The past two months have been filled with lots of love and lots of challenges. Here's a quick summary of some things that have been going on!

On February 8th, we had to put Mim to sleep. After a not very promising vet visit a few weeks ago, that Thursday night I had to take Mim to an emergency vet visit. The vet told us she had a pretty terrible bladder infection and that this was the first in what would be many infections that she would get as she continued to decline. We decided that we had loved on her as much as we could and that she was just too sick. John came home from work early, and we said our goodbyes. It was terrible, but we have peace knowing that we did as much as we could. We miss her so much, but she taught us so much about loving someone that isn't yourself, and she gave us so much joy.

I cut off all of my hair. I think I love it but I think that I want it a little bit longer in the front?

I have started grocery shopping at Trader Joe's! I have to take the groceries on the subway regardless of which location I go to (Union Square or Brooklyn) and I have gotten pretty good! I can condense all of my purchases into two bags and I can carry them all the way home. I am a full blown New Yorker!

I'm also having a love affair with flowers. Becca and Shannon bought us these Mim colored beauties the day after we put her to sleep (and after they ran to the vet the night before) and I kept them alive for more than a week! I was pretty impressed with myself and am now buying flowers all the time because they make our house so happy!

Also, it has been snowing FOREVER in NYC and now its going to snow again TOMORROW! I know that I basically complain all summer about the heat, but seriously this winter is killing me. I just want to wear a pair of flats with no socks. I don't think that is a lot to ask!