Monday, March 26, 2012

Bam! Spring.

On the first day of spring (March 20th, when these were taken), everything exploded into bloom. It was pretty nuts--you go to bed on the last day of winter, wake up, and all the dormant trees are smothered in pink and white. On the exact calendar day of the start of a new season. Weird! Now I'm greeted by flowering magnolias and these white trees that line Broadway every time I leave my apartment. It's pretty magical.

Close up of the white blossoms.

Magnolia tree on an traffic island on Broadway, and bit of Columbia's Dodge Hall.

No more socks or coat!

The trees that don't blossom are just beginning to cover themselves in a fine mist of green.

Detail of the picnic table where we sat in Riverside Park to read that series of books that everyone's reading this week. I don't think I need to tell you which one.

I ate an apple, and then this squirrel friend came up and borrowed my core and scampered up into the highest branches to consume it. At first I was worried that he was going to eat himself sick, but then I remembered the squirrels I've seen eating french fries out of trash cans, and felt better about the situation.

The print of my t-shirt. I love anything with a animal theme--whether it's leopard-spotted or a print of frolicking wolves, count me in.

A sort of faux Salade Ni├žoise I whipped up later that evening. New potatoes (including those purple ones!) roasted with olive oil and rosemary, green beans, home made balsamic onion marmalade, and a dressing of one tablespoon olive oil, one clove of minced fresh garlic, half a lemon, salt, and pepper. I've discovered that a clove of raw garlic and half a lemon are the key to all deliciousness, whether in a light potato salad, a bowl of guacamole, or finishing off a lentil and carrot stew. I'm so excited to start cooking for spring.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Absolute Bagels

My first New York bagel, despite the fact that I've lived here for almost eight months. I'd been hearing impressive things about Absolute Bagels for a while, and a lazy Sunday stroll to the farmer's market was the perfect opportunity to sample them. I got a whole wheat bagel sprinkled with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and sea salt, with (a lot) chive and onion cream cheese (which is why it's a lovely pale green), lox, and red onion.

For some reason I always want orange juice when I have a bagel. This OJ was actually really good, despite the fact that it wasn't freshly squeezed. Maybe it's the paper carton.

Absolute has a big glass case of various cream cheeses to choose from, including cheddar and bacon, blueberry, and salmon, plus more than a dozen kinds of fresh bagels.

The bagel (which I got toasted) was warm, chewy, and delicious, and the ridiculously thick smear of cream cheese on each half was flavorful and smooth. Yum!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Legitimate Lions and Tigers and Bears

On Wednesday, when I had a slight reprieve from my cold symptoms, we subwayed north out of Manhattan to the Bronx Zoo. I have mixed feelings about zoos in general: On one hand, I'm crazy about seeing animals in person, especially animals I don't normally get to hang out with (that might not be entirely true...I get pretty giddy around cats and dogs, too). On the other, I have to wonder if the animals are truly happy and fulfilled in their simulated environment, which, however large, is just a fraction of the size of their natural habitat, and if they're incredibly annoyed by the constant gawking and squawking and camera flashing of zoo patrons. Do they get sick of each other? Do they long for a predator or some prey to be introduced to liven things up a bit? However, on the whole, the animals at the Bronx Zoo seemed pretty okay with their situation, and not super listless. Especially the grizzly bears! But we'll get to that later.

While on a zoo expedition, it's necessary to blend in with the locals.

Tree kangaroos! Not actually kangaroos or related to kangaroos, but it's true that they do live in trees!


Panthers. I want one.

The peacocks at least got to roam free about the park at their leisure.


Lion! Or as all the parents were exclaiming to their various small children, "Look at Simba!"

Grizzly bear! The very bear that graces California's state flag! Though I've been camping in various mountainy areas of the state many many times over the course of my life, I had to wait to travel to New York, far away from their natural habitat, to see some.

All four grizzlies! They were super active, running and climbing and digging and being friendly with each other.

Such a cutie!

And then tigers! Devin was pretty stoked.

Plus, he's serious about their survival.

Giant kitty!

An unofficial on-and-off-again inhabitant.

Zoo gate.

Sea lion!

Welcome to the Monkey House.

Mister lemur has a staring problem.

"Man, it's tired in here."

This week hasn't been much of a spring break for me, what with the cold, a sturdy amount of homework, and working my usual hours at the library, so it was nice to have a little adventure.